21st Century Tales: The Unjust King

            Once there was a young man and a young woman who married.  Their families were good, hard working people and managed to set them up with a plot of land, a nice little home, a rickety old wagon and a small flock of sheep.  The couple thought little about the future because they were in their twenties, but they worked hard to grow grain and tend their sheep, and in due season they preserved what food they could and sheered the sheep to card and spin the wool to make cloth.  And they were happy.

            After ten years, the couple got a brand new wagon to replace the rickety old one and they rode to town.  On the edge of town they met a young mother with a red headed baby girl.  “You must work hard for the sake of your child,” the wife said.

            The young mother responded.  “I care nothing about material things and I will not waste my life working for them.  I am free to do as I please.  But say, I have no wagon.  Give me yours.”

            The King decided and spoke to the couple.  “You have land for food and a nice home and a small flock of sheep for cloth.  This young mother has no such things.  What is more, you have a second wagon.  Everyone is entitled to a wagon.”  So he took the new wagon from the couple and gave it to the young mother because she had none.

            The couple walked sadly into town where they saw the physician and were told they would not be able to have children.  They cried, and the wife first thought about tomorrow. “What will we do without children when the cold winds of age take us?”  The husband had no answer.  They walked home that day and they were very unhappy because now they were in their thirties and had saved little for the future.

            So they worked extra hard to grow grain and tend their sheep, and in due season they preserved what food they could and sheered the sheep to card and spin the wool to make cloth.

            After ten years, the husband had an idea.  “Let us take all the food we have preserved though our marriage and sell it in town.  We can buy a second piece of land and while we are still young we can grow twice what we grow and preserve it all.  In the future we can sell the land back to another and have plenty to see us through the cold winds of age.”  So they loaded up their preserves in their rickety old wagon and rode to town.

            On the edge of town, they were stopped by the mother and her red headed daughter.  She said, “I care nothing for material things and will not waste my life working for them.  I am free to do as I please.  But say, I have no food.  Give me some of your preserves.”

            The King decided and spoke to the couple.  “You have land for food and a nice home and a small flock of sheep for cloth.  This mother has none of those things.  She has only a wagon.  But everyone is entitled to food.”  So he took half of the preserves from the couple and gave it to the mother and her red headed daughter because they had none.

            The couple rode sadly into town where they saw the land dealer.  They bought some land with what they had left.  It was not very much land or very good land, but it was all they could afford.  And the wife thought more about the future.  “This poor land will have to be cleared and worked hard before it can be planted.  That may take a long time.  Who will do it?”

            The husband answered.  “I will do it in my spare time while I am still young enough to do it.”  They rode home that day hopeful, because though they were in their forties and now had their own aging parents to care for, they had hope for the future.”

            So they worked extra-extra hard to grow grain and tend their sheep, and in due season they preserved what food they could and sheered the sheep to card and spin the wool to make cloth.  In their spare time, after tending to their parents, the husband and wife cleared their second land and readied it to plant.

            After ten years, the land was ready.  And though they no longer had to worry about their parents, they were both worn out.  “Who will plant this second field now?” the wife asked.

            “I no longer have the strength to plant and maintain two fields,” the husband confessed.  “But I have had another thought.  Let us take the cloth we have made through our marriage and sell it in town.  We can buy all we need to build a second house on the second land.  Then we can find a young couple in need and let them live in the second house for the promise of helping us in our age.  We can become like a family.  We can be like their parents and they can be like our children.”  So they loaded up the cloth in their very rickety old wagon and rode to town.

            On the edge of town they were stopped by the mother and her full grown red headed daughter.  She said, “I care nothing for material things and will not waste my life working for them.  I am free to do as I please.  But say, I have no cloth to replace the rags we wear.  Give me some of your cloth.”

            The King decided and spoke to the couple.  “You have land for food and a nice home and a small flock of sheep for cloth.  This mother and her daughter have none of those things.  They only have a wagon and a bit of food.  But everyone is entitled to cloth.”  So he took half of the cloth from the couple and gave it to the mother and her red headed daughter because they had none.

            The couple rode quietly into town where they saw the home builders.  They bought some lumber and nails with what they had left.  It would not be a very big house, but it was all they could afford.  And the wife thought more about the future.  “We had to spend all we had on the material for the house.  Now we have nothing left to hire laborers.  Who will build our second house?”

            The husband answered.  “I will do it in my spare time before I am too old to do it.”  They rode home that day still and quiet, because they were in their fifties and thinking the time of their own aging was drawing near.”

            Still, they worked extra hard to grow grain and tend their sheep, and in due season they preserved what food they could and sheered the sheep to card and spin the wool to make cloth.  In their spare time, husband and wife worked on their second house to make it as good as they could.

            After ten years, the house was finished and they began to look for a suitable couple.  They walked to town because their very rickety old wagon had finally gone to dust.  On the edge of town they were stopped by the woman and her red headed daughter who now had a baby girl of her own.  The daughter with the red hair spoke.

            “I care nothing about material things and will not waste my life working for them   I am free to do as I please.  But say, I have heard that you now have two houses.  I have nowhere to shelter my mother and daughter.  Give me one of your houses.”

            The King decided.  “You have land for food and a nice home and a small flock of sheep for cloth.  This mother and her daughter and granddaughter have none of those things.  They only have a wagon and a bit of food and a bit of cloth.  But everyone is entitled to shelter.”  So he took the second house and the second land from the couple and gave it to the mother and her red headed daughter and granddaughter because they had none.

            The couple went home in despair, because now they were in their sixties and had the aches in the joints and pains everywhere and no longer had the strength of their youth..  “What will we do now?” the wife asked.  The husband had no answer.

            Even so, they worked hard to grow grain and tend their sheep, and in due season they preserved what food they could and sheered the sheep to card and spin the wool to make cloth for as long as they could.

            After ten years, the time came for taxes.  By then the couple had consumed or sold all of their preserves, all of the sheep, all of their cloth and the field lay fallow.  They were in their seventies.  But because they could not pay their taxes, the King took their land and nice house.  He put a young couple in the house and told them, “The red headed mother in the second house cannot work because she must care for her aging mother and young girl.  Therefore, you must give them half of what you grow.  Everyone is entitled to help when they need it.”  And the young couple did not complain because they did not know any better.

            As for the old couple, they went to the street and died ragged, homeless and hungry in the cold winds of age.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s