THE RACE

THE RACE

Many years ago a king had one beautiful daughter. She had many offers of marriage, but she couldn't make up her mind. A romantic girl, she wanted a man who would love her more than he loved anything else. Finally, she devised a way to test the love of her suitors. An announcement was made and sent throughout the kingdom that on a certain day, there would be a race. The winner of the race would marry the princess. The race was open to every man in the kingdom, regardless of his position. All that was required was that the man had to profess to love the princess more than he loved anything else. On the chosen day, men rich and poor gathered for the race. Each professed wholehearted love for the princess. They gathered at the starting line, prepared to run the course of many miles that had been marked for the race. Each man was told that the princess waited at the finish line. Whoever reached her first could take her as his bride. Just before the race was to begin, an announcement was made. The king, they were reminded, was a wealthy man with treasures gathered from all over the world. Not wanting any man to run in vain, it was announced, the king had liberally scattered some of his finest treasures along the course. Each runner was welcome to take as many as he liked. The race was begun. Almost immediately, the runners began to come across great gems and bags of gold. There were neck-laces and pendants and jewel encrusted cups and swords and knives. One by one, the runners, princes and paupers alike, turned aside to fill their pockets and carry off what treasures they could. Blinded by the immediate promise of wealth, they for-got the princess and all their professions of love. All except one. He pressed on, ignoring what to him were trinkets when compared to incomparable beauty of the princess and the prospect of gaining her hand in marriage, finally crossing the finish line. That is the way temptation works. It places things in our path meant to blind our eyes to the greater prizes to be won in life. For trinkets, men lose their families, their jobs, and their self-respect.
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