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King Henry and the Box

© 2010  Raymond Alexander Kukkee 744px-Jacob_Jordaens_-_The_Feast_of_the_Bean_King_-_Google_Art_Project It is time for civilized society in North America to recognize where priorities should be placed.  Poverty in the United States and Canada is systemic and pervasive, with homelessness and poverty at an all time high,  while our leaders spend hundreds of billions on warfare, grandiose projects of ego, destruction of the environment, horrific waste, and luxury.  Fact is, if history is any  teacher,  the blatant abuse of power,  arrogant self-entitlement and privilege  in any political system is the ultimate cause of the  failure of that system, whatever it may be. Ideology itself is no longer enough to maintain civilization. To believe otherwise is to live in delusion,  as fascinating as it may be, exempt from reality.  The surreal attitude of contempt expressed by the privileged and powerful  for average people, the environment, and the world around us  is unacceptable.  That concept  reminded me of  my old short story-which applies universally and to all seasons.   The Feast The massive oak door to the Great Hall was opened for him by a smiling servant. “Good Day, and welcome, King Henry”. “ 'Tis a good day for the Great Fest” he said, pausing. “The North wind doth carry a sorry chill, this day”. “Yes, your Majesty”. The doorman nodded and waved King Henry through the door into the warm room. The group at the head table in the Great Hall spotted the king simultaneously and stood, merrily raised their glasses, and said, almost in unison, “Hail, King Henry!” then laughed. He saluted them and sat down with them. The banquet tables were loaded with pastry, buns, breads of all kinds, and fruit. Apples, oranges, and even grapes. ‘Not bad for the cold season’ he thought to himself. “Every morsel of food must be imported into my kingdom” he muttered. The servant poured coffee and loaded his golden plate with great slices of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, assorted vegetables, and jewels. Red jewels. “Cranberries are jewels” he said out loud, and tasted one. He ate them all quickly. “My kingdom for some more jewels!” he thundered. “More jewels!” he said to the servant. The smiling, pleasant young woman placed more red jewels upon his plate, and some green ones. “Peas are emeralds” he said to her, “ a treasure unto themselves”. She laughed. The cranberries were tangy when he chewed them. “Pour the golden Elixir” he said, pointing at his mashed potatoes. “Fill the lake” he said, forming a depression in the potatoes. “‘Tis a royal  lake, is it not?” He carefully sliced off a piece of white meat and carefully dipped it into the gravy. “Tis a fine little lake, and we are pleased, this bird has been roasted to perfection by our fine chef.” The girl smiled again. “Yes Sire. Would you like some more cranberries, King Henry?” “Yes” he said abruptly. “A king can never have enough jewels, can you not see that?” “I have to get some more” she said, backing away, and bowing graciously. He waved her off and concentrated on the roasted bird. It was delicious. “And how be the kingdom today, King Henry?” the wizened man at the end of the table asked. “ ‘Tis well you be looking” he said. “Is the drawbridge at the castle working properly?” King Henry jammed the last piece of turkey in his mouth to avoid speaking. He gulped down the mashed potatoes and gravy and stood up abruptly. “Kings tarry not long with common folk” he said loudly, and turned from the table, as everyone in the Great Hall stopped chattering. There was silence. Just before he got to the door, he turned, and bowed, and said “Good Christmas to   all! Enjoy!” The doorman nodded to him. “Good day, King Henry”. King Henry pulled his collar up tightly, walking into the cold northerly wind. He turned up Main Street and up Henry avenue toward the bridge. He climbed through a gap in the fence, following a worn path that led under the bridge. He crawled into his cardboard box. “Tis good to be home. Good Christmas to all” he muttered to himself, covering himself with newspapers. “Good Christmas to all”. ## © 2010 Raymond Alexander Kukkee Is that Incoming I hear?   Photo: Jacob Jordaens - The Feast of the Bean King      Wikimedia Commons
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