It all started off with the story of King Solomon in Jerusalem, which I supposed most people will know. He is the wisest king on earth ever lived, and also the richest man on earth ever lived, according to the bible. King Solomon dreamt of his father, King David, who tasked him to build the most magnificent temple for God, which King David did not get to build during his lifetime. While building the temple, King solomon has to enlist the help of Ashmodai, the King of demons, and he could do so because of a powerful ring which could summon and control demons. And I shall not be a wet blanket and spoil the story by continuing… all I could say is, the story developed and King solomon became a beggar. But there was more to it!
Every chapter came a new story which originates from all over the world, and every stories accompanied some hidden meaning for the reader to decipher. The stories always left me thinking for long. For most of the stories, i understood the morals behind it, but somehow, still couldn’t decipher that for ‘The Happy man’s shirt’. If any of you understood it, please enlighten me. =)
When I finished the book, I could not find the book’s answer to the title: secret of happiness. Interestingly, when I’m reviewing and reading the stories again while writing this blog, the ‘Aha!’ moment dawn upon me, and i understood. This is just as what the author wrote at the end:
As hard as we may search, we can only see it when we stop to wonder, looking back to see where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. It’s a grueling process, this forging a reason from the stuff of life, but it’s all we can d. And what we get for our efforts is a story.
So what is my take on the secret of happiness? Nope, I don’t agree with what the picture above said. Instead of looking inside, my secret of happiness is to look upwards, just as Noah did during the 10.5 months of flood. Just FYI, Noah’s ark was 45 feet high, and the opening was just 18 inch below the roof, which goes to show that there are no windows in the ark, and the openings are way too high for Noah to look outside. So what Noah can do is to look up only. And Noah survived.
Ending my post with another quote from the author, food for your thoughts =)
“What, then , of the secret of happiness? I know stories that touch upon it and even one by that name. But for me, the secret of happiness sits atop a long list of life’s secrets. Perhaps that’s the secret – there is no secret of happiness. Yet, we keep searching, maybe because the simple act of looking for it makes us happy.”
What’s your thought of this book? What are your stories and your take on the secret of happiness?
Book title: The Beggar king and the secret of Happiness
Author: Joel Ben Izzy
Published: Algonquin Books, 2005