True Leadership is Making People All They Ought to Be
“When I was a young man,” he continued, “I longed to father many sons, so I sent my messengers to Delphi and asked the god if my prayers would be answered. Apollo assured me that I would have sons. What he didn’t tell me was that one would be born dumb and the other would die young.”
“I’m very sorry to hear these things,” I told Corseus.
He didn’t acknowledge my sympathy. Starting off into space, he said, “In the midst of my sorrows, I sent god another question, asking him for the only blessing that could still save me. I begged him to tell me how to overcome my pain and live in happiness for the rest of my days.”
“And what did the god say to that?”
Now Croseus looked me straight in the eye. “Apollo gave me simple advice, Prince Cyrus. He said, ‘Know yourself, O King, and then happiness will be yours.’ When I received that message, I finally felt comforted. The god, I told myself, was asking me to do very little and guaranteeing me happiness in return. Everyone, whether slave or sovereign, can know himself. I made peace with my son’s death, and when the old Assyrian king persuaded me to march against you and Syazarees, I came to no harm.