The tsar wants to know the answers to three questions that he hopes will make him a more effective ruler. They are as follows:
- What's the right time to begin everything?
- Who are the right people to listen to and whom to avoid?
- What's the most important thing to do?
We can see why a tsar would want to know the answers to these questions. As with any ruler, he has great responsibilities, and the decisions that he makes will affect the lives of many others. So it's absolutely imperative that he make the right decisions. This is why it is necessary for him to devise a foolproof method that will allow him to perform his role more effectively.
However, after consulting the finest minds in the kingdom, the tsar still doesn't have the answers he seeks. It's only when he comes across a wise old hermit that the truth is finally revealed. While the tsar helps out the hermit with his digging, a severely injured man rushes out from the forest. The tsar joins with the hermit in tending to the man's injuries. It turns out that the man wanted to assassinate the tsar and has been attacked by the tsar's bodyguards. Yet the man is so overcome by the tsar's kindness in tending to his wounds that he breaks down in tears and seeks forgiveness.
The hermit is now in a position to answer the tsar's three questions:
- The right time to begin something is always now;
- The most important person is the person whom you are with;
- The most important thing to do is to do good.