On his deathbed, a monarch realises crucial lessons about life.
AFTER conquering many kingdoms, the great Greek king Alexander was returning home when he fell seriously ill. Nothing his generals did could cure him.
With death staring him in the face, Alexander realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no value to him as he lay waiting to breathe his last.
All he wanted then was to go home, see his mother’s face and bid her a fond farewell.
But knowing that he would not have time to reach his distant homeland, he summoned his generals and told them:
“I will depart from this world soon. I have three wishes which you must carry out without fail.”
With tears flowing down their cheeks, all his men could do was nod.
“My first desire is that my physicians alone must carry my coffin.”
After a long pause, the king continued, “When my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard should be strewn with the gold, silver and precious stones which I have in my treasury.”
Quite exhausted by then, he said softly: “Finally, after I’m gone, let both my hands dangle out of my coffin.”
The people who had gathered around the king wondered about his strange requests. But no one dared ask about the rational behind them.
Alexander’s favorite general then kissed his hands and pressed them to his heart.
“I assure your highness that your wishes will be fulfilled. But why?
At this the ailing monarch took a deep breath and said: “I would like the world to know the three lessons I have just learn.
“I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realise that no doctor can cure every ailment.
“Doctors cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.
“Strewing gold, silver and other riches along the path to the graveyard will serve to remind everyone that I might have spent my life accumulating riches, but I cannot even take a piece of gold with me when I die.
“So let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.
“As for the final wish to leave my hands dangling out of the coffin, I want people to know that I came empty-handed into this world and I will leave the same way.”
With these words, the king closed his eyes as death conquered him