Many, many years ago in North Africa there lived a chief. He was very rich and had many wives and children. But he was not happy. He thought, “I have everything. But that does not make me happy. What must I do to be happy? I don’t know.”
Once he shouted angrily to his servants, “Why can’t I be happy? What must I do to be happy?”
One of his servants said, “Oh, my Chief! Look at the sky! How beautiful the moon and the stars are! Look at them and you will see how good life is. That will make you happier.”
“Oh, no, no, no!” the chief answered angrily. “When I look at the moon and the stars I become angry. Because I know I cannot get them.”
Then another servant said, “Oh, my Chief! What about music? Music makes a man happy. We shall play to you from morning till night and music will make you happy.”
The chief’s face became red with anger. “Oh, no, no, no, no!” he cried. “What a silly idea. The music is fine. But to listen to music from morning till night, day after day? Never! No. Never!”
So the servants went away. And the chief sat angrily in his rich room. Then one of the servants came back into the room and made a bow, “Oh, my Chief,” he said, “but I think I can tell you something that will make you very happy.”
“What is it?” asked the chief.
“It is very easy to do,” said the servant. “You must find a happy man, take off his shirt and put it on. Then his happiness will go into your body and you will be as happy as he!”
“I like your idea,” said the chief. He sent his soldiers all over the country to look for a happy man. They went on and on. But it was not easy to find a happy man in the chief’s country. But one day the soldiers found a man in a small village who said, “I am the happiest man in the world.”
He was poor. But he always smiled and sang. The soldiers brought him to the chief. “At last I shall be a happy man!” said the chief and took off his shirt at once. “Bring the man in!” The door of the chief’s room opened. A small, dark man with a happy smile walked in.
“Come here, my friend!” said the chief. “Please take off your shirt!” The happy man with a little smile came up to the chief. The chief looked at him and saw what did he see? The happy man, the happiest man in the world, had no shirt!