Unification Sermons and Talks

by Reverends Ladolcetta

The King and the Janitor

by Catherine A. Ladolcetta
Irvington, AL

This story was written for the children of Top Garden School in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. I hope that it will inspire all the children who read it with the kindliness of Heavenly Father's heart.

Not so very long ago, a King lived in a beautiful kingdom. His own father had ruled with love, compassion and generosity in this land of radiant green fields and sparkling clear water for many years.

When the old King had grown gray and all knew of his wisdom, he went into the spiritual world, entrusting his son with his kingdom and its people. The new King, having lived all of his life with such a loving father and good King, followed in the tradition of compassion and generosity, and so his Kingdom was a happy one.

Before the old King ascended, he passed on a special job to his son. It was a task which, for all his years as King, he had performed carefully and joyfully. The son, although surprised, received this job with an appreciative heart.

All day the King sat in the great throne room of the castle, listening to the people who lived in his land. They were farmers, shepherds, merchants, tailors, cooks, carpenters, ditch diggers, teachers, healers, minstrels and inn keepers. In the castle, the King listened with respect to all who came-whether they brought joyful news, their deepest needs, or their complaints for him to hear. When all the talking was finished (and the King always had questions to ask), he would sit quietly on his high throne of tufted red velvet, which was inlaid with white elephant ivory, beaten gold, polished black onyx and gleaming rubies, thinking. Sometimes he thought for a long time, during which a chair was brought for the petitioner to sit down on. When the King was ready, he made his pronouncement and the question was settled. Only rarely did a petitioner feel unhappy with the King's decision. Sometimes the King would listen some more, and sometimes he changed his mind. He was a very good King.

During the day the throne room felt the feet of many people. When it rained the black and white marble squares, with gold flecks inside, got muddy. When it was dry and hot they got dusty and dirt stuck to everything in the throne room. Of course the kitchen got muddy or dusty too, and so did the great hallways by which one traveled throughout the castle. The beautiful stained-glass windows quickly became dull with dust and their colors dimmed. The statues and fountains and pillars and stone arches all gathered dust. So must dust!

But miraculously, by early morning of the next day, as the sun began to peep in at the colorful panes of glass, the mud and dirt and dust were gone.

One morning, after a day which had been particularly muddy, following a very dry spell which had created a terrific amount of dust, the King's favorite counselor came into the throne room and smiled.

"My lands," he thought to himself, "it was such a mess yesterday, I thought we'd never see it clean in here again." "My Lord!" he called joyfully. The King sat on his throne yawning a bit and having a hot cup of tea. he smiled over his cup at his long-time friend.

"What is it, Thomas Smythe?" he called back. He loved the early morning quiet, his cup of tea and the time to talk with Thomas.

"Sire, I think the throne room is cleaner than I have ever seen it! Don't you think we need to give the castle janitor a raise in pay?"

"Oh!" The King looked around the big, airy room as if he'd never noticed it at all. "Oh! It is nice, isn't it, and yesterday was so messy. Yes-that's quite a good idea, Thomas. Will you take care of it? Oh, and perhaps we can give him a medal here in the throne room to show our appreciation."

"Yes, Sire, what a grand idea. I shall go to the royal bookkeeper today!" He smiled happily at the King. The janitor would be happy, too, he knew. And his family, whoever they were.

The day passed pleasantly, as usual, for the King and Thomas Smythe, because in this well-ruled kingdom there were no murderers or thieves. In fact, there were very few complaints of any sort at all.

That afternoon at tea, Thomas Smythe approached the King and bowed, taking off his hat as was his custom. Then he plopped down on a cushion beside the King, a puzzled look on his face.

"Sire?" he queried.

"Hmm?" The King's mouth was full of bread and butter.

"Sire, I have found something odd. The royal bookkeeper knows of no one who is castle janitor."

"Ummph!" The King coughed a little and his teacup tipped. "Is that so?" The King shook his head. "But, how can that be, Thomas?" The King stared at the messy room around him. "We must find him. We shall send messengers all round about the villages and invite him to high tea!"

"Good idea, Sire."

The King smiled. "A week Wednesday would be good, eh, Thomas?"

"That should do it, Sire," said Thomas.

The King chuckled into his curly, red-brown beard and sipped his cup of tea.

It was a busy week with four messengers clattering out the castle gates each morning at daybreak, searching here and there among the farms and villages. Wednesday afternoon came and, as he sat on his throne holding, as usual, a cup of tea, the King called to his dear advisor, "Oh, Thomas, how has the search come along? Do we have our janitor?"

"The last messenger has just come in, my Lord, and he has not found him. I can't imagine who he is. What shall we do, Sire?"

"Do you see how beautifully clean the castle is again this morning, Thomas? He was at work in here just last night! Perhaps we can surprise him at his work. Come here tonight and surely you shall find him!"

"At what hour would he most likely be found here, Sire?" asked the faithful counselor.

"Come in at dusk and stay till you see him or until the guard changes," answered the King. "Yes, yes, we shall surely find him at last!" The two smiled happily at their plan.

As dusk fell over the contented kingdom, Thomas made his way down through the great, dark hallways to the throne room of the King. He sat on his chair behind the throne and waited. Dark settled around him, but no one came to light the lamps. It grew chilly and Thomas drew his woolen cloak more closely about him. Suddenly he sat up-a sound! Peering into the blackness, he held his breath. A sparrow rushed noisily past him into the high rafters and all was silent again. At last his heart stopped pounding and, although he tried to stay awake, his eyes closed.

"Ten o'clock and all is well!" The guard was changing and Thomas awoke feeling a bit embarrassed and rather anxious in case he had missed the janitor after all his waiting. Shivering, he walked slowly back up the long, quiet hallways to bed.

In the morning, all was as usual. The throne room gleamed in the radiant light of dawn. The sleepy King squirmed a little to get more comfortable in his chair and lifted his steaming cup. "I wonder how Thomas faired last night? Now where is my dear friend?" he asked himself.

It was sometime later that a very sleepy and chagrined Thomas entered the throne room and took his place behind his King.

"I am sorry, Sire," he whispered in a quiet moment. "I waited so long in the dark and, finally, I slept. Perhaps I missed our precious caretaker."

"Let us try again, Thomas! Tonight at midnight-wait here. Surely he will come. As you can see, he did his work well last night." The King gestured to the sparkling glass of the tall windows.

As the 12 o'clock watch changed, Thomas slipped into his seat hidden by the tall throne, and began his vigil. "Surely now I shall find our mysterious caretaker and he shall have his reward!" murmured Thomas to himself in the dark. Thomas had napped, on the King's advice, in order to better stay awake, and so he sat wide-eyed in the solid blackness of a night with no moon. No one came, and as the dawn stole into the throne room, Thomas arose and, stretching, peered about. In the growing light, he saw a spotless floor and pristine windows.

"I must tell the King at once!" Thomas hurried away to the royal dressing room. He knocked his special knock.

"Come in, Thomas, I'm up!" The King was just putting on his royal cloak, and his valet was buckling up his last boot. The expectation in the King's voice saddened his advisor.

"Well, who is he, Thomas-who is he? I hope he's not too shy!" The King's smile was like sunshine and his green eyes danced merrily.

"Oh, Sire! It's all clean, but there is no sign of him!"

They stood looking at one another. The King turned to the door and Thomas followed. They walked in silence all the way to the throne room; then the King spoke.

"It seems he means to go unrewarded, Thomas. Perhaps he finds joy in his service to the people of our land. Let us search for him no more; rather, hold him in our hearts in gladness and try to serve, as he does, in our own work." Thomas nodded, smiling at his King's gentle wisdom. He need say nothing. He knew the castle would share the secret of the janitor. Soon he would be the talk of the land and a light in every mind.

The years passed peacefully by, the land and its people grew in prosperity and in population. The King had a son of his own who grew up in the tradition of his father. The King decided to begin to prepare his son to rule in his place one day, and very early one sunny morning, he called him into his private bedroom.

"My son," he said, "I have a special task I would like to teach you. Come, put on these simple clothes and follow me." He smiled and, opening a narrow door within his innermost chamber, he reached into the dark and pulled out a bucket and a mop.


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