How can one become a happier person?
Roger was born with short, gimp legs - these legs did not pain him but it did cause him to walk strangely.
From the beginning of his life until now, he got stares. People asked him if he'd hurt his legs. People asked how he could deal with walking that way.
Roger was fine with his legs but over time, the comments began to erode at his self-esteem, he began to feel diminished by their perception of him. He felt excluded. Unlike the others.
He began to dream of having better legs. Before bed, he even began to pray that he would wake up with fixed legs.
On his daily walk through the cobbled streets of his home town, he saw a storefront sign for an alchemist, a healer.
He walked into the dark store. Behind the desk, a robed elderly man, reading a book.
He was an alchemist, a healer.
Noticing Roger, the alchemist said to him, "How can I help you? I notice your walk is off. Are you injured?
"No - but my legs are my reason for being here. What can you do to fix them?"
The alchemist says, "How exactly would you like me to fix this?"
The man said, "I want legs that walk straight."
The alchemist scratched his chin with one hand, thinking, "Hmm.....wait right here."
He disappeared into a back room for several minutes before reappearing.
The alchemist reached across the counter, sliding a green-tinged vial to Roger, "Drink this before bed. Tomorrow your legs will extend as straight as any man's legs ever had."
Roger returned home later that day.
Before bed, Roger stared at the vial nervously. He uncorked it. Then - he turned it vertical, pouring it into his mouth. Swallowing it. He waited for something to happen.
He went to sleep.
He woke up. He pivoted out of his bed. He placed his feet on the ground.
Roger stared down in shock. His legs were perfect in form and design, as straight as a line, up and down.
He stood on them. The world suddenly seemed to move differently.
He went through his day. Nobody stared at him. Nobody asked questions. He blended in perfectly. Suddenly - he was among the others. One of them.
He hated his new legs. He struggled to balance on them. They felt uncomfortable.
The legs were too perfect, too stilted, unnatural. He didn't like how they moved.
Roger visited the alchemist and explained his dissatisfaction.
Roger said, "I want legs that are more natural. Legs that are longer too. I am still very short."
The alchemist stared, nodded, went into a back room before reappearing with a different vial, giving the same instructions, to drink before bed.
The next morning, Roger awoke.
His legs stepped foot on the ground beside his bed. He stood up.
These legs suddenly seemed much more natural, like other people's legs. And he was tall. Very tall.
Everything was farther below him. Everything was different. He was hitting his legs on things. He was having to duck more. These looked natural. But they didn't feel natural. It became irritating.
For a third time, Roger pushed through the doors of the alchemist's store.
The alchemist looked up behind his table, "Yes?"
Exasperated, Roger said, "I do appreciate your help, sir. These potions are incredible. But these legs are too long, I feel strange being so high up. They just don't....feel....right. Can you fix my legs?"
The alchemist hands him a clear vial, "Drink this vial. You will wake up with the legs you were born with."
Roger looked confused, "But I want to fix my legs."
The alchemist smiled and said, "Perhaps there was nothing that ever needed fixing."