Sunday, July 6, 2014

Storytime Sunday #7: The Parable of the Disappointed King

The Parable of the Disappointed King
“You wanted to see me, Your Majesty?” asked the Royal Gardner.
“Yes,” said the king brightly, “I would like some corn. Did we plant any corn in the Royal Garden?”
“No,” said the gardener, “in our last meeting you told me you wanted the Royal Garden to be a place of beauty. I was commanded to plant only those things with beautiful flowers. As you know, Your Majesty, corn does not produce beautiful flowers, so it was not planted this year.”
“Oh how disappointing,” sighed the king with a frown, “I think you misunderstood. I have always liked corn. Please plant some at once.”
“As you wish Your Majesty,” said the gardener obediently. “There are many varieties of corn to choose from. Would you like the best one for this climate, or a variety which fruits quickly?”
“I am the king. When have I ever wanted anything other than the very best?”
“I understand, Your Majesty. I shall plant the corn this very morning.”
The obedient gardener spent the remainder of the morning digging up some petunias and pansies he had just planted a day earlier to make room for the requested corn. He planted an excellent variety for the climate which was expected to produce fruit in 88 days.
After working in the Royal Garden all day, the gardener took a few of the discarded petunias and pansies home and planted them around the edge of his own humble vegetable garden. He thought they added a little beauty to his surroundings as he watered his peas, thinned his carrots, and weeded his corn before eating his simple dinner and retiring for the night
Two weeks later the Royal Cook appeared at the garden with a wicker basket. “The king has sent me to fetch some corn for his dinner. Please pick some at once.”
The Royal Gardener pointed to some tiny green shoots poking an inch out of the ground. “The corn has just barely sprouted. Tell the king it will not be ready to pick for about two and a half months.”
“Oh my,” said the concerned cook, “the king will be very disappointed. He had his heart set on corn for dinner.” With that, the cook returned to the castle kitchen.
It was only a few weeks before the cook returned. “The king insists on having corn for dinner tonight. He said to pick some corn at once.” The gardener just shrugged and pointed to the fruitless green plants. “Oh my,” said the cook, “but the king will be very disappointed. You had better go explain it to him. He won’t listen to me.”
“Did I not tell you to plant corn?” asked the irate king when the Royal Gardener was escorted into the king’s presence.
“I did, Your Majesty, but it is not yet mature enough to bear fruit.”
“This is very disappointing,” mumbled the king. “You said before that there were many varieties of corn. Is there a variety which will grow quicker?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, but…”
“Perfect!” barked the elated king. “Replace this disappointing corn with one which will grow quicker, at once.”
“As you wish,” said the obedient gardener, “I will replace the corn this very morning.”
The gardener spent the remainder of his morning digging up the small corn plants and reseeding the corn patch with a variety of corn which was expected to produce fruit in 66 days.
As was usual, after work the gardener went home and tended his own garden by weeding the carrots and watering the corn before retiring for the night.
A few weeks later the Royal Cook was back. “The king wishes to have corn for dinner.”
The gardener pointed wordlessly at the small green plants in the corn patch.
“Oh my,” said the cook, “the king will be very disappointed. You will need to explain this to him. I’m not brave enough.”
Again the gardener explained to the king. Again the king was disappointed. Once again the king demanded that the gardener replace the disappointing corn with a new variety. Obediently, the gardener worked all morning digging up the immature corn and reseeding the royal corn patch.
A few more weeks passed. As before, the Royal Cook appeared and requested corn for the royal table. As before, the gardener could not supply the corn. As before the Royal Gardener appeared before the king.
“Still no corn!” shouted the king when the gardener arrived. “This is too disappointing.”
“I’m sorry to have disappointed Your Majesty,” said the humble gardener. “I feel under the circumstances that I must offer my resignation as Royal Gardener.”
“Did you plant the corn as I asked?”
“Yes,” said the gardener, “but you are still disappointed in me.”
“Nonsense!” said the king, “You did exactly as I asked. I am not disappointed in you. I am disappointed in the corn. It is not growing fast enough.”
“But, Your Majesty,” began the gardener.
“We must keep trying to find a variety of corn which will not be disappointing,” interrupted the king. “Please continue your duties. Dig up this disappointing corn variety and plant another—at once!”
Once again the Royal Gardener did as he was commanded. That very morning he dug up the disappointing corn and planted a new variety. He spent the afternoon performing his other gardening duties and then went off to his small cottage for the night.
As he worked in his own small garden, the Royal Gardener thought how very grateful he was to still have his job as the Royal Gardener. He loved gardening. He knew there was no more magnificent garden in all of the kingdom than the Royal Garden. He felt he was a very lucky person to be able to work in the Royal Garden each day.
Later at dinner, as the gardener bit into a freshly picked ear of corn, he also thought of the king. He thought sadly that the king was destined to be forever disappointed because he never seemed to understand that only with patience can some fruits be eaten… although a little fresh butter was also nice.

Moral: Only with patience can some fruits be eaten.
©2014 William L. Steen

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