Lily was certain she would never get one of her own, but she loved to sneak into the princess’ closet and wrap herself in the beautiful purple robe the king had given her. There were many people in the kingdom who had purple robes. They were welcome to come to the king’s castle whenever they wanted. They would sit with the king for as long as they wanted, and he never asked them to leave.
The king surely would see nothing in Lily to make her worthy of such a gift. But she dreamed of being invited to the castle, not to work, but to spend time with the king.
Her dream drove her to find a way to get the king to notice her so she could have a purple robe of her own. She earned new responsibilities because of her superior performance at each task she was asked to perform. When she went home, she studied for hours to be smart enough to gain the king’s attention.
One afternoon, during a break from her work in the castle, Lily sat outside a room where the king was meeting with one of his important people. She longed for the king to talk so gently and lovingly with her as he did with every one of his important people. Lily got so wrapped up in listening to the king’s conversation that she didn’t notice the princess coming.
“Lily, what are you doing here?” said the princess.
“I…uh…I’m sorry princess. I’m just…I’m… uh…I’m just heading back to work,” Lily said as she hurried away.
“Lily, wait!” As Lily stopped obediently to receive her next command, the princess reached out and took Lily’s hand in her own. “Would you like to sit with me while I visit the king?”
“I can’t do that! I don’t have a purple robe! I am not important enough to spend time with the king, but I hope to be soon. I am working hard, and I am studying and learning, and maybe I will get the king to notice me so I can have a purple robe, too!” Lily’s words were coming out of her mouth with such excitement that the princess had a hard time keeping up with her.
“Lily, these robes are gifts that my father, the king, gives to the people who love him. We didn’t earn them, and they don’t make us more important,” the princess said.
“But I’ve been working so hard and trying to get the king to notice me so I could have one.”
“The king noticed you long ago, Lily. He talks about how much he loves you all the time!”
“He loves me? He talks about me…to you?” Lily was amazed by what she was hearing. “Then why hasn’t he given me a robe?”
“He’s waiting for you to ask, Lily. He has a robe with your name on it, and he prepared it for you long ago. He brought you here so you could become part of the people who love him.”
“I do love him!” Lily said. “If he has a purple robe with my name on it, what do I have to do to get it?”
“Ask him,” said the princess.
“Really? That’s all I have to do?”
Lily became very nervous as the princess nodded her head and escorted Lily into the king’s throne room. The room quieted, and the king stood and reached his hands out to Lily.
Nervously, Lily looked back at the princess, who nodded her head in encouragement.
“Pardon me, your highness,” Lily stuttered out of nervousness. “The princess says you have a purple robe with my name on it. Please sir, may I have it?” He turned and stepped away, and for a moment, Lily’s heart dropped, fearing the king had rejected her.
“Lily,” she heard him say gently as he turned back toward her, “this robe is for you. I love you, and you may come to me whenever you want to spend time with me.”
The king approached her, carrying a purple robe bearing the name Lily. She looked into the king’s eyes, and there she found the truth of who she was. She was important. She was worthy of a purple robe. Now she understood that her importance and her worth came not from anything she could have said or done, but only from being loved by the king.
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