Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time…

There was a Kingdom, where those in power had lost touch with their sacred Covenant – with the people, with the land and with God. Wealthy barons despoiled the land, extracting more and more wealth from the peasants, who had to work harder and harder to make ends meet. Mistrust and cynicism reigned and the people lived more out of fear than out of hope.

Every day brought news of fresh disasters and dishonour. Seemingly pleasant enough people began to behave badly as things went from worse to worse. Rumours of the end of the world came and went and came again. No one knew any more what was true and what was not. Scandal after scandal rocked the Kingdom and pestilence spread across the land.

Everyone agreed something had to be done. So the good citizens sought out the counsel of a wise Wizard called George who announced there should be a storytelling contest to find a new king. The new King would be the one that could find the truest, most inspiring story that could heal the Kingdom.

And so a proclamation went out across the land. The question on everybody’s lips was, where could such a deliverer be found? Surely he would have to be an exemplar of discerning wisdom or at the very least a very powerful Knight?

The most eloquent nobles in the land, (who happened to be Nigel the Purple Knight, Boris the Blue Knight and Jeremy the Red Knight) put themselves forward as champions of the Queen. They each let it be known that they had special magic words given to them by their forbears. So surely one of them could restore the realm with a soothing vision of peace, harmony, virtue and wholeness?

With bated breath the people waited for the appointed day. The crowds gathered eager to hear a story that could heal the kingdom. One by one, each of the pretenders to the crown began to tell his tale through his chosen flunky or press baron. But each of them, one by one simply blamed the others and their respective pet dragons for the plight of the Kingdom.

Suddenly a little girl shouted, “How can they be Knights without horses, clothes or shields? They’re no better at pretending than my little brother!”  The spell that had held the crowd entranced by the magic money tree was instantly broken, the press barons disappeared in a puff of smoke and the people realised the contenders weren’t Knights at all, but simply Mafiosi pretending to be Knights who were simply intent on protecting themselves and their own retainers rather than redeeming the realm.

And so the crowd began to turn away. Sadly it seemed there was no authority in the land who had the power to heal the grief of the people or the misfortunes of this fated realm. George the wizard was neither surprised nor pleased but the Barons didn’t mind as long as they could go on extracting more and more from the people and paying themselves bonus after bonus.

After a while, the George started a rumour suggesting that the new redeemer would be neither a Lord nor a Knight but simply an ordinary person of lowly birth. This made people think. What would happen if it were true and that the new king turned out to be their neighbour?

So just in case, everyone began listening to each other with a little more respect, taking more care of the common land, and being seen at least, to be more mindful of their duty to God, until gradually, one day they realised, the Kingdom was no longer a place of fear and mistrust but one of chivalry, compassion and respect.

Conscious of their new-found commonwealth, people began to talk of a miracle as spontaneous signs of unexpected beneficence blossomed. Children began to be polite to their parents and offered to do the washing up. Lawyers started to offer free advice. Merchants lowered their prices without a murmur. Money lenders offered reduced interest on loans and even dogs and cats decided to become friends.

Most extraordinary of all, instead of northern outlying provinces wishing to leave the kingdom, they were now wanting to return and even foreigners were asking could they come and live here once again and work in the NHS because they enjoyed taking care of people and because it was so nice here.

Soon the people began to speak of the possibility of a New Covenant – one between the People, Power and Nature – one in which the Barons could still have fancy names and crests ( because they obviously needed to feel special) but went about their business in a way that respected the people and nature. Gradually the people (including the Barons) began to flourish as never before.

Soon the Kingdom was Re-United once again and the people decided it was Great! Re-imagine Britain, re-uniting the Kingdom. Remember to use your X in the next storytelling contest! Or even better co-create a new story with us.

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