There was once a young king named Richard
by Phan Thanh gian
Who ruled over the fair land of the Polers
Which His Majesty inherited from his ancestors
One day, the king summoned his trusted advisor
'Tell me, wise one, how can I become wealthier? '
The royal counselor was given time to think it over.
Few days later, the learned man came up with the answer
'My Lord, there is someone who can make you richer! '
The sovereign is excited to have found a way to prosper.
The monarch heard the advice and was content
He says: 'I shall summon this gentleman par excellence'
So a royal edict was at once dispatched by horseman
The scarlet letter is destined to a well-known businessman
With sharp lips, bright eyes: a frugal gent
After a quick glance, he paused.. then consents
In months, the merchant arrives with a caravan of horses and tents
The royal castle celebrates his arrival with fanfare and dance
The king welcomes the honourable guest into his den.
The royal Court gathers, eager for the advice,
On how the great fortune might to be acquired.
The guest says: 'Your wealth can be found just outside! '
'Do you mean within those tents are the fortune piled? '
The businessman quietly shakes his head and smiles
'Those tents are for your majesty's own rank and file'
'Explain at once you charlatan or you'll die! '
The short tempered king wants to throw this traitor outside
'Please let me explain Your Majesty' - the man decries
'If you just let me proclaim my 'Great Offer''
'Then the whole story would sound a lot better'
So the king and his court listen as the merchant proffers
'The neighboring Kingdom of Bond, the Land of Wey,
'The surrounding tribes of Aarma offer his majesty
'A mountain of gold, silver, diamonds, and rubies'
The king and his Council all hushed and gawk with glee,
While the horses come in and spill their dazzling treasury
All eyes glitter and cheeks blushed in jubilee
The old advisor suddenly asks while appears unease
'What is been asked in return for this extravagant spree? '
The merchant carefully replies to His Majesty
'Your Kingdom of Polers is the price, his Royal Highness! '
'Those tents and horses too are yours to possess'
'Once your Highness agrees, you can vacate in your best'.
After hearing this the royal Council is not impressed
To this the king also looks visibly depressed
All this treasures, but the Land is no longer his bequest?
The guest trader is ordered to wait three days
While the king and his Council meet in a parlay
The Council vehemently rejects the deal away.
But the king ponders secretly as he paces the hallway
The dilemma sickened him, in an internal fray
Finally he says: 'I'll take the treasures and part my way! '
The kingdom's moon casts a mournful shadow of gray,
As the king departs while the merchant is here to stay.
Soon after, all courtiers resigned or were chased away!
The Polers is in turmoil, commoners worry for their welfare
While the former king is quite happy with his state of affaire
He travels over his own domain without any care.
One day, the new mercantile government declares:
All those with or without land are taxed, no one is spared
All those with excesses would pay ten fold in share!
The former sovereign immediately pays what is fair
The government, then decreed more duties and fares
The rich young man puts out again in despair
The new ruler institutes a multitude of reforms
All taxes increase in rates and come in many forms
None was spared from this tremendous political storm
Under corvée and draft, many families were torn
Scores of mines were dug in the far flung forlorns
Many deaths in many ways, as a new curse was born
Resources were shipped to the neighboring states
In compensation for their tributes to the former king of late
As the forests, rivers and hills of Polers dissipate...
Richard grows restless, ever since his abdication
What was once his fair kingdom, now under a malediction
With populace resentments for the new administration.
To appease his mind Richard travels abroad on vacation
He makes several voyages to the neighboring nations
Everywhere he goes, he is far from relaxation
His arrival was not greeted by a single invitation
He was extorted money as a further humiliation
Richard heads home, in broken spirit and financial condition
He finally comes near the frontier town of his homeland
The Polers guards block him and make all sorts of demands
He complies as any well mannered man
Once through with these ordeals, Richard came up with a plan
Finally he exclaims: 'I must take back my regal command! '
'Once a King, I cannot be a common man'
Richard packs up and heads to the capital of the land
He comes with an angry protest letter in his trembling hands
And asks to see the head of state for a rant
The merchant, now titled Chancellor, is notified
All the politicians are convened to strategize
On how to handle this troublemaker within sight
The ex-monarch says to the new Chancellor: 'You're a sly! '
'You've turned my people's life into miserable plight'
'Give back my throne and I'll return your filthy pyrites'
The Chancellor smiles from his dais up high
'You have a good heart sir, I must admire'
'But the deal was struck and your kingship has since expired'
'Now have the guards arrest this preposterous usurper! '
'For he has conspired a coup against peace and order'
'By proposing to overthrow a legitimate leader'
Richard is imprisoned after his outrage
Months later the Chancellor sends out a page
He offers to release the prisoner from his cage
Richard is been offered to live in exile - so travel he may
Under a plea bargain he can be on his way
But Richard shall surrender all of his wealth to the State
So to obtain his freedom, dearly he must pay!
How did Richard's world turn this way?
A former king, now a penniless pauper gone astray
What good is wealth without freedom or freedom without wealth?
The only thing Richard has left is his sorrowful self
Near the end of his youthful years and in poorer health
The prisoner accepts the terms to be free from this hell
So the Chancellor releases Richard from his cell,
Then banished to the hinterland, he was left to himself.
The exiled convict is broken down in spirit
As he sat by the street, many peasants walk by and spit
They are Polers refugees, paying dues to this royal misfit!
Suddenly, an old man comes by his side to sit
He says: 'My Lord! How did you ever come to this? '
The stranger seems to have come from a past cloudy mist
Back when he had a kingdom and ruled as he sees fit
The daily governance kept him out of boredom and in good wit
Until he decided to give it all up for a greedy dream of his
The stranger is none other then Richard's former advisor
Seeing the latter, his tears swell more than ever
Richard says: 'Forgive my sins against Polers! '
The old man weeps silently along his former master
Squat by the roadside, they share the pain with each other
They reminisce the golden days before the nation was pilfered
At nightfall the old man brings his master home for shelter
In his small hut beside a slow moving river
After a meagre meal they fall asleep by the dying fire
Richard wakes up the next day appears vacant
His old companion looks for signs of mental pertinence,
In vain, he tried to revive Richard's mind from disturbance
Soon, the villagers gather to see Rick, the demented vagrant
'I knight thee', he solemnly sworn in the neighbour's children
'Now go and kill that monstrous serpent! '