The Door

The Door


One wing of the palace abutted on a rubbish heap; there was the outline of a door faintly to be seen on the wall. It was rumoured that each year the king stood for an hour behind the door, and if anyone asked for admittance, he took him in. It was not said what the king would do then.

A merchant was wronged by a minister, but could not prove his case. He abandoned the rest of his property, and stood day and night in front of the outline of the door, every hour asking for admission in the hope that sometime the king would be there.

At first he nearly died of hardship. Then a passing horseman threw him an old straw coat, and a beggar brought him some scraps. The city people heard of him, and came to see the man standing in front of the wall. Some laughed, but others were impressed at the way he had sacrificed everything to get justice. A few stalls went up to serve refreshments to strangers who came to see the sight. Admirers built him a hut, and then a larger building. Others came to serve him. He was regarded as the embodiment of justice, and people brought their disputes to be settled, instead of going to the courts. His decisions were universally admitted to be fair and wise.

One midnight it seemed there was a crack of light in the wall, and a faint voice said, ‘Enter!’ He looked back and saw the sleeping people who would seek his help next day. He quietly finished his salutation and returned to his usual place.


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