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The Jester And The King
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The Jester And The King

Copyright ©2005 - All rights reserved.
See permission for not-for-profit use at end of article.


With vacant eyes and a stupid grin, the jester looked around at the stunned crowd.

The intricately carved workmanship of rarest crystal and finest gold had once composed a beautiful globe at the tip of the king's scepter, yet now it lay in crazed and shattered
fragments strewn haphazardly across the floor.

In the horrified hush of the king's court, a brazen clown now stood there. Looking to the bystanders, he grinned and shrugged, turning slowly, hands upturned expectant, still waiting for applause, it seemed.

Self-absorbed and giddy antics had elicited whistling and laughter, clapping and cheers only moments earlier. None in the crowd objected, even as a priceless royal heirloom was grasped from the hand of honor, waved about in feigned nobility, and then employed as a spherical mirror by which to preen and groom a caricature freakish face. Into it, the jester gazed, quite pleased with himself, at his own magnified image, making foolish faces and noting the condition of his teeth.

Then, in a sudden pretense of being offended at his own reflection, as if by what he saw of himself there, he struck the globe a playful slap, not considering how loosely he held the magnificent emblem of royal authority.

All other eyes now turned to the king; but a fool still thought of himself; a fool still looked for an audience, and was still optimistic of approval.

Surely anyone else would have been moved by fear at what had just occurred. Surely anyone else would have realized the value of what had just been destroyed. Wouldn't anyone else have bowed low in sudden horror and remorse, offering tearful and heartfelt apologies?

But, ever the mocker, this one scoffed, and blurted aloud, 'What? ? ? It was an accident! None of you ever busted a trinket? '

When finally he spoke, the king's words were very deliberate and restrained, and unbelievably quiet, and unbelievably calm. But the low tone of anger was yet so very plain there in his voice:

'You, sir, have forgotten your place. But you will surely be introduced to it. You now will be bound and carried out, away, into the darkness.'

The king's attendants surged to life instantly to take the man; as one of them bound him another blindfolded him. And others moved just as quickly in lifting the condemned, with one fluid motion removing him from the room. Now their footsteps rang the sound of certainty from the stones, down into the corridor, growing fainter over time, until at last a realization dawned, and a rising mournful wail began to echo like a siren from the shadows.

But the march continued on with absolutely no regard for the foolish man's grotesque untimely sorrow.


All material copyrighted by Barry Conner. Copyright ©2005 by Barry Conner. All rights reserved. Permission is given only for non-profit use, quotation, or printing of all or part this material, and only as written here. The author reserves the right to deny use in venues or materials deemed objectionable.

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