The Sacrifice of Meaning

It is said that there was once a King who fell deeply and hopelessly in love with one of his subjects. Despite the kings power and success he knew that only now had he found his true meaning and purpose, and it was her. He no longer considered anything his own but offered it all freely to her. She was given the Castle as her own and servants to wait on her every need. It was obvious that the beautiful young woman was deeply touched by the Kings passion and generosity, yet he felt unable to truly touch her heart. Then, to make matters worse, she soon fell ill. First with sleeplessness and then with a fever that would not ease.

Despite the best efforts of the king’s personal doctors the illness grew steadily worse. And so, in desperation, he sent out a decree that the one who could cure his beloved of this affliction would receive anything that lay in the power of this great king to bestow. As one might expect from such an offer people with a variety of motives came from all over the known world with prayers, potions and pills that promised a cure. But nothing worked.

Soon the king fell into a deep and cavernous despair. However not all was lost, for one afternoon he received word that a travelling sage of great renown sought an audience to discuss his beloved’s worsening illness. The king agreed to meet the sage and was soon greeted by a kindly old man who looked deep into his eyes,

“My friend, I have no need of treasure, for the heavens above are my blanket and the people I meet on the road feed me as I feed them, but I am deeply moved by your plight and think I may be able to help. For I have seen such an affliction before, a very long time ago, in the one who I deeply loved and think I might now know the cure. Please may I meet this woman who has stolen your heart so that I might confirm my suspicions?”

The old man spoke with a voice that sounded as old as time itself and he uttered each word as if it had been mined from the very depths of human experience. And so the king began to feel hope well up within him once more.

“Please, go now to see her and hurry back with any news”

So the sage went and sat with the king’s beloved for a full day before returning with his diagnosis.

“It is just as I thought” said the sage, “and there is a cure that will have immediate effect”

“This is wonderful” replied the king, “let us waste no more time”

“But wait, before I continue you must know that the cure is a profoundly painful one that will leave deep and lasting scars”

“So be it. She will understand that the best cures are often painful and she will be able to live with any scars, all I care about is that she be cured”

“But you fail to understand my friend” said the sage with a heavy heart, “the suffering and scars will not be hers, they will be yours. Before you came along her heart was already intertwined with another. In all of your generosity and kindness you took her away from him. Give her your blessing to leave and she will heal”

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