The Man Who Would Be King

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man unhappy with his life decides to petition the King to fix things.

Submitted: March 31, 2010

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Submitted: March 31, 2010



There was once a man who was not happy with his lot in life. He considered himself superior to all of his compatriots, and wished to elevate himself above them. It was a cosmic mistake, he told himself, that he was a mere commoner, and he believed that destiny should have had great things in store for him. He had worked hard all of his life, just as the others around him, and he had nothing to show for it, whilst others, of great stature, had done nothing to earn their wealth, but lived a life of opulent decadence, happy and secure.

“How great it would be,” he said to himself, “to be King! Then I would be pampered and watched over, and all would respect and admire me!”

Thus the man toiled harder than ever, and eventually had enough money that he bought himself a horse, or a bus ticket, and he rode to the Big City, where he attempted to gain an audience with His Majesty. The Royal Guard though, were unsympathetic, and would not let a commoner into the Palace, and so the man was turned away, dejected.

He set out on his way home, but night had fallen, and he was compelled to rest the night at an Inn (or Motel).As he sat, contemplating the cruelty of fate, wondering why he alone, of this better spirit, was condemned to a life of piteous servitude, he overheard a conversation between a couple of fellows in fine, expensive clothing.

“A celebration!” Cried one, “For my business has now doubled in size upon this last year!”

“Doubled!” Cried the other, the volume of their conversation increasing evermore, for both men were already intoxicated. “Then a celebration indeed! Let us purchase the finest wines!”

“And to think that just a few years ago I was in this very room, not a penny to my name, my clothes more mud than rags, crying into my ale, for I believed that I could do nothing to escape my wretchedness,” said the first, “and all it took was a little hard work to turn my life completely around!”

At this the man was astonished, and excited, and a new vigour was instilled within him, and he retuned home, and toiled, and built a business from nothing, and in time, he was one of the wealthiest merchants in the land. Now he once more travelled to the Big City, and attempted again to gain an audience with the King, but again the Royal Guard turned him away. “The King will not see a man who has neglected his duties as a good Christian, whose beliefs are lax, and who has not found himself a wife, and given God a new child to love, and love Him.” They said.

So the man went away again, but he was filled with determination now, and he stayed in the Big City, and bought a beautiful house, and immersed himself in society, and remembered God, and visited church every day, and was generous to the poor. After several years, the man had fallen in love, and won the heart of the most beautiful young woman in the city, and he took her as his wife. And soon after, they had a child, a young boy, and the man was overflowing with love and joy, and he resolved to return to the Palace right away, for now the King must grant him an audience.

At the gates the Royal Guards treated him with deference and respect, for he was now one of the most well known men in the city, and his wealth and generosity were legendary.

By now the man was old, his hair grey, and his posture bent. The King looked upon him kindly, and bade him come sit on a comfortable chair by the throne.

“So,” said the King, with a benign smile, “I hear that thou wouldst be me.”

The man told the King of his woes, of how he was of a Noble spirit, but had all his life been condemned to live as a commoner, that his small amount of success was due only to immense toil, and that he couldn’t understand why some people were gifted with a righteous birth, and reaped the rewards of their superiority without having to lift a finger, whilst others, such as himself were left to scrape by in life, themselves.

Whereupon the King looked thoughtful, and said to the man, “I must protest, for I see that you are far more content than I.”

At this the man was amazed, and was going to speak up when the King cut him short. “You have worked hard for what you have achieved, and look at what it has given you! You have had a long, happy, successful life, you are married to the most beautiful woman in the Kingdom, you have a young son to carry on your legacy, and you are respected and admired by all who meet you! I may have been born into opulence, but I have gained nothing I own through my own labours. All has been presented to me, as I sit here, bored and lonely. My only friends are sycophants, and my day-to-day life is a pretence. As King I cannot be myself, I must maintain at all times, poise and dignity, and must never let myself be carried away by desire. Truly, you were born in a more advantageous situation than I, and it is you, not I, who has always been free.”

The man was moved by these words. “Your Majesty, I had never thought of things in this way,” he said, “You are quite right, I have had a wonderful life, and my complaints and worries left me along time ago, I should never have come to burden you with my pathetic whining! Please, forgive your humble subject.”

The King sighed, and smiled benevolently. “You are forgiven, for even the most wise err, on occasion. Go now, and enjoy what life you have.”

The man bowed humbly, and left.

The King sat in silence for a moment or two, before a large, malicious grin spread across his face. “What a fool!” He laughed, and beckoned over a servant. “Have him killed, and bring me his wife.” He fingered his magnificent jewellery thoughtfully, as his daily feast was prepared. “I will add her to my Harem.”

© Copyright 2018 Sam Halfpenny. All rights reserved.

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