The story of A Girl and Her King, joins the young protagonist as she grows in her commitment towards her good king. She is young and he is old. He teaches, her watches over her, protects her. He has taken her to the battlefield, the arena, and now asks her to find her place inside the calm environment of her old home, where challenges abound to test her dedication to him in even in the smallest matters. She does not yet know what form their love will take, if he will one day bring her to live with him in the palace, or request she stay in that quiet home forever. But willing to wait, she receives the lessons he has in store for her.
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Today they honored those many men and women of the court. There were beautiful celebrations all day long and Philothea’s mother attended one. Philothea and her mother went together. But Philothea felt very tired from the battle that weekend and she was ready for rest.
Yet, there was work to do and she must attend to that.
“Ah, my king, what can I do now?” Philothea asked him.
“Don’t worry” the king responded, “I’ll provide for you. I always do.”
Her heart felt very full and beyond being tired, every joy was hers. Like a child, Philothea played with his hair and said, “my relationship with you isn’t like others. My friendships with others began because I loved them first. And they grew because they loved me back. My relationship with you isn’t like that. It began because you loved me first, and it grew because I loved you back.”
The king grinned at her understanding. “And I know something more” she told him, “I must learn to love you first and receive everything I need from you, my king, and love others for who they are, not to receive something. You will always provide for me, others cannot always do that.”
“I’m going to give you something,” he told her.
She took his word very lightly, “You always give me things.”
“I know. I am going to give you something new.”
“You said that before.”
“I know. I want you to be ready for it. I want you to appreciate it.”
It would be better not to guess, she thought, though she was tempted to analyze with anticipation. He understood what he was doing. After all, he loved her.
The king seemed pensive. “I may have you speak in front of people.” While she said many things in front of others, she could tell he meant something very different. “I may have you tell them about me…about us…I want them to know.”
Philothea knew she was afraid of this but was uncertain why at first. As the day passed, she remembered her fear of others knowing just how close she was. It was not her faults and mistakes she feared them knowing, but those secrets between her and the king.
Yet the was telling her this as he had never told her before. Philothea agreed but on the request that he give her a place and someone to help, anyone he wanted.
Indeed, the young knight was a patron of such speakers. The king did not say when and so Philothea reminded herself that although she did not know the details, he would nudge her to pursue the opportunity when he wanted it.
Philothea could gratefully see in her the things she had wanted to see. All the qualities people noted in her were ones that she did not possess a year ago, but had wanted to. Philothea was different.
And she no longer went out to that little earthen pot near the gate. Philothea brought everything to the hands of the king. Some things he took out there, other things he just seemed to hold into, like her heart. The king was never without that. He knew that the time would come for it to be beaten about by the wind. For today he would keep it warm near his heart. Philothea was grateful, all the while knowing what the storm had felt like.
Philothea spoke at length with the princess. The ring made the princess pensive, as did many things. She could see more than Philothea was able to see. Philothea was more sensitive than before, but she and the princess were growing to a good understanding. A princess and a little princess – both loved by their king.
They served him diligently together, one from the desert, the other from a dusty haystack inside the walls.
Ah, and Philothea remembered! She remembered that it was not only dust. She remembered a moment with her father. There was a rainbow and he was broken about something. She was reminded of mortality, as was her mother, but he was broken over the loss of a friend. He sat near her and she put her head on his shoulder – father to daughter – knowing that affection would comfort him a little. But Philothea remembered his voice, the way he choked a little trying to get his words out, and she remembered the rainbow and in that moment she was more than grateful that the king had asked her to stay and to stay with her family.
Philothea had a sister. Not a sister from the court, but one from that dusty haystack. They all seemed poor, when compared to the palace and her family there, her friends, little sisters, her queen mother, and the gentle, magnificent king. They seemed very poor indeed, just inside those walls but they were family and while Philothea loved the king very much, more than her own family, she wanted, some day, to bring them to that palace. They all seemed unaware of it, as though they worked without ever looking up. But she knew, yes, she knew they had seen it and come so close—perhaps gone inside. She wanted more. She wanted to be with them and bring them to the throne room to be received and blessed by the king. Philothea desired a seal, not only for her little heart, but for the heart of her family.
And the king knew she wanted this, and knew in the past she had tried to bring them but only for the ideal, not for them. She did talk to the king about them, and often. One lady of the court was constantly asking about them, after seeing Philothea in the palace alone.
Philothea came only for the king. Having had all things leave her alone at one point, having spent years being told to go on ahead, or to be left just a little behind, he loved her first. And Philothea loved him back. Thus she began the glorious love story between them with saints and angels and ladies of the court. He wanted her to speak, but what would she say and where could this story go as years went by? Her life began with many nights and tears and grew into full daytime. Having only truly seen the valley once and only truly been atop the mountain once, where would she be during the earthquake, or the storm, or the lightning? How would she find her queen when she felt so far away from the palace?
The king touched her hand. He said calmly “don’t worry. It isn’t done yet.” Philothea listened, her heart breathing gratefully because if it were over she did not know what she would do with herself.
“It isn’t done yet.” He had said and he took her hand and led Philothea further inside.