Stories of kings and wise men

By Paulo Coelho

The ancestor’s bones

There was a king of Spain who was very proud of his ancestors, and who was known for his cruelty to the weak.

One time, he was walking with his advisers across a field in Aragon, where – years before – he had lost his father during a battle, when he found a holy man searching a large pile of bones.

– What are you doing there? – asked the king.

– Honored greetings, Your Majesty – said the holy man. – When I heard that the king of Spain was coming this way, I resolved to recover the bones of your late father and present them to you. But however hard I search, I cannot find them: they are exactly the same as the bones of country folk, the poor, beggars and slaves.

Fetch another sort of doctor

A powerful monarch called a holy father – everyone said he had healing powers – to help him with his back ache.

– God will help us – said the holy man. – But first let us understand the reason for these pains. I suggest Your Majesty confesses now, for confession makes men face up to their problems, and liberates much guilt.

Annoyed at having to think about so many problems, the king said:

– I do not wish to speak of these matters; I need someone who heals without asking questions.

The priest went off and returned half an hour later with another man.

– I believe that words can relieve pain, and help me to discover the right path to a cure – he said. – But you do not wish to talk, and I cannot help you. This is the man you need: my friend here is a veterinarian, and does not generally speak to his patients.

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