The Alchemist's Corner
Published on January 10th, 2013 | by The Alchemist18
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Alchemist’s Corner.
Todays experiment concerns the Paradox of choice.
Read. Enjoy. Share your thoughts. See you on the other side
Once upon a time, in an ancient kingdom, there was a Prince.
This prince was an exuberant and delightful young fellow, with a most amicable disposition and loving heart. He thus came to be loved by many. The prince developed a somewhat unlikely friendship with the son of his father’s cobbler and the two young boys would often play together in the expansive palace garden as the cobbler tended to the Kings scuffed and eroded shoes.
One day, while the two boys were playing, they happened upon a wounded dog caught in an unretrieved fox trap from the hunting season which had just concluded a few weeks earlier. Working together, they set it free and tended to its wounds before releasing it so that it could return to its master. Thereafter, as a curious consequence of this experience, each boy developed a longing for a pet of his own.
The Prince made his wish known to his father and was promptly taken to the finest dog groomer in the kingdom where there was no shortage of canine creatures to cater to his longing. Upon arrival, he was shown terriers and hounds, poodles and great danes; a veritable gallery of potential pets, each of them possessing some merit which he desired. Thus the Prince found himself saddled with a burdensome quandary: He could not choose any for he felt some measure of desire regarding each of them.
His father, seeing his sons predicament and seeking to resolve the boys dilemma, purchased thirty dogs of varying breed and color and build, a different one to cater for every mood and all of them talented in the performance of tricks and well-instructed in obedience. The courtesans and courtiers praised the King for his wisdom effusively, the groomer expressed his gratitude for the Kings generosity and the young prince offered his father a subdued smile. The Prince kept his thirty dogs, and although he cared for each equally, he never came to truly love any.
The cobbler’s son also told his father of his desire for a pet but, as was the way of such things, he was only offered apologies which, while honest and heartfelt, did little to comfort his youthful heart. Truthfully, their rent was due and his father’s wage was insufficient for a dogs purchase since the royal family had not walked much since the commencement of winter and thus had had little need for his services. The cobbler’s son knew and accepted all this but his heart yearned still for despite its experiences, disappointments and understanding, it was only the heart of a child and such desires are not easily assuaged in them.
One day, as he walked to his school, he happened upon a small, frail mongrel lying in a ditch, nearly dead from starvation. He descended into the filth and retrieved the wounded stray, taking it home with him. He nurtured this frail thing with his own meals until it was well again and although it never learnt tricks and forever walked with a limp, he came to love it dearly.
And it came to pass several years later – long after the childhood friendship had faded – when the Prince had become a king, and the cobblers son, a cobbler himself that the chipping of a royal sole gave cause for the erstwhile friends to meet again. After greetings were exchanged and the young cobbler tended to his friends shoes, a servant girl observed a strange look in the eyes of her newly crowned king – who now owned more dogs than any man who had ever lived – as he watched his lowly friend work upon his shoes, only pausing intermittently to rub the head of his loyal, limping mongrel.
She believed this look was envy.