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“The Happy Cure” deals with the story of a king, who claimed that he was at death’s door as he was suffering from a disease.But the reality of the situation was that he was suffering from nothing to do. So, he was actually bored to death, which he was not admitting by himself.He even made painful sounds to make everyone believe that he was suffering from some sort of disease. He complained of sharp stabs in his muscles and sticking pains in every bone in his body. Physicians and surgeons came from far and wide. They looked down the king’s throat, they tapped his chest, and they felt his pulse. But they could find nothing wrong. The King called them ‘dolts’ (stupid persons) and asked to bring ordinary doctors.
Then a simple old woman came into the kingdom and peered into the King’s face for a long time and said, that the King was suffering from a rare and strange disease. So rare and strange, that no name exists for it. When the King asked the old woman whether there was any cure for his disease, she informed him that he just need to sleep one night in the shirt of a happy man then only he would be cured instantly.
The Happy Cure
Thus, the king summoned his soldiers and courtiers, messengers, heralds and commanded them to bring him the shirt of a happy man. So, they had to travel far and wide in search of a happy man and bring his shirt.
They tried to find out the shirt of a happy man and after a long search they sent reports to the King. Their reports claimed that the people in the east were not happy because he (the king) had taxed them heavily while the people in the west were not happy, because they had to work hard for a long time. So they did not have a little time to enjoy singing and dancing.
Even in North the people were not happy because they hadn’t seen the King and felt he was not interested in them while people in the south were not happy because the King neither noticed their industry nor rewarded them for that. One day a messenger saw a stable boy who was singing happily. He enquired the boy what made him singing so cheerfully.
He replied that he loved his fellow man and he owned a little but wanted less, therefore he was a happy man and liked to sing. The messenger exclaimed that there he found the happy man. He told the boy that the king was ill and he needed to sleep one night in the shirt of a happy man.
He ordered him to give his shirt, but the boy instead of giving his coat ran away to the palace and went right into the royal bedchamber. The king asked him what work he had there to come in. The boy told him that the cure for his ill was right, therefore, all the time, right at hand, right on the palace ground.
A little stable boy came to the king and told that he had found a happy man. He told the king that “the cure was right here all the time-right at hand-right on the Palace grounds”. He had found a happy man who loved his fellow-men, owned but little and wanted less, but who didn’t possess a shirt. Realizing his stupidity, the king hung his head in shame. He resolved to be a good king and henceforth, to help his people, to rule wisely and well. He never fancied himself ill again for he became too busy for such a folly.
Justification of the title
The title of the story is highly justified because in the beginning of the story, the king was foolish and at the end he realized his folly. His disease was cured in a simple way by the example of a happy man. The soldiers finally found a happy man in the little stable boy, but the boy was not wearing a shirt. So the king hung his head in shame. He resolved then and vowed to be a good king to help his people, to rule wisely and well.