The Legend of the Queen

The Legend of the Queen

Once there was a beautiful queen who lived in a kingdom far across the sea. She was as good and kind and wise as she was beautiful But also she was not as happy as she wanted to be—and this is the reason for her being so sad.

The lords and ladies of her court were very jealous of each other; they tried to gain favor in the eyes of the queen each for himself. They constantly came to her with unkind stories and gossip about the other courtiers. By this, they tried to lower them in the queen's eyes and thus gain a more favored place for themselves with the queen.

All this bickering and gossip made the queen very unhappy. She wondered what she might do to make her court a happy place. Finally, she called together the wise men of her kingdom to ask their advice on how to deal with the problem which made her so sad. The wise men made many suggestions; some even wanted imprisonment as the punishment of anyone caught bearing tales or gossiping about another lord or lady of the queen's court.

After much discussion one old man said: "Oh, Queen, your courtiers are like naughty children and they should be treated as such."

After listening to his plan, the queen sent out heralds to summon all the lords and ladies to the great throne room on the morrow. They came eagerly whispering and talking and wondering who was to receive some new honor or fame.

When they were all gathered, the queen summoned a page to her throne and said, "I want you to ride through all the land and bring back to me all the weeds you can find. In the courtyard you will find saddled and waiting a coal black horse; mount and ride to the east." The page, dressed all in black, quickly left to do the queen's bidding.

Then the queen summoned a second page to her. He was dressed all in white.

The queen said, "I want you to ride through all this kingdom and bring back to me all the beautiful flowers you can find. There is a white horse ready and waiting in the courtyard; ride to the west."

As the horses hoofs died away in the distance the queen dismissed the courtiers. How they chattered and talked about what the queen meant by all this!

Many days passed and the event had been nearly forgotten when, one day, the queen again summoned her lords and ladies to the throne room.

The first page entered the room, his arms filled with vile and poisonous weeds. His hands were covered with heavy gloves with long gauntlets to protect them from the briers. He left his burden near the door and crossed the room to kneel before the queen, who asked, "What did you find on your journey?"

"Oh, Your Majesty, your kingdom is a kingdom of weeds and thorns. I did not know there were so many and such vile weeds. If something isn't done, your kingdom will be overrun."

"But did you find no flowers?" asked the queen.

"Flowers? Why, there must have been some flowers, but I didn't see them. You see, I was looking for weeds!"

Then the second page entered and his arms were filled with beautiful flowers—blossoms of every color of the rainbow—and their fragrance filled the entire room, as he crossed and laid them at the feet of the queen, who inquired, "And what did you find on your journey?"

"Oh, Your Majesty, your kingdom is a land of flowers. I did not know there were so many or such rare and lovely blossoms. Your country is one of beauty."

"But did you see no weeds?"

"Weeds? Why no; of course there must have been weeds, but I didn't see any. You see, I was looking for flowers!"

The queen turned to her courtiers. She had intended to make a little speech about finding what you look for in others and urging them to look for the beautiful things in life, but she saw that it was not necessary. Her lords and ladies with shamed faces and downcast eyes were all quietly leaving the courtroom. And ever after that the queen was happy as she ruled her loyal subjects wisely and well in that land of beauty.—Adapted from a story by Mrs. Elmer Adams.

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