|Chapter Title||THE KING NARRATES TO THE COURT PARASITES THE PARABLE OF THE TREES.|
|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
|Trove Title||The King of No-Land|
CHAPTER XIL THE KING NARRATES TO THE COURT PARASITES THE PARABLE OF THE TREES. After this interview, so deep a melancholy took po-session of Sassa fras as to augur the most serious results if measures were not adopted to counteract it. He wandered about the palace, pale, dejected, and suffering. He was at war with himself and the world. His counsellors cudgelled their brains to provide amusement for him which would divert his mind from melancholy, but all their efforts to woo him to cheerfulness were vainly made. At this time they themselves began to be a little disturbed by the proceedings of the Quamoclits and Whortleberries, and they decided that there was but one means by which this slight dis affection might be overcome and the personal condition of their sovereign improved : the King must marry. The rejoicings attendant upon such an oc casion would be certain to restore the fading loyalty of the people. They made a list of all the available foreign princesses. Princess This, Princess That, Princess Tother. They selected ene in every way fit, according to their opinion, and called a private Cabinet Council, at which theKiog was present, and at which the subject was brought forward. They uied the most power ful arguments in their endeavour to prevail upon him; they implored him to consider that an alliance with the Princess they had decided upon would strengthen his throne, and would not only contribute to his happiness, but would be a death-blow to the agitators who were bringing dissension into the kingdom. On mention of these agi tators, the King spoke, for the first time, with animation. 'It is fitting that this matter should be noticed,' he said ; 'it is a serious one. 'Nay, nay, a trifle,' observed one and another, not wishing to attach too much importance to it. He joined issue with them at once, to their great annoyance. 'I dissent entirely frcm the estimate you form of these agitations. I di-sent entirely from the view you take of the result of.an alliance with the Pripcess you mention--whom I believe.,tbbe a good and virtuous lady. ' E?etfiF mfiy owa personal happiness werew4I suited in the proposed alliance?---. 'But it is, your Majesty,'- they-o, tested; it is. Cannot you ee it ?
'No, I cannot see it,' he continued, ina steady tone 'Even, as I said, if my own personal happiness were not consulted in this proposed alliance, and I was willing to sacrifice it-which, let me tell yon plainly. I am not, my lords (there is a certain matter, of which you are in ignorance, in which my honor is concerned)-even then my marriage with this lady would not cart oil upon these troubled waters. Whether you are aware of it or not, I have lately interested myself in looking into cer tain matters which have much dis turbed me. There are, in my opinion, grievances existing in No-land which should not be left to remedy themselves in the course of time, but which claim -imperatively claim-to be examined and judged at once upon their own grounds. The best thing to be done is for me to bear in person what these Quamoclits and Whortleberries have to say. Thereupon ensued such a clamour as was never before heard in the Cabinet. They were aghast at the suggestion. They looked at each other with pale and inflamed faces, according to their temperaments. What I The King, in his sacred person-who was to the people a symbol of right and might and power and glory-to so far forget his position as to receive these common agitators ! All precedent would be outraged by such a proceeding. The King interrupted them here. 'Precedent ! precedent ! precedent !' he cried. 'And are we to be for ever governed by those we have, and never make a new one out of our enlarged knowledge and advancing civilization ? Are we for ever to be turned from the contemplation of a course which we conceive to be right, because it has never been trodden before ?' They adopted another line ofdefence. They said that the proceedings of the Quamoclits and Whortleberries were not worthy of high notice ; that the members of their societies and associa tions were of the very lowest class. ' But tell me,' said the King, ' are not four-fifths of my people of the low est class 7' They were compelled to admit that this was so. ' Well, then,' he continued, ' who should be legislated for-the many or the few ? Still they insisted that the persons spoken of belonged to the rabble, whom it would be folly to recognise. ' But,' he demanded, ' what if they force themselves upon your recogni tion ?' ' They have not forced themselves upon ours,' they replied loftily. Upon which he related to them what -he termed The Parable of the Trees. ' In a fine and fertile tract of land, a number of tall trees stood with their heads raised constantly to the skies. At their feet languished an infinite variety of small flowers and shrubs, whose numbers, in comparison with the trees, were as ten thousand to one. Without any thought of their humbler brethren, these lofty trees grew and grew, and spread their branches wider and wider, until, in course of time, they absorbed all the light and air which it was in the power of nature to bestow. " Look down upon our condition," cried the smaller flowers, "and keep yourselves within bounds, so that we may enjoy a fair share of the sweet light and fresh bhreezes, which are as necessary to our well-being as to yours." But the trees. whose pride had lifted them so high, were now almost out of hearing of the humbler residents of the wood, and as they never condescendel to cast their eyes downwards, they were in ignor ance of the sad condition of the lower growth; and even when, in ecnsequence of the. increasing clamour of the multitude for light and air, the com plaints reached their ears, they lifted their heads still higher to the skies. The multitude increased in strength, if not in beauty, and with the necessity ofliving strong upon them, wound them. selves from forceof circumstances,round about roots of the trees, and made such the in-roads into the earth as to sap the foundations of their powerful brethren --for they were all members of one family. "Give us room," they con tinued to cry ; "give us opportunity; give us at least fair play." Still the trees turned a deaf ear, and scornfully continued their way, with no fear for their own safety. They thought that what had been, always would be. But one day a great storm burst over their heads, and they had become so weak ened by the proceedings of the multi tude, and their own pride, that they had not strength to withstand it. They tottered and fell, cruashing to death thousands of their humbler brethren in their fall. But they fell, never to rise again.' Not one of the counsellors could see the slightest application in this parable, to which nevertheless they were bound to listen with respect. They renewed their solicitations; they begged the King to reconsider his decision. The harder they begged, the more obdurate he became. He rose and said, 'My lords, in three days from this I shall receive the Quamoclits and Whorileberries, and shall listen to what they have to say.' . Then he left them. All the foolish ones began to talk at once ; the more sensible were silent, and drummed on the table with their fingers in great perplexity. 'He is in earnest; he means it,' said 'I am afraid,' said another, in a cautions whisper, tapping his forehead, 'that all is not right here.' 'Hush, hnsh, my lords!'remonstrated Lord Crabtree; 'your lordships have overlooked something. His - Majesty, when speaking of his marriage, said that his happiness was not consulted in this proposed alliance; and then he uttered these remarkable words: "'There is a certain matter of which you are in ignorance in which my honor is concerned." Now what do these words portend ? What, my lords, but that there is a lady in the case , (To be eontiued). A Jhar tzxxrena.-A Detroit boy laid an ambrella, with a cord tied to it, in a public doorway. Eleven persona thonu.t that umbrella was theirs, and carried it with them the lgtht the strin.. "'?hey then madde~iy droppel it. and w at of without onse lowking back or sto?ping to pick itisp.