Today we welcome guest writer Jonah Lange to our fire. With two published poetry books to his credit he is now enjoying the world of short stories. Jonah has a BS in psychology/social science and will continue his education pursuing a degree in career counseling. We are delighted to welcome him to the growing circle of story telling friends around the fire.
Loyal to the King
The message was important. That’s one of the few things he knew about his task. He was to deliver it immediately to the kingdom just south of where he lived.
He didn’t know why he’d been chosen for the task. He was no one of particular importance in his city. The local ruler had just come, given him the message, and told him to hurry to deliver it. With little time to think or consider it all, he rushed on his way.
The way to the kingdom was a rough one. There were high hills, low valleys, and the threat of running into some unfriendly creatures. As he made his way through, he was constantly looking left and right to keep an eye out for any trouble.
He hoped the message he was delivering was a favorable one. Though the ruler of his town was respected, he also had a reputation for being awfully harsh with his subjects. It had been out of fear as much as anything that he was going to deliver this message.
Suddenly, he tripped over a tree root. Stumbling down the hill, he lost his grip on the important message that he’d been given. Hopelessly rolling out of control, he only thought that he might be fortunate enough for the message to end up near where he’d stop.
Eventually, he ended up at the bottom of the hill. Though dizzy, he trudged back up looking for the message. When he found it, the seal had been broken and the message lay open before him. He was shocked to see what it said. He was bringing a message of his own execution.
The man was shocked at this. He didn’t think he’d done anything that would warrant this; however, as his loyalty was to the town and to the ruler, he went on with it, thinking that if the ruler saw it better for the town for him to die, then he’d honor that decision.
Before long, he reached the kingdom and walked up to the king’s palace. There were two guards at the front. One talked with the man about why he had come and the other went in to tell the king. Eventually, the man delivering the message went in with the guard that he’d been talking with to deliver the message of his death.
The guard brought the man up to the door of the throne room. He told the man to wait while he spoke with the king. After a few brief moments, the guard brought the man in and had him stand before the king.
“I can see that your journey here was a rough one,” said the king.
“Yes,” said the man.
“And, as the seal is broken, I assume you know what it was you have delivered to me.”
“Yes,” said the man, preparing himself for the worst.
“Well,” said the king “I’ll let you know that you were not the only man sent to deliver such a message. Others were sent and went the quickest, yet roughest, way as you did. Similarly, the seal broke on their messages. Upon seeing it they fled. Others did not take seriously enough the message that they were given and went a longer, safer way. They made it here, but upon seeing that their messages were still sealed, I knew they did not give it the importance that they should have. But you have come before me today, sweaty, dirty, and scratched up from your journey with the seal of your message broken and with full knowledge of what it says. Thus, I see that your loyalty to me, as I gave your ruler that message to deliver, is great.”
The king then stood up, walked over to the man, and put his crown on his head.
“As you were willing to take on death for loyalty to your ruler and for the good of your people, you have proven yourself worthy and a true servant to others. I therefore make you king of all the land. May you continue to be a man of loyalty to all you serve.”