Smile and tear

In fifth century BC, Xerxes was the king of Persia (Iran). His valour and high ambition knew no limit or bound. His huge army was always ready for battle under his command.

Once he set out to conquer Greece. More than fifty lakh soldiers, employees, and slaves travelled with him on land and water.

While he was passing the ancient city of troy, he had a wish to see his entire army together. The journey came to a stand still. A comfortable chair was placed on a high place. The king took his seat. From there he saw his vast army covering the entire vistas. He let out a smile of pride and satisfaction. Who could defeat such a huge army? He even said something regarding this, which was well received and approved by his friends and ministers who were standing behind him.

After the happiness subsided, and some time passed, the king was seen to be shedding tears. One of his surprised friends asked, “why is this? What is the reason of such distress, my lord?”

After keeping silence for a few moments, the king said, “this huge army, the efficient army chiefs guiding them, wise and intelligent people like you, and even me — but none of us will be alive after at most a hundred years from now. This is the reason of my sorrow.”

( Translated from a short story of Manoj Das, a prolific Odia writer.)