Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Banquet - deadline 8-16-12 10 am NY time (08/09/12)
TITLE: Dining With Royalty
By Lisa Fowler
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He jumped from his palomino to the side of the old stone well in the center of the small, sleepy village with one, long leap. Removing his hat, tucking it squarely under his arm, he pulled the scroll from the bag that hung under his arm and around his waist. Slowly he unrolled the scroll – first from the top, then from the bottom. The large curly letters were written in red, a color reserved only for royals.
“Here ye, hear ye!” he shouted to the enormous crowd gathered before him. “By order of the king, the entire village is hereby requested at the castle on the evening of the first day of the week, for a banquet in the king’s honor. Come as you are. All are ordered to attend.” He rerolled the scroll, shoved it deep into his bag, jumped from the well and rode off into the wind.
For days the upcoming banquet was all the talk in the streets and in every home in the village. Many talked of bringing gifts to honor the king; many spoke of their happiness at the invitation, all wondered why the king would ask them to come as they were rather than presenting before him in their finest.
The day of the banquet finally arrived and the townsfolk circled the castle for miles for their chance to dine in the presence of their king. The line moved slowly and soon the people tired and began to grumble about the wait.
“Father isn’t this exciting?” Danny, one of the smallest members in line said. “Who would have ever dreamed we could have supper with a king! We are the poorest of our town and yet the king has asked us to join him today.”
“Danny,” said his father, “mind your words today. We want to make a good impression on the king. Please remember to thank him for the wonderful banquet prepared in his honor.”
“Yes father, I will remember,” said Danny, and he danced with excitement in line as they waited.
“He’s the king for goodness sakes! Why couldn’t he have fixed it so we wouldn’t have to wait?” some of the towns folk said. Others grew jealous of the king’s wealth and became angry. Many left before making their way inside.
Soon Danny and his father reached the large wooden doors of the castle. They could see into the long hall where the banquet had been prepared and was waiting for all to partake.
“Oh father look!” said Danny. “It’s just as I dreamed. I’ve never seen so much food and fine linens and beautiful things as are before us.”
Danny and his father stepped inside of the castle and there before them on the floor sat the king. Dressed simply in a long robe, a linen towel draped his arm. The king dipped the towel into a basin of warm water and motioned for Danny and his father to come close.
With the towel the king began to wash their feet, first the father’s, then Danny’s. As the king washed he spoke softly.
“Thank you for accepting the invitation to my banquet,” said the king, “and thank you for coming as you are. I have prepared the finest of the kingdom and want you and your son to think of yourselves as my adopted children. You are welcome to everything here in my kingdom.”
After washing their feet the king stood and placed the finest of his royal robes around Danny and his father.
“Please, eat until you are full and feel free to stay as long as you would like,” said the king. “I would love it if you would stay – forever for I long for your comfort. I love the people of the village – my people – and would gladly give my life for you”
The king seated Danny and his father at the head of the table.
“Why do you not seat us at the servant’s table?” asked the father. “We are the poorest of your kingdom and have the least. We don’t deserve to sit at your side.”
The king smiled. “In your world you are the least but in my kingdom you are the greatest.”
“Those people that got mad and left will be sorry when they hear what a wonderful day we are having, won’t they father?” asked Danny.
Danny’s father smiled and hoped someday his son would understand the meaning of the king’s banquet.
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