Even if these qualities did not have creative value, they would have value in improving the quality of life. Gratitude helps bring the beauty and pleasure of life sharply into focus. Here’s a story about a King and Cabbage I tell to illustrate the power of gratitude.
Once there was a king who had grown very bored and disenchanted with life. He went from one meaningless and stagnant day after another, finding no satisfaction or pleasure in anything. He had even lost his taste for food, and all his traditional exotic dishes no longer yielded the joys they had before. He grew so tired and apathetic that he issued a proclamation that whoever could bring him a dish that truly pleased him would be richly rewarded.
The greatest cooks came from all over the world bringing their best dishes to be tasted by the king. But the king found not one of them pleasing. Life continued to be one boring dish after another.
One day a poor farmer came to the palace to seek an audience with the king. When the farmer was finally called to appear, he said, “Your Majesty, I have the most incredible dish you’ve ever tasted. On this earth there is no other that can match it, but this special dish takes some very special preparation, and in order for you to fully enjoy it, I must ask that you eat nothing else until it is ready.” The king didn’t know what to make of this offer, but he was so bored with his food he was willing to take a chance. The king replied, “All right, farmer, I accept your offer, but your dish had better please me for all this inconvenience.” So the farmer left to prepare his dish, saying, “It will, Your Majesty, it most surely will.”