Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Young Queen's Kindness

About one hundred and ten years ago, Holland had a king who ruled his people wisely.  He was careful about the management of his country's business and his own household affairs.  Indeed, so thrifty was he that many of his subjects thought of him as stingy.

His queen was somewhat younger than he and he was proud of her.  He wasn't stingy about getting rich gifts for her, so she had all she wanted.

One day while the king was visiting some of the shops, he happened to notice an unusually beautiful tea set of very costly porcelain.  "That's just the thing for a gift for my queen," he thought, so he bought it for her.  She was delighted with it when it came as a gift from him.

The tea set was very fragile, though, and the king, knowing this, called all the servants of his palace together one day and told them sternly that if any of them ever broke even one piece of the set, that person would be dismissed from serving at the palace.

The king's servants loved him, and they all knew that he meant what he said, so the tea set was handled with utmost care.  But accidents will happen, as everyone knows, and to the most careful of people, too.

One day a teacup slipped from the hands of the king's chief butler, who was also his oldest and most trusted servant.  It would be be hard for us to imagine the grief of that faithful man.

He was so honest that he wouldn't have tried to hide what he had done even if  he could have one so.  Soon, with tears in his eyes, he carried the broken cup's pieces to the queen.

"Oh, your Majesty, see what I have done!  Now I shall have to leave the palace, and in disgrace, too!" he said.

The young queen was more sorry by far for this good old man than she was for the loss of the beautiful cup.  "Now, don't worry," she told him, smiling.  "Just bring me a little glue."

She carefully mended the cup, and when it was ready to give to him, she said, "Now, when we have our next state dinner I want you to put this mended cup beside my plate, and I want you yourself to pour the drink into it."

It wasn't long after this until there was another royal dinner.  Many knights and ladies were at the long state table, with the king at its head and the queen opposite him at the foot of the table.

The faithful old butler poured the hot drink into the mended cup as the queen had told him to do.  The glue was of a type that quickly melted, and the cup fell apart.  Instantly there was a little swish of the queen's big silken sleeve, and down went the cup's pieces to the floor.

"Oh, your Majesty!" exclaimed the queen.  "See what I have done!"

But he only smiled at her and said, "What does a little accident matter?"

The butler's heart overflowed with joy for this wonderful kindness of the queen who saved him from being dismissed by the king.

~ Norman C. Schlichter

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Tranquility

I am not a fan of the Twilight series. In fact, I have never read the books, nor have I seen the movie. But I do love the countryside surrounding the quaint, small towns of Forks and LaPush, the places where the story is told. The forests and winding roads that open up to the beauty of the beach are tranquil and remote. Being there simply melds my heart into serenity. Visits to the beach at LaPush are best planned so the sun can be viewed as it sets. Brown pelicans, great blue herons, and hundreds of gulls are only a few of the birds that can be observed from the shore. Tiny islands dot the shoreline. Low tide reveals a rocky shore, and high tide brings waves close by, making observation of sea otters and other creatures easy and close. This point, one of the most western on the Pacific coast, speaks of serenity to all who take the time to stop and observe. Many tasty picnic lunches have been shared from a landing near this beautiful coastal spot. And summer, sweet summer, is the best time of all for such a delightful repast.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Little Bits of Cheer and Joy

Do you keep little things in your home that bring you cheer and joy? Simple, natural, and beautiful things do this for me. Flowers of all types bring me much happiness. Sometimes all it takes is a walk around the yard. Other times, bringing nature indoors adds that joy. My mother gave me a small vial with a suction cup attached. It sticks to glass very well. I enjoy placing it on the front door or the kitchen window and putting a few simple flowers or leaves in it. I enjoy looking at it when I open the door or wash dishes. Roses, begonia, ivy, daisies, violets, pansies, or whatever is in my garden at the moment all look beautiful in this simple little container. In the winter, a sprig of evergreen or holly adds a gentle touch. Bringing nature indoors doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. Simple cuttings of anything found outdoors can make your home a serene and pleasant place. Bring cheer and joy indoors by the use of the simple things of nature.

Diana, Princess of Wales rose - Jackson and Perkins