In both of the stories you submitted, they were chasing material “treasures” as a means to happiness, not happiness as an end in itself. There’s a big difference between making short term pleasure the criteria by which you choose your values (e.g. material treasures) vs making long term pleasure the purpose for which you choose your values.
“…but I did enjoy the journey on my way back home……and I did forget the pain..”
“…The King asked the man, “Why are you so happy?….”
“…happiness …….originates from being useful to others….”
This is an excellent article and thank you for writing it. I do think though that a deconstructionist approach to analyzing it reveals that perhaps unintentionally you still believe that happiness IS the ultimate purpose of life. What you’ve articulated very well however is A (not THE) “right course of action” (e.g. usefulness) as a means.