Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled a kingdom far, far away. With his great wealth, endless power, and loyal counselors, the king could have lived a comfortable and happy life. But there was one more thing he wanted: absolute certainty that he was loved by every citizen in his kingdom.

To find out what his people thought about him, the king sent men in disguise to every corner of his empire. “If you discover somebody who does not love us,” he told the men, “bring them to us. We will educate them.”

Rumors soon started spreading about what happened in the castle’s deepest dungeons. Words, such as “imprisonment,” “cruelty,” and “torture,” were quietly whispered. To stop the rumors, the king decided that those words did not exist. People who wrote or pronounced non-existing words, were sent to the castle to receive help with their erroneous thinking.

The king’s wish to be loved continued to grow and extended beyond his kingdom. One day, he proclaimed, “Our neighboring country’s people are suffering under tyranny. We consider it our duty to free them. We will send some of our most devoted men there with the good news that their country now is united with our kingdom and that they are free to love us. At their arrival, our men will be greeted as liberators and heroes, believe us!”

Many young, proud boys heard the king, volunteered, and left. When they arrived, however, they were surprised to meet resistance. The enslaved people stubbornly refused to accept their liberation. They showed no interest in loving the king as his own people did.

The mission in the neighboring country lasted many years. Before it was successfully terminated, the king died and, with him, his crusade. After his death, it was revealed that his ultimate goal had been to win the love of people in many more nations.

His followers raised a gravestone for him, with words to ponder for future generations:

His longing for love was limitless,
Borders did not bind him.
Faithless foes furthered
Death and destruction,
Misunderstanding his mighty mission.

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Allan Neil
Allan Neil (@allan-neil)
1 month ago

An excellent story with just the merest nod towards a certain unnamed ruler. I could almost see the twinkle in your eye as you wrote the valediction, Christer.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

This sounds like a parable for certain current events, Christer. Nicely written and certainly thought provoking. Good job

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

Hello, Christer. As always, it is another brilliant story. And I agree with Carrie, it is like a parable of a current event. It is timely and touching. Well done. 

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

You’re welcome, Christer.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei (@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

Well done Christer for your subtlety in pointing at today’s greedy despots.

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
1 month ago

This was a great story, Christer. Although I can see how it can relate to current events, I think it goes further than that. I think it is a general state of being where people want to be loved and will do whatever is needed to get what they want. This might be in ‘helping’ those who disagree to ‘understand’ or to ‘educate’ them to be the way that was expected of them in the society they were living in. In my mind this is an age-old issue that will probably never change. I enjoyed reading this.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
1 month ago

Tyrants come in many guises, Christer, as you have so cleverly incorporated into your story. Extremely well written, chilling and current.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Rock

Linda, I came here to leave a similar comment. But you worded it better. Tyrants do come in different forms and faces. I also found this story to be chilling, Christer. Both in how relevant it is and how well it is written. I wish I could read story in many more pages. Are you going to expand on this story at any time? Is this a small piece of something larger?

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Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
1 month ago

It is so hard cutting a story down! I hope you retore it into a bigger version at some point, I’m a fan. Great work once again, Christer.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills (@greene-m-wills)
1 month ago

A fantastic allegory, no doubt inspired by what’s really happening in the world! Well done Christer, I really enjoyed your story, half way between a fairy tale and an Orwellian nightmare…

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