The Golden Windows by Unknown
"Oh dear!" exclaimed Ruth impatiently, as she put the library to rights.
"I do wish we could have a new carpet this spring. I never liked this at
all, and now it is so faded and worn it is simply dreadful. It makes me
miserable every time I look at it."
"Then, since you say you cannot very well have a new one just now, why
do you look at it?" asked Aunt Rachel, smiling. "There are a great many
unpleasant things in our lives—we find them every day—some of which we
are unable to prevent. If we persist in thinking of them and keep
fretting about them, we make ourselves and everybody about us miserable.
"It seems to me we might all learn a lesson from the bees. I have read
that when anything objectionable that they are unable to remove gets
into a hive, they set to work immediately to cover it all over with
wax. They just shut it up in an airtight cell, and then forget all about
it. Isn't that a wise way for us to manage with our vexations and
"Someone sent me a postal the other day with this motto: 'The secret of
happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one has to
do.' It is not in having and doing just as we like, but in being
determined to make the best of the inevitable. When you find an
unpleasant thing in your life that cannot be removed, learn to seal it
up and forget it.
"And then I think that many times it helps to get a different view of
things. You remember the fable of the golden windows, do you not? A
little boy who had very few pretty things in his own home because his
parents were poor, used often to stand in his own doorway at sunset time
and look longingly at the big house at the top of the opposite hill.
Such a wonderful house as it was! Its windows were all of gold, which
shone so bright that it often made his eyes blink to look at them. 'If
only our house was as beautiful,' he would say. 'I would not mind
wearing patched clothes and having only bread and milk for supper.'
"One afternoon his father told him he might do just as he pleased, so he
trudged down the hill from his house and up the other long hill. He was
going to see the golden windows. But when he reached the top of the
other hill he stopped in dismay; his lips began to quiver, his eyes
filled with tears. There were no golden windows there—nothing but
plain, common windows like his own. 'I thought you had beautiful golden
windows in your house,' he said to the little girl in the yard.
"'Oh, no!' she said; 'our windows aren't worth looking at, but stand
beside me and you will see a lovely house with truly golden windows.
See?' The little boy looked. 'Why, that is my house,' he said, 'and I
never knew we had golden windows!'
"You see, much depends on your point of view.
"I have lived to be an old woman, my dear, and I have come to feel that
the most heroic lives are lived by those who put their own vexations and
troubles out of sight, and strive by every means in their power to ease
the burden of the world; who leave always behind them the influence of a
brave, cheery, loving spirit."