Stories of kings and wise men



Drawing by A. Durer

The kingdom of this world

An old hermit was once invited to visit the court of the most powerful king of those times.

– I envy such a saintly man, who is content with so little – said the ruler.

– I envy Your Majesty, who is content with even less that I – responded the hermit.

– How can you say such a thing, if this entire country belongs to me? – said the offended king.

– For precisely that reason. I have the music of the celestial spheres, I have the rivers and mountains of the whole world, I have the moon and the sun, because I have God in my soul. Your Majesty, on the other hand, has only this kingdom.

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.