2009 -- 2.1 (Fall) Fiction

The Tale of the New King and a Rich Soul

There is a king who rules his land with ruthless tyranny. He taxes his people for most of their wages, while the innocent remain in poverty. Most of the land is parched of water, and the poor people planting their crops are forced to give the food to the king for rations; while he, the king, lives in his palace with his close advisors in richness and health.

It is, by chance, the king suffers from a fatal heart attack before he had the chance to bequeath his power and stolen fortune upon another. There was an argument amongst the advisors as to of whom shall claim the throne.

A knight who was not pleased at all with the behavior of the king, marched into the palace with his raiding party and forced the advisors to submit to his claim as new king. The new king imprisoned the advisors who were unable to escape before the arrests were made.

The next day, after assuming power, the new king made a decree for the land, it read: ‘During the time before today, there was a king who ruled us mercilessly. While we lived in hunger, thirst, and poverty, he lived with glorious riches; riches beyond anyone’s imagination. It is unfitting for any man to acquire so much wealth without sharing any of it; which is why I say unto you – For those who are weary of the old ways, come to me; for I will give to you gifts from my palace. Bring your weary souls to me, and I will fulfill your heart’s desire.’

That day, and for days following, the new king’s courtyard was lined with folk from across the land. Most people asked for money so they could buy the things they needed. Other’s asked for rare artifacts from the palace. Some people asked for food and water; while a few asked for more property for farming.

Although many asked for things their heart’s desired – to which the new king did much oblige and deliver – only one person brought his soul before the new king. This man came and knelt before the new king when he spoke, ‘I am one of those advisors who escaped the day you took the throne. I have forsaken this land and am not worthy to kneel before you. I assisted the previous king in wickedness, and now my relatives pay the price while I live with riches in my estate. My relatives are poor and suffer from starvation. My nephew is nine years of age, and he slaves in the fields to earn money for my brother and his family. I beg of you, take my life for the wickedness I partook in; and for my life, give my relatives everything they need to not go hungry, nor worry for the remainder of their lives.’

The new king looked upon the former advisor and spoke, ‘Go home, my friend. Your wish shall be granted in due time. When that time comes, my servants will come for you.’

The man went home to his estate and sat at the window. From his window he could see his relative’s hovels. He watched and waited for a few days to see when the new king’s servants would come and deliver the promise made to him; however, no one came. Not to his relatives, nor to himself.

He went back to the king and questioned, ‘When, my new king, will you deliver to my relatives and come for me?’

The new king replied, ‘When the time is right I will. Trust me when I tell you it is not the right time just yet. Go home, and wait some more.’

The man went back to his estate and waited by the window some more. He let a couple of weeks pass by before he decided to go back to the new king once more. This time, however, the man was frustrated with the new king, and he bellowed out before the throne, ‘What is wrong with you, New King? You promise to deliver what I desire, and here you sit upon your throne ignoring my request! Do you not understand the brokenness in my heart? The desire I have for my relatives to prosper? Is something wrong with your ears, New King? Tell me! Speak to me! What say you?’

The new king patiently looks upon the angered man and replies, ‘I understand what you ask; and I know what you need. Go home and trust me; the right time is coming soon.’

The man goes back to his estate and sits by his window once again. Due to his anger boiling, and frustration mounting, the man decides his new king will not do a single thing for him. He thought to himself as he paced the room with the window, ‘Trust me’ is all he says. Trust in what? Lies? He ignores me! That is what he does! He ignores me because of who I once was. I begged for him to take my life so I cannot see my family suffer; and yet, he desires for me to suffer because of my sins against the land. Well I will not let my family suffer any longer! If the new king will not do anything, then I will do it alone!

The man left his estate, walked to his relative’s hovels and offered them to stay in his home. He helped them move in, and set a feast to welcome them. After that feast, the man set out for a job in the fields so his nephew no longer had to work. The man had sent his earnings to his family, keeping only what he needed to feed himself. He wore the same clothes every day, and slept on the streets. He bathed in the puddles from rain, and rested under the scorching day.

Finally, after living a couple of months in deep poverty, the new king’s servants came up to the man, ‘The new king says it is time. Come with us.’

The man followed the servants wondering what the king wanted from him as he had been ignored for so long.

The new king says to the man, ‘Good to see you, my friend. What have you been doing with yourself these last couple of months?’

The man, not out of respect for the new king, but out of exhaustion from working so severely, fell upon his knees, and as tears streamed from his eyes, he replied, ‘I gave everything I owned to my family. I got a job and gave them every piece of my earnings, only keeping enough to myself so I could eat one meal a day – sometimes not even that! I gave them my home, and I have lived on the streets since the last time you saw me. I figured, since you would not do anything, I did something myself. Can you please, take my life so I no longer suffer?’

‘You have done well, my friend. You seem to have forgotten from your times of loyalty to the old king, that from the palace, I am able to see all things across the land. I watched you every step of the way, and you my friend are an amazing person! Of all the people in the land who came to me requesting something, you are the only one who requested something for someone else; and yet, you are also the one who needed something the most. You needed to know forgiveness, patience, humility, and many other great characteristics you now possess.

‘You say you want your life taken from you; I can do much more for you. I will not take your life away; I will give it back. Come into my palace, and work with me. I will provide for you everything you need for the remainder of your time. I will also see to it your family is provided for. Come, my friend, I already have a room waiting for you.’