TITLE: The Lord of the Manor-An Allegory
By Roberta Franklin
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He sat alone. A soft breeze, scented with the flowers from his garden rustled past the curtains on the floor to ceiling windows, swirled across the stone tiles warmed by the afternoon sun. Wistfully he surveyed the paintings on the walls, master’s works, hung for any visitor to enjoy. His eyes scanned the library shelves noting literature, science, art, biographies of the rich and famous, and some infamous. Yet each one, each book was a masterpiece and he knew them all by heart.
He stood and walked to the open French doors. Looking out across the manicured lawn he wandered if today he might have a visitor. The paths intersecting one another across acres...as far as his eyes could see, lay empty. The scattered benches where he planned to sit and visit with his guests, unoccupied. The shaded swings resting underneath great, spreading trees, swung gently but with no soul to enjoy their comfort. Now and then he would catch the luscious scent of newly baked bread and he knew that the kitchen was fully prepared to provide refreshment for any number of guests. Still, no one came.
He waited the afternoon away, knowing that he would share the evening with his son. He looked forward to a pleasant dinner and conversation, peacefully reviewing the works that his son had been doing that day. His son, his joy. Everything he owned he shared with his son equally; and their longing to find others to share their wealth was equally acute.
He invited multitudes daily to come and visit him; read his books; enjoy his wealth. Rarely one would come, perhaps two or three...mostly young and full of questions. Those were the ones he most enjoyed. The ones who took him at his word and came without pretense or introduction required. But, those visitors were becoming fewer and fewer. It seemed that, although his son had personally issued the invitation to all the countryside and despite the open and welcoming gate, even travelers preferred to walk around his estate rather than walk through and enjoy the riches he wanted to share with them.
He knew that all around the perimeters of his vast estate, booths had been erected. The booths sold bread, fruit, and other essentials of daily living. There were other booths too; places where darkness hovered over the commodities displayed outside. And inside--the darkness inside was so thick that it smothered the very air and left confusion and unrest in the heart of anyone who ventured there.
Other places along the wall sold ladders, rope, climbing tools, and often directions or maps. Such foolishness...no one need climb over the wall into his estate, they only needed to use the front gate. And, worse than those who would sell a means to enter, were those who pretended to have his special attention, or know another way to enter other than the gate he had ordained.
Inside the gate the treasure houses sat available to anyone entering, so they would know what wonders were in store for them. The word was out, "Whosoever wills, may come directly to me. My son has already made the arrangements." Still, most refused to come; many rejected his offer to speak directly with him, as he chose; many were angry and blamed him for everything that happened outside the gates. They missed so much, and his heart grieved.
"Soon, perhaps soon," He spoke to the breeze, "Soon perhaps my son's bride will be ready and our house will be full--our supper table lined with family and friends. Oh, the joy of that long awaited union! Nothing further will I do. When the time is full, everyone will have to give an answer for the richness, or the poverty of his own life. It has been their choice, each one, whether or not to come and enjoy the riches that I offer."
The setting sun leant a golden hue to the fields of grain waiting for harvest. With one last, measured look, the lord of the manor began to pull the curtains closed. "Tomorrow will be a harvest day," he said. "Many will come tomorrow. I will send my workers into the fields and they will return, rejoicing at the end of the day. We will enjoy one another, and the fruit they bring. Yes, I think that tomorrow will be a great harvest day."
With joy he rang the dinner bell.
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