The Coming Of The King

: Boys And Girls Bookshelf


Some children were at play in their playground one day when a herald

rode through the town, blowing a trumpet, and crying aloud: "The King!

The King passes by this road to-day!"

"Did you hear that?" they said. "The King is coming. He may look over

the wall and see our playground: who knows? We must put it in order."

The playground was sadly di
ty, and in the corners were scraps of paper

and broken toys--for these were careless children! But now, one brought

a hoe, and another a rake, and a third ran to fetch the wheelbarrow

from behind the garden gate. They labored hard, till at length all was

clean and tidy.

"Now it is clean!" they said; "but we must make it pretty, too, for

kings are used to fine things; maybe he would not notice mere

cleanness, for he may have it all the time."

Then one brought sweet rushes and strewed them on the ground; and

others made garlands of oak leaves and pine tassels and hung them on

the walls; and the littlest one pulled marigold buds and threw them all

about the playground.

When all was done the playground was so beautiful that the children

stood and looked at it, and clapped their hands with pleasure.

"Let us keep it always like this!" said the littlest one; and the

others cried: "Yes! yes!"

They waited all day for the coming of the King, but he did not come;

only, toward sunset, a man with travel-worn clothes, and a kind, tired

face passed along the road, and stopped to look over the wall.

"What a pleasant place!" said the man. "May I come in and rest, dear


The children brought him in gladly, and set him on the seat that they

had made out of an old cask. They had covered it with an old red cloak,

to make it look like a throne; and it made a very good one.

"It is our playground!" they said. "We made it pretty for the King, but

he did not come, and now we mean to keep it so for ourselves."

"That is good!" said the man.

"Because we think pretty and clean is nicer than ugly and dirty!" said


"That is better!" said the man.

"And for tired people to rest in!" said the littlest one.

"That is best of all!" said the man.

He sat and rested, and looked at the children with such kind eyes that

they came about him, and told him all they knew; about the five puppies

in the barn, and the thrush's nest with four blue eggs, and the shore

where the gold shells grew: and the man nodded, and understood all

about it.

By-and-by he asked for a cup of water, and they brought it to him in

the best cup, with the gold sprigs on it, then he thanked the children,

and rose and went on his way; but before he went he laid his hand on

their heads for a moment, and the touch went warm to their hearts.

The children stood by the wall and watched the man as he went slowly

along. The sun was setting, and the light fell in long slanting rays

across the road.

"He looks so tired!" said one of the children.

"But he was so kind!" said another.

"See!" said the littlest one. "How the sun shines on his hair! it looks

like a crown of gold."

[C] From "The Golden Windows," by Laura E. Richards; published

by Little, Brown & Company, Boston. Used by permission of the