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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)

TITLE: The Peasant and the Prince
By Sharlyn Guthrie


A young peasant woman shuddered at the sight of the prince striding toward her. Shrinking into the shadows she attempted to hide, fearful of his motive in seeking her out. She had spat at him yesterday as he passed, though she hadn’t thought he’d noticed.

The shadows failed to conceal her. He grasped her with firm, yet surprisingly gentle hands. “I saw you on the street yesterday.”

Her eyes scanned the pebbles near his feet and her throat constricted, preventing a reply. Placing one finger under her chin, he tipped her head, causing her to meet his tender gaze. He wiped a smudge from her cheek, then caught her as her knees buckled.

“I have come to offer you this.” He smiled, extending a roll of parchment tied with red ribbon. “It is a ketubah, a marriage contract. I love you, and wish for you to become my kallah, my bride.”

“You? Marry me?” She searched his face for the mockery she expected to see, but found none. “I haven't a dowry,” she managed, ashamed.

“It makes no difference. If you accept my proposal I will see to it that you are housed and cared for until I return to take you as my wife. It’s all here in the ketubah: my love for you, my intent to marry you, and promises to fulfill all of my obligations to you both now and in the future.”

“But where will you be?”

“I am going away to prepare our future home. I can’t say when I will return, only that I will. And when I do, you must be ready for our marriage. Will you accept me as your groom, your choson?”

“Oh yes, I do accept!” She bent to kiss his feet, but was quickly drawn up into his embrace.

“Then you must begin now to act worthy of me. Go, change your clothes and ready yourself for the day of my return.”

One rapturous kiss was shared, and the prince left as quickly as he had come. Word of the betrothal spread, and many were taken aback. Why would a prince marry a peasant woman? Some were angered, while others simply chose not to believe it was true. Still others marveled at the mystery and intrigue of the unlikely match.

The kallah soon discovered that her temporary home was situated in the realm ruled by the prince’s arch-enemy. Still, she cheerfully went about her preparations for marriage, concerning herself with little else. Her new life contrasted sharply with the life she had lived as a peasant. Few had taken notice of her in the past, but with her name now linked to that of her choson, all eyes, it seemed, were on her.

Attractive suitors clamored for her attention –men of strength, ardor, and shocking impropriety. Their attention was flattering, nevertheless. One offered wealth beyond compare, another fame and recognition throughout every worldly kingdom, yet another promised amazing supernatural powers. Such offers sometimes tempted the kallah, who was growing weary, and at times impatient.

Each suitor was seemingly more attractive than the last. When their charming ways failed to entice her, their tactics became less subtle. “Didn’t he say he would return?” they taunted, “Where is your choson? See? He has left you with only a ketubah filled with empty promises. Surely he is dead, or else he has found another lover more worthy of his name.”

Confused, the kallah unrolled the ketubah, seeking her beloved's wisdom. “Be on the alert for imposters sent by enemy,” it said, “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing who seek to snatch you away from me. Don’t pay them any heed. Keep your heart pure.”

Years passed, and life went on around her. Most of the kingdom dwellers lost interest in the story of the peasant and the prince. When the aging woman attempted to remind them, they laughed. “You’re still waiting for your prince? You’re missing all the fun. Don’t you know that purity is outdated? A real lover wouldn’t expect you to wait so long.”

Still, the kallah remained faithful, yearning for her beloved. The wait had been long, and sometimes it seemed unbearable. But day after day she reached for the well-worn ketubah, and each day its words rekindled her passion and restored her longing. For once she was merely a peasant woman in soiled garments, but soon her home would be a palace. She knew the prince, her precious choson,would come.

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Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 12/13/07
This gave me goosebumps, just reading it! What a great parable. I liked the fairy-tale quality and your title certainly caught my attention. Good job-especially with the italics.
Loren T. Lowery12/13/07
The title drew me in and I was captivated by the allegory. Really enjoyed your writing style and the story in portrayed.
Jan Ross12/13/07
Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! What a perfect portrayal of the Bridegroom and His bride!
Lynda Schultz 12/13/07
Lovely. I can see the pictures in the book that go along with this wonderful description of the waiting church.
Peter Stone12/14/07
A wonderful analogy of the Church awaiting the return of Christ. I felt that adding in the imposters trying to distract her away from her purpose was a masterful touch, it really made the story, and is a good warning as well.
Joanne Sher 12/15/07
Wonderful, WONDERFUL analogy. You put me right there, and taught an amazing lesson. Beautiful piece.
Jan Ackerson 12/18/07
Beautiful, beautiful story. I love a good allegory, and this definitely fills the bill!
Catrina Bradley 12/18/07
Oh, Sharlyn, this is an awesome depiction of a faithful servant waiting the Bridegroom. Beautifully simplistic, reads like a fairy tale. But then the story of Christ does sound too good to be true, doesn't it? Super job!
Beth LaBuff 12/18/07
Beautiful story, exquisitely written. There is so much depth in this. Wonderful work on this!! I love it!
Janice Cartwright12/19/07
A wonderful story - it enthralled me and brought home in vivid terms the unlikely truth my Prince would choose such a one as me.
Sheri Gordon12/19/07
This is very, very good. Goosebump good. :) Excellent writing. Great job with the topic.
Betty Castleberry12/19/07
This captured my attention at the first few words. Love the fact that this is an allegory, and a good one at that. Well done.
Loren T. Lowery12/20/07
Congratulations on your placement. I really enjoyed reading this piece. Loren
Sheri Gordon12/20/07
Congratulations on your highly commended. This was one of my favorite pieces this week.
Dee Yoder 12/21/07
Lovely, Sharlyn! It's nice to be reminded of what we are waiting and hoping for: the return of our Prince! What a beautiful allegory. Congratulations!
Karen Wilber12/21/07
This is so good! (How did I miss it earlier in the week?) You've written one of my favorite kinds of stories and done it exceedingly well. I also liked the way you portrayed the impostors. Definitely a keeper!