And a voice said to the
boy, "You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal
the hearts of men." But the boy was blinded by greater
visions of a life of power, and glory, and beauty. And in this state
of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment, not like a boy,
but invincible, like God. So he reached in the fire to take the
grail and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the
fire to be terribly wounded.
Now as this boy grew older his wound
grew deeper, until one day life for him lost its reason. He had no
faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn't love, or feel
love. He was sick with experience; he began to die.
One day a fool
wandered into the castle and found the king alone. Now being a
fool he was simple-minded; he didn't see a king, he only saw a man
alone and in pain. And he asked the king, "What ails you,
The king replied, "I'm thirsty. I need some
water to cool my throat."
So the fool took a cup from beside
his bed, filled it with water, and handed it to the king. As the
king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked
in his hands and there was the Holy Grail, that which he had
sought all of his life.
He turned to the fool and said with
amazement, "How could you find that which my brightest and
bravest could not?"
The fool replied, "I don't know. I
only knew that you were thirsty."
But the boy was overcome. Innocent and foolish, he was
blinded by greater visions--a life ahead filled with beauty and
glory, hope and power. Tears filled his eyes as he sensed
his own invincibility. A boy's tears of naive wonder and
inspiration. And in this state of radical amazement, he felt
for a brief moment, not like a boy, but like God. And so he
reached into the fire to take the Grail. And the Grail
vanished. And the boy's hands were left caught in the
flames, leaving him wounded and ashamed at what his recklessness
had lost him.
When he became King, he was determined to reclaim his destiny
and find the Grail. But with each year that passed, with
each campaign he fought, the Grail remained lost, and this wound
he suffered in the fire grew worse. He became a bitter
man. Life for his lost its reason. With each
disappointment, with each betrayal, with each loss, this wound
Soon the land began to spoil from neglect and his people
starved. Until finally, the King lost all faith in God's
existence and in man's value. He lost his ability to love or
be loved and he was so sick with experience that he started to
As the years went on, his bravest knights would search for the
Grail that would heal their King and make them the most respected
and valued men in the land, but to no avail. Pretty soon,
finding the Grail became a ruthless struggle between ambitious men
vying for the King's power, which only confirmed the King's worst
suspicions of man, causing his wound to grow. His only hope,
he thought, was death.
Then one day, a fool was brought in to the King to cheer
him. He was a simple-minded man, not particularly skilled,
or admired. He tells the King some jokes, sings him some
songs, but the King feels even worse. Finally, the fool
says, "What is it that hurts you so much? How can I
And the king says, "I need a sip of water to cool my
So, the fool takes a cup from the bedstand, fills it with water
and hands it to the King. Suddenly, the King feels a lot
better. And when he looks to his hands, he sees that it was
the Holy Grail the fool handed him, an ordinary cup that had been
beside his bed all along.
And the King asks, "How can this be? How could you
find what all my knights and wisest men could not
And the fool answers, "I don't know. I only knew you
And for the first time since he was a boy, the King felt more
than a man--not because he was touched by God's glory, but rather,
by the compassion of a fool.