The Young Prince
by Aneel Aranha
The was once a young prince who lived in a powerful kingdom. Brought up on tales of valor and adventure, he dreamed of becoming a great conqueror.
One day, his father died, and deciding that his chance for glory had come, he gathered a huge army and set out to conquer the world. He expanded his kingdom as he won victory after victory. It did seem that he would fulfil his ambition, but along the way his army grew homesick and begged to return for a while.
Reluctantly, he turned back, and as he passed through the lands that he had conquered he noticed things that he had not noticed before. He saw little children picking up scraps of food from garbage cans, young men and women sleeping on pavements on rough sackcloth, and old men looking at a wasted land with vacant eyes, and he realized that much of their suffering was a result of the destruction caused by the war he had put them through.
His heart was moved with pity and he ordered that homes be built to shelter them, farms be cultivated to feed them, hospitals built to tend to them.
He returned home, thinking that his dreams for conquering the world had not been fulfilled, not realizing that they had been fulfilled in a greater way than he had ever imagined. He had conquered the world by conquering the hearts of the people. He was a real conqueror.
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