The Parable of the King

The Parable of the King

William Zong

Once in a not-so-faraway kingdom, there was a king in controversy. 

He was a good king and had reigned for about a score, but questions about his legitimacy began to plague his rule. With the death of his mother, the former queen, it was unearthed by the priest that his family may not have been the direct descendants the First King.

Having developed a plan, the king told his advisor in order to get a second opinion.

“I wish to acknowledge my illegitimacy as king to the people, and in doing so, gain their trust and respect to stay in power.”

“A righteous and sound plan, my king.”

“Then, that I shall do.”

Yet secretly, the king’s advisor knew his plan was fallacious. Once having acknowledged his illegitimacy, the king would lose all credibility in the public’s eye, and would be quickly overthrown.

The advisor decided that he would attempt to secure the throne for himself, all the while feigning unwavering allegiance to the king. So, when the speech and the predicted public outcry had began, the advisor quickly set his own plan into motion.

In the presence of the king, the advisor made comments such as: “Our kingdom has prospered ever since he came to power” and “A good and respectable king will never lie, even when his own legitimacy is in question; and a king who never lies is what this kingdom needs.” But later, in the streets of town, the advisor spread propaganda like wildfire, obliterating the king’s image while bolstering his own reputation. 

In the end, the people overthrew the king as predicted. Democratically, they elected one of their own ranks to be the new ruler. Once the new ruler came into power, both the old king and his advisor were brought to court, there fates having been determined.

“Our old king did not choose to be illegitimate, nor did he deny the fact once it was revealed; these are virtuous qualities. He may continue life as a common man.”

“The advisor, in trying to maintain his virtue while securing the throne for himself—an unattainable goal—created conflicting public images. He shall be executed.”