S is for snapshots and stories

Today, Lee Tetkowski and I went to an Earth Day celebration that was held at Congregation Shir Shalom, in Williamsville. The earth day celebration involved food trucks, musical entertainment, and story. It was a happy event.


Here are some of the images of the people at the event, along with a story that professional storyteller Sue Tannehill shared about a king who was on a search for a happy person. 

Sue Tannehill and Lee Tetkowski

A king decided to disguise himself as a begger and go into a the village in search of a happy man. The king, who had his seamstress sew an ugly, mismatched outfit for him, snuck out of the palace and began walking around the village, which looked like busy happiness when he was the king.

members of the
Buffalo Ukelele club

Disguised as a beggar, he was able to observe the busy happiness up close. People who seemed content and
happy were quarreling with each other.
At the end of the day, he had lost hope in finding a happy person.

He left the
village and walked past a shack that had nearly fallen down. And, through the window, he saw a man,
with a smile on his face, in front of half a loaf of bread and a jug of water.
What did this man have to be happy about? And so, he knocked on the door.


The man welcomed him in and shared his meal with the king.

Selling cookies by Violet Peck

The king wanted to know why the man was happy, and he said that he was a cobbler who had fixed a woman’s shoe for her. He had enough money to buy half a loaf of bread and a jug of water.

The king decided to test the man, to see if he was really happy, so he posted a sign requiring people to repair their own shoes.

Jon & Cathy Rieley-Goddard, co-
pastors at Riverside-Salem
Environmental Chapel in
Grand Island

The next day, the king, in disguise, went back to visit the man, who, once again, appeared happy and read to eat a full loaf of bread and a little wine. The man invited the king in, saying that “A guest is always a blessing. Come in and share what I have.”

Sister Eileen O’Connor & friends

The king asked the man how he came by that lovely meal, and the man said that he carried water for people all day, since he could no longer repair shoes. 


The king then ordered people to carry their own water.

When he returned to visit the cobbler, he said that the cobbler was ready to enjoy a loaf of bread, a round of cheese, and a jug of wine. The cobbler expressed happiness to have a guest, saying, “A guest is always welcome. Come in and share what I have.”

When the king asked the cobbler why he was so happy, the cobbler said, “Day by day, I have faith. All will
be well.”

Sue Tannehill shares a story

The man also said, after being asked, that, since he could no longer carry water for people, he earned enough money for his food by helping the wood gatherers.


The king decided to test him further. He ordered all wood gatherers to serve as the king’s guard. At the end of the day, the king donned his costume
and he went to the man’s house. He saw that the man had a bunch of grapes, a
full loaf of bread, and a full bottle of wine. He knocked on the door.
Welcome! A guest
is always a blessing. Come in and share what I have.
And the king
said, I saw the notice. How did you come by all of this?
The man said,
well, it’s true. I stood there all day as a guard. At the end of the day, I asked
for my wages.

choir sings songs about empowerment

He said that I wouldn’t get paid for a month, and I didn’t know
what to do. I walked past a pawn shop and I thought, I have a silver sword. I’ll
take that sword and pawn it so that I could have money to live on for a month.
I’m carving my wooden blade so that, when I put it into the scabbard, no one
will know.

The king was
delighted.
The next day,
while that cobbler/wood gatherer was standing on guard, the head of the guard threw
a beggar at the man’s feet and said, “This man was caught stealing and the king
orders you to cut off his head!”
“If this man is
guilty, let me cut off his head with one blow. But, if he is innocent, let the
sword be turned to wood!”
It was a miracle!
The king came up
and said, “Do you know who I am?”
Yes, you’re the
king.
But do you know
who I am?
The cobbler/wood
gatherer/ guard looked at him and he saw the worried lines in his face.
He said, I
believe that you’ve been my guest at dinner these last few nights.
Yes, said the
king, and now I’d like you to sit at my table for the rest of your life because
I know that you have the secret of happiness in you, and I want you to share it
with me.

Today’s question: what is the secret of happiness for you?

7 thoughts on “S is for snapshots and stories”

  1. That's a great inspiring story. Thanks for sharing, Alice.
    I think secret of happiness is acceptance and being positive in any situation!

  2. Sonia Chatterjee Banerjee

    What a beautiful and inspiring story. My secret to happiness is my two and half year old son. He teaches me how to look at things through wonder struck eyes and find little joys in life.

  3. Several thoughts. I wish I had a seamstress – that might be part of my happiness story. Also, that king got on my nerves! And finally, for me, the secret to happiness is simple pleasures at home. So I have moments of happiness already. But I would like to one day own my own home, and I don't yet have that piece of the puzzle.

  4. What a great story and the Earth Day celebration sounds awesome. The secret to my happiness is being with my husband for over 53 years and how we each help each other in everything we do.

  5. That's such a beautiful story. It is ever so hard to keep having faith in spite of the difficulties thrust open us over and over again. It was a nice read. 🙂

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