The Beggar Who Became King
Once upon a time, there lived a king in the land of Persia. He was old and had no heir to succeed him to his throne. On his deathbed, he directed in his will that in the morning after his death, the first person to enter the gates of the city should be crowned as the king in his place. It so happened that the first person to enter the city gates after the death of the king was a beggar. He had lived all his life by begging for his food and clothes from others. The ministers of state and the other nobles of the court acting on the king’s death wish, made him the king of the land, and handed him the keys to the Royal Treasury.
The wandering beggar took to his new job seriously and started governing the kingdom that had been handed over to him in a wise and a just way. However, a section of the Royal Court resented his appointment and refused to be ruled by a person who had been a beggar all his life. They secretly entered into an agreement with the kings of the surrounding lands and hatched a plot against him to remove him from the throne. The kings from the enemy camp entered into an agreement, and started to attack his kingdom with their armies. In the meantime, the rebels within his court did their best to weaken the rule of the beggar who had been made the king, and soon the entire kingdom was thrown in a state of confusion which resulted in the loss of certain valuable territories within his kingdom to his enemies.
The beggar who had been made king was disturbed at the turn of events. One day, an old friend who had been his companion during the days of his poverty, returned from his wanderings to find his old friend occupying the throne. He said: “May Allah be praised, He has out of His excellence and Glory, has gifted you with good fortune and prosperity, and it is entirely due to His Grace that you occupy such a position of dignity!”
The beggar who had been made king replied; “O my friend, feel sorry for me at my state, for this is not a time for congratulations. When you saw me last, I was only anxious to obtain some bread to feed myself for the day, but now I have all the worries in the world that challenge me in my present position. If the times are difficult, then I am in pain, and if they are prosperous then I am lost in the worldly enjoyments. There is no misfortune greater than managing the worldly affairs of a kingdom, because they distress my heart both in prosperity and in times of adversity. If you truly want riches, then seek only for contentment, which is the greatest wealth of the world. In my present position, the best meat of the world served on my table today, is not as delicious than the bits and pieces that I used to beg from others, in my days of adversity.”
Moral of the Story: Wealth does not always bring happiness.