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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Humble Pie - A Parable
By Chrissi Dunn


“Wonderful, mighty and majestic………”

The performer sang praises with the finest operatic voice in the whole of Seronia. As he finished the piece with a little bow, King Elkanah’s servants stood up and clapped. For a while the young man lapped up the adoration he received, grinning proudly with a fake smile. Finally he turned to the King.

The ruler smiled, though continued to stare through him.

“Thank you.” He eventually uttered. “You may now leave.”

Chief Messenger, Tobias assessed his superior’s countenance in despair. “An exceptional young man.” he commented, as the door slammed behind him.

“Well, he certainly gave a moving performance.” The King gazed into space, as though trying to figure out a difficult riddle. “Though, there’s still something missing.”

“Your highness,” Tobias could not hide his frustration any longer. “We have searched the whole of Seronia, for those who will encourage you with their talents. We have been entertained by the most wonderful artistes, yet not one has pleased you.”

King Elkanah had hoped to find someone who would remove the cloud of gloom which hung over him recently. Yet all the juggling jesters, fire eating magicians and dancers in the country only managed to make him feel worse about the world.

“Aren’t there any others at all?” he replied calmly. “Isn’t there one good person in the land who can glorify me in an adequate manner?”

“Well, I can think of one more.” Tobias answered. “But she says her gift is ‘humble’ and ‘weak’.” He rolled his eyes, realising how desperate the situation was becoming.

The King looked thoughtful, as he studied the jewels encrusting the future crowns.

“Send for her.”

Some hours later, the door was held open, as Tobias ushered in an elderly lady carrying a basket. She limped slowly towards the throne, her head down in reverence.

“Your highness. ”

The lady eventually managed to kneel before the throne, then lifted her head to see the King’s face. As soon as she set eyes upon him, she became alive with wonder, her face shining with radiance.

King Elkanah felt something stir within him, as he considered the wrinkled, yet strangely beautiful face now gazing up at him. There was undoubtedly something very different about her. It struck him that she looked lovingly into his face, and didn’t stare longingly towards the crowns on display, as so many had.

“I bring a modest offering to you today - something hand-made. It represents something I adore doing, and it usually puts a smile on the face of others too.”

Her voice cracked, as she unwrapped an object from her basket with shaking hands. Handing it to Tobias, she stood back, staring downwards again.

Tobias stifled a laugh when he observed what she had given him - An apple and cinnamon pie on a tray with a fork and some ginger cordial. Though King Elkanah took the pie gladly.

“ Cookery - That’s a very useful talent.”

He could feel a smile creeping over his face already. The sweet savour filled his nostrils, as he breathed in.

Soon, the light pastry melted on his tongue, while the pinch of cinnamon warmed his very heart. He could tell that the ginger cordial was made to the right consistency, and the choicest apples had been picked for the tart.

As King Elkanah ate, a peculiar sensation overwhelmed him. It occurred to him that this dear lady really knew him. She had researched his every like and dislike, then used what she could do well to gratify him. As he finished the delightful dessert, his taste-buds craving more, he was touched by the lady’s earnest offering.

Stooping down from the throne, the King picked up a bejewelled crown. He placed it lovingly upon the bowed head before him.

“You have used your abilities with the sole intention of pleasing me. This has brought great joy to me, since your worship is sincere. You possess a true spirit of hospitality.”

The elderly lady lifted her head in shock, speechless at the prospect of receiving a crown.

“But I - I’m just not worthy.” She finally stammered.

With tears filling her eyes, she removed the crown from her head. Walking forwards resolutely, compelled by the desire to put it in its rightful place, she again knelt before the King. The jewels glinted in the light, as she placed it at his feet.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)

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This article has been read 851 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 11/29/07
Nice title! Cooking is certainly a gift and it's one that I DON'T have:)
Jan Ackerson 11/29/07
This is a lovely, lovely allegory, written with great skill.
Yvonne Blake 11/30/07
wonderful! "The way to a man's (king's) heart is through his stomach." Doesn't every woman know that?
Barbara Ann Smith12/02/07
A beautiful heart warming story...I enjoyed it and got a blessing by reading it.
Temple Miller12/04/07
Beautiful allegory with lots of vivid details. Loved it.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/05/07
The title was perfect for your beautiful parable. The last line was most effective.
Beth LaBuff 12/05/07
Beautifully written! I loved your eartly story with a heavenly meaning. Your title is perfect.
Sara Harricharan 12/05/07
Wow. What a parable! I loved this. Especially when you came to the details of the pie and how it touched the King's soul. This is a great reminder of what we can be and how we should use our own gifts for a greater good-but the best part? The crown, laying it back at His feet. I think this is one of your best. Awesome writing!
Kristen Hester12/05/07
No red ink needed on this one. I wouldn't change a thing. Beautiful on so many levels. I love the message. We often use our gifts for our own glory, not God's. Very convicting. I love the title.
Pat Guy 12/05/07
It's going to be difficult using a Red Pen on this one Christine - it truely is lovely. And there were only some minors things anyway ... like the spacing. I think the triple spacing distracts from the lovliness of your story although at the break it's okay.

And sometimes commas can trip up the reader ... here's an example ... 'King Elkanah felt something stir within him, as he considered the wrinkled, yet strangely beautiful face now gazing up at him.' You see, I don't think this sentence needs any commas at all. It flows nicely without them.

That's about all I can nick-pick on this beatuiful story. I loved it.
James Dixon12/05/07
I like the parable and the way it is executed. A good lesson that will help with the application of your verse.

If you really want a splash of red ink: I was a bit irritated by a slamming door. it seemed too common and out of place.
LaNaye Perkins12/05/07
This was really beautiful. I liked how the King could see the intentions of her heart.

As far as red ink, i could only find one little nit-picky thing. It was the spacing. I just didn't understand it. I figure it is very likely I just don't know much about formating with types of stories.
Jan Ackerson 12/05/07
Hey there--since you asked for red ink--spend some time looking up the proper way to punctuate and capitalize (or not capitalize) dialogue. I found several errors of this sort.

It's a testimony to the quality of your writing that I didn't even see these the first time through...it's the sort of thing that usually really bugs me, and here I missed them altogether, because the story was so outstanding.
william price12/05/07
A very good story. I don't have much to add that hasn't been said. Maybe, I wouldn't have taken as long to get to the woman, but I realize you had to set the stage and create the contrast. I usally write so far out of the box it is hard for me to comment on other's work, but I might have worked a differnt opening that either grabbed me, or propelled me to the rest of the story. But, that's just me. The writing here, save some puncuation challenges, was/is top notch. Getting the hang of creating a 750 word essay is tough and is always a challenge deciding how many words to spend on each part of the story.
Believe it or not, I really liked this and would have scored it high if I were judging. You are a very anointed talent and I enjoy your work. I hope this is what you wanted and didn't sound to harsh. God bless.
Peter Stone12/06/07
Congratulations on your highly commended. This is a creative story with a wonderful double meaning. The story reads as an example of someone who has used their gifts for Christ on earth, and when they receive their crown on judgment day, they give the crown back to Christ. Well done.
Linda Watson Owen12/16/07
Christine, you have woven a beautifully mesmerizing tale here! Congratulations on your highly commended. It sooo deserves such recognition! Absolutely lovely!