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King Robert of Sicily.

From A Childs Story Garden.
By Various.

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When the emperor saw the strange king he went to him and embraced him and called him "brother." At this, King Robert rushed forward and cried out: "I am the king, thy brother. This man is an impostor. Do you not know me? I am the king." But the emperor only looked at him strangely, and, turning to the strange king, he said: "Why do you keep this madman at your court?" The new king only smiled, and made no answer. The visit ended, and again the splendid train passed back to Sicily, and King Robert still rode behind. His heart was very sad, because he thought: "If my own brother knows me not, what hope can there be?" When the new king came back to Sicily he changed many of the cruel laws, and the whole land was made glad and happy, as it had never been before. King Robert noticed the change and wondered at it. It was Easter-time again, and King Robert said in his heart, "I will go to church again this morning." Behind all the procession he rode, as usual, and took his seat in the back of the church, so that no one might see him. Everything was beautiful at this Easter-time. The church, the flowers, the music, all bore the Easter message.

When the music began it crept into King Robert's heart, and as he listened the tears rolled down his cheek, and he bowed his head in prayer. The first words that he heard were the old, familiar ones: "The Lord can exalt the humble and bring down the proud and mighty from their seats." As poor King Robert listened he humbly bowed his head and said: "Ah, surely that is true; the Lord in heaven is mightiest of all. He is the king." When the king and his court had reached home again that day, the new king called King Robert immediately to his throne room, and upon his face there seemed to be a glorious light shining forth, and, looking at King Robert with a wondrous smile, he asked the old, old question: "Art thou the king?" But King Robert only bowed his head and said: "I know not who I am. I only know that I am the most humble and most unworthy of all men to be the king." To these words the new king replied: "Thou art indeed the king, and I--I am an angel sent from Heaven to help thee for a little while." When King Robert raised his head, behold! he was alone. The angel had gone. He again had on his own robes, his own crown, and was bearing his own scepter. That day, when the courtiers came to wait upon the king, they found him kneeling beside his throne in prayer.

The end.


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