“I am like Buddha,” said the king. “Have you heard of Buddha? He couldn’t tolerate sorrow. And neither can I. The sight of gloomy faces, the sound of sobs… I cannot stand it. And that is why,” he continued after a suspenseful and impressive pause, “I have decided to put an end to Sorrow.

“Summon everyone,” ordered the king. “Everyone who claims to be sad; and I shall see what is it that they are crying about. Who claims to be heartbroken? For, you have to face it: too many people actually indulge in melancholia. I’m sorry to say it, but that’s how the world is – unfortunate and uncomfortable. I mean, a child will wail if you take away his toy. Well? A dog will howl for no earthly reason. You see what I mean? So call everyone, everyone who says he has a sorrow, and then we’ll see. I have a plan.” And he gave a small but satisfied snort.

On a special day, the king introduced a special council to his people. Anyone who claimed to be sad was to bring his (so-called) trouble to this council, made entirely of very dignified men with proven record of Wisdom. The council followed a policy which was beautiful in its simplicity. A basic and exhaustive list of Recognised Reasons for Sadness, prepared by the king himself, with suggestions from his trusted wise men, was announced but not revealed to the people. (Just as democracy isn’t for everyone, the details of state policies aren’t either.) If one claimed a reason for sorrow not found within the list, it was considered a special application and usually rejected, for the king was, obviously, thorough, and the applicant warned as a Time Waster. However, for the vast majority, the council simply found a reason ranked higher in the list than the applicant’s specific trouble, and thereby proved that a) he hardly had a right to complain, with so many people so worse off and b) he should in fact be thankful for not being worse off. Being professional and kind, they allowed him a Prescribed Period to Grieve, and additionally took the trouble to prepare a list of things that were Perfectly Alright in the applicant’s life, and with mild reproach, asked him to memorise it.

The beauty and the infallibility of the plan lay in not publishing the list to the ignorant masses, so that no one knew exactly where their problems ranked, and could never compare. Most importantly, no one knew what the unbeatable Reason Number One was (which, theoretically, the Council could not compare away), and so no one could claim to suffer from it.

Unsurprisingly, the king’s plan was very successful. Not only did complains and grievances drop drastically within a few months, eventually, there were no applicants – no one who officially claimed to be sad at all. The king had established utopia.

 

*The first jarring note in this happy State was struck when one of the trusted wise men, with special access to the list of  Recognised Reasons for Sadness, turned rebel, claimed to have had his world shattered, and openly defied the king’s beautiful and philanthropic policy, but that is a different – and needless to say, sad – story.

 

wise-king

 

(Image by author. You too, can make it; so why copy it?)

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