American Red, White & Blue
A monarch of long
ago had twin sons. There was some confusion about which one
was born first. As they grew to young manhood, the king
sought a fair way to designate one of them as crown prince.
All who knew the young men thought them equal in
intelligence, wit, personal charm, health, and
physical strength. Being a keenly observant king, he
thought he detected a trait in one which was not
by the other.
Calling them to his council chamber
one day, he said, "My sons, the day will come when one
of you must succeed me as king. The burdens of
sovereignty are very heavy. To find out which of you
is better able to bear them cheerfully, I am sending you
together to a far corner of the kingdom. One of my advisors
there will place equal burdens on your shoulders. My crown
will one day go to the one who first returns bearing his
burden like a king should."
In a spirit of
friendly competition, the brothers set out together. Soon
they overtook an aged woman struggling under a burden that
seemed far too heavy for her frail body. One of the boys
suggested that they stop to help her. The other protested:
"We have a burden of our own to worry about. Let us be
on our way."
The objector hurried on while the
other stayed behind to give aid to the aged woman. Along
the road, from day to day, he found others who also needed
help. A blind man took him miles out of his way, and a lame
man slowed him to a cripple's walk.
did reach his father's advisor, where he secured his own
burden and started home with it safely on his shoulders.
When he arrived at the palace, his brother met him at the
gate, and greeted him with dismay. He said, "I don't
understand. I told our father the burden was too heavy to
carry. However did you do it?"
The future king
replied thoughtfully, "I suppose when I helped others
carry their burdens, I found the strength to carry my own."
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