He was king with numerous opportunities to rule well during his eight year reign. He had not.
During that time he had not achieved anything for his country or people that qualified as a distinguishable accomplishment of merit.
The people he had ruled were glad when he departed. “He passed away, to no one’s regret,” read one official account.
Another comment made the people’s feelings even clearer: “No one was sorry when he died.”
When he died it was said that he had “departed without being desired.”
He had been a leader, but he had left no legacy.
Despite being a crowned personage, his life was undignified; his death scarcely noted. He was not interred among the tombs of earlier kings.
What a dismally sad way to be but briefly remembered for an ill-lived life; to be nothing more than a footnote in history.
As with a piece of ice beginning to melt, the king’s rule had puddled into a mass of vindictiveness that pooled – briefly – like a spreading stain on the royal carpet.
To have inflicted such cold cruelty on his citizens, to have so few words to note his passing – the wet patch of his life having seeped away – it perhaps suggested it might have been better if he had not lived at all.
Except for the lesson to be learned from his miserable existence.
To be cognizant always that our lives too are dissipating and dissolving, and that therefore this hour, this conversation with this person matters; to be ever mindful that the opportunities accorded us to make a positive difference are many, but passing quickly; and that therefore we set about the task of making it matter that we passed this way:
Is to live well.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.