The Gift of King Harmen: a Fable about Happiness, (o El regalo del Rey Harmen)
(photo unedited: Crystal star on burgundy
-- A small boy at a garage sale found a treasure, unopened, in the box.
Now I pass it on to you. May your day be full of beautiful light!)
The Gift of King Harmen: a fable about happiness Draft 9 Feb 14, 2008, all rights reserved.
Once upon a time in a land encircled by snowcapped mountains, the great King Harmen wanted all the people in his kingdom to be happy. For many days he sat quietly in his royal purple robes and thought, “How can I help my people? What can I give them for them to be happy?” Finally he decided to call the wisest counselors of the land to help him, sending word to the edges of the kingdom. After many days the counselors began to arrive.
The moon was full and casting moonshadows when Counselor Pensa rode in quietly, gently from the North. The tiny crystals on her deep green gown sparkled like frost in the moonlight. The mane of her lean white mare, and her own long white hair flowed around her expressionless face in silent smoky circles. The sun was at its highest when Counselor Dramo thundered in from the South the following afternoon. He looked very much in charge in his sunny yellow cloak over short dark hair, smiling atop his golden stallion, with almost no shadow at all.
Early the next morning, Counselor Nansi calmly arrived from the East, walking in long, slow, steady strides through the mist. His pale blue robes fluttered behind him and brushed gently against his walking stick and the dark skin of his friendly face and weathered hands. Finally, that evening Counselor Delta's carriage was seen at a distance arriving from the West, so the other counselors and the king came out to the courtyard to meet her. Stepping from the carriage, she cast a long shadow across the smooth paving stones. She stood with her hands on her hips taking it all in, looking around at those gathered. The last rays of the setting sun flashed off the buttons on the sides of her boots, glinted off the buckle of her red tunic, and shone off her jet black hair. The king spoke to them all.
“Welcome, dear travelers. I am very pleased you have all arrived safely,” began the king, “I wish for my people to be happy. I have asked you here because I hope you, wise counselors, will help me to learn what I can give to them so that they will be happy.” So the counselors from the four directions all went in with the king to his inner rooms, and the five of them, this Council, discussed the matter long into the night. By the orange light of the fire, they drank tea and ate oranges, and considered all types of things that might make the people happy. They talked about giving the people gold, or games, or jewels. They talked of giving them food, or livestock, or musical instruments. They talked of magic and machines, the moon and the stars, but they were not decided what would make the people happy. Finally they slept.
Next morning the Council awoke to a crowd of people outside in the courtyard who had heard that the wisest of the land were inside. They wished to get help with their problems, so the king and the counselors agreed to hear them. A circle of nine cushions was set up in the shade of a large maple tree; five seats for the Council and four for those who wished to speak to them. So when the Council was seated, the people came up four at a time to speak. By the end of the day, sixteen people had spoken to the Council, and they became known as the Speakers. This is who they were and what they said:
In the first group a young man named Hutri, a keeper of pigs (who held in his lap a small piglet who kept trying to eat the maple leaves), complained, “People look down on us because our business is hard, dirty work. Is this right?” Then next from a blacksmith family there was a sturdy young boy named Peglo with a chain for a belt. He spoke in a strained voice, “My family and the family across the lake are always fighting and feuding. What in the world should I do?” Cona, a young girl in a big floppy hat that protected her from the sun as she tended her orchard, said, “Why do the people on the other side of the village get to live closer to the water, and I have to carry it twice as far?” For a young lady named Deba the problem was, “My older sister always wants to win, and get the best of everything. How can I keep from being angry and blowing up at her all the time?”
These questions were not easy to answer, so King Harmen asked the people to take a mid-morning rest and had cookies and milk brought out to them as the Council talked among themselves and thought about what the people had said. After some time, Counselor Pensa, who was a great thinker with a powerful mind, spoke for the Council. “It seems to me, “ she began in a very even voice, brushing her white hair (and a bit of a cookie crumb) away from her pale face, “that all of these problems can be worked out quite well if we work on how we think.”
“Hutri: Each of you has given me a lesson about how we need to look at things to be happier. You are doing useful work, and others who look down on you would do well to develop Humility, and not to act as if they are better in some way. We all have to do humble work sometimes, just like each leaf on this tree has a job to do. If we do our part as if it is noble and great, then we are noble, and it will matter less to us what others say.
Peglo: For those who have a history of fighting we need to develop Patience for the point of view of others. This can stop the chain of hurtfulness, and in time it can bring the season of fighting to an end, as the waves calm down to still water. Help everyone see that each person is a brother, a sister, each life is precious.
Cona: Those who always want more than they have will never be happy until they develop Contentment and realize how much they have already. You have what you need if you don't feed your greed.
And finally, Deba: There is happiness in daily pleasures and in our own successes, but also joy in celebrating the victory of others. If we can feel both types of Delight, we will have twice the happiness.” Counselor Pensa finished by saying, “This is what we have learned by studying the world around us and within us,” and she closed her eyes and was silent once again.
The king invited those who had been heard to stay on and rest in comfort, and he called the next group of four to come sit with the Council. A sad-looking woman named Kaipo spoke first, wringing her hands, and nervously adjusting her scarf. “I want to find a way to set up a hospital, but I have failed several times, how can I go on? I just don't know...” she could not finish, and her crying sent diamonds into the dust until she hid her face with her hands. Next to her, a tall man with fancy clothes and golden chains around his neck had been fidgeting with the coins in his pocket. Now he impatiently spoke up, “I am Hodi, and I have been robbed at the market.” It seemed he had borrowed money and thought he was overcharged. Two small children waited to speak, holding hands as they sat together trying to be brave: a little girl with freckles and curls the color of cornsilk called Genca, and a small boy with red hair and a comic book in his pocket, called Spibu. When the king asked why they had come, they spoke for each other. Genca shared, “Spibu's afraid to go to school because his classmates call him names.” Spibu thought for a minute then spoke for her, saying, “Genca is sad because the other children won't share their toys with her.” Happy to help each other explain, they both felt a little better. “Thank you for coming,” encouraged the king.
Again, the Council asked the people to rest, this time having a noontime snack of cheese and fruit brought out to them as they talked about what the people had said. Finally, when all had eaten, Counselor Dramo, who quite enjoyed the attention himself, and who knew the effect the sunshine had on his golden cloak, stood up tall in the bright light of day, and began his lively presentation. “The four who spoke to us just now have told of problems that can be changed for the better, but it will take all of us working together to do it. After talking in Council, we have decided that the key is to work on how we act. Think of the effect of each of your thoughts and each of your actions.
Kaipo: You are showing great Kindness to others by starting this hospital, but you need to also be kind to yourself. Do your best, but don't over do it. Care for others, keep trying, and you will inspire others to help you to make a little progress every day toward your goal.
Hodi: You are known in the market, and although someone there may have done wrong by you, there are some debts you owe as well. This will work for you: develop your Honesty, pay your debts back on time, and your good name will help you in the future.
Genca and Spibu: It was thoughtful and generous of you to support each other, and your comments were well spoken. Genca: it would be wonderful if all were generous and would share what they have when it could help someone else. Spibu: it is true that our words are very powerful and can help or harm. Your classmates would be wise to think more and speak less. So we as a Council ask all the older children and adults to try their best to set good examples for the children and each other by developing Generosity and Thoughtful Speech.”
Counselor Dramo finished, “We can lead by example if we listen more and speak less. If we share when we have enough.” And with that he made a deep bow, then sat down again. Kaipo acted less nervous, and Hodi acted less proud as they helped Genca and Spibu over to the others who had already spoken.
The king called up the next four to sit with the Council. The first of these was one of the elders called Resco who was brought a special chair, because he was bent over resting on a cane. He quietly pulled out a small scroll he had brought with him and read what he had prepared. “I have lived a long time and know a few things about my bookbinding business, but my family thinks I'm too old to listen to. They ignore me and tell me to go away. I want to help! What can I do?” As he put away the scroll, a girl with a very red face got ready to speak. She looked to be a potter by the mud on her elbows, and she looked like she had been crying. “I'm called Fola, and I want to know what you're going to do about the man that knocked over a pot in my shop and broke it. He said it was an accident, and I tried to fix it, but it leaks and this makes me sad. This time when he came in I tried to throw a knife at him and it cut me! Just look at it!” and she held out a bandaged hand. When she had calmed down a little, a woman called Graca spoke. She was wearing a neat white apron and helping the small child she held in her lap to blow his nose. “My mother has just come to live with me, and I don't know how I will take care of her in our house as I have my own children to tend to.” Finally, the last person to speak, a young woman known as Riche began her story. “I always wanted to go to school but had to be there to help my family. They depend on me. I'd like to check school off my list, but I'm too old to go to a regular school now. Could I start a school for people like me?”
This time as the Council asked the people who had spoken to rest, they had tea and biscuits with honey and butter brought to all those who had spoken and the four who were left to speak. The Council considered what the people had said. Finally, when they were all full of warm tea and biscuits, Counselor Nansi took his turn smiling, his blue robe gathering at his feet. He slowly reached up to a tree branch and pointed with a long, dark finger, saying, “Do you see that spider web? It is a reminder that we are all connected. We depend on each other, and we could be happier if we relate to each other better by developing Respect, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Responsibility.
Resco: you remind us that we should Respect and serve our elders and give honor to those who came before us because of their knowledge and wisdom. Very few of us would get far without our teachers and others who have taught us.
Fola: None of us is perfect, so we will make mistakes and will require Forgiveness. This is the best we can do in a human world. Holding a grudge is the blade that will cut you if you try to hold onto it. Forgive and you will feel better.
Graca: You are already giving great service to your children, but what your mother asks of you is but a small part of what she gave to you. Perhaps your children can watch the care you give her and develop their own Gratitude for all you do, by your example of thanking the one who helped you when you were small.
Riche: You have been the dependable one. Now take Responsibility to be the change you want to see for yourself and others. Go ahead and start that school, and stick with it through thick or thin, good times and bad..” With that, Counselor Nansi finished speaking and gently folded his big hands back in his lap.
The king called the final group of four. The first was a young man unknown to the local people. He was dressed in a strange style with baggy pants and white shoes. “My name is Prindi. I have lost my compass and lost my way. I have made mistakes. I want to make a new start here. May I stay?” A woman known as Asta had always wanted to start a bakery. With stars in her eyes, she said, “I have heard of a new way of baking in another village, but I don't know how to begin or if I can do it. Should I reach for something so difficult?” An old man known as Serzo said, “All you people give me heartburn. Complain, complain. Where I live by myself in the deep woods this is never a problem. Think I'll go back there now,” but he really went to get another biscuit and pet a dog running loose. It was clear he was more lonely than grouchy. Finally, a young man named Cofi with wild golden hair and beard, like the mane of a lion, was the only one left to speak. When he did not begin the king encouraged, “Go ahead. We have heard all the others. What would you like to say?” Cofi began timidly, “I feel I am supposed to do something important, but I don't know what it is, and I am so afraid to mess it up. Can you help me, too?” “We will do our best,” said the king.
After hearing all these problems, the Council talked together once more. The king brought out a final bit of food for the people who had been there all day. As the sun was dipping behind the rim of mountains, Counselor Delta moved in her seat a bit, shifting back and forth. Once in position she smiled then quickly began, “Life is always changing and in these changes we search for meaning. It helps us on our path to have Principles to guide us, Aspiration to something greater than our present abilities, a desire for Service to others, and the Courage to meet the challenge of finding our place in the world.
Prindi: Find your path, then walk your path. You decide the Principles you want to live by and then they will guide you. You are welcome here.
Asta: Strive to be alive, to improve, to evolve. Reach for the new better way, look for those with the knowledge and learn from them. Reach also for the old ways if they are good. That is Aspiration.
Serzo: I see you over there. The advice I give you is to love unconditionally, like that dog at your feet. You love the trees and the dog, love also all other beings, and put it into practice with your Service. You have learned a lot living out in the woods. Find a way to volunteer your time today, to use that knowledge to help in some way. Your heart is bigger than you think.
Cofi: Our greatest barrier to greatness is ourselves. Do not expect yourself to be perfect. Be willing to make some mistakes along the way. Find your Courage to be brave and take great responsibility for those things that are important to you. At the end of our lives, most of our regrets are not for things we have done but things we have left undone. So think big, be brave, now begin!”
So Delta finished. And she got up and shook the hands of each of the Speakers in the group, even Serzo, giving each a pat on the shoulder as well.
The king brought out musicians to entertain the people for the rest of the evening, and invited them all to stay the night. While the people enjoyed the music, the Council retired to the king's rooms to consider again the reason they had come. What could the king give to all his people to help them be happy?
The light of the day faded from the evening sky, and the Council knew that the sixteen Speakers were the key to improving the lives of all the people. These were the real problems that kept them from happiness. The moon rose over the mountainous landscape on the edge of the horizon and bathed the kingdom in a colorless glow. In this light, the Council saw that no material gift could help all the people be happy. As the first stars were rising the five made a discovery that all of us have the same kinds of problems as we go through our lives. By the time the stars left the sky the Council had listed the sixteen guidelines, one for each of the problems of the Speakers, to help all the people to train themselves to deal with their problems and be happier.
Before the light of dawn, King Harmen and his counselors had a brief sleep. As their minds worked on saying goodbye to the people the next morning, they dreamed of many things. Counselor Pensa dreamed of the first four people who came and thought of the power the mind has to determine how we feel inside. Counselor Dramo dreamed of the second four and considered cause and effect and how our actions impact on ourselves and others. Counselor Nansi dreamed of the third group and put together that how we relate to others connects us to our community. Counselor Delta dreamed of the last four Speakers and realized we need to find meaning in life to steady us in a changing world.
The Council felt more sure than ever that even though there was no magic gift or material thing that the king could give his people to make them all happy, he did now have something to give. It was a bit of wisdom each person could judge for themselves: a suggestion for how to live in this world to increase happiness for themselves and others, guidelines for training how we think and act, how we relate to others, and how we find meaning in life.
It was morning, and everyone gathered in the circular courtyard. King Harmen stood patiently in the center with the counselors in a small, colorful circle around him. The sixteen Speakers waited together in four small groups in a larger ring around the counselors, and all the rest of the people nearly filled the circle outside of them. The horses waited on the outside edge, the white horse eager to be back North, the golden horse straining to the South. The carriage had been made ready to pullout to the West, and Counselor Nansi's walking stick was at his side. All was ready to return the counselors to the edges of the kingdom.
The king spoke, “Thank you, all of you for coming here. First I would like to speak to the counselors. You have been good listeners, and shared your wisdom with us, and we thank you,” and he gave each a package of food for their journey, including some of the best spices grown in the central village. The four bowed in thanks to the king. Counselors Pensa and Dramo walked to where their horses waited on opposite edges of the gathering, Counselor Nansi took up his walking stick and walked to the East edge of the circle, Counselor Delta moved to her carriage. All waited to hear what else the king had to say.
King Harmen continued, “Next, I would like to see the sixteen Speakers,” and the four groups moved in a little closer to the king. “You have told us about real problems and given us a way to help all the people. One guideline was written for each of the concerns you brought to us. As a special gift to you, I give you a name to add to your own, and a seal to stamp your letters, a symbol of your own you can use so all will remember the important ideas you have brought to all the people.” He picked up a box with sixteen small wooden blocks. “These will be your names and seals.” The people came up as he called their new names.
Giving a block of green sealing wax and their unique seal to each person as he called,
“The symbol for Hutri Humility -- a leaf.
Peglo Patience -- the globe, the earth.
Cona Contentment -- an apple.
Deba Delight -- a balloon.”
Next he took out the blocks of yellow wax, passing it to the Speakers with the seals.
“The symbol for Kaipo Kindness -- a diamond.
Hodi Honesty -- a coin.
Genca Generosity – a cornucopia/horn of plenty,
Spibu ThoughtfulSpeech -- a speech bubble.”
Blue wax was given with these seals:
“The symbol for Resco Respect -- a scroll.
Fola Forgiveness -- a teardrop.
Graca Gratitude -- a house.
Riche Responsibility - a checkmark.”
Finally, King Harmen brought out the red wax, saying,
“The symbol for Prindi Principles -- a compass.
Asta Aspiration -- a star.
Serzo Service -- a heart, and
Cofi Courage – a lion.”
The king continued, ”Thank you, Speakers, one and all. From what we have learned from you we have listed 16 guidelines we believe will help all of us to train ourselves to be happier. Each one is simply the name of a quality we can develop.” And here the king raised his voice a bit so all the people could hear.
“And now I speak to all of you. Here is my gift. The best I have to offer. The sixteen guidelines for a happy life are: Humility, Patience, Contentment, Delight, Kindness, Honesty, Generosity, Thoughtful Speech, Respect, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Responsibility, Principles, Aspiration, Service, and Courage. This list I pass to all of you. May you hear it. May the counselors take it to the edges of the kingdom. May you all learn to be happy. I invite you to stay and celebrate with us as long as you can before you head home. Then may you all have safe travels.”
With that, the counselors, who had the greatest distance to travel, took off for the places from where they had come. The people celebrated together with food and music well into the afternoon. As the king bid each farewell, he asked them to remember and practice these guidelines for the benefit of themselves and everyone. Perhaps it took a while to do this because training takes time, perhaps it did not happen even in just this way, but if it did, they may have lived happily ever after.
May we do the same.
editor's note: 15may08 prico=>prindi.
[here's a link to the poster shown below in the comments, showing the 16 cartoon characters:}
Editor's note 15 Dec 2009: colors for this story will soon be evolving.
no es listo aqui todavia, viene otra vez, por favor.
quieres ayudarme traducirlo?
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