The Happiest Man

Duncan Jones
Sep 22 · 2 min read

by Duncan Jones

A child would be chosen to next sit the throne
For the one had turned from the crown
And with no sons or daughters or queen to step in
A great search took place through each town

Through cabins and hovels and mansions alike
The court searched for miles all around
The advisers advised to give up and vote
But at just the right time one was found

Born on the right day, he looked the right way
Matched well against all of the odds
And so it was done, trumpets told everyone
His choosing would please all the gods

So he grew to be king, owned all he could see
Yet on the inside he was sad
So one day he asked of his noblest peers
For any advice to be had

Some told him this, and some told him that
And some just brought him more gold
One even showed him a magical potion
And claimed that he’d never grow old

But the king was still down so he sent out his knights
To bring him the happiest man
And when brought to the castle the king said to him
“Please tell me all that you can …

About what makes you smile? Why you laugh when you do?
What’s the secret to your attitude?
Because I have more than all in this land
Yet I am still in a sad mood.”

This happy old man was white haired and tan
With two sons almost the king’s age
He spoke rather calmly, “Your story is grand
But I think that it’s missing a page

I see you’re a good king, but you’re lacking something
You remind me a bit of myself
See, I’ve been there before, always wanting more
Like your sword, mounted, sheathed… on the shelf

There’s more to this world than status and things
Have you friends and family you love?
For though he has talons and vision and cunning
The hawk, in time, envies the dove

Then again, who am I to give such advice?
Just an old man who lives in a hut
My only intent? To help open your eyes
Because it seems to me that they’re shut.”

The king remained silent, lost in deep thought
Then excused himself for a short while
And when he returned he brought with him something
Gave it to the old man with a smile

“Here’s the great sword to which you compare me
The beautiful royal heirloom
Your advice is quite nice, but what made me think twice …
It’s mounted, sheathed, in a different room

So how?” asked the king, “Do you know of such things?”
“How’d you come upon such point of view?”
“Very sharp,” smiled the man looking back at his host …
“I was the king before you!”

Duncan Jones

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