Running in the shop, Daniel stepped on the unseen toy car, and crashed into the end display.
“Oof,” had he collided with another person?
“Stay your hand knave,” a voice growled, “How dare you assault his royal highness?”
“Wha?” Daniel gazed confusedly. He was surrounded by tents at some mediaeval joust. The gentleman holding the sword stood over him, menacing. Where was he?
“Put up your sword, sir,” gently lifting the sword, “The scoundrel had me finished if not for this lad’s timely intervention.”
Groaning, he bent to pick up a can, “What’s this projectile you felled that villain with, lad?”
Relieved, Daniel answered, “Baked beans Your Majesty.”
“Tell me,” he inquired, “What does one do with ‘baked beans’?”
“Eat them, sire.”
King Dalphain eyed Daniel suspiciously, “My armour is made of metal, but I am aware I cannot eat it.”
Daniel chuckled, “No sire, that’s a can. You only eat the contents inside. Here, look...”
Picking up another can and pulling the lid back, he held the can revealing its contents.
Filling his mouth Dalphain, chewed twice, gagged, and spat; then vomited behind a tree.
“Gads lad, would you poison me after saving my life?”
“No Your Highness,” Daniel worried.
“They’re not so bad, Your Highness,” interjected a soldier opening yet another can, “Sort of like peasant’s stew without meat. Quite nice actually.”
“Remind me never to eat peasant’s stew,” Dalphain surmised, “It would be the death of me.”
“One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” Daniel observed dryly.
Dalphain roared in laughter, “Enough! Let me take you to my castle...”
“Daniel,” Daniel offered.
“...Daniel, saviour of kings, that I may reward you for the great service you have done.”
Arriving at the castle Dalphain showed Daniel great storehouses and maps of his kingdom, revealing his great wealth and its sources, “Name your price, my saviour, up to half my kingdom.”
Daniel had never seen such wealth accumulated as Dalphain boasted. The temptation was great but Daniel knew he could not accept. Daniel knew true wealth was not the accumulation of things. Already he could feel the twinge, calling him back to family, friends and faith.
“Can you see, Daniel,” Dalphain bragged, “I am exceedingly rich.”
“Your Highness,” Daniel responded, “If I may make an observation, and show you pure wisdom, that would be reward enough. I cannot take your kingdom or wealth with me when I go, but if you will, allow me to speak.”
“Speak, my saviour,” Dalphain expanded.
“If I am your saviour it is only by chance,” Daniel observed. “Tell me, Your Majesty, if you had died today, How rich would you be?”
“Why would my death have changed anything? It is all still mine,” Dalphain frowned.
“That may be true, sire, but you would no longer be here to demand its protection,” Daniel argued, “Once you have died all you ever had is left to the vultures and scavengers of your kingdom. You truly are left with nothing.”
“This I know to be true,” Dalphain scowled, “But what is your purpose of this bad news?”
“I want to show you what really makes you rich,” said Daniel.
“We may accumulate vast amounts of treasure, but these are not true wealth as we consider. As I have explained, all these things have no value to a dead man. There is only one thing we each possess that makes us rich. Can you tell me what it is, O, Mighty Dalphain?”
“Don’t play riddles, boy,” Dalphain grew impatient. “What is this you treasure above my wealth?”
“Life,” said Daniel.
Silence filled the king’s court, then heads began to nod and voices murmured.
Dalphain clapped his hands, “Well spoken sage. Since all I have accumulated makes me no richer, I shall share it. I shall rejoice because I have the only thing that makes any man wealthy and that is, as you say, life. Come, friends, let us rejoice that we share this great wealth called life. Let us all be rich together, and throw that fellow over the wall, I have grown tired of him.”
Six burly soldiers, grabbing Daniel hastened to the wall
“No!” Daniel wailed, seeing himself falling toward the jagged rocks.
Following a rush of noisy crashes Daniel gained his senses seated on the floor with the grocer, who had been carefully steadying the end display, sitting opposite. Daniel felt stupid, but happy to be alive.
A wise man once said, “In all your getting, get life.”
Be sure you do.
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