Once a certain village king was called to make a journey to another kingdom. The journey required traveling through a vast forest, so he requested several of his subjects to accompany him. He put one of them in charge preparing everyone for the trip, and soon they were on their way.

As the sojourners were making their way through the forest, they suddenly encountered a tiger. The king requested a gun from the subject he put in charge. His subject told him that he hadn’t thought to bring a gun. The king became very enraged and told him “You are such a fool! How could you have forgotten to prepare for any such possibility on our journey?” Then handing him over a stick he said, “Here, take this stick and lead us on to our destination. And then carry it always with you until you find someone who is a bigger fool than you, and then you can pass it on to him.”

The subject went on to keep the stick the king gave him for many years. As the time passed the king became old and ill. The end of his life neared and so he began receiving visits from his subjects at his bedside. One day, the man whom he had rewarded with the stick for being ‘such a fool’ arrived to see the king. He was still carrying the stick.

He came to the king and said to him “Your Majesty, if you allow me, may I ask you a question?” And after permission was granted, he gently asked the king “My Lord, have you prepared well for this important journey you are about to take?” The king looked at him with surprise and then he said “Prepared for this journey? I’m ill and near death. How would I have prepared for such a journey?” “Then,” said the subject, gently handing him the stick, “you have this stick and keep it with you.” And then he walked away quietly.

Submitted by Fr. Joseph Dovari