The secret of happiness
A certain shopkeeper sent his son to learn about
the secret of happiness from the wisest man in
the world. The lad wandered through the desert
for 40 days, and finally came upon a beautiful
castle, high atop a mountain. It was there that the
wise man lived.
Rather than finding a saintly man, though, our
hero, on entering the main room of the castle,
saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and went,
people were conversing in the corners, a small
orchestra was playing soft music, and there was a
table covered with platters of the most delicious
food in that part of the world. The wise man
conversed with everyone, and the boy had to wait
for two hours before it was his turn to be given
the man’s attention.
The wise man listened attentively to the boy’s
explanation of why he had come, but told him
that he didn’t have time just then to explain the
secret of happiness. He suggested that the boy
look around the palace and return in two hours.
“Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something”,
said the wise man, handing the boy a teaspoon
that held two drops of oil. “As you wander
around, carry this spoon with you without
allowing the oil to spill”.
The boy began climbing and descending the
many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes
fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he returned
to the room where the wise man was.
“Well”, asked the wise man, “Did you see the
Persian tapestries that are hanging in my dining
hall? Did you see the garden that it took the
master gardener ten years to create? Did you
notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”
The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he
had observed nothing. His only concern had been
not to spill the oil that the wise man had
entrusted to him.
“Then go back and observe the marvels of my
world”, said the wise man. “You cannot trust a
man if you don’t know his house”.
Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and
returned to his exploration of the palace, this
time observing all of the works of art on the
ceilings and the walls. He saw the gardens, the
mountains all around him, the beauty of the
flowers, and the taste with which everything had
been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he
related in detail everything he had seen.
“But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to
you?” asked the wise man. Looking down at the
spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was gone.
“Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give
you”, said the wisest of wise men. “The secret of
happiness is to see all the marvels of the world
and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon”.
In your search for happiness and satisfaction,
never neglect those tiny things because they may
be all that matters most to you at the end
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