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Toquet, the King

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The day after the burial of the father king, the son-king inherited the famous throne. But he was more proud than responsible. “Well, at last I’m the king! From now on, I will do what I want! Why did my father, the previous king, send me to school. I did not need it. I was going to become a king. My destiny was already drawn like that of my grandfather and the grandfather of my grandfather, the previous kings ?!” He thought as he sat down for the first time on his father’s throne.

The minister, still shocked by the disappearance of the father king, a little suspicious of this vain successor and not paying attention to what he said, advanced cautiously and announced:

–  Majesty, the food collected last year is about to expire …

– Ask my subjects to bring some. What are they good at if they cannot even fill the barns of my kingdom?

– But Majesty, your subjects have other responsibilities …

And the angry king interrupted his minister:

– Oh la la la la! What is this minister who dares to answer the king word by word. You are no longer my minister. I want another minister Tomorrow, at dawn.

And the Prime Minister left …

When Toquet, the king, was walking in the alleys of the city to savor his royalty. He was hearing the applause, cheers, and “long life to the king!” That we have heard for centuries as he passed. All of a sudden, a wandering cat, wanting to catch a bird, jumped over his head. The angry king shouted, “What is this cat that dares to pass over my head? Servants, tomorrow, at dawn, I do not want to see any cat in my kingdom. Get rid of all of them!”

As soon as the first gleam of light appeared, there was not any seen cat running around in the area. Toquet, the king, was pleased that his order was executed. He left followed by his dogs, his ministers and his servants to the hunt, his favorite hobby. As soon as he slaughtered a hare with his bow, the dogs went running to recover it, and again, the king was furious against these poor animals:

– What are these dogs that go to fetch my prey without my order? Tomorrow, at dawn, I do not want to see any dogs anymore. Hunt them all out of my kingdom!

At dawn, we saw no more cats running around, and we heard no dog barking any more. The king had the feeling of victory and gave an inspiring smile of satisfaction and great self-esteem. He went out for his daily walk, strutting about in his kingdom, followed by a crowd of ministers, servants, and bodyguards. All of a sudden, he was surprised by a beggar who had managed to escape the vigilance of his supervisors, asking him:

– Majesty, mercy! I have no bread crumbs to give to my children. Feed them, Majesty!

The King Toquet, blushing with anger, cried out to his ministers:

– What are these poor people who dare to approach the king and disturb his tranquility in the morning? Tomorrow, at dawn, I do not want to see poor people in my kingdom.

The next day, the sun rose on a kingdom where no cat was seen prowling in the vicinity, no dog was heard barking and not even those poor people who animated the Square and cleared the market of vegetables and fruits stale which remained scattered on the ground at the end of the day. The king was relieved not to see anything that disturbed his peaceful life in his kingdom. In the evening, he went home, sat down, and was surprised that his dinner was not yet served, so he shouted at his minister:

– What are these servants who cannot serve the king’s table in time? Tomorrow, at dawn, I do not want to see any more servants in my kingdom!

The minister, embarrassed, answered his head, all lowered:

– There are no more servants are in your Majesty’s kingdom!

– How? He asked.

– Your Majesty has ordered us yesterday to drive out all the poor people of your kingdom.

– Are the servants also poor people?

– Yes, Majesty.

– And what did they do in my castle?

– They don’t have neither a roof nor a law that protects them. They only counted on your charity, and in return, they worked for you, Majesty.

– Me, King and son of king, rubs poor people?! Why did you recruit them? Did I order you, Minister?

– No, Majesty.

– Tomorrow,  I do not want to see any minister in my kingdom anymore!

The day after, King Toquet went out to supervise what his subjects undertook, who were no more than a handful of bourgeois that were unhappy to have lost their servants and their workmen. The richest approached him:

– Majesty, please find us a solution. We are losing our money and calm because of the departure of the poor people of the kingdom.

And the king, not enjoying being asked anything again, replied:

– What are these bourgeois who wait for the king to solve their problems. Cannot they do it themselves? Tomorrow, at dawn, I do not want to see any bourgeois in my kingdom.

The morning, the king awoke, sat down, but no one served him. He called his minister, and no one answered. He took the trouble to make his sandwich alone, changed his clothes all by himself and went out to see what was happening in his kingdom. However, he did not see any cat prowling in the vicinity, heard no barking of dogs, was not disturbed by any beggar, felt no minister’s footsteps behind him, and no bourgeois came to ask him for a solution or help. He got angry again, went up to the balcony of his castle, and shouted with all his strength:

– I am the king! I am the one who command! I order you to return to my kingdom so that I may give you orders and see you executed!

But there was only the echo that returned his words. He repeated:

– I am the king ! Come back here! I order you!

After a brief moment, a small voice was heard. He searched for the source but found nothing. So, he calmed down and listened:

– You cannot make yourself obeyed by raging! You are no longer a king! You have no kingdom. The kingship is in the presence of these people whom you have driven back from their homes. They can find a new king, but you cannot find new people; otherwise, it would not be an easy task.

King Toquet, confused, exclaimed:

– What is this little voice that dares to advise me. Tomorrow, at dawn, I do not want to hear any small voice in my kingdom!

And the little voice calmly continued:

– You don’t have over whom to reign anymore, so you are no longer a king. What once was your kingdom is no more than a deserted land which could not be a kingdom without subjects.

And the king, even more furious than ever, exclaimed:

– I order you to leave my kingdom. Tomorrow, at dawn, I do not want your presence at the kingdom anymore!

And the little voice went on calmly:

– You will never see me, Majesty. I am invisible. I am in you; closer to you than you think. You will remain alone in what you believe to be your kingdom. You will have to work like those poor people who have worked for you one day if you do not want to starve. You will stay alone if you do not learn to love the other person. You will stay alone if you do not share your life with others. You will be alone if you cannot listen to the other and give him some of your time. You will stay alone if you do not learn to forgive. You will stay alone if you do not learn to serve the other too …

  • Author: Rmili Fatiha
  • Illustration: Hamza
  • Releaze date: 19/03/2017
  • Themes: Duties and Rights / Responsibility
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