Monday, July 2, 2012

The Parable of The Impatient Princess

The Parable Of The
Impatient Princess

Once there lived a king who spoke very rashly and in haste, and often to his regret, this was because the king's word was law. On one occasion he observed many in the feast hall at breakfast were sniffing runny noses from a cold. It was taught to him by a childhood nurse that eating porridge of oats and barley was the best cure-all so the rash king blurted out. "Everybody should eat porridge of barley and oats for breakfast." Since the king said it, it became the law of the land and everybody in the land had to eat porridge of barley and oats for breakfast. The king was not aware of the consequences of his words until a brave servant told him that the people of the land were bored with porridge of barley and oats and were complaining in private. It was an easy matter for the king to say, "People should eat whatever they want for breakfast." And the people of the land were happy again.

Sometimes the king's words were not easy to undo. One day the spring on the drawbridge jammed and the guards had to use a pry bar to free it and raise the bridge for the night. The king was riding his horse past the place and saw their plight and in frustration said, "Whoever designed and built the built the drawbridge should be whipped." He really did not mean it and the jammed spring was not a major problem once it was loosened, indeed it was a common flaw in all drawbridges. That night the king heard the cries of a man being whipped in the courtyard below the throne room balcony and he asked what the man's crime was. "Your majesty," the guard replied, "remember you said the man who built the drawbridge should be whipped so we  found him and are doing as you said." The king looked into the castle yard and saw indeed the stonemason who built the castle forty years before was now an old man and was being whipped. "Enough, you fools can't you see he is an old man."  The guards freed the old man carrying him down from flogging post. The king looked at him with such regret that he vowed to never speak a hasty word again.

From then on the king was very careful about every word he said. Indeed, he spoke with such care and purpose that it became painful for his court and the royal family. When asked a question he would take pause and slowly with measured speech uttering one word carefully and after a moment's thought than say the next. For most people of the court, it was understood that the king must be watchful of his words and they were patient.

The princess had no patience. She would run to the king with a request or a question or the excitement of youth but since the king did not immediately respond she felt rejected. On one occasion when the princess asked to host a royal ball for her birthday.  The king liked balls and was about to say, "Yes my dear you certainly may arrange a royal ball for your birthday," but as he was carefully considering his words the princess out of impatience blurted out, "You do not care!" She ran from the king holding back her tears.

On one occasion the princess sat at the feast table next to the king. She was listening with interest to the politics of state since a visiting king was at the meal and was using the casual atmosphere to discuss a treaty. The princess said to her Father the king, "Pardon, your majesty, may I ask how this treaty is fair for both kingdoms?" The king looked at his daughter; his heart full of pride that she found the flaw in the treaty, he was glad that she was showing wisdom in state affairs. He was about to praise her and answer her question but was taking so long by being cautious that she stood up, said, "Good evening," to the feast and left stomping her feet and slamming doors all through the castle.

On a morning the princess was in the gardens when the king walked up. "Good morning Father." She said and waited for his reply. As he considered if it was safe to say good morning she grew impatient and turned around and stalked away kicking the shrubbery as she went.

So it went on and on. The princess asking and then without waiting made the assumption that silence was the answer, and that answer a rejection.  One night the queen heard the princess crying in her room. "What is the matter, my dear." The queen said.

"The king hates me, he will never speak to me. What did I do to make him hate me?"

"Oh, Princess, the king does not hate you. Why do you think he hates you?

"The king never speaks to me; I ask him something and he just looks at me or he looks at the ceiling and he never can bring himself to say a word."

"Princess the king loves you very much but he must not be hasty in his speech. Once he spoke in haste and a poor innocent old man was whipped badly. The king felt such remorse that he vowed to never say a careless word since his word is law. So, he is not rejecting you, he is being careful. Next time you speak to him be patient and wait for an answer you will find he loves you deeper than you know."

The next morning at breakfast the princess sat beside the king. "Will the king ride his horse today, seeing it is a fine day for horse riding?" She asked.

The king looked up at the ceiling for a long time. The princess waited. She began to fidget, tapping her foot and biting her lip. She put her fork down and was about to get up and the king spoke. "Yes daughter it is a fine day for horse and if there are no demands of state I will ride today. Would the princess ride with me?"

Tears flowed like fountains from the princess' eyes as she said, "Yes."

So often we pray like the impatient princess we rush into prayer to ask of God and rush out without giving God time to answer. We would not treat someone at work or a family member that way. God's timing is not our timing. Our waiting demonstrates our willingness for the answer.  We must remember to take time in our prayers and take time wait for an answer.

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