A Leader Accepts Risks (274)

There was once a king who ruled in Sicily. Because he had much wealth and power, there were many who envied his good fortune. His friend was one of them who said, “How lucky you are! You have everything anyone could wish for.”

The king grew tired of hearing such talk and proposed that they change places for one day. The friend agreed.

The next day, the servants dressed him in royal robes and placed on his head a crown of gold. He sat down at a table in the banquet hall, with rich foods and costly wines.

Then, as he raised a cup to his lips, he lifted his eyes toward the ceiling and stiffened. The smile faded from his lips, and his face turned pale. For directly above this head hung a sword, held only by a single horsehair. He wanted to run.

“What is the matter, my friend?” asked the real king. “You seem to have lost your appetite.” “That sword!” Whispered his friend. “Don’t you see it?” “Of course” said the king. “I see it every day. It always hangs over my head, and there is always the chance someone or something may cut the slim thread. Perhaps one of my own advisors will grow jealous of my power and try to kill me.”

His friends quietly asked him to exchange places again and never again did he envy the king.

Extracted from 'Self Empowerment' by Bridget Menezes (Malaysian author)


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