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The King's Lesson
The King’s Lesson
Once upon a time there was a king. He was handsome and rich, and he had many servants. He walked through the castle wearing splendid robes made of golden threads. He was not a bad man, but the people thought he was greedy. They hated him because he had so much more than them.
One day a beautiful girl came to the kingdom. She was the king’s cousin, Annabelle. She lived in the palace with the king and his servants, and read the king stories. The stories she read were all about the kind villagers that lived by the castle. The king loved these stories, and he wanted to meet the villagers. He asked his cousin to arrange a meeting with some of the villagers.
Annabelle brought a man who worked in the fields to see the king. The king prepared a glorious feast for the man. They ate roasted birds, steak, venison, potatoes, corn, vegetables, flaming puddings, and several kinds of wine.
After they ate dinner the king took the man on a tour of the castle. They went to the weapons room, the royal suite, the trophy room, a very large kitchen, a gigantic living room, and even a room full of toys that the king used to play with when he was little.
When the tour was over the king took the man to the throne room and asked him what he thought of the castle. The man replied, “You have brought me here to punish me.”
The king was startled and he said, “I only wanted your company.”
The man said, “You have shown me everything I don’t have. You only want me here to show me how powerful you are.” Then the man stormed out of the castle.
The king was very sad and lay in bed for a week. No one was allowed in the room except his cousin Annabelle. Annabelle comforted the king by reading him more stories about the good townspeople. The king finally asked Annabelle to arrange another meeting.
Annabelle brought a woman to the castle who worked as a seamstress in the town. This time the king prepared only a small dinner made of things the woman could make herself, and he wore his most modest robes. After they ate, instead of taking her on a tour of the castle, the king invited the woman to sit by the fire and listen to Annabelle read. When Annabelle finished her stories they went to the throne room and the king asked her what she thought of their evening. The woman said, “You only brought me here to insult me.”
The king was startled again, “I only wanted to make you feel comfortable here,” he said.
“You didn’t even bother to dress nice for me.” Then the woman left.
The king was so sad that he stayed in his room for over three weeks. The only person allowed in was Annabelle, so she could read him stories about the townspeople. After a while the king didn’t want to hear stories about the townspeople anymore. Annabelle was so distressed she ran out of the castle and cried in the field. A little boy came up to her and asked her why she was crying. She told him about the king and the trouble he had. The boy said he wanted to see the king. Annabelle took him back to the castle to meet the king.
The boy saw the king in his bed and said, “Why are you crying?”
The king looked at the boy and said, “I can’t make anybody happy.”
The little boy replied, “Well why not?”
“I don’t know what anyone likes,” said the king.
“I like toys, and candy, and cake,” said the boy. The king got an idea, and he jumped out of bed and threw on his golden robes. He grabbed the boy’s hand and ran down the hall. They took a left turn and a right turn. They went up stairs and down stairs until they finally stopped in front of a large door. The king opened the door to reveal a room full of toys.
The boy spent the whole day with the king, and he came back the next day. After a while he brought his friends, and with so many good stories about the king the townspeople thought maybe he wasn’t so bad. Soon other people gave the king a chance and he got to know what certain people liked. In the end the king learned how to make new friends, and the townspeople learned not to judge others before they know them. Everyone lived happily ever after.