God So Loved the World

Greetings, to all my remaining bloggers. It has been some time since I last graced this blog with a product of my scribblings. Now, on Valentines Day, I recollected that I had a blog and decided I must post, even if it ought to have been done yesterday!
       Have you ever heard Grimm's Fairy Tale, "King Thrushbeard?" 
Well, I'm here to tell it to you.

   In the days of castles, kings, princesses and dragons, their lived a king whose wife had died leaving him one beautiful little daughter. As she grew she became quite aware of her beauty, the servants praised her constantly, and extremely arrogant in her wealth and physical appearance. She played the coquette with everyone, but any who came to seek her hand, she ridiculed each one in turn; shaming him and making him look a fool for his pains.
    Her father was  grieved over the actions of his daughter, and one day, gave a reception for all the kings and princes in the surrounding area; hoping that among these worthy gentlemen would be one to win her respect. To the king, the princess promised to consider them all, but when she actually entered the room where all her suitors waited, she took one look and burst into a fit of giggles. "Why, whatever is the matter?" asked the king innocently.  "Oh, oh!" gasped the princess, "I can't help it, that ridiculous man over there." She pointed at one young prince in the foreground, "he has such goggle eyes I wonder how he gets around; just look at how they start half out of his head every time he looks at me. I can't possibly marry him, father, I simply couldn't." She put a handkerchief to her pretty mouth to smother her mirth in an entirely vain attempt. This remark had been made in the least discreet manner possible and the young prince along with those who conversed with him heard her comment quite distinctly. It would be an understatement to merely say he turned as red as a rhododendron. He left the palace in a high temper not to many minutes later. The remaining gentlemen fared no better, even those who stuck around after their ridiculing. One had a nose like an eagle's beak, another ears like a donkey's. This one's head was shaped like a perfect egg, whom she named Lord Egghead amid fits of mirth, and that one had a grotesque face and looked like he was descended from goblins, this with affected tones of horror. Finally, she came to a youthful king who was simply so handsome in every respect that for a second, the princess could find nothing to mock. Then she noted how his chin was very sharp and angular, and long in its formation. Though this in no way served to detract from his looks, the princess grasped onto this one distinctive feature to have her play. "He has a chin like a beard!" she told her father, with a laugh, "Why, it is a very good he hasn't got one, because if he did, it would be so long that a thrush could nest in it!" This train of logic made her feel quite clever and she giggled, immensely pleased with her joke, "We should call him king Thrushbeard!" She continued ingeniously, and the name, I am sorry to say, was what she called him the rest of the evening.  At this last indignity, the king became exceedingly angry, for "King Thrushbeard" was a noble man with much wealth and the closest neighbor to the king. He regretted that he had ever allowed his daughter her own way in every respect, now, not only had she made herself loathsome, but she had shammed himself in front of all his neighbors. "Fine!" He told the girl wrathfully, "If you will have none of these I will give you to the first beggar who comes to the castle to beg!"  And he stomped out of the room. The princess didn't take him seriously, surely her doting father would never be so  cruel. She laughed off the incident and went on her merry way. But all those present heard the verdict also, and soon after, all of them had taken their leave.
      The sun rose on the next day in an array of glorious, golden light and shed it's shining, sparkling train through the window of the princess' chamber. Having by now forgotten completely about the events of last night, the girl had herself arrayed in her best dress and costliest ornaments and traipsed blithely out to glory in the morning light. It was not long before a traveling minstrel arrayed in fluttering rags, with a patch over one eye and a lame leg supported with a crutch came hobbling up to the castle gate, and began to play in hopes of a gratuity from the royal household. When the king heard the poor fellows music he called his daughter and went out with the household to hear the beggar play. The fellow, no doubt encouraged by this unexpected audience, played very well indeed, all the time gaping at the beautiful princess with his one good eye. When he had finished, the king ordered the steward to give the fellow a well filled purse. When this was done, man turned to leave in humble gratitude, when the king cried in a hard voice, "Stay!" with a startled jump, the minstrel faced the grim faced king. "What do you think of my daughter?" The king questioned, "is she not beautiful?"  "aye, indeed she is." stammered the poor man helplessly. "Then, you shall have her to wife." the king replied still more grimly, "would that please you?"  Spell bound, the minstrel could only stammer out his assent and gape at her with a rather grotesque expression. Truly terrified for the first time in her life, the princess pleaded and wept, but to no avail. Her father called for a priest and in a short time they were married. "Now go," her father told her sternly, "you are a beggar's wife now and cannot live at the castle."  When she begged at least to take away all her fine dresses, the king refused. "Beggar's wives only possess one gown and yours is grand enough for twenty, now get you gone and do not come to me for favors. And with folded arms, the king and his household turned back into the the castle, shutting the door in the faces of the pair. The dirty fellow was chuckling with glee, not only had he received a purse full of gold, but a lovely wife. He had done well that day. Off they went along the road, the princess weeping all the way. She mourned her sad conduct to the princes an,d now that it was too late, wished she had taken the first one who had come along.  As they walked, they came across some lovely fields with acres of grain tilled by many serfs. The fields bordered the road and the princess' curiosity was roused enough to ask her new husband timidly, "Whose golden fields are these?"
"They are King Thrushbeard's and might have been thine."  was his response.
"Oh, why didn't I marry King Thrushbeard?" she asked herself sadly.
   Not much farther, the road sloped up and they could see down into a lovely valley in which nestled several little hamlets.
  "Whose towns and villages are these?"
  "They are King Thrushbeard's and might have been thine."
  "Oh, why didn't I marry King Thrushbeard?"
And so they went on coming now to a lake, then to a bridge, next to a meadow. Each one belonged to King Thrushbeard and each time, the princess bemoaned her ridicule and wished she had married him. Finally they espied a great castle standing on a great hill surrounded by a great village. 
  "Whose Castle is that?" She asked finally,
  "It is King Thrushbeard's and might have been thine." Came his uniform response.
  "Oh why, oh why, didn't I marry King Thrushbeard?"  The princess mourned again.
  "Wife," replied the man finally, "I do not like to hear you constantly wishing you were married to someone else. You belong to me now and I shall not have you pinning for another." 
   The princess had learned much in the past hour and kept silent.
They entered the town and soon stood before the door of a ramshackle hut. 
   "Whose ragged cottage is this?" The princess asked with a sigh.
  "It is my home and now also is thine." Came the stolid reply.
The princess gave another sigh and followed him in. For a few weeks, they lived well on the money the king had given them, but when it was used up, the beggar told his wife that he could not support both of them while she sat at home idle. "You must earn your keep." he told her plainly, "what can you do?" 
   The princess tried to spin, but her hands were so soft the the thin yarn cut her hands. "I see this will not do." her husband told her, "you will sell pottery in the market place instead." The princess was horrified. "What if my father's servants see me?" she exclaimed in consternation, "I shall be shamed before them all."  
  "That cannot be helped." the man responded, "It's your own fault that you didn't marry the worthy men who came before me." 
  "So the princess borrowed pottery from the potter and sat in the market place and sold them. On the first day all went well, the princess was so lovely that people bought her out and after paying back the potter she found that she had made a considerable profit.
   They lived on this money for a while, but when that began to get low, the princess had to go sell pots again. She sat in the market place as before, but had only sold one jar, before a band of horse riders came dashing through, trampling her stand and smashing every one of her pots. They rode off without so much as an apology, leaving a very dismayed princess. Knowing what her husband would think, she went back to the potter and begged him to give her some more. But he told her she would get no more from him until she payed for the ones before. The princess went home weeping bitterly. 
   When her husband returned and learned the story he was frustrated himself. "I see you are not good for anything. You must go and work in the castle. What an indignity to the once proud lady. But by this time she knew better to plead against the shame she would feel working for those who had once served her. She went to her father's castle and got a job as a scullery maid. 
   She noticed that a lot of perfectly good food was thrown away, and made a few straps in her shift from which she hung little clay pots under her apron. In these she deposited the discarded scraps and would use them to make her husband's supper each evening. So all went well for a time, until it came to her ears that the king was hosting a party and several notable kings and lords were arriving. Longing for a glimpse of the beautiful scenes in which she had once been the center of attention, the princess crept upstairs and hid herself in a niche in the wall where she could watch the guests enter the reception hall. As she watched the glittering procession pass, the princess in her ragged gown remembered how she used to scorn some of those present, and now, looking at their faces, wondered what there had been to laugh about; they all looked so kind and lovely.
     As one of the handsomest kings passed, he looked her way, and she recognized him as the once ridiculed King Thrushbeard. She shrank further back into her corner and turned her face away, but it was of no use; he had seen how beautiful she was and insisted that she dance with him. The princess tried to refuse but in vain, and she was led into the hall and they began to dance. With the movement, however, the pots hanging from her shift broke loose and smashed onto the floor, soup and vegetables were scattered all about her causing everyone present to stare and laugh. And the poor princess burst into tears of shame and vexation.
   King Thrushbeard, however, took her hands away from her face and said, "be comforted wife." The princess started and looked up into his face for she recognized the voice as that of her beggar husband.  "Yes," he told her, "I am your husband, it was for love of you that I dressed myself as a beggar that I might marry you. It was to humble your pride that I commanded you to work and I also was the one, who at the head of my men, broke your wares in the market place. It was I who, as a final test, sent you to serve your former servants, but you have born it well, and shall no longer be the wife of a beggar but of a king." 
   The story ends with her father having her dressed again in lovely gowns, and she dances with King Thrushbeard. They live happily ever after.

    If you are still reading this, you ought to leave me comment to let me know, I consider you a faithful friend!
   This story mirrors to me the unconditional love of Christ. When we were completely unlovable, he died on the cross for us. We hurled abuse and mocked Him, yet he never gave us one sharp word. He made us on an equal level with Him and we can now come before the Father, as one of His children after we already disowned Him.
   To me it seems like the ultimate love story. Christ was the lover, who loved us so much that He came and rescued us from the just wrath of the father and reconciled us to Him again, after having brought us low and humbled our pride, yet all the time He loved us and we were simply horrid!
   The thought staggers me, I know if I were a man, I wouldn't think twice about such a despicable woman. In fact, any man will run the other direction if he's wise. But Christ Loved us anyway. Ought we not all to be more grateful?
   I know I have never been as grateful as I should.

    I am as yet unmarried and don't have a sweetheart of any kind. It is very easy for me to start dreaming today, and thinking how much fun the fourteenth of February will be for me when I'm engaged or married.  I forget that I do have a lover, who loves me far better than any man will ever love me here on earth. This love will last throughout eternity and throughout anything I do. To think that I could sin and grieve such love as this, seems impossible, and yet I do...constantly.
   This Humbles me immensely. 
    But it also makes me glad. Life is worth living with such a Lord as this!

    To close, I thought I'd post the song, "O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus."
All of us know that song, I think, but listen to it again, and remember the one who loves you most of all!
Have Lovely Valentine's day!


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Allison McCurdy said...

What a beautiful story. It shows the unconditional love that King Thrushbeard exibited. To be quite honest, I would have a hard time showing that same love.
Thanks for the post. And happy Valentine's Day!!

Christianna Hellwig said...

I'm glad you liked it. Yes, I certainly would have had a difficult time loving anybody so much! Thank you for the comment, it shows that you are a true friend! ;) ~ Christianna