The Greater Self By Khalil Gibran

The Greater Self

This came to pass. After the coronation of Nufsibaal King of Byblus, he retired to his bed-chamber—the very room which the three hermit-magicians of the mountains had built for him. He took off his crown and his royal raiment, and stood in the centre of the room thinking of himself, now the all-powerful ruler of Byblus.

Suddenly he turned; and he saw stepping out of the silver mirror which his mother had given him, a naked man. The king was startled, and he cried out to the man, “What would you?”

And the naked man answered, “Naught but this: Why have they crowned you king?”

And the king answered, “Because I am the noblest man in the land.”

Then the naked man said, “If you were still more noble, you would not be king.”

And the king said, “Because I am the mightiest man in the land they crowned me.”

And the naked man said, “If you were mightier yet, you would not be king.”

Then the king said, “Because I am the wisest man they crowned me king.”

And the naked man said, “If you were still wiser you would not choose to be king.”

Then the king fell to the floor and wept bitterly.

The naked man looked down upon him. Then he took up the crown and with tenderness replaced it upon the king’s bent head.

And the naked man, gazing lovingly upon the king, entered into the mirror.

And the king roused, and straightway he looked into the mirror. And he saw there but himself crowned.

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