| Second Thoughts |

A Child’s Fable (but Adults May Eavesdrop)

Only one way remained open, and that happened to be the highway that led directly to the palace and the king

 

Once upon a time and long ago, there lived a strong and mighty king, who though he was extremely powerful, loved his subjects very much. He wanted them to be close to him, because he knew that this closeness would make them happy and content, and he wanted to be near them as well.

So that they could find him, he gave them a road map that showed them how to reach his royal palace. But the people were careless, and they neglected the map and lost it. Having lost it, even those who wanted to reach the king’s palace did not know how to get there, so some gave up trying altogether, and even those who wanted to reach the king often got distracted by other things. They wandered off into the beautiful side streets, lovely byways, attractive avenues, tempting paths, and houses of fun and games and revelry, and soon they forgot all about the main highway that led directly to the palace.

Many of the king’s subjects remained in these side streets, forgetting that they were lost, and some even mistook them for the main road, while others even doubted that there had ever been a map or a road to the palace, and soon they completely forgot that there ever was a king.

The king was very wise, and seeing all this, decided to do something to bring them closer. Slowly and gradually he began closing down one side street after another, one byway after another, one avenue and pathway after another, and before long, the lovely but distracting side streets and byways and avenues and paths and houses of fun and games and sports stadiums and gymnasiums and shopping malls and restaurants and concert halls and theaters were all shut down.

The citizens were very unhappy about this, and they complained bitterly: Why is this happening to us, what did we do to deserve this, why are all these pleasures being taken away from us?

But the pathways remained closed, and no one had the power to reopen them. Only one way remained open, and that happened to be the highway that led directly to the palace and the king.

And thus it happened that all the people who were distracted by all the beautiful side streets and lovely byways and tempting houses of fun and games, and who had given up ever finding the king, or had forgotten about him — all these people took to the only road open to them: the magnificent highway that led directly to the palace and the king.

And so all the people found the king and attached themselves to him, and they were overjoyed and content. And the king who loved his people very much was also overjoyed and content, and as a special gift to them, he restored to them the road map that they had forgotten and lost.

And it happened that when they studied the road map, they came to understand that their king was much more than an ordinary king, and that He was in fact the King of Kings.

And all the people rejoiced and sang and danced before the King. They acclaimed Him and bowed down to Him, and pledged never to abandon Him or His map ever again.

And on that day, the whole world finally understood that this king was the one and only King.

 

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 828)

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