Chapter 17

So Many Problems

“Do not hang my husband. Who will care for my three children?” The woman pleaded with King Samard for mercy for her husband. He’d killed a man because he thought that man was sleeping with his wife, which she stoutly denied.

The murdered man’s wife wailed, “Who will care for me and my five children? Let him hang!”

The accused man stood before Samard with his head bowed, silently crying. Samard didn’t know if he was repentant of his crime or scared of the hangman’s noose.

He was reluctant to hang the man. A woman without a husband would quickly become destitute. Her children would become beggars. His kingdom was already meager. There was little money to support beggar children. They would become thieves. Once caught, they’d be hanged just like their father.

The children of the other woman whose husband had been murdered were looking at the same fate.

After much consideration of the situation, Samard said, “I will let him live.”

“What?” both women exclaimed, though for different reasons; one for joy, the other for lack of justice.

The man stopped crying and raised his head hopefully.

“But …,” Samard continued, “you will provide for both women and their children. If you try to escape your punishment, you will be hunted down and hanged at the very place you are caught.”

The women were satisfied with the king’s decision, but the man looked as if he’d rather be hanged.

They were endless peasants complaints and problems. It seemed as if Samard spent his life sitting on his throne, listening and resolving their issues.

“My father has died. I took care of him the last years of his life. I should receive his land, not my brother.”

“This one stole my silver candles.”

“This one asks too much money for …”

“What am I to do if …”

Besides solving disputes, Samard spend the rest of his day discussing finances: how much to pay soldiers; how much vegetables to buy, how much fruit, meat, and fowl to buy so all who worked and live in the castle were well fed.

He decided which indentured servants had completed their service and should be set free. He decided of those who requested to become indentured servants would be accepted in order to pay their debts instead of being thrown into the dungeon. He toured the dungeons, to see who’d served their term, who was too ill to remain incarcerated, and who needed to finish their sentence.

When he tried to take a relaxing walk around town, people brought their children and babies for him to touch. Just in the short time since the wedding, five newborn girls had been named Abiya and twelve boys named Samard. How would anyone know which was which when they were older?

When he walked through the market, men brought bags of seed for him to bless. He wanted to say, “I’m no god. My touch will make no difference.” But they wouldn’t listen. He laid a hand on each one knowing his blessings meant nothing.

If only he could fly away.

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Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

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