Once upon a time in a Kingdom far far away…
There lived a King who was wise, kind, and loved by his subjects. This King, so humble as he was, would spend a fragment of his time every day to take a walk in the capital, greeting the commoners or simply enjoying a glass of coffee for which his Kingdom made best.
One day as he was sitting at a coffee place near his castle, listening to the banter of a few bright young men on the next table, there came three men in a hurry to him. Two of the men — who later was known to be brothers — were grabbing the third men, who seemed to have resigned to whatever would happen to him.
“Greetings, Your Majesty, we are the Faraday brothers, I am William and this is my younger brother, Daniel. We had been looking for you, and were told that you would be in this place.” Said the elder of the two, giving a little bow to greet the King.
The two brothers were adequately dressed and seemed to have come from a respected family as they know how to comport themselves, the King thought before answering, “Welcome Faraday brothers, for what matter have you come to me?”
“We are seeking justice, Your Highness!” utter the younger brother, Daniel.
The older brother lifted the third men a little bit higher in his arms before continuing what his brother had started, “This man, Your Highness, had murdered our father this afternoon. We could have judged the rascal there and then, but we are of civilized people so we would like to ask you for your wisdom to bring us justice.”
Startled, the King gave a glance to the third men. The third men was in a disheveled clothing but he was young and looked of a good stature. The King was a wise man who had seen a lot of crooked people, but this man does not seem like one of those people. So the King said, “Is that true, young man, that you have killed their father?”
Raising his head to look at the King properly, he answered, “That is true, My Liege.”
“Tell us what happened, and be honest and truthful in telling it.” Said the wise King calmly.
“While it was true that I killed their father, it was not without reason, nor was it done because I am a murderer. I had come to the capital, with the trust of the people of village, to settle our promise with a corresponding party here. I had just arrived this afternoon after a long trip and would like to find some refreshment so I tied my horse to a stalk near a garden which belonged to these men’s father.” Explained the young man.
He stopped for a while, choosing his words, and continued, “And when I came back, to my surprise I saw an old man killing my horse with his sword. Apparently I did not tied my horse properly, so it got loose and stomped all over the garden that belonged to the old man, ruining the whole garden. Tired and blinded by rage, I couldn’t bring to control my wrath and so I drew my sword and slashed the old man in his neck, immediately killing the poor man.”
“I admit my crime and I assume full responsibility for my action.” He concluded, lowering his head.
“That is all, Your Highness, you have heard the story and it was truthful. I can bring you witnesses to vouch for it.” Said William.
“So please bring justice to our father’s death Your Highness!” Continued Daniel.
The King was silent for a minute, pondering over the story he just heard. The young man is telling the truth, that much he knew, as his eyes did not falter for even one millisecond as he told his story. He’s an honest and responsible man, and it would be such a shame to let a good man died for just one fault and he deserved a second chance, the King concluded in his mind.
“Dear Faraday brothers, this young men is an honest and responsible young man, he had done something terrible out of a moment of anger. But we are all human, we are not faultless, so can you find it in your heart a little forgiveness for him? I would pay you to compensate for your loss.” The King said.
“With all due respect, Your Highness, but our love for our father is far too great that no riches in this world would be able to pay for his death. No, we will not be satisfied until this blood debt is paid in full.” Said William in a calm but definite tone.
“Aye, Your Highness, an eye for an eye!” Added his brother, nodding.
The King was about to say something when the young man interrupted him, finally having a say in his fate, “My Liege, please bring justice to the death of the brother’s father. The law is clear, my crime is severe and I will pay for it..”
“..but I was here, in the capital, to do something that was entrusted to me by the people of my village. It’s a matter concerning the life of many other people. So please give me a little time. I will only need three days to finish my business here and to bring it back to my people. Three days, and I will come back here to pay for my crime.” Continued the young man.
“Well we can’t possibly allow that!” Said William, losing his cool. “Right! How can we know you won’t run away?” Added Daniel.
The King then said to the young man, “Son, don’t you have any relatives who can take care of your business in your stead?”
“Unfortunately no, My Liege, I am but by myself in this city. All my relatives are back in the village.” Said the young man. “My Liege, you are a responsible man, surely you know how it would feel if I were to die unfulfilling my duty?”
“Fine, but you will need someone to stay here and take your place should you not fulfill your promise to come back here.” The King concluded.
“But I am alone here, I can’t have any guarantor, all I can give you is a gentleman’s promise and I swear that I never go back on my promises.” Begged the young man.
As the negotiation were going into a stalemate, as the King pondered what was the best course of action, as the silence crept on waiting for the King to give his wisdom, another young man spoke breaking the silence.
“I’ll be his guarantor, my dearest King.”
As every head turned to the direction of the speaker, it was then known that the young man who spoke was none other than the Crown Prince of the kingdom himself who were looking for his father and happen to overheard the conversation.
“Arthur?” Exclaimed the King. “Are you out of your mind? You barely know this guy and you’re willing to take his place as a guarantor?”
“My Prince, this man’s life is not worth yours, you don’t have to do this!” Said William.
“I know this man as much as everybody in this room know him, and I know for a thing that my Father has faith in this guy but he is troubled as he cannot let that cloud his judgement. So let me ensure that judgment of his by being his guarantor.” Said Arthur calmly.
Surprised by the wisdom of his son and taking the risk of the big lesson the people of his country might learn if all this succeeded, the King very unwillingly allow his own heir to be the guarantor of the young man. The King gave him three days and so the young man went to finish his promise.
The first and second day passed in the blink of an eye, no sign of the young man. The people were starting to get worried for the fate of their Crown Prince, as he was as beloved as his father was.
Then comes the third day, the sun was fast setting. People started gathering at the entrance of the kingdom, where a gallows had been set, waiting for the young man to arrive. But still no sign of the young man. The king himself started to doubt his judgment and was starting to walk back and forth worrying about his son. As the last flicker of light left the twilight sky, the Crown Prince started making his way to the gallows, not a single hesitation on his steps. The crowd started to weep. That was when someone screamed something that made all eyes turned away from the gallows.
“There he is!”
And there he was, looking even more disheveled than before, trying to catch his breath running while dragging his feet at the same time. He fell down and got back up again, fell down again and got back up again. His body was dying and wouldn’t listen to his command, only in his eyes were different, it was alive and full of will. The King, full of relieve, shouted “There he is! He came and fulfill his promise!” and ordered the royal guard to help the young man and carry him here.
Once he was brought to the gallows and was faced to the King, it was more apparent that the young man went to such trouble to fulfill his promise, he barely could keep standing and fell down on his knees. The King caught him and he started talking.
“I… apologize My Liege” catching his breath, “I didn’t think that, my tribe’s business would take so much time… I rode my horse as fast as it could, not giving it a rest I rode it all night and day… That was until it fell down unable to move even one more inch, I left it dying on the desert and I ran all the way here…”
“Easy, my child.” said the King, calming the young man down and giving him fresh water to drink. “But why did you go all through those trouble to come back here? It would have been very easy for you to just go far and save yourself.”
The young man smiled with a smile so bright that it came in contrast with his messy appearance and answered, “I came back, to make sure that not a single person would say that there is no more men in this kingdom who is knight enough to uphold his promise.”
Touched, teary, the King turn to his son and said, “You were right to believe this young man, my son. What makes you so brave as to guarantee someone you just knew?”
Arthur smiled, and answered his father,”To make sure that not a single person would say that there is no more men in this kingdom is trustworthy, or no more men would help a brother in need.”
The people gathered was deeply moved with the exchange of words between their beloved figures and was silent when someone shouted “Long live the kingdom!”, the man was none other than William and Daniel Faraday.
“Let it be known that us brothers had forgiven the young man, and would like to pull all our charges against him!” continued William.
Everyone present was startled by the shocking words uttered by the brothers and started cheering, the King raised his hand to quiet down the crowd and smiled before asking them, “What does this mean? Why would you…?”
The brothers answered loudly as if to let the whole world hear them,
“To make sure that not a single person would say that, there is no longer a person in this kingdom who loved their brothers and could forgive each other!”
I didn’t mean it to be this long, oh well anyway it’s not really my story, it’s a common folklore in my country and it was so nice that I just felt the need to re-write it in English. I did alter some things though, so it still kinda have my touch and now I realize something: making a “character” is so damn hard! I still need some practice and I don’t know if I portrayed the characters good enough in this story, I’d love to hear what you think!
See you again! 🙂
Photo via VisualHunt