All the Things We Are

I was once a king. I would stand out on the portico of my palace and honor the morning sun as it rose above the horizon. In the evening, my official duties dispatched and my enemies vanquished, I would stand at the opposite end and honor the sun as it went to sleep.

I was once a scourge to the country in which I lived. In search of survival I stole from villages, plundered wayfarers, cheated merchants, raped women and lied to children.

I was once a mason who traveled the realm to build cathedrals and temples. I was alone on the road and met many people along the way. A young man became my apprentice, but he did not last because he was impatient. I had no home but my home was everywhere I went, and I was paid well for my work.

I was once a philosopher and statesman. I lectured within the columns of the great hall and argued with those from different schools and different points of view.

I was once a farmer with a wife and family. An indigent fellow came to us asking for work. All we could afford to give him was a bed and a place at our table. But we were happy and we had enough. The hired man, he felt he had no right to sit with us, but I kept assuring him all was well. And this I felt was my greatest work.