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The Beggar Prince

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					The Beggar Prince

Value:   The Lost

Explanation to teachers and parents. I do not usually have to explain
the theme of a children’s story but this one may be misinterpreted. In
this story of a prince who is lost from his kingdom, it might be easy to
interpret the prince as being Jesus himself, the son of the King who came
to live with us on sinful earth. But that is not the intent of this
story. The prince represents each of us as children of God who are not
aware that our father is the King and deliberately do not enter into our
inheritance and remain lost in the squalor and poverty of sin. JM

“THE SON OF THE KING IS LOST!” The cry went out from runners on
horseback who galloped through every street, every village, every field
and forest of the kingdom with the terrible news. Young prince Roger was
missing. The King was frantic to find his only son. Posters showing his
face were up on every tree and wall that could bear his image. The
reward as more than most peasants could even count much less inherit and
the search for the child royalty was the all that the people of the
kingdom could talk about.

Even in the beggar’s village, the anxiety for the lost prince was
noticeable. While the poor, the homeless, the sick and the outcasts that
were citizens of this village were often too absorbed with survival and
finding safe and peaceful places to sleep and eat, the thought of their
beloved prince being lost, stolen or dead was heartbreaking to them. The
prince was the darling of the kingdom. At only twelve, every boy wanted
to be him, every girl his future bride and every parent his future in
laws..

Godfrey lived in the beggar village with his uncle Sven although he
rarely saw his Uncle because he was often off finding food for them or
trying to get honest work. So Godfrey had time in the village to make
friends and even play, like the other boys and girls of rich people could
do. To a beggar a rich person is just someone with a real mom and dad, a
house to live in, clothes that were clean and new, a school to go to and
enough to eat not to mention presents at Christmas.

Godfrey went down to the “playground” which was an area of the city that
various boxes, tubes and broken toys that were thrown away by people who
were not beggars threw away were gathered for the children to play with
during the day. Uncle Sven organized this playground so somebody made
sure the things there were “safe” or as safe as a playground in a beggars
village could be. As Godfrey was trying to take apart a broken tool, he
looked up and saw a boy he did not recognize. He walked over to
introduce himself.

“Hello, my name is Godfrey.   Who are you?”

“I don’t know.” The boy answered mysteriously.

“What do you mean you don’t know? You know your name and who you live
with don’t you?” Godfrey objected.
“No. I forgot everything. I don’t know my name and I don’t live with
anyone. Someone found me wandering on the streets of Kingdom City and
they brought me here because they said beggars have to live here. I
don’t think I have a name. I am not anybody.”

Godfrey found this new boy very strange. Even beggars usually know who
they are. But instead of being nosey, the boys just played together and
became friends. They met every day and made up games from the thrown
away junk that was kept in the beggar’s playground. One day they were
walking on the roads outside the beggar’s village when Godfrey saw one of
the signs for the lost prince. Instantly he stopped and stared.

“What’s wrong, Godfrey” the boy with no name asked.

“Look, there on the sign is a drawing of the Prince of the Kingdom who is
lost. Look at it. That drawing looks just like you.” Both boys stared
but the nameless boy could not see it. It was clear as can be to Godfrey
that the nameless boy looked exactly like Prince Roger.

“Well I am not Prince Roger.” The nameless boy objected. “Look at me.
Do I look or act like a prince? If I had run away from the castle,
wouldn’t I be in prince’s clothing? Wake up Godfrey. I don’t think
there even is a Prince or a King or a Kingdom. Everybody is just rotting
away in their own beggars villages every where.”

How could Godfrey get the lost and forgetful Prince Roger to look up and
see who he really is? He seemed so down, so lost, so convinced that the
very real path to salvation and glories and riches just did not exist
when Godfrey knew full well it did. The next day, they were exploring
unopened cans in the playground when Godfrey spotted a glimmer under the
lost boy’s shirt.

“Let me look at something.” He warned the nameless boy. “Don’t get
nervous, I won’t hurt you.” And he put his hand under the collar of his
shirt and found a chain. Pulling it up there was a bright gold medallion
hanging from the solid silver chain. “Look at this. Did you know this
was there?” Godfrey asked.

“No, it’s a surprise to me.” The boy answered.

“Look at it. Its solid gold and the chain is silver. Look at the
inscription. It says ‘To my precious only son Roger’ and the symbol on
it is the symbol of the King. Can’t you see? The King has put his mark
on you that you will be his royal son forever and this mark can give you
your inheritance. We just have to get you back to the King.” Godfrey
explained with a voice that was both excited and full of compassion for
the lost boy.

“Well ok. I’ll play your little game if you want me to.” The lost
prince finally conceded but not with very much conviction. Godfrey asked
some people and found out how to make his way to Kingdom City. He got a
little food and the two beggar boys made their way to the home of the
King. Once there, Godfrey was able to find back alleys and passageways
to get the lost Prince to the gate of the palace. There he told his
friend to just walk into the courtyard and his friend did as he was asked
to do.

“IT’S THE PRINCE!” The hubbub went up like a riot. The excitement shot
through the castle and far off in the castle walls, Godfrey could hear
the King shouting “MY SON? MY SON HAS COME BACK TO ME? BRING HIM TO ME?”
and the love in that father’s voice almost made Godfrey cry. Godfrey
repeated his route back out of Kingdom City and into the quiet Beggars
village and went to the playground to think but when he got there, he was
shocked at what he saw. There sat the royal King Roger, in his old
beggar’s clothes playing with a stone.

“Why are you here?” Godfrey asked terribly upset that the prince was not
at home with his family. “You are Prince Roger. You should be on the
throne, ruling the universe with your father.” He cried.

“Godfrey, I appreciate your efforts but that was all just a game. There
is no King, no Kingdom and I am just a beggar, just like you.” He said
and that depressed statement of blindness to his royal inheritance upset
Godfrey so much, he went home where his Uncle Sven was home at last from
his work. Godfrey told his Uncle all about the Prince and how they had
traveled to the King but the Prince just could not understand his
inheritance.

“Well it’s like all of us sometimes, Godfrey.” Uncle Sven said lovingly.
“We are all Children of God and are heirs to His vast fortunes. The
cattle of every hill are His and He want us to live in his love and joy
but so many times we live in sin and poverty, refusing to see the wealth
that is already ours. Go and get the young prince. We will feed him and
care for him and pray for him that God will open his eyes to who he
really is, the son of the most high King.”

Godfrey did that and along the way he prayed for himself and the other
beggars and for all of us that all of us would understand who we really
are, the children of the Master of the Universe and the sons and
daughters of a God who will give all to us, if we will just live with him
and let him live in us.

				
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