The Coming Of The King by Laura E. Richards, 1881
The magic trick:
Moralizing through plot, rather than narration
Happy Fourth of July! This story doesn’t seem to be particularly timely to the holiday. Except that in these dark days of ours, it’s worth the time to consciously connect anything that has to do with being kind and welcoming to strangers as an American value. It used to go without saying. And maybe it seems laughable given our current state. But let’s at least pretend to celebrate kindness, generosity, and empathy as traits we aspire to in the United States.
Soapbox removed, I will say that this is a very nice story. The moral is obvious, but it’s the story’s events that make things clear. The message is never delivered through the narration, and in that way, it becomes a little more subtle and easier to digest. And that’s quite a trick on Richards’s part.
They waited all day for the coming of the King, but he never came; only, towards sunset, a man with travel-worn clothes, and a kind, tired face passed along the road, and stopped to look over the wall.
“What a pleasant place!” said the man. “May I come in and rest, dear children?”
The children brought him in gladly, and set him on the seat that they had made out of an old cask. They had covered it with the old red cloak to make it look like a throne, and it made a very good one.
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