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The Powdered Gem

Tags: king cure prince

Once there was a king who was known for his wisdom and kindness and he had a son. He loved his son and hoped that he would grow in knowledge and strength, so he sent him off to faraway lands to learn about the many ways people see and understand the world around them. The prince studied the nature of foreign plants and art of making powders and potions to heal. He discovered several different ways of speech and communication in the many lands he traveled through. After a few years the prince returned to his father.

The king was proud of his son and was sure that he would grow into a fine leader. One day, the prince told his father he wasn’t feeling well and took to his bed. As the days went by the prince became so sick he stopped eating. The king called for the doctors and they told him the prince had fallen gravely ill, and that they were unable to find a cure for his illness. The king sent messengers throughout the kingdom offering great reward if someone could cure his son.

One day a man from a faraway land came to the palace and claimed to know a cure for the prince’s illness. He described a certain precious stone which, if one would grind it to the finest of powders, mix it with a fine wine, and give it to the prince to drink —he would be cured.

The gem needed for the cure was very rare, and could not be found anywhere in the kingdom and beyond. Only one of the needed precious stones was to be found in the center of the royal crown. Removing this gem would mean destroying the ancient crown. The crown had been the symbol of the royal family for over 50 generations and it was the king’s most precious possession.

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The king’s ministers were happy to discover the gem, but they were distressed that they would have to destroy the royal crown to provide it to be ground up for the cure for the prince. Sadly, informed the king that the precious stone for the prince’s cure had been found.

The king was happy to receive such good news and commanded that the precious stone be removed from the royal crown and be ground to a fine powder to prepare the cure for his son. The king then ordered that the cure be made as quickly as possible.

As the cure was being prepared, terrible news that the prince’s condition had worsened and that his breathing was slow, his heart beat hardly heard that his lips were sealed shut. The prince was so sick that he could take anything, not even liquids, into his mouth.  The nobles and royal physicians in the palace were certain that, under the circumstances, the king would surely direct that the stone not be ground, so that the honor and splendor of the royal crown could be preserved.

Everyone was shocked when the king commanded them to hurry and crush the gem and to prepare the medicine without delay, and then to pour it into the mouth of the prince.

“Destroy the crown, grind the stone to powder, make the medicine”, the king said frantically, “Who knows? Hopefully a single drop will enter the mouth of my son, and he will be healed.”

The king in his wisdom realized that “No crown carries such royalty as that of humility” (Rokeach, 13th Cent) and that the Holy One, blessed be He “created medicines out of the earth, and let not discerning man reject them. (ben Sira 38:4)

In a world of choices one can become very confused and distracted by many things. It is very hard to focus on what is important, but in all circumstances one should “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

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