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The Bald King and the Doctors

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Vishwapur, there was a king.  The king was a just king and ruled wisely.  However, he had a weakness.  He cared too much about his appearance.  He dressed in the most colourful and resplendent of outfits.  He would spend almost an hour in front of the mirror in his dressing room. The king was very fond of his hair.  They were jet black and looked luxuriant with wavy folds.

One day, while he was thus dressing up and admiring his good looks in the mirror, he noticed that his hair was growing thinner by the day.  He was getting bald.  The king was shocked.  The next day, while he was holding court in his palace, he summoned his doctors.  He explained his problem to him and ordered them to find a solution.  The doctors were sad for they knew of no cure for baldness.  They told the king that there was no cure for baldness. Angry and disappointed, he dismissed the court and left for his chambers in a huff.

The next day, he summoned the doctors again.  “I give you thirty days”, he said in anger, “I want a cure for my baldness”.  You will see me a very angry person after that.  The doctors were terrified.  They knew what a king could do when angry.  The desperate doctors sent word to their friends in the kingdom and even outside and asked them if they knew of any cure for the king’s baldness.  The days passed and the doctors were getting desperate.  As for the king, he had stopped even attending the royal court.  He spent his time in his chambers depressed and angry.

Vishwanath was young doctor.  He was young and had just finished his education under a well known doctor in the kingdom.  Quiet and soft spoken, he listened quietly to the doctors frantic discussions.  He too was unhappy at the king’s condition and the helplessness of the doctors. While he was thus pondering, he hit upon an idea.  He approached the other doctors.  “Sirs”, he said, “I have an idea.  We need to prepare a concoction with the following herbs”. He then gave them a list of ingredients.  They were mostly herbs which were available locally.  The other doctors laughed at the suggestion.  “How could such simple herbs be a cure for baldness”, they asked.   Vishwanath smiled.  “Please do what I say”, he said,” the medicine will solve our problem”.

Soon the dreaded day dawned.  The king summoned his court and ordered the doctors to appear before him.  The doctors came before him.  The king looked at them and asked,  “Have you found out a cure for my problem?”.  The doctors looked at each other in fear.  Just then, Vishwanath stepped forward.  “I have, Your Majesty”, he said, “I have this magical concoction which can solve your problem.  I got this from a hermit who lives in the neighbouring kingdom”.  The king was overjoyed.  He ordered that Vishwanath be given a bag of gold coins.  Just then Vishwanath added, “Your Majesty, the hermit told me of a condition for the medicine to work”.  The king looked at Vishwanath.  “Your Majesty, the hermit said that anyone who takes should never think of a blue monkey”, Vishwanath said.  The entire court was stunned.  No one had ever heard of such a strange condition before.

Vishwanath looked at the king and said, “Sire, I too do not understand this condition.  However, since the hermit has asked me to tell you this.  I have told you.  I think it is better to follow the hermit’s instructions so that the potion would be effective.”

The king was desperate.  He wanted to cure his baldness.  He accepted the magical potion from Vishwanath and hurriedly dismissed the court.
He went to his chambers and opened the bottle containing the magical potion.  He tried to drink a few drops of it when an image of a blue monkey flashed before him.  He shook his head and tried to drink again.  Again the image of the blue monkey flashed before him.  Vishwanath was a clever man.  He knew that the more someone wanted to drive something from his mind, the more the image would appear to him.  The king had fallen for the trick.  By this, Vishwanath had saved himself and the rest of the doctors from the king’s wrath. The king was frustrated as he repeatedly tried to drink the medicine only to be disturbed in his imagination by the blue monkey.  He eventually gave up.  After a few weeks, he grew to accept his bald condition.

Children, this story tells us two things.  It tells us to accept ourselves with our shortcomings and things which cannot be changed.  It also teaches us to think quick like the young doctor who cleverly made the king accept his condition.