you ever wish you knew
What & When" was most important?
the three answers
day an emperor decided that|
if he knew the answers to three questions,
he would always know what to do, no matter what.
So he made an announcement throughout his kingdom
that if anyone could answer his three questions,
he would give them a big reward.
These were the questions:|
are the most important people?
is the most important thing?
is the best time to do things?
emperor received many answers, but none|
satisfied him. Finally,
he decided to travel up the mountain to
visit a hermit who
lived at the top. Perhaps he would know the answers.
he reached the hermit, he asked his three questions.
hermit, who was digging in his garden, listened|
then returned to his digging without saying a word.
the hermit continued digging, the emperor noticed how tired
old man seemed. "Here," he said, "give me the spade. I'll dig,
you can rest for awhile." So the hermit rested while the emperor
digging for several hours, the emperor was very tired.
put down the spade and said, "If you can't answer my questions,
all right. Just tell me, and I'll take my leave."
you hear someone running?" asked the hermit suddenly,
to the edge of the woods. And sure enough, a man came tumbling|
out of the woods, clutching his stomach. He collapsed as the hermit and the emperor
reached him. Opening the man's shirt, they saw that he had a deep cut. The emperor
cleaned the wound, using his own shirt to bind it. Regaining consciousness,
man aksed for water. The emperor hurried to a nearby stream
brought him some. The man drank gratefully, then slept.
hermit and the emperor carried the man|
into the hut and
lay him on the hermit's bed. By this time,
emperor too, was exhausted and he soon fell asleep.
next morning when the emperor awoke, he saw the wounded man
there, staring down at him. "Forgive me," the man whispered.
you?" said the emperor, sitting up, wide awake.
have you done that needs my forgiveness?"
do not know me, your majesty, but I have thought of you
my sworn enemy. During the last war you killed my brother and
away my lands. And indeed, yesterday I was lying in ambush, waiting|
for you to come back down the mountain so that I could kill you.
waited a long time, but for some reason, you didn't return.
I left my hiding place to find you. Instead, your attendants
me, and recognizing me, attacked, giving me a painful wound.
fled, but if you hadn't helped me when you did,
surely would have died. I had planned to kill you.
you saved my life! I am ashamed
very grateful. Please forgive me."
emperor was astonished.
am glad," he said, "that your hatred has ended.
am sorry too, now that I have heard your story, for the pain
have clearly caused you. War is terrible. I forgive you, and
restore your lands. Let us be friends from this time on."
instructing his attendants to take the man|
safely home, the
emperor turned once again to the hermit.
must leave now," he said. "I shall travel everywhere seeking answers
my three questions. I hope someday I can find them. Farewell."
hermit laughed and said,
questions are already answered, your majesty."
do you mean?" exclaimed the emperor in surprise.
hermit explained. "If you had not helped me dig my garden
delaying your return, you would have been attacked on your way home.
the most important time for you was the time you were digging in my
The most important person was myself, the person you were with,
the most important pursuit was simply to help me.
when the wounded man came, the most important time was
time you spent tending his wound, for otherwise he would have died,
you would have lost forever the opportunity for forgiveness
friendship. At that moment he was the most important
and the most important pursuit was tending his wound.
present moment is the only moment," said the hermit.
most important person is always the person you are with.
the most important pursuit is making|
the person standing at your side happy.
could be simpler or more important?"
emperor bowed in gratitude to
the old hermit and left in peace.