The King and the Commoner (part 2)
The next morning, a few miles down the road, the young king paced the floor of his chamber. He turned to his assistant, “The time has come that I must also find a bride…” Knowing there were no females even remotely close to his age in the royal line in any of the surrounding kingdoms, he knew he would have to choose from among the common people of his own kingdom and start a new line of royalty.
Every morning the king would watch out his window towards the east side of the marketplace. He watched as the woman bought their meats and breads for the day, and bartered their crafts amongst themselves. One girl had particularly caught his eye some time ago. He watched for her every morning – sometimes she came into town, and other times there was no sign of her. However on this particular morning, he caught sight of her as she walked toward the village. She was slender with long, wavy brown hair. He wondered what color eyes she had – imagining that they were green. Her complexion was fair, but in the summer months the sun gave her skin a soft glow. Her smile was contagious – it melted the heart and cheered the soul.
He called to his assistant. “Do you know who that girl is? Down there… standing at the butchers table.”
“Ah, yes, sir… that is Abigail Wakefield, the only daughter of my Uncle. She’s a favored girl around the town, such a sweet-mannered young lady with a witty personality, no one has ever heard a cross word from her, and her spirit is always as bright as the sun.” The king nodded in approval as he turned to his assistant. “I’m going to marry her… I want her for my bride.” He turned toward the door, “Have my horse ready… I will go to her father at once.”
Mr. Wakefield saw the King’s horse swiftly approaching his home. He wondered what the honor if his visit was. He offered the best chair in his house to his King – for only the absolute best would ever suffice.
“Sir, may I inquire as to what gives us the honor of this visit?” Abby’s father questioned. “I’ve come regarding your daughter… Abigail. I want her for my wife. And if you consent, the wedding will take place as soon as the arrangements can be made.” In shock Mr. Wakefield just stared at the King – then with wide eyes looked at his wife – then back at the king, “MY Abby…? You want to marry MY Abby…?” The king confirmed again what his wishes were.
After explaining to the king that a young man had already asked for Abby’s hand in marriage, he offered a suggestion. “My king, I cannot revoke the consent I have given Jacob. However, let us set a time when both you and Jacob can be present, and Abby will decide who she wants to marry. We can force nothing on her; and though it would be foolish for her to refuse your hand, we cannot deny her the opportunity to make her choice.” The king thought for a moment, then agreed. They would all meet in five days – there Abby would choose her groom.
The days passed quickly for Abby, but slowly for Jacob and the King. Their hearts full with anticipation, yet surrounded with doubts. Abby had no knowledge that she was a prospective bride to anyone – so on the morning of that fifth day she woke and prepared herself as if it were any other day. She hadn’t the slightest idea that in a few short moments her world would change completely, and she would be faced with the greatest choice of her life.
“Come, Abby, for there is a choice you must make…” her father stood with his arm extended out to her. “You must choose for yourself. Jacob has asked for your hand in marriage, and so has our king. I cannot choose for you, the choice is yours alone. Choose wisely… for you’re choosing your future, your forever.” Stunned, completely silent and blank, she stared at the two men before her.
She loved Jacob – she knew him so well; she could tolerate his faults though sometimes he was a bit harsh with hers; she was comfortable with him and was used to the kind of life they would have to live. Although, choosing him would mean choosing slavery – her status in the community would reduce to being a servant. She also knew that choosing Jacob would mean turning her back on her faith, but she hoped that one day Jacob would see the truth.
And then there was the king! He could have anyone he wanted, yet he chose her out of all the girls in the kingdom. She would never want again, she would be richly clothed, never know hunger, and live in the palace! Thoughts raced a million miles a second in her mind. But she didn’t love him… not like that. Perhaps she would learn to love him. Oh, but the pressure – queen of the kingdom! How could she ever measure up to such high standards? It was impossible.
“Well, my child… what is your choice? Who are you going to marry?” her father’s question snapped her out of the whirlwind of questions brewing in her mind. “Jacob. I choose Jacob.” she said flatly. She couldn’t look at the king – for she knew her answer had broken his heart. But after all, it was her choice – and she just could not picture herself choosing the pressure of a kingdom and a king she did not love over the comfort and familiarity of Jacob.
The king returned to his palace heartbroken. She had refused his offer – an offer she would never find anywhere else. He wished things would have been different. What broke his heart even more was that he knew one day Abby would realize what she had given up, but at that point it would be too late…