Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a kingdom ruled by a wise and just king. The domain was full of animals, from tiny ants to majestic elephants. One day, the king called all the animals to the palace for his critical task.
“Dear animals,” said the king, “I have decided to build a new palace, but I need your help to choose the perfect site for it. I want you to come back to me tomorrow with a suggestion for the best location.”
The next day, the animals returned to the palace, each with their suggestions. The ants suggested a spot on top of a hill to dig tunnels and create a strong foundation. The birds offered a place high up in the trees where they could build a nest for the king to live in. The elephants suggested an area near a river where they could use their strength to bring massive stones for the palace.
The king listened to all of the animals’ suggestions with great interest. However, he noticed that one animal was missing. He asked the animals where the tortoise was, and they replied that he was still on his way, as he was a slow walker.
Finally, the tortoise arrived at the palace, panting and breathless. “Your Majesty,” he said, “I have found the perfect location for your palace.”
The king was surprised, for he had thought that the tortoise would not have anything to suggest. “Please, tell us where you think the palace should be built,” he said.
The tortoise replied, “Your Majesty, the perfect location for your palace is right here, where we stand. You see, a palace is not just made of bricks and mortar but also of love, respect, and friendship. And that is what we animals have for you, our king. No matter where you live, we will always be there for you, to protect and serve you.”
The tortoise’s words touched the king, and he built his palace right there, amid all the animals. And so, the castle was built, becoming a symbol of the love and unity between the king and his subjects.
The moral of this fable is that true wealth and happiness do not come from material possessions but from the love and respect we have for one another. The people around us make our lives rich and fulfilling, not the things we acquire.