Allen found an empty corner and slumped down to rest his feet. He had just made himself comfortable when he noticed a man in fine clothes approaching. Everyone on the street seemed to notice him. He was a servant of the King! What could he possibly be doing down here in the streets? Despite the fact that everyone was perfectly quiet he said, "Can I have everybody's attention! The King has requested your presence at a wedding banquet for his son. I hope to see you all there."
Well, what do you know?! The King inviting peasants to his castle. Allen went to tell his friend, Bill, the exciting news. When he arrived at Bill's shack the smell nearly knocked him over! Phew! We need to clean him up a bit before we go! He woke up his friend and told him what had happened.
"Aw! Quite joking with me. Can't you see I'm trying to sleep?" Bill tried to roll back over but Allen was persistent.
"It's true! We are all going to the castle. We need to find some clothes and get ready!" At this the sleeping man raised a suspicious eyebrow.
"You're not kidding are you?"
"No! Now come on! We need to get cleaned up!"
"Why would the King invite us?"
"I don't know, but I'm not passing up free food! We need to get ready right now!"
"But what if it's just a big joke and we end up wasting the entire afternoon getting ready for nothing?"
"And just what did you have planned to do that you would miss out on this?!"
"I don't know….sleep?"
"Well, I'm going. I really hope I see you there!"
Allen walked out into the street. Already people were busy getting washed and putting on their very best clothes. They weren't as fancy as that servant's clothes but they were the best they had. He was going to wear his best. The King had shown such awesome mercy. He was so in awe of how wonderful the King was and yet, he cared about a dirty old boy on the street. He would get himself cleaned up as best he could, not because the King made him, but to show the King his gratitude and respect. He thought of Bill. I hope he gets ready and meets us there…
At the castle, the servants were busy making the final preparations. The guest entered a room more beautiful than anything they had ever seen. Allen noticed the people around him. They were all the people he knew from the streets, but something was different. They were cleaner and smelled much better, that was for sure. But something else was different. The ladies walked with their heads a little higher and the men had a sparkle in their eyes. It wasn't the fine clothes or the beautiful room. It was the fact that they realized they were wanted! The King's invitation meant so much to them.
Allen thought of his friend. It's really not a joke. He wants us here because we are his people. We are his.
He looked to the door just as Bill entered. He was glad to see him, but there was something terribly wrong. Bill hadn't changed. He still smelled horrible and his clothes were caked in dirt. It seemed so disrespectful. His thoughts were interrupted by an announcement.
"The King has arrived!"
The King's presence was felt throughout the entire room when he entered, like a soothing breeze. Allen felt bumps form on his skin. It didn't take long for the King to notice Bill, who was standing at the door with a look of distrust on his dirty face. The King made his way over to Bill. "Friend," he said, "how did you get in here without wedding clothes?"
Bill was speechless, but Allen knew the truth, and he suspected the King did too. Bill didn't believe this was really happening. He didn't want to waste his day getting ready and then it not be true. When he noticed everyone had gone his curiosity got the best of him and he came, but stayed at a distance. He watched the people go in and not be turned away; but he still waited, just to make sure. When he was sure they were really invited he decided to go in. What he screamed as the servants bound him confirmed what Allen knew was his justification for coming unprepared, "But….. you invited me!" The look on Bill's face showed that he had just realized that.
Allen watched in sadness as Bill was taken out, into the darkness.