Barbara I.

The Queen and The Jester

There was a queen possessing a big royal suite, amongst them - a jester. He himself had offered his services and since then has been delighting her again and again with diverting stories, his jokes and using felicitous irony in describing life on this court. He was a real jester! - Just as the queen has ever been wishing. And this has to be said: Although she liked all her friends, ministers and subordinates: a jester always has been missing, just until this one had appeared.

The queen never asked, where he had come from, because she wouldn't tell also, where she came from. She hadn't been queen in this kingdom at all time; she was asked to be, after the former ruler had passed away without descendant. - About her past yet, there was a secret. Nobody knew about it, but as she was that excellent in governance, nobody cared.

With secrets - and that not only in fairy tales like this - the case is as follows: They have to be revealed. Because a secret, nobody knows about is no secret at all. It is a smoldering burden poisoning everything around it.

The jester, who observed many things to find subjects for his stories and points of contact for his jokes, was a master of necessity to discover secrets - and that only can, who has a secret himself. He knew about that danger and as he had sworn to serve the queen with all his abilities, and sworn himself, too, that he would do more than his usual service would demand, he searched how he could be helpful in this point.

His own secret was this: He had a heart - this jester.

Thus the queen took to him and he took to the queen. He came to her unsolicited whenever she needed him - and sometime beyond that - the jester.

And she came to him whenever she could liberate herself from official functions and whished the company of her jester. In the sound of his words and in the reverberation of his jokes the bonds of her strict reglemented life eased.

"My dear jester." she said then. "Without you my life would be sad."

"So I am the salt in the soup of your life, my queen?" the jester asked.

"You found an adequate expression like always." she laughed. "What could be the fat pieces of meat and the delicate vegetable without the salt in the soup? What could be power and richness without you, my jester?"

These words warmed the heart of the jester. He didn't make aware himself that for him was essence, what for her only was ingredient. Therefore he felt hurt, when she took him aside one afternoon and insistently requested:

"Listen. This evening you must withdraw a bit. We will have guests, I like very much. Tomorrow you may tell me about the ridiculousness you observed in them. But in front of them rein yourself in."

"What should be left from a jester reining himself in?" he asked.

"You will entertain everyone and hurt none." the queen ordered impatiently.

The jester did his best to please her, although he felt at no service neither to the attendees nor himself with groaners. Nevertheless the cheerful laughter of the guests proofed his mastership as well as the satisfied and amused look of the queen. But he himself was amused that less, that on the next day he asked the queen to allow him to separate in future on evenings like this. It would be to hard for him to contravene himself.

The queen pretended if she took that for one of his humorous ideas.

"You were that unhappy with our guests?" she asked. "Has not your restraint given you the ability to watch them very close? - Tell me what you discovered! Now we are completely in private. Slacken the reins of your wit. I was enjoying all night the expectation to listen to your thoughts about them."

The jester in his sorrow had had no thoughts at all, but now, invited like that, he remembered pictures and words in his mind, which he had involuntarily absorbed. His thoughts, his emotions, his tongue began to move and soon the queen laughed aloud by delight. Too loud a bit. This the jester recognized.

"How well you know him!" she cried again and again. "How accurate you detected all this: His excessive severity, his longing to see a problem in everything which has to be solved by him just by him in the very moment. His exhibited caution which makes one forget in the first moment how unerringly he snaps up any situation."

She spoke only about the one guest, although there had been six of them. This the jester recognized, too.

"It seems you do not need my explanation, my queen." he finally said. "Did you want to hear the confirmation of your own opinion about someone you obviously must have known for a long time?"

The queen instantaneously became earnest.

"Yes, I knew him." she then agreed annoyed. "Many years ago I knew him very well. He hasn't changed. - What you could tell me after just one evening, I unfortunately was recognizing slowly not before many winters and summers had passed."

This was the instant the jester had waited for. The jewel-case of the secret was opened. Here the queen was nothing but true for the first time and for this more precious to him than ever before.

"You will not have missed recognizing the deep sincerity in his behavior then." he jotted carelessly to learn how she would react.

"What? You are protecting him?" she cried with sudden lack of self-control. "I warn you! One word further in this direction and I'll get you whipped."

"Pray, forgive your jester!" he said with an engaging smile and a little bow. "You will not have to expect sincerity of this kind from me."

"I do hope so!" - She waged her finger on him, but then found back to her most charming style. "We want to remain friends, do we?" And she did something she had never done before: She placed her hand on the arm of the jester and looked at him that cheerful, that he felt entirely dizzy.

"He stayed." she murmured. "This evening you may treat him at your whim. Just as you like. You understand? - I'll leave him to you completely."

The jester stepped back and looked at the queen estimating.

"The hands of your soldiers certainly are much more qualified for an act of revenge than those of your jester."

"Revenge! - Who would be so cruel and pedantic? - I wish him neither dead no hurt. But no: Let him recognize himself, you got the talent for that. All I wish is that he comprehends what he does. Do not be indulgent."

The jester said to himself, that under these circumstances it might not be felt less cruel if he corresponded to the will of the queen. He told himself, too, that she might wish less, the guest may comprehend what he would do, but that he may comprehend what she, the queen, would feel. Wouldn't that also expose her and could that be also her wish? And finally: Would this be the point were he could be on her service?

When the evening had come, he had arranged his thoughts. He did not feel entirely at ease, because beside the interest of the attendees his own would have to be kept in sight. And even therefore, not because of being craven, he appeared instead of telling the queen directly that he would refuse to undertake the task.

First he hesitated, because the guest's calm open-mindedness rarely gave him a working point. But when this had begun to spread his opinion about the high responsibility of a governor down to the smallest detail, the jester interrupted him by saying: "You would suggest with all this ingenuity, that every one else of us may behave irresponsible?"

The guest felt bemazed. He resisted the assumption, shook it of and went on, this time looking insistently on the queen, who seemed to be absorbed by his speech.

"But when you shift the responsibility on the queen only," the jester, too, remained at the helm. "you never will find out, how many opportunities are given to your own responsibility."

The guest interrupted, turned towards him and said after some seconds sincerely thinking: "It's in your way, watching minutiae in the words or the appearance of your vis--vis. This view reveals the one or other thing to ridiculousness. It is amusing but should not prevent us to treat thoughts which we have recognized as being precious with the utmost care." Then he added empathically: "The abandonment of a governess contents great responsibility for the whole remit under her control. The responsibility of lower ranks is not at all affected by that."

"Well, you see," the jester laughed friendly. "There you get to the point. Better: two points. And so, resolved into two details, even a jester is able to understand your thoughts to all intents and purposes."

"But the question is, Sir, how to abandon the discourse you opened."

"Which discourse, Mylord? I agree completely. In each of the two points. And I presume, as the opinion is that common, you will not find a single opponent to it at this table."

Being disposed of his topic of conversation by this, the man was to be seen looking at his plate annoyed. The guest were relieved to escape the lengthiness. The queen, however, look round satisfied and donated a smile to the jester.

"Oh, do not smile, my queen." the jester cried and called the attention of the guest straightforward to this instance. "Responsibility is a severe topic indeed. We do not want to reveal it to ridiculousness. - As we know now, you are in charge for it twice."

"I haven't heard anything about that." Her voice had become prudish and faltert.

The guest, too, gazed back and forth between queen and jester. But finally he was unsophisticated enough to recognize a calling in the jester's look.

"Indeed, your majesty," he said. "That exactly was, what I tried to convey to you. A governess is not only responsible for the concerns of her subjects. Besides that she is responsible for her own life, as much as anyone else. As a governess she rules and makes decisions for those, she cares for, from a high position. As a human being she is more tries for creating a balance between herself and others."

"How common." the queen responded bored. "No, that is no difference for me. I am queen at any hour by day or night. As a governess I make the decisions for me and others in the same way. A high - notabene intellectual - position in both cases is indispensable. Balance is there, where deference is paid to my will."

The topic was changed. The guest became reserved, the jester lively. Perhaps by chance they left the dinner shortly after each other. But the servant, which was my source of information, absolutely insists, he had seen them both shaking hands outside in the hall. The guest had thanked the jester.

The next morning the queen hastened to the jester: "You did so well, my dear." she cried in a elation which sounded like sobbing. "He's run of, this terrible man. Has departed even last night. Now we are in entirely in private again. Cheer me up, dear jester. I rested ill."

The jester looked at the queen, how he had never looked at her before. This gaze directed her attention to his robe, which looked simple on this morning. As simple as the robe of any subject.

"I can never cheer you up again, my queen." he said regardful. "And I beg you to let me go."

"You want to leave me?" she cried appalled. "But what should I do without you? Life is dull and steady without your jokes. - What do you mean with: You can never cheer me up again?"

"I cannot make fun without keeping the balance." the jester explained. "And I can no longer pay deference to your will."

"But why not?" the queen angrily stamped with her foot.

"Because yesterday I looked into the heart of a man and because I have a heart myself."

The queen stared at him puzzled. The jester bowed and left.

She looked after him for a while, than she sat down on the near kerb and disappointedly spoke to herself: "Oh my god, he was no jester at all. He was just common. As common as the other one."


 

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Barbara I..
Published on e-Stories.org on 04/03/2006.

 

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