In an old Afghan story, a king governed his country in a dictatorial and ruthless way. He commanded his subjects and harassed them with unjust taxes, not caring for them.
In his eyes his people were numbers without faces. One day, he went hunting and chased a gazelle. The gazelle ran fast, leading the king into strange places. On and on he chased until he was lost, right on the edge of a desert. He could track the gazelle for a while, get a glimpse just for a moment in the distance, until finally he loses sight of it altogether.
The king, disappointed, decides to go back, but because he has strayed so far, he is no longer
sure of his way home.
Then a vast dust storm blows, and for three days the king is surrounded by thrashing
dust. He wanders around without knowing where he is going. By the end of the storm, he is alone in the desert. He is lost. His clothes are torn to shreds, his face unrecognizable, distorted by fear and fatigue when he meets some nomads.
He tells them he is the king, and they laugh, yet they help him, give him food, and tell him the way. With great effort the king returns to his palace, but the guards (his own guards) do not recognize him and do not let him in. They take him to be a poor crazed fool. From behind the gates, the king sees the substitute king: a mysterious spirit who has taken his place and is pretending to be him, reigning like he did with arrogance and a mean-spirited nature.
Bit by bit the king learns to live in poverty. He manages, but never without the help of others.
One day someone offers him water to drink, another day someone else gives him food, or
shelter, or work. And he, too, puts in effort. He helps whomever he can. Once he saves the life
of a child trapped inside a house on fire. Another time he offers food to someone hungrier than he is. Slowly the king comes to understand that his subjects are people like him, and that in life, people must care for each other.
He learns that life is more beautiful and interesting when we love and help one another.
In the end, he realizes that the reigning king is an illusion created by the Angel of Humility.
The time has come for him to return to his palace and reign again.
But this time the king governs wisely and kindly because he has learned the priceless lesson of humility.