Akhilesh Semwal


Sage and his castle

The young man had imagined the wise man to live like a sage with a modest and quiet lifestyle. But to his surprise, he was not like a sage. He saw lots of activities happening in the castle. Tradesmen came and went, people were conversing in the corners, a small orchestra was playing soft music, and finally he saw a table covered with platters of the most delicious food in the part of the world.

The wise man was covered with everyone, and the young man had to wait for several hours to meet the wise man. The wise man listened to the young man’s curiosity to know about the secret of happiness. The wise man said that he didn’t have time to explain this at the moment. But he suggested him to have a look around his castle and it’s beauty and uniqueness and return in two hours. He also assigned a task to the man. He handed over  a teaspoon which had two drops of oil. The wise man said “As you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill”.

The young man began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eye fixed on the spoon. After two hours when he returned to the wise man, the wise man asked, “Did you see the Persian embroideries that are hanging in my dining hall?”

Did you see the garden that it took the masters gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in the library?

The boy was embarrassed and confessed that he observed nothing. His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man entrusted to him.

“Then go back and observe the marvels of my world”, said the wise man, “you cannot trust a man if you know nothing about him and his surroundings”.  Relieved the boy picked the spoon and returned to his exploration , this time more conscious of all the work of art on the ceiling and walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains, the beauty of all flowers and everything. Upon returning to the wise man, he explained the details he noticed this time. “But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?” asked the wise man. 

Looking upon the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was gone. Well there is only one piece of advice I can give you, said the wise man.

“The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon”.