Thursday, 13 August 2009
I thought I would tell you a fairy tale today. An Azeri one.
Once upon a time, there was one king. Well, he was not officially the king, but as far as his power and money were concerned, you might as well call him that. So, for the sake of this blog, lets just refer to him as King. He would not like to be named, and we would not like to annoy him now, would we. He was quite an ordinary old man, not any different to many other old men in the kingdom. However, he was related to the right people. And in that kingdom, being related to the right people was very important if you wanted to be in a position of power.
He was often in a bad mood those days: he did not feel that well. Old age can be mean; whether you are poor or rich. But that morning he was happier than usual. He even announced to his secretary that he might see a few visitors today.
Normally, the reception of his office would be crowded with people. Everyone was prepared to wait for hours, often days- just to have a quiet word with him. He rarely bothered to listen. He was bored. He knew what it would be about: jobs, favours, help…endless cries for help. The King just wanted to go to his summer house and watch the grandchildren play in the sunny garden.
But that morning things looked brighter,somehow. The King had a cup of sweet black tea, and lit a cigarette. He asked who was waiting for him today.
Having heard one name, the King smiled. It was actually someone he knew from years ago. From the days when he was not the rich and powerful king, but worked in a Soviet institute, just like hundreds of others. Alongside him worked a funny guy. He was witty and quite talented at what he did. The King liked the funny guy.
-OK, he said- I will see this one today.
The funny guy was not so funny anymore. He looked old- just like the King- but not as fat and prosperous. He was skinny and tired.
The King felt generous that day. He welcomed the old friend and shook his little wrinkly hand.He assured him he would help. The funny man could not get a proper job for a very, very long time. His Soviet experience was no good in the modern world. His skills were no longer required and his talents wasted.
The funny man was clearly ashamed to be there. He was not very good at asking for help.
-Listen,- The King asked – Just tell me what you fancy doing. Do you want to be in charge of a hotel? Or would you like to manage a restaurant?
-Excuse me?- the little funny man looked confused- But I have no experience in the hotel or restaurant management?...
The King laughed. What a funny old man this guy was! Did he not realize how things worked? In this kingdom, if you are given a job by a King- you do not need any experience.
The King told the little man to go and think about it. Think about what he would really enjoy. Anything at all. And to return the following week.
The funny little man left King’s office feeling elated. He called his wife and told her that he had done really well for once.
“I feel like I’ve just pulled a winning lottery ticket!”- he said excitedly.
That night the funny little man could not sleep. He was thinking of all those possibilities that had suddenly opened up for him. Having this much choice, he was afraid to make the wrong decision. He wished he had thought of visiting his old friend a few years ago. "How different could my life have been!"- he tortured himself.
Next week arrived, and the little man went back to see the King. He wore his best suit and polished his old shoes until they shined like brand new. He was clutching a briefcase filled with photographs of his old works- to show the King. He was very nervous, but full of ideas.
But the King was not in a good mood that week. And the week after. In fact, the little funny man quickly realized that the King forgot about him. What is one little old man to someone this important? The wind blew in a different direction, and the King was busy with other things now.
The little old man went back to his young wife.
“It is OK”- he said to her, avoiding the quiet disapointment in her eyes. –
“As they say, everything that happens, happens for a reason. Maybe this is for the best.”- he said.
The little old man slept well that night. He felt relieved: he was not the type to manage a restaurant or a hotel when he knew nothing about it. He was back in his real world.