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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: The Man the King Delights to Honor
By Yvonne Blake


The king of Persia tossed this way and that. He kicked off his royal silk coverings and fluffed up his royal tasseled pillow. He lay on his back. He lay on his left side and his right. Nothing helped.

“Servant! Close the window again! That pounding is driving me crazy. How can anyone sleep with all that noise?”

The king closed his eyes. He could still hear the hammering in the middle of the night.

“Servant! I must get my rest! Read to me.”

“What shall I read?”

“Read the daily chronicles to me, and don’t try to make them interesting. Hopefully you can bore me to sleep.”

The servant sat cross-legged on the carpet and unrolled a scroll. “On the third day of the tenth month, fifty shekels of wheat and thirty flagons of wine and a hundred measures of corn and sixty sheep and twelve oxen were bought for the palace for the price of three hundred two and forty pieces of silver. On the fourth day of the tenth month, the merchant, Teresh, paid seventy pieces of silver to the merchant, Bigthan, for false dealings. On the fifth day of the tenth month, the doorkeeper, Mordecai, reported suspicions of an assassination of the king. On the-“

“Wait! Read that part again…about the doorkeeper.”

“The doorkeeper, Mordecai, reported suspicions of an assassination of the king.”

The king sat up and stared at the servant. “Has this man been rewarded for his bravery and faithfulness? He has saved my life. Why haven’t I been told of this before?”

The servant unrolled one parchment after another looking for a record of a reward given to the doorkeeper Mordecai, but there was none.

“I must do something to show my respect to this man. What would be the best way?”

The king of Persia lay down upon his royal bed and finally fell asleep, thinking of the doorkeeper who saved his life.

~ ~ ~

Haman, the chief of the princes of Persia, was happy. Early in the morning, he strutted to the palace with a smug grin. Was he not promoted above all of the other counselors, a guest at the king’s table? Was he not the greatest man in all of Persia besides the king?

As he passed the chamberlains, doorkeepers, and guards, they all bowed their faces to the ground—except one—Mordecai. Haman sneered at the brave man. Soon—soon he would have his revenge on this one Jew who refused to bow to him! The gallows were finished. The workers had labored all night. Soon his enemy would be gone. He only needed the king’s signature and it would be done!

Haman’s stomping footsteps echoed in the stone hallways. Mutters and growls rumbled from his lips. “Arrogantstiffneckedstubbornignorantfoolishrebelliouspigheaded…” As he lifted his hand to the door to the king’s chambers, it opened. A servant, leaving the room with a tray of silver bowls, turned to announce Haman’s arrival.

The king motioned the prince inside. “Haman! You’re just the person I need to help me with an important matter.”

Haman bowed, pleased by this obvious request of the king. “Anything for you, O king!”

“My most trusted advisor, what shall I do for the man I delight to honor?”

Haman stood and smiled. He strutted around the room with his head high and shoulders thrown back. “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let the royal cloak be placed on his shoulders and the king’s crown on his head. Let this man be put on the king’s horse and be led up and down throughout the city by one of the most noble princes, proclaiming to everyone that the king delights in honoring this man.”

“Yes! Yes! Wonderful!” The king clapped his hands and removed his crown and cloak. “Make haste! Take these and put them on Mordecai, the doorkeeper. Put him on my strongest horse and proclaim throughout the city that this is the man the king delights to honor.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/22/10
This is one of my favorite "Bible oops" stories
told exceptionally well. The minute you think Haman and his gallows and his pride, you think "oops." This writer made the story come alive.
Barbara Lynn Culler01/22/10
I thought of this story right from the start. You really brought it to life!
Gregory Kane01/23/10
An appropriate story for the topic. I felt that you stuck a little too rigidly to the Bible tale so that I always knew what was coming next. But then again that's also a valid form of writing! I enjoyed the line about reading in as boring a voice as possible.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/24/10
This story fits the topic well, and your retelling of it makes it enjoyable to read.
Leah Nichols 01/28/10
That's one of my favorite Bible stories. Poetic justice to the max!!! Very well-done retelling.