Circle ninety nine

Parable by Bruno Ferrero.

There was once a very sad king who had an amazingly happy servant. There had always a wide smile on his lips.

Servant, – once asked the king, – what is the secret of your joy?

I have no secret. There is simply no reason to be sad. I am happy because I can serve you. I live with my wife in the house I was given. I have food and clothes, and sometimes a few coins for beer.

The king called the wisest of his advisers:

-I want to reveal the secret of my servant’s happiness.

– You will not be able to reveal the secrets of his happiness. You can only diminish his happiness, if you wish.

– How?
– I will bring your servant into the circle of ninety-nine.

– What does it mean?

– Do as I say.
Following the instructions of the councilor, the king prepared a bag of ninety-nine gold coins and gave it to his servant, saying:

“This treasure belongs to you. Use it, but don’t tell anyone from whom you got it.

A servant had never seen so much money. He began to count the coins enthusiastically: twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty … ninety-nine! Disappointed, he glanced at the table for the missing coin.

– I was robbed! He exclaimed. – I was robbed!

And he looked again on the table, on the floor, in a bag, in clothes, in pockets, under the bed … A pile of shiny coins on the table reminded him that he had ninety-nine gold coins. Only ninety nine! Ninety-nine coins is a lot of money, he thought. – But I still miss one coin. Ninety-nine is not a round number. One hundred is a round number, but ninety-nine is not!

The servant’s face no longer resembled what it had been before: his forehead was wrinkled, his features had lost their attractiveness. When he narrowed his eyes, his lips curved in an ugly grimace, showing teeth. He calculated how much he had to work to earn a hundredth coin: if he would suffer his wife and children to work more, then maybe in ten to twelve years he will get it! The servant had entered the circle of ninety-nine!

The king soon dismissed the servant from his duties. He did not want to have a servant with him, who was always in a bad mood.

What if we woult admit that these ninety-nine coins of ours are one hundred percent of the treasure? And everything we have is enough for us, no one took anything from us? The number one hundred is not more round than ninety nine. This is just a trap, a carrot that was placed in front of the nose to confuse us. To order us – exhausted, in a bad mood, unhappy, indifferent – to pull the cart. A trap so we never stop dragging it. How many things would change if we could rejoice in the treasures we own!