The Promise of the Gods

In a faraway kingdom, there lived a great king who was very much loved by his people. And this king sought to share his kingdom with them but they held their reverence in high esteem to the point of making an idol of him. Many times the king wished to approach his people without the divisive veil of royalty but knew not how; for the majesty of his stature created a chasm between his people and him. The gods approached the king one day and told him that if he could bridge the gulf between his people and himself, the gods in their omnipotence would build a mansion of equal size and beauty as the king’s palace for every resident in the kingdom.

And so, upon hearing the word of the gods, the king was filled with inspiration. He stripped himself of his crown and his silken robes and covered his face and his body in the most humble raiment and went forth among his people. And after having lived among his people for some time and gained their confidence, but without revealing his identity, he began to approach each one of them telling them of the promise of the gods. Some laughed and denounced the clandestine royal, even accusing him of madness. Others simply dismissed him as dreamer, an escapist who sought to live in the clouds. And still others could not lift themselves out of their daily routine to imagine that such a promise could be genuine. After being rejected by his people, the king returned to his palace weary and beaten and solemn. For he sought to share his wealth with those whom he loved but they loved the image they had built of their king more than him. He stripped himself of his disguise and spent the next several months in seclusion in his palace as his heart continued to grow heavy with sadness. He then secretly called for his court physician and ordered him to make a potion that would erase his memory of his royal heritage and identity. As soon as the king drank this potion, his memory was erased of his bloodline and his birthright as a sovereign king and he awoke in a humble house that was prearranged for him in the midst of the village. There he lived out the rest of his days as a poet, marrying words to rhythm and verse to melody. He was well loved among the people and was content to sing his poems each night, making his audience laugh and cry.

The gods then came knocking to fulfill the fruit of their promise but they found an empty palace. For the gods sought to elevate the people to royal stature but the king was wiser than the gods. He found his kingdom in the midst of the daily life of his people and not in the corners of mighty palaces. But most of all, the king knew not the extent of this treasure that he had in hand. And this unknowing made it exceedingly more beautiful and rare.

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