The King’s Four Wives

Once upon a time there was a rich king who had four wives in a flourishing kingdom. He loved his fourth wife the most and adorned her with riches. He also loved his third wife and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he always feared that she would leave him. His second wife was kind and considerate and he trusted this female friend and advisor in difficult times. Wife number one was devoted and loyal and although she loved him deeply, he was not so interested and tended to ignore her.

One day, the king fell ill with cancer; despite the diverse therapies he received and the many vitamins and medicinal compounds he took at regular intervals to supplement his daily diet, the invisible virus of the disease had invaded the vital organs in his body and all efforts to restore his health had failed. The king reckoned he was doomed. He thought of his luxurious life and feared being alone when he died. He removed the crown from his head and asked his fourth wife in a most serious tone, “I have loved you the most and provided you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” she replied and walked away without another word. The sad king then asked the third wife, “I have loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!” she replied. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!”

He then asked the second wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company? “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” she replied. “At the very most, I can help with your funeral.”

Then a voice called out to the king in his sadness: “I’ll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go.” The king looked up and there was his first wife who was kneeling down. She was so skinny and undernourished. Greatly grieved, the king said, “I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!”

In truth, we all have four wives in our lives. Our fourth wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we use in making it look good, it’ll leave us when we die. Our third wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it’ll all go to others. Our second wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave. And our first wife is our soul, often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasure. However, our soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go.

The moral: Look after after your body and keep it healthy so you can live life to its fullest. Enjoy your possessions and the comfort they provide. Cherish your friends and family and the love they provide. But don’t forget to nourish your soul–it is the source of all your most faithful friend.