| "The price of happiness" or "The Crying Princess" - a fairy tale, 2 fair 2b true|
|3 Sep 2011 @ 20:06, by Max Sandor|
An old man and his grandson were walking along the road to the palace of the King. As time passed by a beautiful chariot overtook them. "That must be one of the royal chariots!" said the old man to the child. "But I saw only a small girl sitting in there. And she seemed to be very, very sad." answered the child. "Ah, yes. This must be the young princess then. She's in fact very, very sad, as everyone knows in the kingdom." the old man said. "But why? She has everything in the world that one could wish for, doesn't she?" his grandson asked. "Everything except happiness," the man said. "How come, grandfather?" the child inquired. "She is sad because her mother, the Queen. was always so sad, all her life." - "Why was she so sad? Didn't she have everything in her life, too?" - "Everything plus her never-ending sadness." - "Where did this never-ending sadness came from?" - "The Queen couldn't be happy because her husband was so unhappy". "And why was he so unhappy? He must have been a King, isn't that a good thing to be?" - "Yes, it's good to be the King. And his mother was the most beautiful and loving Queen of all times, my great-grandfather told me all about it. But one night she had a dream and when she woke up she felt so sad that she couldn't smile any more". - "Not even when a clown came along?" - "Ah, of course, she put a smile on her face. But it was not a smile of happiness. It was nothing but a mask to hide her sadness" - "Wasn't there anybody around who could have helped her?" - "Indeed, there was but the King couldn't pay him to help her being happy again." - "That is impossible, grandfather! Everybody knows how rich our King is!" - "Gold and silver was not the problem, my grandson. Or may it was? It is a long story." - "Please tell me, grandfather, please! It's still a long way to the palace and we don't have a chariot. So we have plenty of time." "In fact we do, so listen carefully
and tell me if there is something you don't understand!" - "Ok, Ok, grandfather. I'll ask if necessary."
"Very well so, grandson" It all started when the father of the saddest Queen of the world himself was walking all alone in the forest. Then all of a sudden, a strange noise startled him. He looked around but there wasn't anybody. So he went home and didn't think too much about it. But in the following years, he became more and more anxious. Every unexpected sound frightened him. He began to make mistakes. First little ones, then more serious ones. He borrowed money to people who couldn't pay him back. He bought goods at a low price but he was so anxious that he couldn't wait until a good time to resell them at a higher price. And while life was good to him in general, every once a while, when he least expected it, this strange anxiety fell over him. He was looking around for a solution, He bought pills that made him dizzy and sick but the anxiety didn't go away. For many years he paid priests and sages all what they wanted but the anxiety always came back to haunt him. Until one day he heard of a stranger in a strange, far away land. 'I have nothing to lose, he thought, as I have already tried everything that exists and nothing worked.' he said to himself and finally he travelled to see him."
"But he couldn't pay him, is that it, grandfather?" - "Not so hasty, kid. This was only the first part of the story. He went there to the foreign land, exchanged some of his money into the local currency, the Thaler, and when he arrived, he listened around and heard that people who had money paid this stranger 250 Thaler for a consultation. He said to himself 'That's not too bad, let's see, if he is as good as people say!' - Off he went to the stranger's little straw hut and talked with him about many things for quite some time until the King finally said 'Now, what about my anxiety attacks?' - 'Ah...' said the stranger, 'Remember the forest you were walking in? Now look at your feet! Then look to the sky, and then back to the feet!' And the King did what the stranger told him to do. All in a sudden, his strange bouts of anxiety vanished. 'Wow!', said the King. 'That was cool! It feels nice to not feel this fear any more after so many times in the past years.' And the stranger asked 'Can you remember how the fear felt to you when it came over you in the past?' The King tried and tried but for as much as he tried, he couldn't remember how the fear had felt to him in the past. 'Very good' said the stranger and the King was delighted. Just when he was about to pay the 250 Thaler, though, a sudden remorse came over him. 'Listen, I have the sudden feeling that I don't owe you anything, not for the past nor for the future. Besides, I watched the clock. From start to finish it took only 6 minutes to get rid of this anxiety of mine of many years. I am a business man and I know how to calculate these things, you know. 6 minutes out of 60 minutes is one-tenth of 250 Thaler. Here you have your 25 Thaler. I do not owe you anything for ever more!' And the King was very satisfied."
"I don't understand that. So he did pay for the service of the stranger, didn't he? And what does that have to do with the sadness of the Queen?" asked the boy. "Hang in there, hang in there, grandson. That was only the second part of this strange story of why our young princess is so sad because her mother was so sad because her husband's mother had been so profoundly sad all the time. Here comes the second part!" - "Ok, go on, please, grandfather!"
"Before the the King departed, he told the stranger 'Listen, I am very successful in doing business. Let me give you an advice. First of all, do you have an idea how much your service is really worth?' - 'I don't, dear King.' - 'You don't? Well, how do arrive at how much you charge, then?' - 'Dear King, there is no price for helping someone to be happy. And I'm happy to be able to help others to be happy. All my life I was working on finding out how to do that and get better and better in doing it. And that makes me happy too!' - 'Ok, but how come you charged me exactly as much as you did?' - 'Hmm, dear King, there are some who can't pay. Some pay a little, some pay some more. I ask as much as I need for household and food for me and my family.' - 'What???? This is redistributing wealth. You take from the rich and give it to the poor. This is bad, bad, bad, my friend. In fact, if this is so, you were robbing me. You took the precious money I earned in my life and with this you're financing your life to help some people that can't pay? You gotta stop that! Understood? And second, you should accelerate the delivery of your services. I am a famous expert in optimizing service delivery, did you know that? Why did you talk to me for so long when in the end it took you only six minutes to eliminate the anxiety I suffered from for so many years?' - 'It was only after listening to you for some time that I realized what the source of your problem was...' - 'But you didn't tell me that before!' - 'No, of course not. If I would have told you that I listened to you only to find out where your problem came from, you wouldn't have opened yourself up as necessary for me to see where in fact it was hidden.' - 'Never mind, stranger. In any case, and third, you have to write down every single step of what you did so that other people can do the same in the future, did you get that?' - 'That sounds like a good idea. And I do write a lot about it and give it freely to everybody who is interested. Only, everyone is different and it took me decades of listening and looking, and listening and looking again, in order to arrive that I now can see what I can see. I can't teach that to anybody else.' The King shook his head. 'Follow my advice, stranger, because if not, you are not honest in my eyes.' And with these words he left and went home to his kingdom."
With these words, the old man and his grandson had arrived at the entrance to the palace. "Please, please, grandfather, what about the third part of the story? With all these words, I still don't know why the King couldn't pay for the cure of the sadness of the Queen, and..."
"Ok, I told you, hang in there, I'll make it quick: after the King arrived in his palace, this palace here that we too arrived at here, he lived for many years in happiness and abundance. Until the day his wife, the most beautiful and loving Queen in the history of our land, had this strange dream. And after she woke up, she couldn't be happy again. Ever. The King bought all the medicine and herbs that people claimed would help his Queen. In all the parts of the world he was looking for advice and couldn't find it. This went on like that for many years. Until he finally remembered the stranger in a strange land. He has helped me once, he thought, and on his way he was. As he arrived, as much as he looked, he couldn't find him. Until he finally found someone who remembered him. 'Ah, the stranger. Yes, he is not living in his straw hut any more. One time a wealthy King came along and he taught him that it was not honest to accept gifts or money if one doesn't know what one's work is worth. And so he went to the city to work in a regular job. Look there!' In fact, the King found him the very next day. 'Hello, stranger!' he greeted him. 'You need to put your work aside for a moment! I'll pay for it. How much do you earn these days?' - '6 Thaler an hour, oh King' said the stranger surprised. 'Very well so, here is the deal. My wife, the Queen, had a dream. And ever since that, she is sad. Very sad. Very very sad. Help her and I pay for it" - 'I gladly help, oh King, but I don't know how you could pay for it.' - 'How's that, stranger? I'm one of the richest Kings around. How much time would it take you to free my beloved wife from her sadness?' - 'About three seconds, oh King.' answered the stranger. 'So that's what, let me see, that's half of a one-hundredth of an hour. At 6 Thaler an hour, that makes half a penny,' - 'That's right, oh King. Do you have half of a penny?' - 'No, of course not. I can give you an entire penny. And then you owe me half a penny.' - 'I don't want to owe anyone, oh King' - 'Ok, I'll give it to you as a gift. But help my Queen to be happy again!' Thereupon the stranger said to the King 'You taught me well, my Lord, to not accept anything other than an agreed upon exchange for actual services delivered, not more not less.' The King became desperate now. 'Listen, stranger. Our entire kingdom is sad because the Queen is sad. For the grace of the Almighty, can't you make an exception from the iron rules of business I taught you. Just for this one, stranger, do it for free or accept the other half of the penny as a gift from me!' - 'You taught me very. very well, oh Lord', said the stranger thoughtfully. 'And I thought a long time about it. In the end I came to the conclusion that you were right and I was wrong. No wealthy person should ever pay to help someone in need who can't pay for it. This would indeed be the end of a free society and it would throw everyone into poverty. I don't want to be guilty of that. That's why I work here in this restaurant for 6 Thalers an hour washing dishes.' And with these words..."
"STOP!" someone yelled at the old man and his grandson. "Nobody, NOBODY, is allowed to talk about this story in this palace!" It was the royal guard at the door to the ballroom. "Can't you hear the young princess crying?" Suddenly, the guard started sobbing too, and all the other guards, and so did the old man and his grandson.
And, if this fairy tale were true, the young princess and her guards, and everyone in the palace and the entire kingdom would be still crying to this very day, day and night.
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