Monday, August 11, 2008
A Monarch of long ago had twin sons. 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 shared 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 weight of
sovereignty is 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
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 yoke 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 saddle 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.
Eventually he did reach his father's advisor,
where he secured his own yoke 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 weight was too heavy to carry. However
did you do it?"
The future king replied thoughtfully, "I
suppose when I helped others carry their yoke,
I found the strength to carry my own."
photo taken in Leuven, Belgium