Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
TITLE: The Answer to Everything
By Loren T. Lowery
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Next, he had his court magician load a large chest upon a cart and go through out his realm to collect one thing from each household.
“What is it the King wishes for his chest?” each asked the magicians when they knocked on their doors.
“Your fears,” was their steadfast reply.
Soon the chest was overflowing with each of the inhabitant’s dreads: poverty, sickness, guilt and shame. And as the magicians returned to the King’s castle, the villagers hid their faces from the stench and horror brimming from the chest.
“What shall we do with this?” the magicians asked when the cart was pulled before the King.
“Take it below, to the kitchens so that the cooks might boil it down to be distilled and poured into a bottle that I will have my Son toss into the deepest ocean.”
It was done as the King commanded and all of the fears of his people were boiled to a concentrate and poured into a crystal flask the size of a mustard seed, yet weighing the heaviness of a thousand earths.
The King then asked his Son to take the flask upon the deepest ocean and toss it asunder, beyond the distant horizon.
“But he should be lost,” one of the magicians cried in alarm. “The oceans are treacherous and our vessels are weak, unable to withstand such beatings, nor the weight of the vial. The black heaviness from the hearts of your subjects is distilled into even greater heaviness; a weight neither man, nor ship can bear.”
The Son heard the magician and answered. “Friend, did you not also throw your own fears into the chest?”
“I forgot, Sire. I was busy collecting others; as were my fellow magicians.”
“Then do so now with your fellows. Surrender your hearts that your fears may also be distilled and added to the concentrate of the vial. We can have no fears left in my Father’s kingdom. And I shall do as my Father bids, willingly.”
But the magician, called Deceit, would not believe, nor obey. “Such foolishness,” he muttered to the others like himself. “The King’s Son will be lost on the breaking waves and the concentrate be washed back upon the shores.”
Soon, the King heard the magician’s muttering and banished him and his fellow legions from his kingdom. “There is no place here for the darkness hidden in your hearts. Your disobedience is a shadow over the promise I have made to my good people. My words cannot return to me void, be gone and condemned to live without hope.”
And so, Deceit left with his minions. And, standing on a dark hill outside the kingdom, they saw the King’s son at the helm of a wooden craft carrying the crystal flask across the ocean.
And then a storm ensued and mighty waves pounded the ship; and within moments, just beyond the horizon, they saw the ship flounder and sink to the bottom of the sea.
“I was right,” Deceit smirked to his fellows. “Look even the lights of the city have died. The kingdom is in utter darkness. And there is no sound, not even a wail.”
“Such fools,” agreed Pride, lifting his nose as if sniffing a foul odor. “So much for the promise of the Good and Faithful King.”
Then, Folly came and grasped their hands to dance upon their hill.
Yet, on the morning of the third day after the loss of the King’s Son, a great light arose from within the city and with it, glorious voices singing, “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.”
“How is this?” Pride asked Deceit.
“I did overhear the King telling his Son that such a thing was possible,” answered Folly. “By replacing empty hearts with another concentrate, far purer than what they surrendered, such light is possible.”
They turned their heads skeptically. “Ah, really and what concentrate might that be?”
“Love, Folly answered. “The King said it was the answer to everything. How silly can someone be?”
And so they stood: hopeless. Observing the light beyond the walls and pondering a question their hardened hearts could never answer.
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