A long time ago, in a country that, fortunately, no longer exists on the world map, lived a king who was a little dotty.
One day, he was coming back from the hunt when he came across an old man in rags with a very bad look. His face was furrowed with wrinkles and full of sadness. The poor old man, despite his advanced age and weakness, bowed to greet the king and his procession. However, the king was not happy to be greeted by a sad old man, so he made a horrible decision.
Returning to the castle, he sent his herald to inform his subjects that from then on, the king did not want to see any sad or angry person and especially frightened ones. All subjects should express all their emotions with laughter of joy! In this way, the neighbouring lands would envy them.
The first incident that occurred the day after this horrific decision was the death of the herald’s son. He would have liked to cry with tears and express his sadness, but the king had decided otherwise and, worse, it had been up to him to announce the information.
During the funeral of his child, all the audience kept laughing in order to apply the law, but the herald could not: “It’s too hard to obey…” He did not cry but did not laugh either. He closed his eyelids well so that no tears would leak from his eyes.
Then one day, by dint of hiding this sadness, his heart fell ill. Whenever he was set out to announce news, the excruciating pain was felt in his chest. He wanted to moan, frown and show on his face what he felt, but he could not for the king had decided that, in his country, there would be nothing but joy and good humour. So, he wasn’t moaning, but he wasn’t laughing either.
A few months passed. His faithful dog fell ill in turn. He was afraid it would die and join his son. He was afraid to be alone without his son or his dog, but he could not show any sign of this emotion. Therefore, he did not show his fear but did not brighten up either.
The poor dog eventually died. Neighbours and friends came to console the herald with a laugh: “Ha, ha, ha, ha, I awholeheartedly with you” or “ha, ha, ha, let him rest in peace!” or “ha, ha, ha, my most sincere condolences.” The herald was very angry with the king and his decision, but this anger could not be reflected in his face. He then compressed it and showed neither joy nor anger. He hid it well inside with sadness, grief, pain, surprise and all that he felt.
Time passed and the herald made a habit of stifling all his emotions: fear, joy, anger, jealousy, surprise and everything, everything, everything … Until he could no longer have any feeling.
One day he got up in the middle of the night and left his country.
On the road, the sky was clear, adorned with a beautiful round moon and surrounded by a multitude of stars. A light breeze touched his face, and flowery fields stretched as far as the eye could see. The scent of lavender filled his nostrils, but the herald was unmoved by all that surrounded him. With his head bowed, he struggled to pull his feet off the ground to advance. Suddenly, he saw a human silhouette appear out of nowhere. He stopped abruptly for a brief moment, then lowered his head again and was about to continue on his way, but the silhouette took him by the shoulder and said to him:
– From the cloud on which I live, I have seen you and I have understood that you can no longer bear the weight of your heart, so I went down to see what exactly you have.
– I’ve lost everything! My wife, my son and my dog. For my wife, I cried, but…
– Men cry.
– Then I was angry at the behaviour of the neighbours at the funeral of my son and my dog, but…
– Men get angry, and show it too.
– When I saw my neighbour hugging his wife and kissing her, I felt jealous for I no longer have a wife, but…
– Men must feel jealous.
– When my dog was dying, I was afraid for him, but…
– Men may feel fearful.
– But our king, for our happiness, has decreed that fear, anger, sadness, sorrow and even surprise no longer have room in his kingdom …
The barely perceptible silhouette fell silent for a moment and then resumed:
– Fear, joy, anger, jealousy, surprise and all these emotions are part of Man. Without them, it would be nothing more than a piece of wood devoid of any feeling.
– So, I am a man?! A real one?! Because I feel everything you just said?
– Yes, you are a normal human being. Your emotions are part of you. You have to express them, but not in any way.
– That is to say?
– Show people how you feel so that they can understand what state you are in,without hurting yourself or making them suffer…
The herald felt like a hot flush coming out of his body. He bowed his head for a moment then looked up to talk to the silhouette, but there was no one there! He looked at the sky, but there was no cloud on which it sat! On the other hand, he saw a round moon in the middle of a sky dotted with stars with ones brighter than the others, smelled lavender to fill his chest and then felt as if he was becoming lighter than a feather. He realized that there had never been any silhouette, but that it was his heart that had spoken to him. He smiled, rose energetically and pressed himself towards a land where people live as they are and express their joy, anger or sadness in a reasonable manner.
To hell goes that dotty king!