This is a special story written for my grandson Logan on his second birthday. Happy Birthday Logan. Your Grandma Baadsgaard loves you very much.
Remember, you will be a king some day.
Once upon a time there was male child born to King Jared and Queen Ann. Soon after Prince Logan was born, the kingdom was over-run with knights who had turned to the dark side. These wayward knights soon formed an army and camped around the castle ready to battle at the first rising of the sun.
That night the king contemplated the approaching combat. He knew he could face his own death with courage and dignity but he could not face the untimely murder of his wife and new born son. So while the queen was sleeping, the king found his most trusted servant.
“I want you to take Prince Logan into the woods, find a peasant woman with a new born babe then switch them,” the king commanded. “Then bring the peasant babe back to me. If we do this the prince will be safe no matter what happens tomorrow.”
So the trusted servant wrapped the prince in the queen’s shawl and set out for the woods under the cloak of night. The servant knew a kind woman who had just given birth to a son. He secretly slipped into her humble cottage as she slept and switched the babies. Then he brought the peasant child back to the castle and placed him in the king’s arms as commanded.
When the morning dawned, the army of Dark Knights attacked. Queen Ann ran frantically to the bedside of her son. He was not there. She searched for the king. Just as she opened the door to the dining hall, she saw the king standing at the window holding the child. Then she heard the Dark Knights break through the outer wall and storm the castle.
“Give me the child!” the queen screamed.
“No,” the king answered. “It’s me and my heir they want. Run! Hide!”
The queen did as she was commanded. When the battle was over and all was quiet she crawled from the cellar hoping to find her husband and son. To her great despair, everyone in the castle was slain, their bodies burned, and the castle lay in ruins.
The queen hid in the woods as the Dark Knights rebuilt the ruined castle into a black dungeon for all dissenters. Everyone assumed the queen was slain with her husband and child. She could not tell anyone who she was and was forced to live the life of a beggar.
One day the queen came to a humble cottage and begged for food. A kind woman opened the door holding a young child.
“Please, could you spare a little food for a starving woman?” the queen asked.
The peasant woman brought the beggar into her home and gave her a bowl of soup and crust of bread. Then she invited her to sleep next to the warm fire. When the beggar woke, the peasant couldn’t bear to send her away. She told the beggar she could stay in the cottage and help with the chores for her husband had been killed in the battle with the Dark Knights.
The queen thought it strange that the peasant’s child reminded her so much of her son, but thought it must be her grief playing tricks on her. Years passed and the queen and the peasant woman watched with great love as the child grew and grew. Each year the Dark Knights demanded more and more of the peasant’s goods in taxes until the woman and her son and the beggar had little to eat.
One evening as they sat next to the fire, the peasant woman told the beggar a story she had kept secret for twelve years.
“On the morning of the battle with the Dark knights,” the peasant woman said, “a strange thing happened. After my husband left to fight, I went to fetch my child from his bed and run into the woods. I found another baby in my son’s bed. I’ve kept him all these years never knowing what happened to my own son. This is the shawl he was wrapped in.”
The beggar gasped when she saw the shawl.
"I too have a story to tell,” the beggar woman answered. “I’m not a beggar; I am the queen and that is my shawl. On the morning of the battle, I thought it strange that the king would not let me see or hold my son. Could it be possible that your child is mine? Perhaps the king switched the babies to protect the life of the young prince. If this is true, then your son sacrificed his life for my son.”
Both women wept.
“We must teach our son to be worthy of this great sacrifice,” the queen said.
“Yes,” the peasant woman answered. “We must teach our son how to be a king.”
In the six years that followed the two women guided the boy along the path to manhood. They taught him to pray. They taught him to appreciate literature, history, art and music. They taught him to ride a stallion and how to handle a blade. They taught him to work hard for his daily bread in the stables and to share all he had with the widows and fatherless in the village. They taught him to protect children and bring sustenance to the sick and dying.
On the wall above the fireplace they hung a cloth stitched with these words:
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
Each night while he was sleeping both mothers whispered in Logan’s ear, “You were born to be a king.”
Soon the young man found companions in the surrounding villages who were equally unhappy with the rule of the Dark Knights. He formed an army of 2,000 warriors who had also been taught by their mothers. When they were ready to battle with the Dark Knights, they forged their fallen father’s broken swords, gathered in the highlands then stormed the dungeon.
The warriors fought with great strength and courage. After a valiant struggle that lasted for days, they won back the kingdom and declared Logan their king. All the Dark Knights were slain. Though some warriors were gravely injured, none died.
On the day of his coronation, King Logan presented each of his mothers with a golden crown. After he placed the jeweled circlets upon their heads, he touched their shoulders with his blade then knelt at their feet. From that day forward the valley once again found peace and posterity because Prince Logan knew how to be a king.