A prince stood on the balcony of his palace addressing a great
multitude summoned for the occasion and said, "Let me offer you
and this whole fortunate country my congratulations upon the birth
of a new prince who will carry the name of my noble family, and
of whom you will be justly proud. He is the new bearer of a great
and illustrious ancestry, and upon him depends the brilliant future
of this realm. Sing and be merry!" The voices of the throngs, full
of joy and thankfulness, flooded the sky with exhilarating song,
welcoming the new tyrant who would affix the yoke of oppression
to their necks by ruling the weak with bitter authority, and
exploiting their bodies and killing their souls. For that destiny,
the people were singing and drinking ecstatically to the heady
of the new Emir.
Another child entered life and that kingdom at the same time.
While the crowds were glorifying the strong and belittling themselves
by singing praise to a potential despot, and while the angels of
heaven were weeping over the people's weakness and servitude, a
sick woman was thinking. She lived in an old, deserted hovel and,
lying in her hard bed beside her newly born infant wrapped with
ragged swaddles, was starving to death. She was a penurious and
miserable young wife neglected by humanity; her husband had fallen
into the trap of death set by the prince's oppression, leaving
a solitary woman to whom God had sent, that night, a tiny companion
to prevent her from working and sustaining life.
As the mass dispersed and silence was restored to the vicinity,
the wretched woman placed the infant on her lap and looked into
his face and wept as if she were to baptize him with tears. And
with a hunger weakened voice she spoke to the child saying,
"Why have you left the spiritual world and come to share with
me the bitterness of earthly life? Why have you deserted the
angels and the spacious firmament and come to this miserable
land of humans, filled with agony, oppression, and heartlessness?
I have nothing to give you except tears; will you be nourished
on tears instead of milk? I have no silk clothes to put on you;
will my naked, shivering arms give you warmth? The little animals
graze in the pasture and return safely to their shed; and the
small birds pick the seeds and sleep placidly between the branches.
But you, my beloved, have naught save a loving but destitute mother."
Then she took the infant to her withered breast and clasped her
arms around him as if wanting to join the two bodies in one, as
before. She lifted her burning eyes slowly toward heaven and cried,
"God! Have mercy on my unfortunate countrymen!"
At that moment the clouds floated from the face of the moon,
whose beams penetrated the transom of that poor home and fell
upon two corpses.
Copyright @ Kahlil Gibran.