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The Gold King

A long time ago, when children were taken seriously, there was a little village close to the King's palace. In that village lived a little girl called Carina who had a very special gift: she could sing. Mind you, not the way other people sing and chant along. Her voice was very soft and low, and one had to listen very carefully to hear her at all. And because her voice was so tiny and beautiful, people forgot everything else around them. They say that you could even have taken their dresses off without them realising it.
In that village lived also a little boy called Cónaire, and he could play the harp like no one else. His songs were so merry and so dreamy that the farmers asked him to play his golden harp in the fields as they worked, because to his music the people worked twice as fast, and still nobody got tired of what he was doing.
One day the King announced his visit to the village. His graceful horses often drew his golden coach through the village, and of course the streets had to be decorated, music had to be played, and everybody had to stand aside and wave at him.
The King was a great lover of music - and there was only one thing that pleased him more than a beautiful song: gold. And while the people waved at him, he'd wave back at them and look at their houses and their gardens, and wherever he'd see something golden - a doorknob, a fountain or a statue - it would disappear before the morning.
For the King's visit, as usual, all people hid their golden things in their houses and stood at the street. The golden coach stopped at the market place, where Cónaire played and the King attentively listened to his music while staring at his golden harp.
'I wish I had a harpist like you in the palace,' said the King and petted him. Then his coach went back to the palace.
The next morning not only the harp was gone, but Cónaire as well. Everyone was upset, believing that he had been kidnapped by the King.
'I'll get him out of there,' said his furious father, 'if it's the last thing I ever do!'
'Maybe he wanted to go with him,' said Carina who hardly knew Cónaire.
'Certainly not,' said the puzzled father after a pause. 'He would at least have told us.'
That night Carina secretly went up to the palace and climbed the wall. She peeked into a huge ballroom where the noblemen were celebrating while Cónaire played his golden harp, wiping little tears out of his eyes every now and then. Now Carina knew that he was there against his will and thought of a plan to release him.
Suddenly she heard voices and lay flat on the wall.
'Bring that into the storage room, will you?' somebody said, and she recognised the voice of the King.
Another voice said, 'Yes, your Majesty,' and passed the wall where Carina lay. He pushed a wheelbarrow in front of him with all the golden things that had disappeared the night before. Carina carefully jumped off the wall and followed him at a safe distance until he reached a den. At its entrance stood a post who took the wheelbarrow and brought it into the den.
In the morning Carina went to Cónaire's father and told him about her plan. As it grew dark that evening, they climbed over the wall with some friends and sneaked up to the den. There Carina began to sing, and the post bent his head in order to hear her tiny voice.
In the meantime Cónaire's father and his friends went into the den and brought all the golden things back into the village. As they had finished, Cónaire's father said to the post, 'Tell your King that the gold will be returned as soon as Cónaire is back.'
Carina continued to sing until everybody was safe, and they went back home.

The following morning Cónaire returned to his happy parents, and the village celebrated a feast that a King could only dream of. Cónaire sat on the bench in his garden and played the harp, and Carina sat beside him and sang to it.

© 6236 RT (1995 CE) by Frank L. Ludwig