Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know about the hardships they suffered. Often he dressed in the clothes of a workingman or a beggar and went to the homes of the poor. No one he visited thought he was their ruler.
One time he visited a poor man who lived in a cave. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke kind, cheerful words to him. Then he left. Late, he visited the poor man again and told him clearly, “I am your king.”
How surprised the poor man was! The king thought that the man would surely ask for some gifts or favor. But he did not. Instead, he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the coarse food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart. To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself.”
— Walter B. Knight