The Bee-Man of Orn and Other Fanciful Tales HTML version

The Banished King
There was once a kingdom in which every thing seemed to go wrong. Everybody knew
this, and everybody talked about it, especially the King. The bad state of affairs troubled
him more than it did any one else, but he could think of no way to make them better.
"I cannot bear to see things going on so badly," he said to the Queen and his chief
councillors. "I wish I knew how other kingdoms were governed."
One of his councillors offered to go to some other countries, and see how they were
governed, and come back and tell him all about it, but this did not suit his majesty.
"You would simply return," he said, "and give me your ideas about things. I want my
own ideas."
The Queen then suggested that he should take a vacation, and visit other kingdoms, and
see for himself how things were managed in them.
This did not suit the king. "A vacation would not answer," he said. "I should not be gone
a week before something would happen here which would make it necessary for me to
come back."
The Queen then suggested that he be banished for a certain time, say a year. In that case
he could not come back, and would be at full liberty to visit foreign kingdoms, and find
out how they were governed.
This plan pleased the King. "If it were made impossible for me to come back," he said,
"of course I could not do it. The scheme is a good one. Let me be banished." And he gave
orders that his council should pass a law banishing him for one year.
Preparations were immediately begun to carry out this plan, and in day or two the King
bade farewell to the Queen, and left his kingdom, a banished man. He went away on foot,
entirely unattended. But, as he did not wish to cut off all communication between himself
and his kingdom, he made an arrangement which he thought a very good one. At easy
shouting distance behind him walked one of the officers of the court, and at shouting
distance behind him walked another, and so on at distances of about a hundred yards
from each other. In this way there would always be a line of men extending from the
King to his palace. Whenever the King had walked a hundred yards the line moved on
after him, and another officer was put in the gap between the last man and the palace
door. Thus, as the King walked on, his line of followers lengthened, and was never
broken. Whenever he had any message to send to the Queen, or any other person in the
palace, he shouted it to the officer next him, who shouted it to the one next to him, and it
was so passed on until it reached the palace. If he needed food, clothes, or any other
necessary thing, the order for it was shouted along the line, and the article was passed to