Last blog post I began my first short story, Of Kings and Enemies. If you missed it, you’ll want to click here to go back and read it first. And now, the rest of the story.
Three months later, the girl sat in a rocking chair outside her front door, a notebook in her lap, enjoying the quiet afternoon. She reflected on the many changes since her move to the inner wall. In addition to Babbling Brook, she’d made many new friends, including Truth, Mercy and Integrity, as well as Grace and her two sweet daughters.
The girl turned to see Perseverance standing nearby. “Hey, Percy!”
“You looked lost in thought.”
“I was just thinking about all my new friends,” said the girl while placing her notebook on the small table beside her. “I don’t think I’ve ever had so many before.”
“I find that hard to believe,” said Percy.
“It’s true. I’ve never been good at making friends, but everyone here is so nice.”
“Is that what you’re writing about?” Percy pointed to the girl’s notebook.
“Oh, that’s just a story I was working on. It’s nothing special, but I like to pull it out every now and then.”
“Can I read it? I love stories.”
The girl hesitated. She’d shared it once with her companions and they’d told her it wasn’t that good. But Percy’s eyes looked full of hope.
“Well, I suppose. As long as your standards aren’t too high.”
Perseverance excitedly sat in the other rocking chair and began to read while the girl waited impatiently. She tried to watch the people walking along the street but her eyes kept going back to Percy’s face, desperately looking for any sign of what the woman thought.
“This is really good!” said Percy at long last. “When are you going to finish it?”
“Finish it?” said the girl, taken aback at the compliment.
“Yes, you should absolutely finish it!”
“Finish what?” Encouragement, the girl’s newest friend, walked up.
“She’s writing a story,” Percy blurted out.
“Really?” said Encouragement. “What kind of story?”
“Oh, it’s not much,” started the girl.
Percy rolled her eyes. “It’s good,” she insisted.
“Can I read it?” said Encouragement.
The girl felt trapped. She longed to know if Encouragement liked it as well as Percy, but she’d never really shared this much of herself before. She cautiously handed over the notebook and began the anxious wait all over again. “Sit here,” she said. “I’ll go make some tea and grab another chair.”
Page after page Encouragement read. When she reached the last few words, she turned the page to find it blank. She looked at the girl. “Wow! What happens next? Do you have any more written?”
“See, I told you,” said Percy.
The girl stared at one friend, then the other. “That’s all I have.”
“You need to write more!” said Encouragement. “I have to know what happens next.”
The girl hesitated.
“If I come back tomorrow,” said Encouragement, “will you have more done?”
And so the girl wrote, every spare moment consumed with her story. When her companions stopped by for a visit, she told them she didn’t have time right then and sent them on their way.
Encouragement pushed her to finish her story and spread the word about how good it was. Soon, Grace asked to read it and then asked to share it with her daughters. And then Mercy couldn’t wait to read it as well.
With their words in her heart, the girl thought about approaching the King with her story. Of course, her friends were very excited about that.
But her companions were most unhappy with her decision.
“Why do you want to do this to yourself?” said the tall one. “We’ve talked about this. I’ve worked with many of the great writers and your little tale just doesn’t compare.” He patted her hand. “It’s okay as stories go, but you shouldn’t bother the King about this one.”
“The king is busy,” said D. “Very busy.” He nibbled on his fingernails.
The girl looked at her notebook, completely unsure what to do. A knocked sounded at her door, and as she went to answer it, her companions backed into a shadowed corner.
The girl opened the door and Brook stepped inside.
“Hi, my friend!” said Brook. “I can’t stay, I really have about 20 more errands to do this morning, but I just wanted to drop off this loaf of bread. I was talking to the King this morning and. . .”
As Brook talked, she looked about the room, her eyes narrowing when she saw the girl’s companions. “Hmm. The King thought I should stop by.” She patted the top of the girl’s hand that had reached to take the bread and she looked into the girl’s eyes. Speaking more slowly than the girl knew Brook was capable of speaking, she said, “Are you okay?”
The girl hesitated. She didn’t really want to talk with her companions so close. “Yes.”
“Well, I just want to encourage you that you don’t have to put up with unwanted house guests.”
Brook looked meaningfully at the girl’s companions. “These two, Doubt and Fear, they attach themselves to many in the King’s city. Know that they can only stay by invitation. The King has granted His authority for any citizen that tires of their company to kick them out.”
“Doubt and Fear?” said the girl. She looked wide-eyed at her companions, seeing them for a moment through the eyes of Brook. The words of Brook, Encouragement, Percy, and her other friends echoed in her ears. Perhaps her companions were not looking out for her best interests after all.
And so it was, with the persistence of Encouragement, the gentle reassurance of Perseverance and the backing of all her other friends, the girl humbly approached the King.
“My child,” said the King. “Do not be nervous. Do not ever hesitate to come to me with your gracious offerings. For it is I who put the desire to write in you and it is I who work through your words so that others may see Me in them.”
“But they are not great stories, my Lord,” said the girl.
“Their value comes not in what the outer city thinks of them, and the creatures from the wide paths of the dark forest will never appreciate them. Their value will always be in your desire to point others to Me. For it is those who believe themselves ordinary that allow Me to work through them, and therefore find themselves thought of as extraordinary by others.”
The girl left her stories in the King’s hands, returning to her friends with fresh encouragement to keep writing, sharing her knowledge of the King’s love with all she met.