Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)
TITLE: Un-Kingly Affection
By Marita Thelander
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The King called for his messenger. “I need laborers for the land. It is time to fulfill my plans.”
The courier galloped all over the kingdom and declared the proclamation: “The King is in search of laborers to expand his territory. All who desire to assist him in his plan should meet at the palace courtyard to receive further instructions.”
Eager to be a part of the King’s plans, Phillip packed his meager possessions and hugged his father and mother good-bye. “You have taught me to love and respect our King, and now I am ready to work for him.”
Early the next morning, Phillip mounted his horse and headed to the palace. He stood among the throngs of potential laborers and waited to hear from the King.
“The land has been divided,” the King’s voice boomed. “I desire to personally assign the parcels according to your gifts and abilities, but know that I have a plan and a purpose for each section.”
Many rejected their parcel and returned home. Phillip could hear them grumble things like: This is ridiculous. The King can’t possibly expect me to work there.
Eager to serve the King, Phillip accepted his assignment with honor. Upon arrival, he discovered many rocks and thorn bushes. He walked his boundaries and began to worry. The soil had become dry and hard from previous years of drought in this region.
Days blended into weeks…weeks melted into months, and Phillip had yet to plant a single seed. He worked diligently with a sickle to clear the briars. His horse faithfully trudged before him while he gripped the plow.
One day, Phillip wandered along his boundaries exhausted. He noticed the land next to him had already begun to sprout new life. Discouraged, he sat and wept unable to stir the desire to work again. The excitement and passion waned, and he even considered abandoning the parcel.
Defeated, Phillip went to see the King.
“What seems to be the problem?” The King inquired.
“The land is not worth putting seed into the ground.” Phillip didn’t want to appear disrespectful. He chose his words carefully. “My neighbor’s field flourishes with soft, fertile soil. It already accepted the seed and will bear a great harvest. The parcel you gave me is hard, rocky soil. I can’t even break through it with the plow. I’m worn out and my horse is equally weary.”
“Don’t be discouraged, Phillip.”
The King knows my name? Phillip stood a bit taller.
“I don’t expect to see a harvest from your parcel yet. I know it is difficult, but there is great potential there. Please don’t worry about your neighbor’s accomplishments. Focus on what I have asked you to do instead.” The King enfolded Phillip in his arms before he sent him on his way.
Overwhelmed with love and encouragement, Phillip returned to his fields. At night he would lie on his bed and remember the kind words of the King. The memory of the warm embrace inspired Phillip to bring honor to him.
Finally, after three harvest seasons had come and gone, Phillip’s hard soil had been transformed to soft nutrient-rich soil. It could now receive the seed.
Phillip rejoiced with each green sprout and soon the rows were covered with new life. He tenderly cared for the young plants, being careful not to allow weeds to invade. The rains replenished his spring and brought life-giving water to a land that had become barren.
One late summer day, the King came to see what Phillip had accomplished.
Phillip bowed before the King, “Your land is ready for harvest.”
Excited, the King wrapped his arms around Phillip in a very un-kingly act of affection and lifted him off the ground. He spun him around and rejoiced. “Ah Phillip, I knew you could do it. I knew you were the right one for this parcel. Your faithful dedication persevered just like I thought it would.”
Together they wandered up and down the rows. The King stopped and admired the field’s that stood before him, white unto harvest. With his arm around Phillip’s shoulder he whispered, “Well done, my faithful servant. Well done.”
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