Painting by Edmund Youngbauer, Die Jagd Nach Dem Gluck (Chasing After Happiness), late 19th century, oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum
An old man lived in the village. The whole village was tired of him; he was always gloomy, he constantly complained and was always in a bad mood. The longer he lived, the viler he became and more poisonous were his words. People did their best to avoid him because his misfortune was contagious. He created the feeling of unhappiness in others.
But one day, when he turned eighty, an incredible thing happened. Instantly everyone started hearing the rumor: ‘The old man is happy today, he doesn’t complain about anything, smiles, and even his face is freshened up.’
The whole village gathered around the man and asked him, “What happened to you?”
The old man replied, ‘Nothing special. Eighty years I’ve been chasing happiness and it was useless. And then I decided to live without happiness and just enjoy life.
That’s why I’m happy now.'