The Measure of Success

Mahseer fish

Mahseer fish

The fourth dragon prince sat, his bare feet dangling from the dock. He had traveled the world and been educated in the finest schools, but in all his experience, there was no greater joy than the glimpse of the gold-plated scales of the mahseer from the depths of the Manas. It was good luck to see one.

Tomorrow he would be king, and he must be a good king.

He had learned much about the world, the industries and economies. Yet what was the measure of success? Was it wealth? Was it growth? For it seemed to him where there were riches, there was also poverty. No, there had to be a better measure.

And then he saw it in the same instant: the fish and the answer. Such was not the way of happiness. No happiness was a thing as contagious as cough, but as satisfying as ema datshi.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

It’s great to see everyone this week! Looking forward to getting around and reading everyone’s stories.

When I selected Bhutan for the destination this week, I knew nothing about it. I was delighted by the things I learned, especially the Fourth Dragon King of Bhutan and the concept of Gross National Happiness.


  1. You don’t hear much about Bhutan. It seems like an unusual and exotic place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does! Today I learned that tourism is a major source of income there, but that it is very expensive. It seems like a lovely spot.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It crossed my mind that being a tourist there would be expensive. It’s probably a well-known destination among the wealthy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll bet you’re right.


  2. Splendid story. I love the tone especially.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. where there were riches, there was also poverty LOVE this line. How hard to have the prospect of being a good king on your shoulders. Still, it seems your MC has thought it out and will succeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the real life inspiration did a pretty good job. Thanks for reading, Lish.


  4. I was delighted when you announced the destination as Bhutan. Over the years it has arisen time and again in my reading, and in documentaries. A place I’d love to visit, a place that intrigues me, a place whose customs I applaud. Yet it is also a kingdom struggling to maintain its traditions while around it is a world that must seem to have gone crazy. I don’t envy their dragon-king that. Your piece neatly captures that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you! I had hoped Bhutan would captivate you if you didn’t already know of it. It’s so cool you have a bit of ‘history’ with it. Looking forward to your story Monday.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. peterkirsch

    Yeah, GNH is great stuff. A roadmap for the cultures of tomorrow for sure.

    In case you didn’t know, the GNHUSA “Happiness Walkers” are in Iowa right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow! I had no idea. Thanks for sharing this.


  6. Love the premise in this story, Karen. And a king who sounds humble and compassionate. And to be given not one but two moments of epiphany at the end… simply delightful. He will be a wise ruler, I feel.


  7. This was wonderful, Karen.
    Sorry, I’m so late in reading it!


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