- For Teachers
Please, would you proofread the third part of my fairy tale, The Happy King.
One morning before dawn, the king woke up and could not sleep again. His thoughts would not leave him in peace and he decided he had to do something and find out the truth. He lay in silence for a while listening to the queen’s loud snoring in the adjacent room. Then he rose and from the wardrobe took out his clothes and dressed himself. He wanted to remain anonymous and chose casual clothes with the small royal insignia on his jacket.
Instead of his golden crown, the king put on his head a simple black hat. He looked at himself in the mirror and thought he was looking like an ordinary man ready to take some fresh air. He came out of the bedroom and carefully walked down the empty corridor. Outside he slunk past the guard who was lying on the grass and sleeping peacefully, his rifle out of his reach, propped against the metal fence.
The king felt strange. For the first time he was alone outside the perimeter of his palace and did not know where to go. He decided to follow the road and see where it would take him. The morning was quiet and the only sound he could hear was the thud of his shoes and birds chirping and singing in the nearby wood.
Soon the road divided into three branches and the king took the one to the right. He walked without seeing or meeting any other human being. He usually seldom took long strolls, and now his untrained body became tired and thirsty. He walked and walked and had gone astray. He ended up in a dense wood which hardly let the sunlight in. When he finally came out into the clearing, his heart pounded with relief.
There was a shabby house in front of him. A little thin boy, dressed only in a white shirt and barefoot, was playing with the boll, hitting it against a stack of logs. Beside him, a few scraggy hens were scratching the dust and pecking at grains.
The king walked up to the boy, took off his hat, wiped the sweat from his forehead and said, “Dear boy, please would you give me some water!”
The child stopped playing, gave the king a scornful gaze and said, “I won’t!”
His words made the king perplexed. He believed he misheard the boy and repeated his request. The boy said no again. The king asked him the reason and the boy said, “I’ve recognized you. You are our king.” Then he turned towards the house and shouted, “Father, father, here is our king. He pesters me!”
There and then the king heard the growl inside the house and at the window appeared the large head of a bearded man with bushy eyebrows shouting, “Bloody murderer! How dare he come here?”
Before the king understood anything, the man was rushing out of the house, waving a heavy axe in his hand. His dark eyes were bloodshot and menacing. “Go away!” he shouted.
“Please, let me explain to you,” said the king. “I didn’t do anything wrong. It must be a misunderstanding. I just wanted a glass of water...”
“How dare you demand anything after what you have done to us,” shouted the man, his strong hand still waving the heavy axe, which long, sharp blade made the king shudder. “I don’t want to hear your explanations. Go away and never come back!”
The king took a few steps back, his eyes constantly watching the man’s movements and not turning him his back in case the man was going to attack him. First when the distance between them became safe, he turned away and hurried back into the wood, turning his head now and then to assure himself that the man was not following him. He believed that the man must have been mad, because only someone insane could have behaved in such disrespectful way. Only an insane person could show such hatred.
He walked through the wood hoping that sooner or later he would come to some village where he could have rest, talk to the villagers and with their help return home. He felt exhausted and hungry and he wished more than anything to be back in his palace. He did not care anymore what people thought of him. His legs were hurting, his feet bleeding, his stomach churning and his mouth was parched.
TO BE CONTINUED