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The Winner Shall Be Wise
In a land far away there were three sons of Calcauti: Philipi, Sosmoni, and Malachi. Philipi was courageous, Sosmoni charismatic, and Malachi perspicacious. Philipi could stand up to great kings but what he said was dull. Sosmoni charmed an interviewer and got a job for the Metropolitan Times in the nearby city but was slothful and lost his job. Malachi, with his wise ways and clear vision, could out do his brothers in any task.
One day an announcement was made. The king had passed and there was currently no heir but his two-year-old nephew. An advisor was to be found. Anyone interested should go to the palace and go through three tasks.
Philipi with his courage and the confidence that came with it was sure he would be chosen. So off he went. On the way he met a beautiful girl from the mountain lands.
"I am thirsty and it is so hard for me to breathe!"
"Than I shall give you water and carry you!" So Philipi gave her his water and carried the maiden back up to her home.
"Thank you, I shall give you a token of my gratitude." She gave him a plant in a glass jar.
"I will cherish it."
So Philipi went down the mountain quite tired and thirsty. The jar grew heavier in his hands and the plant grew into an enormous vine. The vine was hard and rooted itself into the ground wrapping Philipi within it.
Not hearing from Philipi in fourteen days the Calcauti family fretted insufferably. Sosmoni asked his parents if he could seek out his brother and audition for the grand part of the new king's advisor.
"Of course not. It is dangerous and we shall find Philipi!" His parents replied. But, with great charm, Sosmoni got his way and was on his way to be the new king's advisor.
Sosmoni ran across the same maiden but did not want to yield to her pleas for help as it was too much work to do so much for her.
In true laziness Sosmoni slowly walked away leaving the maiden behind with no good deeds bestowed on her.
Three days into Sosmoni's walk her came across a large field of strawberries and soft grass.
"I need to rest, I have been up and about for three days with nothing to sleep on but dirt! I have had nothing to eat but stale bread!" Sosmoni thought to himself.
As Sosmoni ate strawberries he started to feel sleepy. Down he went on the soft grass. And no one could see him because the strawberries had turned Sosmoni into a bright green frog similar in color to the lush grass.
After twenty-eight days Malachi snuck out of his house leaving an apologetic note to his parents. He would find his brothers and his parents had no need to fear for him.
On the first day Malachi came across the maiden.
"I am thirsty and it is hard for me to breathe."
"The air is thinner in the mountains. It is easier to breathe down here. And you are carrying plants in that open basket. How can such plants be so lush and green without water? Jars of water but none to drink?" And Malachi went on his way.
After three days of walking Malachi came across the same lush, inviting field but decided not to enter it.
"It is wise to keep on my way. I will get there faster." Malachi thought to himself and went on his way.
The fifth day Malachi came across a mother with her young son.
"Help us sir my son is ill."
"What illness had fallen on your boy?"
"He has the fever and will die without help."
"He looks flushed and healthy. Still, I would like to help but I have no horse. The three of us walking would be at the same pace as two of you walking. I cannot help you get to the palace but I can help you find remedies."
"No. We need to go to the palace."
The lie of the fever was so apparent and still Malachi carried the baby and helped the mother nurse her son on the journey to the palace.
"I know your son is not sick but I know you are not doing wrong. The palace holds guards so you must have a way to get through them if you want to come so badly. And if you want to travel here instead of nursing your baby back to health then you must have a good reason. But I must admit, I am confused, why did you want to come to the palace in such desperation."
In that moment Malachi felt his intelligence failing. Failing like when his brother Sosmoni received falling grades in grade school. Malachi felt his intelligence falling similarly to when his brother Philipi fell in love with the most beautiful girl in the city. She rejected him and he sunk like a stone falling down a well but got right back up the next day. Malachi wasn't so sure that he would.
Malachi shared this.
"No my dear." The woman said. "You are the most intelligent and clear sighted. You overcame the three tasks! My boy is the king and you were the only one who could see through my lie but came with us anyway for good reasons. Others had reasons of kindness and charity but an advisor cannot make decisions on kindness and charity but on cleverness and reasoning. You have done all. Leave the loving to the king! Such a young kind will need a brilliant advisor for military tactics and law making. Now go home. Your family will be waiting for you."
"My brothers are missing. Please use your influence to help me find them."
"No, trust me. We have been watching them like we have been watching all who entered the competition. They are safe at home now."
And Malachi believed her. Malachi won.