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The King of Three




There once lived a king who was sad,

He was known far and wide to be a just and fair king and so was dearly loved by his subjects,

His royal storehouses overflowed with grain and his lands were free from famine,

His royal treasury had many rooms filled with exquisite treasures and his people were not unduly burdened,

His royal guard had preserved the peace in the kingdom for many years and no enemy waited at his gate,

His kingdom seemed utterly without want in every respect and yet he was troubled,


The king summoned his three wisest men and issued to them a challenge,

Tell me rightly why this sadness plagues me, oh wise men, and I will make you as wealthy as you are wise,

The wise men studied their ancient scrolls, forbidden texts, star charts, tea leaves, and number diagrams,

They consulted with nomads, sooth-sayers, seers, and self-proclaimed oracles,

They consorted with druids, shades, faery-folk, magii, and philosophers from afar,

After seven years had passed the king bid the wise men return to him,


The first wise man told the king that it was by his own hand that he was sad,

So the king cut off the offending hand and tossed it in to the sea and still he was sad as before,

The king wept over the loss of his hand,

The sea took pity upon the maimed king and returned to him a hand of iron with the morning tide,

The sea promised the king it that would guard him well when it seemed all hope was lost and still he was sad,

The king kept it at his side and thus it became known as the king's hand in all things,


 The second wise man boldly told the king that it was his own words that brought him sadness,

So the king cut out his own tongue and fed it to the birds of the air and yet he was as sad as before,

The king wept bitterly over the loss of his speech,

The heavens took great pity upon the muted king and returned his words to him with the morning dew,

Its gift, an ivory quill, would impart wisely when and where he could not and still he was so very sad,

The king indeed found much wisdom within it and thus it became known as the king's will in all matters,


The last wise man thought long and hard before he told the king that it was his heart that made him sad,

So the king cut out his own heart and tossed it down a deep chasm and still he was as sad as ever,

The heartless king found no tears within to express the overwhelming sadness that waylaid him,

The rocks of the hills pitied him greatly and revealed a ruby heart to him with a great rumble,

The king placed the heart of the hills inside his locket and it became known as the king's heart in all affairs,

The hills beseeched him to follow his heart so he would never be led astray yet he was as sad as he’d ever been.


Distraught, the king turned to his court jester for the answer he had been seeking for so long,

The fool laughed and laughed and told the king what was amiss,

Your king, you need not ask, it's quite simple, can't you see,

You are troubled for one reason and only one reason can it be,

The reason you are sad is because you do not laugh or guffaw,

You ask why you’re so sad when you should ask why you're not happy at all,


It is true you are just and fair and most wise,

But you have no love in your life and without love you shall die,

Oh forsooth it is a slow death that takes many years and years,

But 'til that end you will doubtless be sad and damp from your own tears,

It is not enough to be loved but also to love another in return,

So go seek you a queen and let it be her heart that you earn,


So the king saddled up and followed his heart true,

Beat steadily onward led him unscathed many dangers through,

Through wilds and woods and under mount and over stream,

To a distant land where gentle folk in dream reside,

A place where his heart's desire did abide,

Homeward bound and victorious with two hearts in tow,

The king’s heart now beat upon the bosom of his faer bride.

© RH Summers 2009

Please choose from the following links to view samples of the author's writings...

The Hide Behinds - The Marionette - Deep - Monster - The King Of Three

© RH Summers 2018