The Happy Mans Shirt

Topics: Italo Calvino, Mr. Palomar, Invisible Cities Pages: 4 (1576 words) Published: March 21, 2009
"The Happy Man's Shirt" - an Italian Folktale, retold.
Once there was a king named Giphad. He ruled over a very peaceful yet powerful kingdom. His people all loved and adored him. All was perfect in his kingdom. Except for his son, Jonash. The king's son was very unhappy for no known reason. He would always sit in his room staring blankly out the window over the lands, frowning. The king addressed his son: "What on earth has upset you, Jonash? What is it that you lack? What is making you so distraught?" The young prince only shrugged.

"Could there be a girl, a certain women that has caught your eye? Tell me her name and I'll move mountains to have you two married at once!" "No, it's not a girl. I don't know why. I'm just so unhappy." The king nodded and walked off. If this state of affairs continued the king feared his son would die of melancholy. Deciding he needed more help, the king issued a decree to have all the top physicians, astrologers, and wise men of the kingdom come to him. When they arrived the king showed them to his son. After three days the astrologers had finally come up with a solution. "Your Majesty," Janklo, the head astrologer, spoke. "We have given the matter close thought. In order to help your son you must find a happy man. A man that is happy through and through." The king raised an eyebrow at this. "I must find a happy man?!?" "Yes, and when you find the happy man you must trade his shirt for your son's shirt, then all will be well." The king agreed and dismissed them. He called in his ambassador to the throne room, and told them to go out and find for him a truly happy man. He had notices placed all over the kingdom offering a handsome reward to anyone who could find a truly happy man. The first person to be shown before the king was a priest.

"Are you happy?" The king's question was simple and to the point. "Yes, milord, I am very happy."
"Well then, how would you like to be my bishop?" at this, the priest perked up. "Oh yes,...
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