The story of A Girl and Her King, joins the young protagonist as she grows in her commitment towards her good king. She is young and he is old. He teaches, her watches over her, protects her. He has taken her to the battlefield, the arena, and now asks her to find her place inside the calm environment of her old home, where challenges abound to test her dedication to him in even in the smallest matters. She does not yet know what form their love will take, if he will one day bring her to live with him in the palace, or request she stay in that quiet home forever. But willing to wait, she receives the lessons he has in store for her.
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Philothea felt she dreamed of this place. The sky was bright, draped with clouds, dark, gray, and light, and some blue sky. Everything was bright. Her queen mother waited at the gate for her and welcomed her, and gave her a nod which told her to proceed. Philothea saw a statue of the king. What was the dream? Was it to pass into the deepest part of the palace? Was it the marriage? The wedding feast?
Philothea entered the throne room. Was the dream to be received here eternally? She saw her king on his throne. She knelt in honor of him. She saw two ladies in waiting – one carried gifts to the king inside, the other was in the midst of renewing her pledge of love and service. There were no servants here. All had honor.
And there was so much light. Philothea’s dream was to be asked, to be desired by him, for him to love her, and carry her to the end. One can see the mountain on level ground. She could see the places they climbed. Just as it is more difficult to see the mountain while in the valley; on level ground, she could not see the bottom of that valley.
“Maybe we’ll go back someday.” He had said to her. Philothea nodded and said, “thank you.” He loved her.
She knelt and gave him a smile. He smiled back to her, shifting his eyes from her to those others in the throne room.
The king made an announcement from his throne. He looked straight at her with love and addressed all the crowd. It felt as though he spoke directly to her. “I will give you new things. I will make you something new.”
She planned to only stay in his presence and not approach the throne. Hearing her thoughts, he put his hand out to her and invited her. “Come,” he said, “Sit with me, let me be near you. Let me put my heart inside your imperfect heart. I love you so much.”
There were hundreds of people in the throne room. It felt like only two, as she made her way to him. As she sat, he said, “There, you belong no where else. I am going to keep you forever.”
What she had once dreamed when she was smaller was so little in comparison to all this. Philothea had no idea. A young maid approached Philothea and said, “the princess requests her ring back, but the king asked me to give you a seal instead.” It was written in Latin. It was for love.
Philothea did not feel little. She felt beautiful.
“You will talk to the young knight tonight” the king told her. “He will direct you. I choose him.”
She could feel the love of those who served the king. They lived in various parts of the palace, but all had access to those inside and outside the walls. The gate was open.
For her, he chose eight to serve her.
“There will always be more.” he leaned towards her. “Indeed,” he whispered, “they all love you.”
And the men and women of the court cheered in her honor.
“You will go to your mission. Some will follow you; others will stay behind. I choose these to keep me informed.”
“Won’t you be going as well?”
“Of course. After all, I must fight for you while you fight for me.”
“That is love,” she said. They smiled and stood ready for battle.
She knew now what both the mountain and the valley looked like.
She could not explain that fearful period in the valley, but she was nevertheless glad that is had been. She was aware of the king’s words that they would return again. This did not frighten her. While in the valley, she would often remember how the sun had felt on her skin. Now in the sunshine she did not forget the cool of the shadows. And now Philothea was also aware of a secret. She now knew of those beautiful, large, tropical flowers that grew only in the valley. She lived a little less attached then before, and the king was pleased.
Despite her weaknesses which confronted her, the things she did, words she said, face expressions, actions, emotions, anger at nothing, and a contempt for things he created and loved, Philothea walked into his throne room, sat at his feet with her hands on his lap. She dared to confront him so. Even her own heart accused her. What right had she?
What right hadn’t she? When did he ever ask her to be perfect, to be his greatest subject, and greatest love by being the most loyal, most unerring, the noble citizen? No, the model citizens make more mistakes than the rebellious ones—at least the rebellious ones know what they are doing. So she sat at his feet and looked up at him. He was glad she had come. “You rushed,” he said.
She stayed the afternoon, and in the evening went out to work.
The king asked her to love. “If it isn’t love, it isn’t worth that. If it’s love, it’s worth everything and your consent to my love makes it better.” The king held up Philothea’s hand. “Ah, the princess’s ring. I remember when I gave that to her. I’m glad you had it for a time. Don’t worry; I have diamonds for you yet.”
Diamonds for the faithless servant.
“No,” he said. “Diamonds for my little love and if you like I can make you better.”
Philothea was a soldier, he explained. “They won’t always see you, but you’ll look so marvelous.”