The Secret of Happiness

There was nothing in the world that Ramses didn’t have. He lived in a manor in the middle of a ranch and had countless servants at his beck and call. But still he wasn’t happy.

One day, he decided to go in search of happiness. For years, he traveled the world seeking that one thing missing in his life. But happiness was nowhere to be found. Until he came to Alegria.

Standing in the townsquare, he had a strange feeling. Everywhere people were talking and laughing while pigs, chickens and goats roamed freely. Even the birds perched on their shoulders as though they knew no harm would come to them. Some waved at him as though they knew him.

Lost in his thoughts, Ramses didn’t notice a man approaching him.

“Hello, is it me you’re looking for? I can see you’re on a quest.” Ramses turned to find a beaming face behind him. With one brow up, he scrutinized the man from head to toe.

“I’m searching for happiness!” Ramses uttered.

“Ah. You’ve come to the right place.”

“Hmm. We’ll see.”

The man smiled. “My name’s Levi. Come, let me show you around.”

“Since I’m already here, why not?”

Levi took Ramses to the town’s only shop. There, people came and went taking what they wanted. A monkey leisurely grabbed bananas but no one was bothered.

Mystified, Ramses asked Levi, “What’s going on here? Everyone looks happy and content. People walk in and out without paying, the animals are running wild, and nobody seems to care!”

Instead of answering, Levi said, “Come. Let’s visit the temple.”

And so they came to a room without doors, but only windows. Inside was empty except for a big mirror in the center.

“Please, take a look in the mirror.”

Ramses frowned at Levi, but did what he was told. Only to be astonished at what he saw.

“What kind of trick is this? How come I don’t see my reflection?” Ramses waved at it and checked its back.

“It’s no trick.” Levi moved closer to the mirror and continued, “This mirror reflects what’s inside people’s minds except oneself. Look at my reflection.”

Ramses’s jaw dropped as he saw himself in the mirror instead of Levi. And behind his face were the faces of all the people and animals in the town.

“What kind of game are you playing on me?” shouted Ramses.

“Dear sir, your reflection is empty because, in your mind, no one else matters but yourself. In mine, these people, including you, are my family. I care for them as much as I care for myself. Their worries are mine; their joys are mine. And this, Alegrians believe is the secret of happiness.”

Soon after, Ramses went back home and broke down the fences of his ranch and set the animals free. He also kept the doors of his manor open night and day for one and all to enter and share in his riches. For Ramses had found happiness at last.
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Rham Dhel

Rham Dhel is a vegan who dabbles in writing fiction. Her stories usually involve humans trying to find meaning in a world in disconnect with its animal inhabitants. She's an eco-child, a friend to all creatures, and a defender of the meek and mute beings of the wild.
Rham Dhel

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