Kalaki’s korner: Winter and Given

     ‘Grandpa,’ said Nawiti, ‘tell me a story that I’ve never heard before.’
          ‘All the best stories are in the Good Book,’ I said. ‘So I shall tell you one which can be found in the Gospel according St Kalaki, the story of Winter and Given.’
          ‘Who were they?’ asked Nawiti.
          ‘They were the two sons of the old King Mada.’
          ‘Why was he called Mada?’ laughed Nawiti. Was he madder than all the others?’
          ‘Definitely not,’ I laughed. ‘All kings were equally mad in those days.’
          ‘Perhaps Mada was short for Madala?’ she suggested.
          ‘He was certainly very old,’ I admitted. ‘But his original name was supposed to have been Adam, but the mischievous Registrar of Births, Clown Andeleki, deliberately wrote it the wrong way round.’
          ‘I suppose the king favoured one son over the other,’ suggested Nawiti. ‘In these sort of stories they usually do.’
          ‘You’ve guessed right,’ I admitted. ‘And the king’s favourite was Winter.’
‘And did Winter know that?’
‘Oh yes, he knew it alright, because every morning he would look into his magic mirror and ask it
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who’s the next king of us all?
And every morning the mirror would reply
Thou, O prince will take the throne,
The king loves you as his own.
‘And did the king really love him?’ wondered Nawiti?
‘Yes he did,’ I admitted, ‘because the king knew that Winter was his own flesh and blood. On the other hand there was general suspicion that Given had been fathered by the Archangel Gabriel, who was known to have had a brief but heavenly affair with the Queen. Which was why he was called Given by the people, because he had been given by God.’
‘So why was the other prince called Winter?’
‘Because he was cold and heartless. He was a schemer who sent a shiver down people’s spines. One day he might shake hands with you and look you in the eye with a friendly smile, and the next day send his police cadres to lock you up.’
‘Yes,’ said Nawiti, sitting up in bed and clapping her hands. ‘He had the makings of a real king!’
‘But one morning,’ I said, ‘he was having his morning shave when, as usual, he checked with his magic mirror, saying
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who’s the next king of us all?
          But he fell backwards onto the floor when the mirror replied
Prince Given shall take the throne
The people love him as their own.
‘And was it true?’ asked Nawiti. ‘Did the people love Given?’
‘Oh yes,’ I replied. ‘He was a real man of the people. He didn’t just sit in the palace and scheme, like his evil brother. He lived amongst the people and listened to their problems, and did what he could to solve them. He didn’t live like a pompous prince, he lived like a humble human.’
‘That’s because he was given by God,’ said Nawiti.
‘Undoubtedly,’ I agreed.
‘So what did Winter do now?’
‘One day,’ I said, ‘the king announced that he had to choose between his two sons and officially announce his heir. Therefore, declared the king, each son would be sent on a one-week hunting expedition, and the one who came back to the palace with the best prize would be named as the Crown Prince.’
‘So what was the result?’
‘A week later, Prince Given arrived first before the king and his Royal Council with a huge eland over his shoulders, staggered down the long Royal Hall, and dropped the carcass of the huge beast at the feet of the king, as all the Council cheered.
‘Half an hour later Prince Winter arrived carrying a little plate with a slaughtered chicken on it. He walked insolently down the hall and put the chicken on the floor in front of the king, as all the Council sneered and threw their stinking shoes at the despised prince.’
‘He had been too frightened to go into the forest,’ suggested Nawiti.
‘Of course’, I said. ‘In fact he was even too scared to slit the throat of the chicken. His mother had to do it for him.’
‘So Given became the Crown Prince?’
‘No,’ I replied. ‘Winter now addressed the entire Council, saying My brother here has committed a grievous offence against his father the king. It is well known that only the king himself is allowed to hunt and kill eland. His bringing of this carcass here is a deliberate challenge to the king’s authority, and clear evidence that he has corrupted ZAWA, and has been plotting with the people to usurp the powers of the king. Worse still, he has misused his authority in an attempt to dishonestly and illegally capture the position of Crown Prince, and he must be punished accordingly.
‘A low murmur of dissent arose from the entire Council as the king now rose to speak.My son Prince Winter is correct. I have always said that we must follow the rule of law and root out corruption. Given is hereby stripped of his royal rank and exiled from this land forever. My beloved son, Prince Winter, has shown his loyalty to my person and his respect for the law. I declare him to be our Crown Prince!’
‘Oh dear,’ said Nawiti. ‘But what about the magic mirror’s prophecy?’
‘Quite right,’ I said. ‘This was not the end of the story. Tomorrow night I shall tell you all about the happy ending.’
Kalaki’s blog is found here

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