The Pauper and the Nobleman

On the street of a great castle town sits a lone pauper.
Two wealthy men approach and one of them exclaims,
“Please sir, accept a small donation from me. I do not think there is another in town who needs it as much as you!”
The pauper replies, “Thank you kind sir, but I’m afraid you are mistaken. I do not need this money at all! For my friend fulfills all my needs!”
The wealthy man and his traveling companion exchange worried looks,
“Then please accept this from your new friend.”
The pauper stands up and accepts the gift.
“Thank you to my new friend.” They shake hands and the wealthy men continue on their way.

The pauper looks out towards the castle, then he begins walking.
He walks and walks.
The distractions of the town normally do not bother him.
But with the money given to him by his new friend, things begin to stand out.
Some food here.
An attraction there.
Perhaps a nice room to rest in?

But he quickly remembers his friend.
His dear friend is waiting for him.
He must ignore these distractions.
He does not want to miss the meeting with his friend.

He continues passed the town to the castle gates.
He is stopped by the guards.
“Halt! What business do you have here?”
“Esteemed knights, I am here for a meeting with my dear friend.”
“And who is your friend?”
“My friend is the great king himself!”
The guards burst out laughing.
“Has the summer sun fried your brain? The king does not have time for the likes of you.”
“Oh but quite the contrary, my great friend the king has time for all his subjects. He knows about all the goings on and he takes care of everyone in his kingdom. I urge you please, my friend the king is waiting for me. You must let me pass!”

Just then a rider approaches the gate from inside the castle walls.
“You there, guard, open the gate. Do you not know? This is the king’s dear friend. We have been awaiting his arrival!”
The guards are astonished, “Forgive us! We did not know!”
The pauper smiles, “That is quite alright!”

The doors of the throne room are pulled open and the pauper and his escort enter.
The king and members of the court all stand.
The king descends the stairs and greets his dear friend, the pauper, with a hug.
The king announces to the court:

“This is my dear friend. You are to treat him with the highest honor and respect. He has my friendship and my love.”

The members of the court bow their heads in respect. All but one. He holds his head high. His eyes are filled with disdain. He steps forward.

“I am a nobleman. I have served the king my whole life. I stood with him. I sat with him. I have honored him. But he dishonors me. He prefers a pauper over me. I cannot abide this indignation!”

The king retorts:

“I have given you lands. I have given you rank. I have given you status. I have given you power. I have given you servants. I have given you riches. You never sleep hungry. You never stand alone in conflict. Yet I have given him none of these things. I give you, and you ask for more. He is content with my friendship. He loves me even in his current state. He obeys me, he honors me, and he accepts my invitation. He is my true friend. I know who he was, I know who he is, and I know who he can be. These things, you do not know. You have judged him without knowing a thing about him. You have preferred your own judgement over the command of your king. You have openly dishonored me in the presence of the court. You are a disgrace and your true nature is clear. You are hereby stripped of all titles and lands. You are banished from my kingdom.”

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