THE SOURCE OF HAPPINESS ©
Aesop went with the solemn crowd into the House of Mourning. A great many of the family of the dead were gathered there. The dead was a youth of tender age, the only son to a devout couple. This made the occasion very poignant. Nobody spoke but watched the last rites for the dead with sorrow. At last the crowd made their way from the dead and one old man broke the silence saying: “I only wish my son were dead. It would have brought an end to my misery.” So sudden was his outburst that the crowd was stunned.
“He is a never-do-well and a wastrel”, the old man continued. “Drink, drink is all he cares… my fortune, he has already wasted away. And now I have the misfortune, of tasting the sharpness of his knuckles, woe is me!”
The old man began to sob. Aesop could see how much oppressed the old man was. He mused thus: “On one hand I see the sorrow of parents for the loss of their son; on the other the misery of a father for a son who is alive.”
Another man confided: “My son was not bad at all. The only fault was that he was a strapping young fellow. So he was drafted by the army and is now away on a foreign soil…. desolate I am. Each day I dread I might next see him brought home, feet first.”
Each man connected in some fashion with the sorrow of the parents: each one was sad for something or the other. One was sad for not winning the Olympic games that had just came to a close. Another for winning a lottery that made him a prey to his friends’ envy and spite.
Aesop mused upon all that he had heard that day. Before he blew out the candle for the night he said to himself: “Neither children, nor material wealth can guarantee happiness. Neither failure nor success in an enterprise does in itself hold key to happiness. Had my deformed foot held the key to my happiness I ought to have said gods are fools. No god has allowed a deformity to make me unhappy but to find happiness in spite of it.”