King Adam was in a dilemma.
Were his wife and children going to be fine after he was gone?
“What’s the matter, Your Majesty?” his trusted advisor inquired after a hectic day at court. Adam shook his head. “You don’t have children, do you? You won’t understand.”
His greatest fear had come true. As soon as his three children realized he was aging rapidly and was about to crown one of them King or Queen, all of them started demanding who it would be. It was not that they had bad intentions or were greedy, but they were forcing him to make a decision like that without actually having time to think.
Plus, his own Queen… she was more concerned about how the winery would continue if he, the best wine-taster in the kingdom, passed away. She was passionately fond of the exotic wines their land produced. None of them were really concerned about his health, which was typically supposed to be top priority.
He walked over to the throne-room and gazed blankly at the seat occupied by the ruler and worshipped by the people. He made up his mind and turned around. He summoned the court scribe.
“Take this down as my will,” he started dictating. The kingdom could not be disintegrated into three parts, so it had to be handed to one single person. But he had to keep the others occupied, so even thoughts of fighting over the crown would not arise.
As soon as the scribe finished, King Adam took it, glanced at the words, and rolled it up. “Summon the Prime Minister.”
On being called, the Prime Minister came rushing into the throne room, gasping for breath. “I’m here, Your Majesty,” he declared, shuddering from head to toe. King Adam nodded. “Take a seat and hear me out.”
“You know that my three children have grown into adults, and I want to relinquish my throne to one of them as soon as possible after I die,” he said. The Minister nodded. “Of course, Sire.”
“My oldest, Fredrick, is really clever, but he tends to lean more on weapons. If he were handed the reins of the kingdom, he would direct all attention to the military and navy,” the King continued. “The youngest Prince is very much capable of ruling well, but he is even willing to ruin his health for that. We don’t want that situation to arise.”
“So… Your Majesty, are you suggesting that… your second child… should…” the Prime Minister stammered. King Adam smiled and nodded. “Yes, you read my mind.”
“But Sire…!” the Minister gasped, aghast. “That would be breaking tradition! The oldest has to be crowned Ruler- this has been running in the family for generations! Moreover…” he leant in and whispered something in his superior’s ear. King Adam beamed this time. “Yes, that’s another greater custom I would be breaking.”
The Prime Minister sighed. “I shall be calling a grand court day tomorrow, Sire. Have a pleasant day.”
King Adam flexed his fingers, sitting on his high throne. Soon, one of his children would occupy it gracefully. He knew he had made the right decision, and correct choices were not always accepted fully.
His belief became concrete witnessing the proceedings of the next day. All the ministers and able citizens were present, along with his Queen and children. All of them were lavishly dressed, and were standing expectantly. Once all the commotion had settled down to a respectful silence, he nodded to the Prime Minister.
“Our Honored, Brave King Adam Williams has gathered all of us here for an important decision which he has made part of his will. Please lend me your ears,” he began, trembling a little nervously. He opened up a scroll of parchment with the will inside.
“I hereby declare that after my death, my second child, Princess Lavender, will inherit the Throne.”
Gasps and mutterings erupted all over the area. People, who had adored the King until now, suddenly started glaring at him and mumbling curses at him. Suddenly, an old woman stood up.
“Have you lost your senses, My Lord?” she shouted at the top of her lungs. “Do you realize that you are not breaking one, but two valued traditions of this sacred land?”
“Yes, not only is he snatching the throne away from the oldest Prince, he is also handing it to a WOMAN!” someone chimed in, furious. King Adam only gave a well-practiced smile to his subjects. “I am fully aware of what I am doing. Do you not want the welfare of your land?”
Dead silence greeted him. He smiled inwardly.
“It is not that I have left my other family members with nothing,” he continued. There was a collective sigh of relief from the assembled crowd. The King rolled his eyes. When an idea was planted in the public’s head, there was no way of removing it.
“My wife, Queen Lenora, will be made the Head of the Royal Winery Committee.”
The public groaned.
“My oldest son, Fredrick, will become Commander of the army under his sister’s rule.”
The people grumbled again.
“My youngest son, Leo, would make an excellent Minister of State for the new kingdom headed by Princess Lavender.”
The public gave him a withering look.
“Your Majesty, we have never questioned your decisions, but… this still does not feel right. Why would you grant the rest of your family such… lowly positions?” many of the citizens voiced their thoughts.
“Watch your mouth!” Prince Fredrick, who had been silent until now, roared immediately in his father’s defense. King Adam smiled at him and motioned for him to calm down. He turned to the subject. “If you feel that way, please go and tell the Commander of your army, who protects you incessantly, that he holds a ‘lowly’ position.”
The man gulped. He seemed to have lost his voice in front of this argument. King Adam was losing his patience. Still, he continued. His people had to be taught a thing or two about respect.
“Inform the Minister of State that you don’t need his wise counsel and administration anymore. Go tell the Head of the Winery Committee that you don’t enjoy any wine of any kind.”
Adam’s family gazed at him lovingly. He was being fair. Spurred on by the sudden positivity of his wife and children, he continued speaking. “There is no ‘lowly’ position in this world. Just as all of you cannot live without me, I cannot live without any of you. This kingdom would not be as prosperous without all of us working together. Also, your gender does not determine whether you are fit to do something or not. Your actions need to speak for you.”
The whole gathering burst into thunderous applause. His children rushed over and hugged him tight. The Queen watched from afar, smiling. Their kingdom was truly blessed.