The King and His Son
Once upon a time, there was a powerful and benevolent king. He ruled with grace and love over his subjects and, without him, he assured them that they would surely perish. For all of his grace, the king demanded only worship from his subjects, and little more.
One day, after a significant amount of mayhem and turmoil within the kingdom walls, he decided to set rules before his subjects. But he was a jealous king, and as such, the first rule was that his followers not honor any other kings – for their majesty was not nearly as great as his, and honoring another nation’s king would be the ultimate trespass. Anyone found guilty of such a crime would be guilty of refusing his love, and would therefore be cast into his dungeon for the rest of their lives.
Although the king was said to be perfect in every way, he demonstrated some of the very traits that he claimed to be of evil, including jealousy and anger.
After these rules were set forth, the king was surprised to learn that many of the peasants were honoring the king of a neighboring country with ritual animal sacrifices, and he was furious – for he deserved credit for his subjects’ bounty and he wished the sacrifices to be his. He could have locked up every one of them in his dungeon as he had done in the past, but being the loving king that he is, he knew forgiveness was in order.
The king’s forgiveness could not come easy, though. His subjects had committed the ultimate trespass, and it would take a grand gesture to absolve them. He couldn’t simply grant them immunity, for they praised another king after all of the amazing things he put before them.
The king’s son was just a child, but he resembled his father in many ways. The prince knew that the peasants had to be forgiven and he knew what had to be done. The king sent his son into the most dangerous part of the kingdom, where he knew that those who harbored hatred for the king would kill him.
The peasants did as the king knew they would… they saw the young prince and seized him, blaming him for everything that went wrong within the confines of the kingdom – for the king had created the kingdom, and he had created the evils within it. They strung him up and the young prince yelled out to his father, but no help came – for this was all part of the plan.
The prince’s sacrifice was to be the final blood sacrifice, and from then on all those who honored his memory would be saved from the king’s dungeon. But those who denied this ultimate sacrifice would be tortured for life, as they would be denying the very gift that the king has given them.
The king killed his only son to show how much he loved his people, and to give them a chance to repent from their terrible actions, for honoring other kings.
But there was a catch. Decades after the young prince was murdered, the king would still hold his subjects responsible for honoring the sacrifice he made. Even those who were born after it supposedly occurred, even if there were no witnesses left whatsoever, the king refused to provide evidence for the son’s existence, and the king himself became a recluse… he remained holed up in his fortress so that no one may ever lay eyes on him. His followers were asked to accept the prince’s sacrifice based on stories and faith, which proved difficult for many.
The king did not help when plagues ran through the kingdom killing most of the peasants, he stopped punishing those who committed crimes, and people began to doubt he still lived. But the king had claimed to be immortal, and stated that those who did not honor his son’s sacrifice would still be sent to his dungeon.
There’s no proof that the king still lives, no proof that his son ever gave the ultimate sacrifice, and no proof that the dungeon was real… but thousands of years later, the peasants continued to honor the king and his son, for fear that they, too, would be accused of honoring another king – and that they may find themselves being tortured in the king’s dungeon.