The Honour of Kings

There once was a King. His word was law. He acknowledged no law higher than himself, nor morality, nor god.

One day riding in the countryside he saw a pretty peasant working in the fields. He returned to his palace in great excitement. “I must have her” he said. “She will add to my collection of butterflies in the Court harem”.

Later in the day Emissaries from the Court knocked at the door of the peasant’s hovel. Ostentatiously holding their nose and smirking at each other, they put on straight faces when an old man answered. He stared at them, frozen, speechless.

“We would like to speak to your daughter” one said.

The girl looked at them with suspicion and listened carefully to what they had to say. When they finished and waited for her reply she said one word.

“No”.

“But you can’t say , “no”, said one.

“You don’t understand” said the other.

“I understand. The King wants me to be his whore. Dressed up in shiny clothes, that is all I will be. Will the people at Court view me as an equal? Will they talk to me as one of themselves? Oh, they will be polite  – on the surface. But they will mock me among themselves. And if the King is a thug, a pervert, where do I go for help? The police? And since when does a King go trawling in the gutter for a mate? Has he run out of princesses. Or do those princesses know what they would be getting into?”

The girl held out her hands, worn hard and calloused with work. “If I’d wanted to be a whore, would I have hands like these?”

“But, but ..” stuttered one Emissary, “It is an honour!”

“Who is the King’s General?” the girl asked. “Give the honour to him. He deserves it”.

She turned and walked back into the hut.

The Emissaries looked at each other, white faced.

“We can’t say that to the King”

“We have to” said the other, grim-faced. “It is our job”.

The Emissaries returned to the Palace. The grim-faced Emissary reported the conversation verbatim, as he was trained.

The King raged. “A peasant? A worthless female dares to insult me?”

Early next morning soldiers descended on the village. They not only rounded up the girl and her family, but everyone. They killed all stock and burnt the village and surrounding fields to the ground.

They took everyone back to the Kings dungeons and slowly tortured everyone to death. Men women and children. They forced them to carry out every perversion on each other known. Fathers were forced to rape their children while their torturers stood round laughing. And worse.

When the peasant girl gave up her dying breath she thought, “And we respected these bastards? We worked for them? And fought for them? What fools we were”. She laughed. “All that work of our ancestors. Working hard, struggling to bring up children. Why did we bother? Their deeds proclaim  them for what they are – the honour of kings”.

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Copyright 2014 Prayerwarriorpsychicnot

 

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