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The Legend of King Stayahom and the Shepherd’s Staff

May 15th, 2021 by Michael Dyet

In a not so far off time, King Stayahom ruled over a vast kingdom which stretched 100 days hard ride by horseback in all directions from the king’s castle. Liberté the Wizard held the king’s favour and was free to travel as he wished by horseback using his magic for good.

But there came a time when the king’s advisors became jealous of Liberté and the influence he held. He alone was outside the sphere of their influence and this troubled them. They resolved to speak to King Stayahom on the matter.

“Your Highness, Liberté poses a threat to the welfare of your kingdom. You must restrict his travel.”

“What threat?” King Stayahom asked. “Liberté does good wherever he travels. He is our Ambassador across the land.”

“Your Highness, do you not see the influence he is gaining? Your subjects revere him and anxiously await his coming. They heed his counsel above all others. Your subjects trust him even more than you.”

King Stayahom was greatly troubled by this news. He began to doubt Liberté’s loyalty.

“What is your advice? What should I do?”

His advisors were ready with their answer.

“The health of the land depends upon the rule of law. You must tighten your grip. Instruct Liberté that he must not travel without your permission and must not exercise his magic except in the circumstances you prescribe.”

King Stayahom took the advice to heart and summoned Liberté to the castle.

“Liberté, I have given you freedom to move about and use your magic as you chose. But I can no longer do so. The health of the land depends upon the rule of law.”

Liberté studied the king and read his mind.

“Your mind has been clouded by the jealousy of your advisors. They resent my freedom and my magic which you know I have only ever used for good.”

“My decision is made, Liberté. My advisors have drafted travel plans for you which restrict you to one day’s horseback ride in any direction. You must adhere to these plans on my order.”

“As you wish, your Highness. But mark my words, no good can come of this.”

When Liberté left the castle, the king was suddenly struck blind. His doctors could find no cause for his blindness nor cure it.

Word spread through the land that Liberté the Wizard would not be visiting their cities. During the next year, the absence of Liberté, and the good he spread through his magic, caused great hardship. Unrest grew among the people.

After a year, the people sent messengers to King Stayahom to request that his order be repealed. But the king’s advisors intercepted the messengers and turned them away.

The messengers returned to the cities with the news that had been denied access to the king. The people were dismayed and began to lose faith in King Stayahom. Before long, they rose up in protest and dethroned the king.

King Stayahom went into exile in a neighbouring country. His advisors fled to distant lands.

Liberté the Wizard undertook a new tour of all the cities in the land. Health and prosperity returned. After his tour, Liberté came to visit the king in exile. The king sought his counsel.

“Liberté, I do not understand why my subjects dethroned me. Upholding the rule of law was for the health of the land.”

Liberté shook his head and replied:

“The law is not a weapon to be wielded with a heavy hand. It is shepherd’s staff to be used with care and discernment. A wise ruler surrounds himself with advisors who understand and honour this truth. Therein lies your downfall.”

As Liberté parted with the king, he gifted him with an ancient shepherd’s staff. King Stayahom’s vision immediately returned and he saw the error of his ways. But his exile was set in stone for all time.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

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