(I would like to share a story I recently told my grandchildren. I adapted this from an old tale.)
Once there was a king who was very troubled, not only because of problems in his own life but also because of all the sadness and troubles he heard about in his kingdom. He called all of his wise counselors and asked them, “What can I do to help the people in my kingdom find greater happiness?” One of the counselors said, “I have heard a rumor that in one of the villages of your kingdom there is a wise old man who has spent his life writing down the keys to happiness in a book.”
Well, the king immediately sent servants to find the wise old man and ask him to bring his book to court. The servants searched and searched and finally found the village and the hut where the old man lived. Unfortunately, he had recently passed away, but his book, The Book of Happiness, was still sitting there on his desk. So the servants wrapped it up and brought it to the king.
The king eagerly opened the book, anxious to learn about the keys to happiness. His hands feverishly turned the pages, but to his dismay…all of the pages were blank! Page after page—nothing! Finally, he came to the end of the book, and on the next-to-last page, he read these nine words:
The king was perplexed. Then he turned to the last page and read the following letter.
Your Majesty the King,
I know my time is short, so I am leaving this book for you.
You have just read nine words. Your majesty, do you know how powerful these words are? Do you know how much you can do with love? With joy? With kindness? With gentleness? With all of these words? Do you know how far they can take you?
These nine words can help you rule wisely and bring greater happiness to your kingdom. But only if you use them!
Your majesty, think of these nine words as nine beautiful, flowering plants. But there is only one place where these plants can grow and bloom: inside a human being! Inside you and your ministers and your subjects.
So I urge you to teach and encourage your people to follow these nine words in daily life. If you do, these plants will grow inside people, and, in time, these nine words will become super powers in the lives of your people.
For love is indeed a super power. Joy is a super power. Peace is a super power. Patience and Kindness and Goodness and Gentleness and Faithfulness and Self-control—they are all super powers.
Then, as people follow the nine words, you will begin to hear about good things happening in your kingdom. And when you do, write them down in the blank pages of this book—so that future generations may be reminded of the power of the nine words.
Your majesty, this is my gift to you and to the people of our beloved kingdom.
The letter was signed by the wise old man.
So the king followed the old man’s advice. He had his wise counsellor’s travel throughout the towns of the kingdom, teaching people to follow the nine words, and training others to teach them as well.
As the years passed, the counselors brought back wonderful stories of good things that were happening in the lives of people throughout the kingdom. Year after year, the king filled the blank pages of The Book of Happiness with the stories.
And the kingdom grew in peace and happiness.
© Geoffery Alan Moore