Many, many years ago a very wise old man was walking slowly along a path that led to the small village where he lived. He was carrying a bag, and between the weight and so much walking, he began to notice that his legs were tired and he needed to regain strength.
He discovered a shady grove and decided that this was the right place to stop along the way. He looked for the thickest tree, put a mat at his feet, sat on it, and to be more comfortable he leaned his back against the trunk. Resting for a while would be very good!
By chance a young peasant passed by.
– Good afternoon sir!
The old man gave her a smile and gestured with his right hand for her to sit next to him.
– If you want to rest too, we will share the mat and keep each other company.
The boy accepted the invitation and the two began to chat. After an hour of lively conversation, the young man unexpectedly confessed a sorrow that he carried deep within his heart.
– We are here, laughing and having a good time … Surely you think I am a happy man, but appearances can be deceiving: my life is a disaster and I feel very unhappy.
The old man stared at him.
– And why aren’t you happy? You are a handsome boy, you are healthy, and thanks to your work in the fields you always have food to put in your mouth. Isn’t that enough reason to feel happy?
The peasant, with teary eyes, was sincere.
– Look how I look! My clothes are old and even though I work fifteen hours a day I can only afford to eat bread, soup and hopefully meat a couple of times a month. My dream is to become a rich man to enjoy the good things in life!
The old man asked curiously.
– And what are the good things in life for you?
The young man’s face lit up.
– Well, it’s very clear! Have money to dress like a man, buy a nice house and eat what I want, but unfortunately, dreams never come true.
As soon as he said these words, the peasant, as if by magic, fell fast asleep. The old man quietly took a pillow out of his jacket and tucked it under his head to make it more comfortable.
While listening to the snoring, he whispered:
– This pillow will make all your wishes come true!
And the pillow was not a normal pillow! It was not soft or sewn on the sides like all of them, but it was made of porcelain and had the shape of a tube open on the sides.
The boy, leaning placidly on her, began to have a wonderful dream.
Do you want to know what he dreamed of? …
He dreamed that he was the owner of an elegant house in which a lot of servants swarmed, all at his disposal; of course, he was dressed in elegant clothes because he was no longer a simple peasant but a wise man expert in law. He had a wonderful life, the one he had always wanted!
The dream was very long and he lived it as if it were absolutely real. It was so long that time passed and he met a beautiful woman with whom he fell madly in love. Luckily it was reciprocated, they married and had four children.
His life was incredible, but it became perfect when the king himself appointed him his chief advisor. He began to surround himself with important people who spent the day playing the ball and giving him fabulous gifts. Now he had achieved everything and considered himself the luckiest guy on earth!
That was until one day things went wrong. Something terrible happened: a minister of the king, who was very envious of him, accused him of being a traitor. It was not true, but he could not prove it and was brought before a court.
With his hands tied, he had to listen to the judge’s verdict.
– This court finds the sovereign guilty of treason! The punishment will be exile. Starting today, you will have to leave the country and all your assets will be taken from you.
– But if I have not done anything, I am innocent!
– Silence in the room! As I just said, the state will take everything it has. No one will be able to give you work and you will only be allowed to beg on the streets. You will live without anything for the rest of your life! That said, the sentence be carried out!
Panic seized him and he gave a cry of terror that woke him up. He was drenched in sweat and his hands were shaking. Puzzled, he opened his eyes and saw that the old man was at his side, stroking his forehead to calm him down. The wonderful dream had turned into a horrible nightmare!
– What’s wrong with you, boy? You slept a good time!
The boy answered with a broken voice:
– I had a dream … a terrible dream! Well, at first it was nice because I was a rich and important man, but someone betrayed me and accused me of something that I had not done and they condemned me to live in misery!
– Wow … And what do you think now?
The boy got up, brushed the dust off his pants, and said without hesitation:
– Well, I no longer want to be an important man! I prefer to continue with my simple and quiet life where there are no envious people or false friends. On second thought, I’m not doing so bad either, right?
The old man winked at him and held out his hand to say goodbye.
– Goodbye, young man. I hope that from now on you enjoy what you have and know how to appreciate that happiness is not always in having everything, but in appreciating the little things that surround us.
– I will, sir. I am delighted to have met you and I hope that we will see you another time.
– Surely yes!
The boy walked away whistling with joy towards his modest house; The octogenarian, with great care, put his valuable and strange pillow in his sack, in case he needed it again on another occasion.