| Story Time |

The Secret: Chapter 6   

The king let out a wail of fright, but suddenly there was someone else screaming as well


Damascus, 17th Century

The African king suddenly had a wild idea. He raced toward the bed and jumped onto it with all his might. He flew into the air and was suddenly eye to eye with the mischievous monkey! He wrapped his arms around the monkey and they both crashed down onto the bed.

The soldiers burst into the room with their weapons drawn.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing,” the king spluttered, staring at them as he lay with the monkey in a tangle of bedsheets and broken bedposts. “Just getting whatever it was that I had left here.”

“Get out!”

“Okay, okay, relax! I’m going!”

The king fled from the room; the plant clenched tightly in his fist.

He raced toward the cemetery where the queen lay buried. He turned left and right in panic — where was the grave? It was very dark, and a cold wind sent shivers up the king’s back. Frantically he searched, knowing that with each passing second, the only chance to revive the queen was fading.

Suddenly, he saw the freshly dug grave. He began digging at the ground like a madman, sweat dripping from his face. His progress was painfully slow. At long last he uncovered the queen’s body and ground up the plant as best as he could before stuffing it into her throat.

Nothing happened.

The king let out a wail of fright, but suddenly there was someone else screaming as well.

Rising up from the ground, the queen looked around in terror. She could not believe it had actually worked. But the mission was far from over. The African king and King Shlomo’s queen spent a long time covering the grave again, leaving no trace of their escapade.

Eventually, they made it out of Eretz Yisrael. They traveled to Africa and no one had any idea what had occurred.

The queen arrived in Africa and found herself in the palace of a different, very powerful African ruler. As it happened, this king hated Shlomo Hamelech and was supremely jealous of him.

Not long after the queen’s arrival, Shlomo Hamelech sent out advisors to travel to different countries on his behalf. Two of his advisors went to Africa. They toured the interesting jungles and the grand palaces of the African kings. For the grand finale of their trip, they stopped off at the royal mansion of the greatest African king.

As these advisors were strolling around the mansion, one of them stopped in his tracks.

“Look at the queen.”

“What about her?”

“Doesn’t she look familiar to you?”

“Not reall— wait a minute, you’re right. It looks like the African wife of Shlomo Hamelech. But obviously that could not be, because she’s no longer alive.”

“Right, I was at her funeral. But still… It’s incredible how similar they look. Let’s move closer and get a better look.”

The advisors moved closer and now they both turned to each other in shock.

“It’s her.”

“Either that, or she has an identical twin.”

They stood there for a few moments, deep in thought.

“There is only one more thing left to do. The only one who can explain what is happening here is the wisest man to ever live, our great and wise king, Shlomo Hamelech. Let us travel back to Eretz Yisrael and tell him what we witnessed here today.”

When the advisors arrived back in Eretz Yisrael, they told their king everything that had occurred.

“Either we are both crazy, or perhaps she has an identical twin. We’re completely confused.”

Shlomo Hamelech stared at his advisors, his brilliant mind computing this shocking information.

“Go now immediately to the queen’s grave and dig it up.”

The advisors did so and found that the grave was empty. They returned to the king, but he was already one step ahead.

“She is not there, am I correct?”

“Yes, our king, but how did you know?”

“She took the plant and escaped….” Shlomo Hamelech had figured out the entire incident as though he could see it unfolding before his very eyes. “She went with the African king who visited here recently. He must have coerced her into leaving….”

The king sent his advisors out of the room. When nighttime fell over the land that night, he sat upon a carpet and summoned the winds. The carpet was lifted into the air, and he was flown to Africa. There he flew into the palace and arrived at the queen’s room.

He entered the room and his wife almost fainted when she saw him. She broke down crying and explained how the African king had lured her away, confusing her to act so irrationally.

In the meantime, the palace was soon abuzz with the rumors that Shlomo Hamelech himself was inside the palace! The African ruler and his soldiers raced toward the queen’s room with their swords. The queen told Shlomo Hamelech to hide in a box in the room, which he did, but it did not help. The African ruler burst into the room with his men and almost immediately opened the box.

He yelled in shock as Shlomo Hamelech stared calmly back at him.

“How dare you!” the African king screamed.

“Do you not welcome guests in your wonderful country? Am I not permitted to visit?”

“A king does not travel unannounced!”

“I had to come immediately and find out if what my advisors had seen here is true; that my own wife is being held in your palace.”

“So what if she is? Now that I’m going to kill you right here and right now, it makes no difference to you!”

“Pity you should waste a golden opportunity to show off your power.” Shlomo Hamelech smiled. “Kill me now and no one will ever believe it happened. Better to make it as public as possible. Keep me in jail for three days, during which time you should make sure everyone in this city has an opportunity to come to my public execution.”

“Good idea.” The African king grinned.

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 879)

Oops! We could not locate your form.