The Heir

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There once lived a king and queen with two young children – their prince and princess. The king worked very hard to build an empire for his family and to set the foundations in place for his heir to take reign when he was no longer capable of remaining in control.

The king was tough on his prince; he wanted his son to be a man. But his son was just a boy, experiencing his young life and discovering the world around him. As a result of his hard work the king would often be left in a foul mood. A mood he would often inflict upon his prince. Sometimes the king would inflict this mood upon his queen when the prince was not around or if his son had been good at school. The princess, however, always escaped her father’s wrath. She was the apple of his eye. And though the prince loved his sister dearly, he deemed the contrast in treatment from his father unfair.

And so the prince would seek acceptance and companionship from his schoolmates, particularly so because he was different to them. Over time the boy established strong alliances with his friends. He became popular within the school. But he’d lost some focus. His results were slipping. He was not maximising his potential. When the king learned of this he was furious.

With each passing day his temper grew fiercer. His personality became more aggressive. His voice would shake the palace walls. Everyone lived in fear of him, most especially the young prince. The two found themselves entwined in a circle of conflicting interests: the king wishing the most for his son, but expressing himself through enraged, and somewhat panicked, tyranny; the meek prince wishing to be accepted by both groups of people who were in his daily life, but only succeeding with one.

One day, the king returned to his palace in the worst temper anyone had ever seen him in. He screamed at the top of his lungs at everybody while smashing objects on the ground in fits of rage. And then he came across his son – docile and silent, trying to shirk away from his father’s tornado of fury. The king, at the sheer sight of his prince, exploded uncontrollably. Eyes bulging, spittle flying, veins pulsating at his reddened temples, the king yelled loudly and directly into the young prince’s face.

Never before had the prince seen his father in this state. There was nobody, not even the queen, who could control the king. Screaming abuse after abuse the king’s temper worsened with every remark until his final comment, which was followed by an uncomforting stone-cold silence, was the final nail into the body of his son’s verbal crucifixion: ‘You were a mistake!’

Years went by and the prince grew into a man. His relationship with the king grew amicable the older he got, but memories of his childhood still resurfaced from time-to-time. This particular episode would also sometimes rear its monstrous head – a memory shrouded with the serpent’s tail sting of the harsh words, the watching eyes and the deafening silence. With the acceptance of this incident as a mere heat-of-the-moment statement the prince had grown into a man, yet the impact of these words still carried a heavy weight of despondence that pained him deeply.

The Squirrel

22e1441467a811e2b42122000a9d0ed9_7A scurry of squirrels once lived together in a tree. They were all very good friends and had a great time hanging out together. They had fun, they laughed a lot, and sometimes they would invite female squirrels over to their tree so they could show off their nuts.

Every day, the scurry of squirrels would leave the tree in order to collect nuts. One day, one of the squirrels decided to take a different route than the others. He wanted to explore new pastures. He wanted to achieve something for himself. He knew it was a risk, but would he regret it if he never tried?

At the end of that day he returned to the tree with some nuts, but not as many as he used to come home with. Patience is a virtue, he thought. It just needs time.

As time wore on the squirrel was returning with fewer and fewer nuts. Eventually, he was going back with none. The squirrel’s morale and confidence was crushed, but his pride wasn’t. Rather than confessing this to his friends, he decided instead to borrow some of the nuts that had been stored by the others. He would replace them when he became in possession of more of his own. But things didn’t pan out as he had planned. He was still not gaining any more nuts, and he was still forced to borrow from the collection. As time wore on, the situation became serious and it became more difficult for him to admit to the others what was happening.

It didn’t take long for the other squirrels to notice that something was wrong. Their pile was smaller in size. Where had their nuts gone? They had a meeting and realised that someone was taking nuts from their collection. Realising it was none of them they confronted the squirrel who had sought pastures new. Racked with guilt, the squirrel confessed everything to them. Suffice to say, they were not happy. And they had every right to be mad with him. He’d betrayed them. He’d gone behind their backs. They were supposed to be friends. Why had he not approached them from the very beginning? Why had he not confessed sooner, before they realised? Why had he let it get to this? Friendships had been broken. Trust was no longer there. The squirrel had paid a very heavy price.