There was once a king who had no son and longed for an heir who would succeed him to the throne. So he posted a notice, inviting young men to apply to be considered for adoption into his family, to become his heir. All that he asked of the applicants was that they should love God and love their neighbour.
A poor peasant boy saw the notice, but he thought that he would have no chance of being adopted by the king because of the ragged clothes he wore. So he worked very hard, until he had just enough money to buy a new set of clothes. Wearing his new clothes, he then set off to the royal palace to apply for the position of the king’s adopted son.
As he was now back to wearing beggar’s clothes, it hardly seemed worth going on towards the king’s palace. However, having come so far already, the boy decided to keep going and at least see the king’s palace from the outside.
When he arrived, he was greeted by scornful laughter and sneering remarks from the king’s courtiers. Nevertheless, he was finally admitted into the presence of the king.
There was something strangely familiar about the king. At first, the boy couldn’t work out what it was, and why he felt so at home in his presence. Then he realised that the king himself was wearing the clothes that he had given to the old beggar just a few hours ago along the road.
The king came down from his throne and embraced the boy, holding him close in his arms.
“Welcome, my son,” he said.