Picture this. In ancient times, kings and queens reigned, the noble class played, merchants prospered, and peasants fought a daily battle with poverty and deprivation.
One king, one day, had a thought. He wondered about the mores and ethics of the different classes of people under his dominion. He decided to make a test of character.
The king recruited one of his loyal workers to help him find a large boulder for his plan. The two went at dawn to place the heavy stone in the middle of a busy roadway. The two hid behind the bushes to watch.
One by one, his subjects would see the boulder, and each would find a way to get around the boulder. Many cursed, and some blamed the king for not keeping the road cleared. All were inconvenienced, but none did anything about it.
Until one peasant came carrying a large load of produce, he stopped and looked around. The young man saw the now worn path around the obstruction. He thought a minute and chose not to take it. He set his load down on the side of the road.
The peasant tried to push the boulder out of the way. It was heavy, and he struggled. He looked around and found a tree limb which he used as a lever to lift the weight of the heavy stone so he could get a good grip and remove the obstacle off the path.
To his surprise, he found a satin purse in the very spot where the boulder had sat. It contained many gold coins. He looked up from his confusion to see the king walking towards him.
“Young man, why did you not walk around the boulder I placed before you?”
In a nervous whisper, he said to the king, “I did not want others to be inconvenienced by the extra steps required to walk this road.”
The king smiled. “You are a person of character. The gold coins reward the consideration you showed by moving the boulder.”
“And I will make you a prince to live at the palace, where you can use your ingenuity to make improvements for all the kingdom’s people.”
And so it was. The peasant who became a prince lived a useful life. He understood what others forgot. Every obstacle presents an opportunity for the betterment of humankind.
By Susan Diamond
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