And off we went, Gillae leading the way, the flock following close at heel, the group of shepherds scattered round them, and then Mikkens, Towser and I bringing up the rear. We travelled an hour or so in this manner, following the star, men speaking to one another in hushed expectant tones.
As we travelled, I marveled at the endurance of my 2 bearers, and I could not help but reflect on the difference between these 2 and my previous 2 companions. One thing was becoming evident the more time I spent with these shepherds: Royalty is not a title or station in life, but rather a way of being that is oriented towards joyful sacrifice. Perhaps my bearers were kings more than the ones who had left me to die.
After a while, I started to doze off, rocked by the soft motion of our travel.
I was startled by a voice and woke to find myself staring into Brownie’s intense gaze.
“Gillae wasn’t telling you the whole story, and I think you should know it, being a king and all. I don’t know much about kings, you being the only one I ever met” (and with this he eyed me dubiously), “but I can tell you that Gillae is braver than any man I ever met, and he is stronger and more giving than any person alive. Many times we have all been too tired to take our watches and we fall asleep, only to wake and see him on guard, over us and the sheep both. And in truth, tonight’s events have only added to his exploits!”
“Brownie” said I, “You have all seemed on edge and wary, and of course all of your hints and outbursts tell me there is more going on here than meets the eye. What exactly befell you on this evening of wonders?”
Brownie looked forward at Gillae to make sure he wasn’t listening…and no fear of that for Gillae was leading, and walking at ready as if expecting an attack of robbers, or worse. Then in a low voice, Brownie began to speak.
“Well, it all happened like Gillae said, but when the gigantic man appeared to us, we fell to the ground like dead men, but not Gillae! He stepped forward and raised his staff, and challenged the newcomer to identify himself as friend or foe, and if foe to prepare to meet his doom. The giant shining guy began to speak to us as we all clung to the ground like babes to their nursemaids.
I will never forget his words:
‘FEAR NOT, oh sons of Adam’
‘I bear to you good tidings from the throne of the Most High God Himself, tidings of great joy, to all men in all places here and for all time until the Breaking is made Unbroken on that Day. Unto you is born this day, in David’s city, a Savior! Christ the Lord!’
“His voice hung in the air like a living thing, and was frightening but beautiful. He said he was the angel of the Lord come from the throne of the Maker.
‘You are to go to the Savior with all haste. Look for Him wrapped in swaddling clothes’
said the angel.
‘But what are we supposed to do, break into people’s houses?’ Gillae said. The angel gave a thunderous blast with his voice, that must have been angelic laughter, and it both chilled and invigorated my soul.
‘Look in the stables, Shepherd, for this King will be with the sheep, lying in a manger.’
“‘A manger’” Gillae replied. ‘What kind of king is it that is born a Savior yet is lying in a feeding trough?’
“When he said this, the guy just threw back his head and again thundered a laugh. But bold Gillae demanded proof that he was the angel of the Lord, and not some seducing deceiver from the Breaker’s dungeons. He actually stepped forward and thrust his staff into the face of the angel!
“Well, the angel just glared at that staff, and then rose straight up about 50 feet, and clapped his hands three times…and the night split open
and rolled back like a scroll and in its place was light like you cannot imagine!
“It was like a hole had opened in the night, and the shadows were torn away, and Heaven’s own glory was invading the dark earth, and if you think we were scared before, we were simply undone now!”
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
For Part FIVE, click HERE
“ Grandpa! Please, please tell us a story,” the young children exclaimed.
They were seated in the lap of a man who had seen many, many years. His gnarled, rough hands were like the branches of an oak tree, and his hair was thick and full, and white as snow. His face was a harvest apple in January—wrinkled and browned, but sweet to the taste. He was old as the hills and yet his eyes…full of light and joy, tears and grief, brokenness made whole… they made this old trooper seem like an eager child on Christmas Eve! He gazed down at his grandchildren, Young Frederick on his right knee, sweet Caroline on his left.
“So!” he boomed. “‘Tis a story you be wanting, is it my sprites? Well then! ‘Tis a story you’ll be getting, only then you’ll have to run off to your beds! For tomorrow we celebrate HIS birthday, and GLORY what a celebration we’ll have, eh? Frederick, throw some more wood on that fire whilst Sweet Caroline and I scoot closer to it.”
Frederick jumped down to obey. The old man rose with his granddaughter under one arm like a kitten, and with a casual flick of his wrist he tossed his huge oaken chair about three feet closer to the fire, like it was made of twigs. He sat down, and Sweet Caroline squirmed up his chest and wormed her arms around his corded neck. “Grandpa,” she said with a solemn face, “Tell us about your journey. Tell us about Him.”
“Yeah!” Frederick chimed in excitedly as he launched himself upon his grandpa. “Tell us about when you were The Light King, and when you went to see Him when He came, and about Gillae and Brownie and—“
“Whoa, slow down my bumpkins,” interrupted the old man. “You’ve heard that story so many times it must be nearly worn out from the telling! Surely you’d rather hear about how your papa, the King, killed the ugly dragon, Ba’alzamon,
or about how he rescued the beautiful Princess Katherine
and made her his Queen and your mother?”
“NO GRANDPA!” they shouted in concert.
“Tomorrow ‘s the Day–—His day and it’s your day too, said Frederick.
“Yes, Grandpa,” said Sweet Caroline. “It’s my favorite story, to hear how you met Him and everything. Please, Grandpa, oh please?”
The old man sat looking back and forth between them as if caught deep in indecision. He glared at them in mock irritation while delight danced in his eyes. The children sat in suspense, hardly daring to breathe, hearts straining with desire to hear the magical story.
Sweet Caroling looked at Frederick, and had a giggling fit. Frederick shushed her with an agonized frown and the darkness of the night pressed in through the windows as they huddled close to the fire. The room was full of lamps, all of them unlit and dormant. The fire popped and crackled fiercely. The old man drew in a deep breath, held it, just to build the suspense and then exhaled in mock resignation and secret gladness.
“Oh very well you smooth talkers. The tale is yours for the telling.” Frederick let out a whoop and Sweet Caroline accompanied him with gleeful clapping. “I swear! You two could talk an elephant out of his trunk while making him feel he was the talk of the town for the bargain! Okay then—gather close and settle in, and you shall hear the telling of
THE HEALING OF THE LIGHT KING
He took a deep breath, and began…
Hi Constance…so last year at Christmas time, I published here a long original Christmas story, called
Clicking on the link will take you to the post in its entirety.
This is the Christmas story written from the perspective of one of the 3 Kings who goes on a journey with the other two, following that brilliant steady star that had appeared. But the king is dying, from some ailment unknown, and so brings along the supplies needed to bury him in the likely event that he died on the way. And if he made it, well, he would make those burial spices his gift to the royal personage that the star in the heavens spoke of. After all, the spices were quite valuable.
Along the way, the king is abandoned by his companions when he has a seizure and they think he has died, and he is discovered laying unconscious in the fields of some shepherds. They have just experienced some extraordinary events of an unprecedented nature and as they share these things with the king, they discover that their destination is the same place, the same Person, and so they set off travelling together.
They meet this Person, and something astounding happens to the King…and he Becomes…
…well, you will just have to read it to find out, now won’t you?
Here is the killer to me though: this story moves me as much as anything I have written…ever.
And yet only one person pushed “like”. And historically? Other than when I read it out-loud to my kids when they were little, I have never received any sort of response to it!! No response of any kind. Not one time has anyone said “omg that is the most boring stupid thing I have ever read”…or “omg that was delightful!”
I even solicited input from readers a few days after posting it here…and what is totes ironic is that the post soliciting comment got a few likes. Apparently, my plea for feedback was more interesting than the story itself! But as per usual, no comments on the story.
Hey, I can deal with being told that I sucked and just am a very bad writer…I can deal with hearing that the story needs work and were I to ever to get any feedback on it I would work it in rewrite until it sang. But apparently it isn’t even bad enough to create even that reaction!! Giggles…now that is bad!!
Well…screw all that. I like the story. It is fabulous, imaginative, inclusive of diverse elements and taps into the Mythos of Christmas. It touches on the Mystery of it, the Magic of it, and the Majesty of it. Whether or not I wrote it very well has nothing to do with the story and what I saw when it came to me.
Maybe the problem is that it is a bit long? It takes a while to read it. I have heard that the modern mind has a short attention span (makes me so G Damn happy that Tolkien did not write in our day, or I likely would never have read TLOTR because no one would have published it!), and that is one way that I am very much not like modern minds, for mine is convoluted, complex, intricate…my thoughts and ideas take notions, nudges and knowings and weave them carefully. And of course then there is the whole issue of being guilty of producing too much content.
Whatever. I am who I am. I am what I am, and I am not going to apologize for that, any more than the mighty Mississippi apologizes for feeding the sea. I like the story so…
…so this year, I am going to re-post it here, but just a little bit each day.
Maybe it’s good…maybe it isn’t…who really knows? But between now and Christmas, I will dribble it out here. And if you want more? Well that is the cool thing about blogs…you can go back in time!