Once a king called together all his wise men and asked them, ‘Is there one thought or precept that will work in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place, and in every time, something that will help me feel calm, confident, and content, something to advise me when none of you are available. Is there such a thought?’
The wise men were puzzled by king’s question. One answer for all problems? Something that works everywhere, in every situation? Something for every joy, every sorrow, every defeat, and every victory? After a lengthy discussion, an old man suggested a thought that seemed right to them. And so they went to king and gave him their suggestion written on piece of paper. But they made a condition that king was not to read the thought out of curiosity. He must wait until a moment of danger, when he was alone, and only then should he read it. The king folded the paper and placed it under his ring.
A while later the king’s enemies attacked his kingdom. The king and his army fought bravely but lost the battle. In the end the king had to flee on his horse. He fled far into the forest with his enemies following him. But he soon found himself at end of the road. He could hear troops of horses behind him and the noise was coming closer and closer. In front of him there was a rocky valley that was a thousand feet deep. If he tried to climb down, he might fall and be killed, but at the same time he would almost certainly be captured if he went back. Then he remembered the message hidden under his ring. He removed the piece of paper and read it. It said: ‘This too will pass.’