Once upon a time, a long ago, the king of the country was suddenly tired of people always bowing when he walked by and that they stopped to do the things they were doing. He found it annoying that they only said nice things about him and wanted to know how the people in his country were actually behaving when the king was not around. He decided that it was time to get to know his subjects better. He put on old clothes and went looking for ordinary people.
In the village where he ended up, there lived a man who had everything you could wish for but who was never satisfied. He had beautiful clothes, a big house on a square with lots of rooms and a beautiful garden full of flowers. At the edge of the village he also had a farm with a vegetable garden where he grew everything. But no matter how rich he was, he was not satisfied.
On the day the king passed by, the dissatisfied man sat on a bench in front of his house. He nodded friendly to the king. Obviously he did not know that it was the king who was passing by. He just saw a poor stranger in old clothes and he felt sorry for him. He asked him if he was hungry and thirsty, and when the king said he would actually like something, he gave him bread and milk.
The next day the king went back to the village – this time in his royal clothes and with his crown on his head – and knocked at the man’s door. When he opened the door and saw the king, he fell on his knees in great respect. “Get up, dear man,” the king said to him. “Yesterday I walked around here in my old clothes. Nobody asked me where I came from or how it was doing, except you. When you heard that I was hungry and thirsty, you gave me something to eat and to drink. So now I want to give you something in return.
Run as far as you can out of the village and stop until you really can’t go any further. All the ground from where we are now to where you stop running will be yours.”
The man did not know what he heard. Now I will be the richest man in the village, he thought happily. I know I am aready pretty wealthy, but after today I will finally be satisfied.
“This is the happiest day of my life, he told the king.” When can I start?
“Now!” said the king. “Run, as far as you can!”
The man started to run. He ran through streets and alleys, past houses and farms out of the village. Occasionally he looked back and then he thought: no, not enough. Soon he could no longer see the walls of his house and the palms of his village when he looked back, but every time he thought: no, not enough. He ran past date palms fields and fields where goats ate the leaves of the bushes. Further and further he ran, but when he looked back he thought again and again: come on, a little further, it is not enough yet: He started to pant and the muscles in his legs soured, but he was still not satisfied. He focused his eyes on the horizon and only wanted to run further and further. He did not think about his legs or his feet or his lungs, but only about the ground that would be his if he kept running. He kept on running until he no longer felt his body.
He ran until he lost everything …
Because he was unhappy, he lost everything he had,
If you are satisfied with what you have, then you are rich. The people in the village always said that to each other: And if someone claimed that was not true, they told the story of the disgruntled man who had lived in their village long ago. The story of the man who once was healthy and rich, but who fell down because he was dissatisfied