There’s a story about a young prince who was born with a deformed back. He stood bent over, unable to stand tall and straight. His father, a kindly king, did all that he could to help his son feel good about himself. And, especially on his birthdays, he always granted his son whatever he wished, no matter how extravagant the request might be.
On his fifth birthday, the prince wished for one hundred and one ponies so that he and all the children in the kingdom could spend the day learning to ride. On his ninth birthday, he asked for all the jesters, entertainers, and musicians in the land to come and celebrate throughout the kingdom, not just in the castle grounds, so that everyone could be entertained.
On his twelfth birthday, when asked what he wanted, the prince paused. He looked directly into his father’s eyes and asked that the finest sculptor in the kingdom be brought to carve a statue from marble. “I would like the statue to look just like me,” he said. “And, when the statue is finished, I would like that it be placed in the garden outside of my bedroom window so I can look at it every morning when I awaken, and every evening before I go to bed.”
The king was stunned. He didn’t know what to say. After a rather awkward pause, the prince said, “Father, I want the statue to be a perfect likeness of me, except with one change. I want the statue to stand tall and straight.”
With great concern, the father granted the wish. Six months later there was a statue in the garden that was the perfect likeness of the prince, except for one thing – it stood six inches taller because of the straight back.
Every morning the prince would wake up, go to the window and look at the statue. And, several times, during the day, he would go to the garden and stand next to the stature and stretch toward the sky with all of his strength so that he might measure as tall as the statue someday. At night, the prince would look out of his bedroom, once again, at the statue before going to bed.
Over the next three years, the king watched a miracle unfolding before his very eyes – remarkable changes slowly occurring in his son’s posture. But, he said nothing because he realized the pride his son was taking in accomplishing a feat that all the doctors had said was impossible. He knew the day would come when his son would call him to celebrate this incredible physical victory.
On the prince’s fifteenth birthday, he called his father out to the garden. The prince stood next to the statue, and said, “Look father. Now I stand taller than the statue. Three years ago, I was six inches shorter because of the curvature in my back. I had to look up to look at the statues eyes. Now, because I’ve grown, and my back is straight, I actually look down to look at its eyes.”
Tears filled the king’s eyes as he realized what his son had done – something that the finest medical minds, at the time, said was impossible. His son had transformed the statue into a guru – a teacher that daily reminded him that nothing could stop him from fulfilling on his dream to stand tall and straight. He put his mind and heart to it, and he proved his guru to be right.
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