Story – The Way to be Happy

A very long time ago, there was a king whose name was Henry.

He lived in a fine house, and he had many servants to wait upon him. He had fine clothes, beautiful horses, strongboxes full of gold, and many ships that sailed upon the sea.

He had everything that anyone could wish for. And yet he was not happy.

In the same country there was a poor miller who had a little mill close by the river Dee.

This miller was busy every hour of the day, and he was as happy as he was busy. People who lived near the mill heard him singing all the time from morning till night.

When anyone asked why he was so happy, he said, “I have all that I need, and I do not wish for more.”

One day the king was in great trouble. “Tell me,” he said, “if there is one happy man in all this land.”

His friends said, “We have heard that there is one such man. He is a miller, and he lives by the river Dee.”

“I must see this miller of the Dee,” said the king. “I will learn from him how to be happy.”

The very next day King Henry rode down to the river Dee. He stopped his horse at the door of the little mill. He could hear the miller singing at his work:

“I envy nobody; no, not I,

And nobody envies me.”

The king went into the mill. He said to the miller, “You are wrong, my friend; for I envy you. I would give all that I have if I could be as happy as you.”

The miller said, “I will help you to be happy if I can.”

“Then tell me,” said the king, “why it is that you can sing this song in your little mill on the Dee, while I, who am king of all the land, am sad every day of my life?”

The miller smiled and said, “This is why I am happy in my little mill: I trust in God each day. I work, and earn my food. I love my wife and children, and I love my friends. I owe no man, and the good river Dee turns the mill that grinds the corn to feed my family and me.”

The king turned sadly away. “Good-by, my friend,” he said. “Be happy while you may. I would rather be the miller of the Dee than king of all this land.”

“So would I,” said the happy miller.

The miller was happy because he trusted in God, he had good friends, he owed no man, and he did not wish for things which he could not have.

The king was not happy for he knew that men did not love him, and he was never content with what he had. He did not have God’s love in his heart.

“Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 144:15).

Strong and True, Pensacola Christian College, © 1973, 37–41.