Once upon a time there lived a noble King. He was a big man who stood tall and strong above all of his subjects. The King was very wise and ruled with a great sense of justice. He was very honest and promised that he would also observe the rules that he made for the man in the street. His subjects trusted him, for he was a modest man, didn’t misuse his authority and always kept his word.
The King had a son who was well cared for. He grew up to be a handsome Prince, educated in the fine arts and all the sciences. But because he was the only son, his father loved him with all his heart and indulged him in many a ways. As a result the Prince became an unreliable young man in whom you couldn’t place your confidence. It wasn’t that he lied but he wasn’t meticulous about the truth. He seemed incapable of keeping his word and slowly some of his friends became disenchanted with his behaviour and turned away from him.
As the years passed by and the King became old and weary of his reign, the time came for the Prince to take over the crown and sceptre to become the people’s new sovereign. However, his son’s behaviour distressed the King. He admonished him frequently saying, he shouldn’t disappoint his friends in such a nonchalant manner, for his insincerity would prove unworthy of a future King. The Prince promised to observe his father’s pleas and not to deceive his friends, whether in jest or in all seriousness. But there was a great temptation.
The King was a mighty man and his will had much influence on the fate of his subjects. For this reason many a rogue tried to bribe the King with gifts or money to make their wishes heard. But the King resisted these temptations and remained firm to the principle that his decisions had to serve the benefit of all the people. The Prince was also not influenced by tributes of money or gifts but he was ambitious and keen to use his authority. Some of the more devious subjects tried to use this weakness to influence the King indirectly by approaching his son. They asked the Prince to intercede with his father and because he felt flattered, he gave undertakings to put their requests to his father. But by the following day he had usually forgotten his promise. So it wasn’t surprising that even such people failed to attach too much importance to his words.
One day he and some of his remaining friends went down by the river. Despite the fact that heavy rains had made the river too dangerous for swimming they jumped from the bank into the water. The Prince was an excellent swimmer. He made his way to the middle of the river to demonstrate his daring. But the current proved too strong for him and carried him away. Realising he was in danger he called for help but his friends paid no attention to his cries. They thought that he was just trying to get their attention and would laugh at them if they fell for his ruse.
The current carried the Prince away. I don’t know what happened to him for he was never seen again. Maybe he managed to save himself on reaching some distant bank, for he was a good swimmer. But one thing is for sure - he never became a King.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Karl Wiener.
Published on e-Stories.org on 28.10.2007.