Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Tale of the Nobleman And The Wooden Chest

The Tale Of The Nobleman
And The Wooden Chest
This is a story about a man who had a secret that empowered him to a place of status and power.

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A long time ago a king had a very good nobleman who was well respected and admired by all who knew him. This nobleman was not the kind who sat in his estate house and indulged in the good life, he was a hard and sacrificial worker. He always fulfilled his duties above the expectations of the king. He eventually became one of the king's trusted advisers and was part of all the great events of the kingdom. This nobleman became first among the counselors.

The Nobleman's Chest
There was one odd and particular practice of this nobleman that caused many to wonder and talk.  He had an old wooden chest that he took everywhere.  At night he would bring it into the bedchamber and set it respectfully at the foot of the bed. During the day he would bring the chest into the counsel room and set it next to his bench while he debated and discussed the affairs of state. On travels, as ambassador, he would bring it along and place it on the seat next to him in the carriage. Those who didn't know better assumed it to contain state documents or important papers of the office of First Counselor. Because of his high position and authority, none dared to ask him. The box was watched over by guards if he left it momentarily, valets would give it respect and handle it with the greatest care. The wooden box became synonymous with the nobleman.

As the years of his service came to an honorable end and the nobleman prepared to retire from public service a banquet was held by the king in his honor. The banquet hall was overflowing with the best of the kingdom, and ambassadors from all the surrounding kingdoms came to honor the nobleman who worked so tirelessly for the good of his king and his people.  Speeches were given about the good works the nobleman performed and the reforms he brought about.

The moment came when the nobleman stood before the many guests to make his fairwell when someone in the crowd shouted out. "What is in that box you have carried all these years?"

The nobleman as a country lad
"That is my secret." The nobleman replied.  "Many years ago when I was a country lad a wealthy young man rode his horse through our village. It was there that the horse threw a shoe. I offered to fetch the blacksmith for the man. 'Yes, My Good lad.' the wealthy man replied, 'And where might I rest while my horse is shod?' 'Our village is a poor one without hostel or inn, but you are welcome to share my lunch and sit in the shade of the tree while I fetch the blacksmith,' I told him. So I gave the man my lunch and sought the blacksmith. It was a few minutes later that I returned carrying the blacksmith's bag while he brought the cart. I held the bridle of the horse and helped the blacksmith, then got water and fodder for the horse.  The rich man said. 'You work with a full heart, young man, come be my servant and I will pay you worthy wages.' Yes, sir, I was overjoyed at such good fortune to be in the employ of such as him. 'Go fetch your things and ride behind me,'  he said, but I told him I had nothing but the clothes I wore. 'We shall fix that straight away.' he replied. So I rode behind my new master. Imagine my surprise when we rode to the castle. 'Tell me, sir, what is your name?' I asked him. 'I am the prince,' he answered, 'the king's first son and heir to the throne.'"

"In the castle I was given a small store room to make as my chambers but it was full of forgotten relics. As I cleaned it out the washer woman brought me a beautiful change of clothes. 'Let me take those and burn them.' she said pointing to the rags I was wearing. 'No, I will keep them and put them in this old box to remind me that I am not better than any other; this way I will mortify my pride and stay humble, because if I do not stay humble I will not be any service to my new master.' My master became king and as the years of service passed I went from lowly servant to First Counselor because I always remembered I am no better than anyone else."

The noble man opened the box before the fine people of the banquet and lifted out the rags he once wore as a peasant boy. As he sat down the entire audience stood up to honor him.

(C)Adron Dozat