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Anti-Parable (Original)


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This short story is one of great love, great sacrifice and faithfulness in the face of rebellion, rejection and neglect. After years of merciful pursuit, the main character has a realisation and faces a stark choice...

 

There was a good King that ruled over the land. In the land there was a rich man, who was liked by those who traded with him and who shared in his great wealth, but disliked by many others who found him to be arrogant and anti-social. The King loved him dearly in spite of this, and sent him many letters declaring his affections, and on many occasions asked him to come to the royal courts to meet him. Though the man was already rich, the King would send gifts as tokens of his appreciation. The rich man never once wrote back, responded to his invitation or thanked him for the gifts, as he was too busy and he had his wealth and reputation to think about. The King even sent his prize bull to the rich man, and went without food for a month. The rich man grew his fortune and his reputation as a great businessperson, and continued to reject and neglect the King.

 

One day the King decided to visit the rich man, because his affection for him was so deep that he would never let the relationship die out. He had already given so much and sacrificed what was dearest to him, yet insisted on pursuing the rich man to tell him how much he appreciated him and to welcome him into his kingdom. He rode to the rich man’s enormous palace, and asked the guards at the front gate if he could see the rich man. The guards said that the rich man was away on business and would be back the next day. So the King made a bed on the side of the road next to the gate, vulnerable to the cold night, to thieves and wild animals, and going without food he waited for the rich man to return.

 

The King awoke the next day and approached the guards. “Where is the rich man?”, he asked. The guards responded that he was still away, but that he could send a letter. The King wrote a long letter and decided to sleep out in the road one more night, then he would have to see the rich man. When he awoke this time the guards were both gone. He decided to sneak into the palace, and searched every room until he arrived at the rich man’s private quarters, where no one could enter but the rich man and his wife. He burst into the room and was greeted with a familiar sight. All of his letters were scattered around the floor, ripped and stained. Every one of his gifts lay unopened in a heap in the corner. His gaze fell to the centre of the room where there stood a large four-poster bed, and the shape of a body underneath the sheets. He threw them aside to find that the bed was empty except for what looked like the remains of a large animal, and on closer inspection it looked like it had never been slept in before. The King could not believe his eyes, and his mind raced. He now suspected why none of his letters had been answered and none of his gifts appreciated. He felt embarrassed and confused. Why had the guards told him to send letters and to wait for his return? How did he become known as a great businessperson, and earn such great wealth? Were the guards and the people who said they knew him all lying, or did they too believe there was a rich man in the palace? After all, how else could there be a palace, without a rich man?

 

The King began to ask these questions in the market square, increasingly convinced that he had uncovered a great fraud, the perpetrator of which must be brought to justice. To his astonishment, some of the citizens did not care whether there was a rich man or not, since the palace was a source of great wealth for them and their family. Others said they too sent gifts and letters, but were not worried if they weren’t answered, for it merely meant that the rich man was away on other business. Others pointed to the magnificence and complexity of the palace and argued that it was impossible for a rich man not to inhabit it. After talking for many hours with the people he discovered that he was the only one ever to have tried to enter the palace to see whether anyone lived inside it.

 

The people grew very distrustful of the King after he had asked so many questions, and began to revolt. There was chaos in the marketplace and the people stormed the King’s courts. They demanded that another ruler be put in place. After searching amongst themselves and finding none of them suitable for the task they agreed on a new ruler. It would be the rich man, who would rule from the palace with a “glorious and everlasting reign”, and if ever the citizens wanted to talk to their ruler they simply had to send letters via the guards at the front gate.

 

The King was exiled and could never return, by the orders of the guards who now numbered in the hundreds. The citizens went back to the marketplace to trade their goods and continued to live their lives as before, except for one new law that they agreed among them unanimously: Never again would anyone attempt to enter the palace of the rich man...

 

Some of us have spent years of our lives writing letters and sending gifts to someone who was never there. Christianity teaches not to reject or neglect acts of great love, but recognise them when you see them and let the person know you appreciate them. I think that's good advice. The thing is, we have given a lot of ourselves and sacrificed a great deal for our faith, and have been quick to attribute the good things in life to divine intervention. There's only one person guilty of ignoring acts of love, and that is the rich man in this story, or so it seems because on closer inspection the reason our calls are not returned is because there is no one there behind the doors of the palace. Knowing this, we can move on and save our affections for those who have a heart like ours to reciprocate them.

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"Knowing this, we can move on and save our affections for those who have a heart like ours to reciprocate them." This is what it all boils down to.

 

Also for years I tried to give my life for a group of people who really didn't give a rats ass about me or my family. I thought they cared...when I found out they really didn't, then I stopped caring about them too.

 

Now it's finding our way. Your quote sums up where I am at now. :)

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