Once upon a time there was a prince called Parvus. He was smart, well-educated, and on top of that very, very handsome (tall & dark… you got the picture). There wasn’t a field he didn’t excel at. He became the best in everything he tried.
When, for example, he started to learn to hunt with a bow, his progress was so rapid that he soon overcame his teacher. His arrow would hit things that were almost impossible to imagine, let alone achieve, even for a fine archer. After he had defeated every single man in his father’s kingdom, he became bored. There was no one left to match his expertise. He then switched to fencing and the same story repeated itself. His speed and precision with a sword were beyond astonishing and in no time he couldn’t find a man who would defeat him.
All those victories soon led to boredom and despair. Nothing would excite the prince anymore.
One day, when he was out in the fields riding his horse with a hawk on one arm, he felt a very strong desire. He wanted to find a person who would challenge him. All of a sudden the hawk let out a loud cry and, as if they had an unspoken agreement, the prince knew he had to follow the bird. He then leaned forward and coaxed the horse into galloping. We don’t know whether their journey lasted for 7 days and nights, but we do know they eventually reached a big tree-house in the middle of the forest. It was there that his companion, the hawk, finally stopped.
It was almost dark and the prince suddenly felt hunger and exhaustion. At that very moment a wrinkled old face popped out of one of the windows and called the prince: “Come on in Parvus, I’ve been waiting for you. There is some warm food on the table, you must be hungry!“ Our prince was too surprised to argue with the guy.
“You can call me Paladin,” the old man said, and let him into his small, beautifully furnished house.
The conversation between the prince and the mysterious man is none of our business. If you assume Paladin was the prince’s teacher, you are correct. But before we reveal you what happened next, let us say a couple of words about the man’s appearance. He had a medium build and didn’t particularly stand out in any way. Yet, when you looked into his eyes or when he gave you a bit of his attention, you felt respect for that humble man.
Our young beautiful prince Pavrus was asked to compete with the old man in any disciplines the prince chose. The old man challenged him to defeat him in at least one. The prince looked at the guy from head to toe and thought, “That’s too easy, but I’ll try to be merciful so I won’t hurt his feelings.”
They shook hands and started. First they competed in archery. Up to that day, it seemed that the bow was under the prince’s charm, but now the prince seemed clumsy compared to Paladin. The prince tried his best but the magic was gone. Of course he was still good at it, but nowhere near as Paladin. When they threw a couple of apples in the air, Paladin hit at least three with one shot while the prince managed only one at a time.
The prince was curious as to where an old man who lived in the middle of nowhere got all this knowledge from. His mind was already calculating how much time he needed to stay with this guy in order to learn everything he knew and become better than he was. It could not be more than a few weeks, he thought. They tested their skills in fencing, riding, hunting, but each time Paladin won the match.
The prince was slowly losing his self-confidence and became visibly annoyed. At the end of the day he admitted that he could not believe that he had not won any match. Apparently he was not as good as he thought. With his eyes full of shame he asked Paladin to be his teacher and vowed that he would do whatever was necessary to fulfill his wishes.
Paladin laughed kindly and asked: “Tell me Parvus, do you like riding a horse?” “Yes” replied the prince. “Do you like shooting with a bow” “Yes, of course, even though I was beginning to feel bored because until today I had beaten everyone.”
Paladin grabbed the prince’s shoulder and said: “Dear prince, there will always come a day when someone will be better at a something than you. Right now you can be smarter, more handsome, younger, more successful, but keep in mind that every victory eventually becomes a defeat. Every time when you’re winning, know that the day will come when you will lose.”
Pavrus looked at the old man in the eyes in amazement, “What can I do about it?”
Paladin smiled warmly and added: “It is enough that you love what you do. When you understand this, you’ll be happy. Enjoy doing things because of how they make you feel, not how they made you seem. How good you are comes second, believe me.
Victory is a one-time event. It comes and finishes in the blink of an eye. But the joy that you can experience whilst doing something you love can be limitless. So just enjoy it and it doesn’t matter whether you are the best or not. It is enough that you love what you do. That’s enough.”
“I understand, but what about the others? What am I if I’m not good enough in their eyes?”
“For the person who truly loves you, it will not matter. They love you because of who you are and that is enough. Therefore, find people who will love you regardless of your victories or defeats.”
Parvus smiled and it seemed that he finally relaxed. After some thinking he said, “But Paladin you seem to know so much and there is one very important question on my mind that you might have an answer to… Who am I?”
Paladin raised his head, looked at the sky, closed his eyes and said, “For today it is enough…”