The Contest – A Fable

The Contest - A FableBy John Dadlez,

One day a king received news from his royal astrologers that foretold a terrible catastrophe would befall his kingdom. The king asked if there was anything they could do to prevent it?

They said, “No.”

The king summoned all his advisors, scientists, religious leaders, and engineers together. He demanded that a solution be found. He wanted them to build a machine that would solve their problem.

“Impossible!” said the engineers.

“We don’t have the available resources!” said the advisers.

“It goes against the laws of God!” said the religious leaders.

And the scientists proclaimed, “It would defy the laws of nature.”

The king refused to give up. He knew that many in his kingdom would die if he did nothing. So the king announced a contest that was open to anyone who could build the device. The prize for the winner was half the gold in the royal treasury.

When the day for the judging arrived the king awaited the contestants and their entries, but no one showed up because everyone learned that it was an impossible task. Just before sundown all heads turned to an old man leading a cart into the courtyard that was pulled by a donkey. In the cart was a large object covered by a tarp. The man pulled the cart in front of the king and his court and removed the cover.

It was the machine. The king’s expression turned from shock to joy as he asked the old man, “Does it work?”

“Yes your majesty,” was his reply and he demonstrated to everyone present.

The king raised his hand to silence the excited crowd. “Old man, the prize is yours. Accept it from a grateful king and your countrymen. But, tell me. How is it that you succeeded when everyone else knew that it was an impossible task?”

The old man looked confused and replied, “My lord, I am at a loss at what to say. I live on the far reaches of the kingdom. I only heard of the contest and the prize. I never heard the task was impossible. If I had heard it was impossible I never would have attempted it.”

Moral: Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

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