Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GET COLD FEET (10/12/17)
- TITLE: Marbles to Majesty
By Francy Judge
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Unlike when Mom died of a long battle with a fever, the king tripped on a stone step and hit his head. He died in an instant, the same instant I became king. I heard the whispers and jokes.
“How will he lead the country when he doesn’t yet have a whisker to shave?”
“He would rather play ball than be king.”
And they were right, but I had no choice in the matter.
The king’s royal chamber was too gold and red velvet for my taste, so I asked my attendants to redecorate it to look like a hunter’s cabin with plaid flannel. I wouldn’t mind the job of king if decorating was my biggest worry, but I knew a war was brewing beyond the river. My father did try to prepare me for my future job by overloading me with governing classes, but no one wanted to tell him the truth about my grades. He would have sent me to the dungeon for a C. I didn’t have much time to get used to the idea; I was the king, expected to stop a war.
“Your Majesty, sorry to disturb your game of marbles, but the ambassador to Lyden is requesting a meeting. This may be our last chance to avoid a war with their country.”
I gathered my marbles. “Oh, alright. Tell him to meet me at the rose garden at noon for a game of chess.”
“Yes. We shall discuss the matter of war over a game of chess.”
The ambassador was an experienced chess player, so we had a challenging game. As I moved my knight, I asked, “Explain why you are demanding the land my father conquered.”
He moved his knight. “Your father took our land we have farmed for centuries. Without access to the river, we are limited in our trade. Our people are poor and suffering.”
I took my time plotting, until I had control of the board. “I would like to give you back your land under certain conditions. Checkmate.”
“If we give you back your land, you must promise to keep peace and to help us fight any other enemy who invades our territories.”
“Good game. I will discuss the matter with King Albert. I must admit, you are very wise for your age. Your father and I didn’t get along so well, but he did a fine job raising his son. I will get back to you.”
My first day on the job, and I stopped a war. That was fifteen years ago. I hold my hands out to my son. “Come sit next to me on the throne, Prince Alexander.” His eyes gleam with excitement.
“Can I bring Ted?” He lifts up his pet turtle as if I wasn’t aware of its presence.
“Yes, Ted can come too as long as he remains on your lap.”
“What do you think is the most important thing to know about ruling a land?”
“…” Alexander’s eyes open wide.
“We have authority over many people, but we are also under a higher authority. God has given us this position to lead the country as He pleases. He gave us this job, and He can take it away. Every small task we are given is to prepare us for something greater in His time.”
“I promise to take good care of Ted Turtle.”
I place the crown on my son’s head, and we laugh as it falls to his nose. “You will make a fine king one day.”
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