This one seems on the surface to be quite corny, but underneath is a masterpiece of pathos...
Once, many years ago, there was a King who lived in a comfortable cornfield.
He always got up at dawn and rode a motorbike, and then went motor-boating on the lake.
It was a good life, not many worries or cares. The mundane things in life, like finding food, making clothes and suchlike were taken care of by the last of the servants from a bygone age.
Nobody knew where they came from, they were just there, and they never needed any attention until one would fall over and wouldn’t move again, no matter how hard you shouted at it or beat it with a stick.
The Queen was young and radiant and very beautiful. Her hair was dark as night and fine as spider thread and would flow out behind her as she ran, which was often, for she liked to chase errant shadows and quicksilver sunbeams, and sometimes they chased her.
The King thought she was a will-o-the-wisp creature and loved her much, but sometimes he would get perplexed, especially when on opening a noisy cupboard to find out what all the banging was about, out would rush a handful of annoyed and ruffled looking shadows, escaping in every direction, echoing whispers of catch us if you can dares that would fill the room and usually made the King throw up his hands in despair.
But one day his Queen was nowhere to be found.
He searched everywhere his heart guided him: in the garden by the light of the moon; in the old boating house by the lake when it rained; in the apple orchard when the wind would rustle the trees; in the dark woods to the other side where the ghostly monolith stood by the long deserted black-top full of rusty brown stains.
But he could not find her anywhere.
He started to get desperate. He took to riding his favourite white stallion in the early morning. He would see his Queen vaguely in the mist beckoning him, yet he could never get near. His beard grew long. Shadows would scare him, make him jump. Things got creepy and he started to cry after he was served his fourth beer by the servants. He started writing poetry on notes of paper and sending them down-stream in green bottles.
One day, he got on his motorbike and rode away. For years he travelled, asking every creaking servant he met if it had seen her. Some said maybe and some said no, but none would say for sure. Over the mountains he rode and through valleys where nothing much would grow. No animals here or birds, just desolation. Occasionally he would come across a vast stretch of rubble where nothing grew at all, and at night it would glow. He gave these places a wide berth when he could.
There were not many servants in that wilderness, but the few there were gave him food from their stockpile. He carried on until he got to the end of the land where the sea was murmuring a song of loneliness. He found a dark cave to live in and watched sunsets and sunrises, corralled crabs, wrote words in the sand, wore seaweed shoes and gave himself lectures.
Then one morning when he was feeling really miserable he had a vision. A boy half grown was running through a cornfield being chased by his Queen. So he got on his motorbike and rode back through all the long years to the kingdom he had left behind. As he was riding through a field that looked familiar, he came across the boy of his vision who stood in his way and would not let him pass.
“Boy,” he said. “Let me by.”
“Why should I let you pass through my kingdom?” said the boy.
“Boy, I have travelled far and I’m in no mood to play kings with you. There is a woman I have come to find, so let me pass in peace.”
“You must pay to cross my kingdom,” said the boy.
“What do you have in mind?” asked the King.
“Your motorbike,” the boy replied.
The King got off his bike, put it on its stand and started walking around the boy. The boy let him pass and then ran with glee to the bike.
“What’s your name boy?” Asked the king, glancing back at the boy.
“Rumi,” replied the boy sitting astride the motorbike and dreamily wishing his legs were long enough to touch the foot pegs.
Up ahead in the shadows, a woman was waiting. The King walked up to her.
“I have searched for you for a long time. I have looked everywhere. Where have you been?” asked the King.
“I have been here all the time, in the cornfield. Where have you been?” asked his Queen.
The King went to his Queen and put his arms around her and said.
“I am home now.”
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