(Cover Image & Source: The Fountain of Youth @ Ormes)
(continued from The Well of Youth…)
…When the young shepherd came to the court of the mighty king, to it’s main gates, he asked one of the guardians can he approach their king.
Shepherd: Let our king live long and prosper!
Guardian: What do you want, you filthy peasant? Are you lost?
Shepherd: I want to be received by his majesty, the king of our mighty and beautiful land. I have a proposition of the Noble Council.
Guardian: Don’t tell me, I think I already know what you want. You’re one of those delegates that just don’t know when to stop with foolish demands. But, if you really want to die, then that is your business. I don’t have anything against it, and I will not going to stop you. Lay down your filthy stick and step into the king’s court.
And so the young shepherd stepped into the big garden, connected with the entrance to the main hall of the big court. It was such a lovely garden, remembrance of the better times, when the king, young like the shepherd was today, was still joyful and with a healthy mind and spirit. The king that in all of his great wisdom, ordered for this beautiful garden to be built, with all those beautiful flowers and trees, fountains and labyrinths for the kids to play around. But that were better times. Now, the garden looks like their king, old and rusty, trees without leaves, flowers without smell, fountains without water to flow. This was the raw and ugly garden, like the king himself. The shepherd walked through this old garden, and entered into a big shiny hall. He looked around on the shiny walls covered with the purest gold and silver, decorated with the most expensive jewels. He never saw this before. They didn’t had that luxury back where he lived, in the small village by the border, just a drafty old wooden house under the big mountain where he had his little herd of sheep that he takes care of.
After a long walk through this shiny corridor, he approached the king.
King: Who dares to interfere me in these late hours?
Shepherd: It is only me, the shepherd, Your humble servant.
King: What do you want? No, don’t tell me. I think I already know. That dirt bags of the Council sent you to dethrone me! You tell them that I am the only king in here! I’m sick and tired of their stupid demands and tricks!
Shepherd: I didn’t come to ask You anything, Your Majesty.
King: No?! Then why are you bothering me?! Do you want to end like all the others that came before you?
Shepherd: No, Your Majesty. I just want to ask You one simple question.
King: All right then! Ask me the damn question and get out of here!
Shepherd: Are You happy, Your Majesty?
King: What do you mean, am I happy? Of course I’m happy, I’m the king, the ruler of this world. I have everything that I want.
Shepherd: Yes, Your Majesty, that may be the truth, but do You really have everything?
King: I already answered your question. Now get lost before I remove your wise little head from your young body!
Shepherd: You say that You have everything, but do You posses the freedom?
King: What kind of question is that? Of course I posses, I am the one who decides who will be the free citizen, and who will become my slave.
Shepherd: Yes, that is true. But, are You free, You as an individual?
King: Now you are starting to annoy me!
Shepherd: Allow me to explain this to You, Your Majesty. As a king You have Your obligations and everyday duties that You have to fulfil. Doesn’t that make You a slave of Your own habits?
King: That may be the truth, but these obligations and duties has to be done. This is why I am the great king, and you are only a little peasant.
Shepherd: What would You tell me if I would tell You that I could release You of all of Your duties and problems?
King: That are only empty words, and you are still wasting my precious time.
Shepherd: Let’s make a deal! If I release You of all of Your duties and problems, You will give me one of Yours biggest estates. And if I don’t meet Your expectations, I will become Your eternal slave.
King: All right, it’s a deal! I’m sick and tired of your empty words! Even do I already have to much slaves in my court.
So, the king and the shepherd left the king’s court, and with the big escort of the king’s guardians and knights, they went on the long journey across the big kingdom, all the way to the small shepherd’s village. When they finally arrived to the village, the shepherd said that they have to dismount from the horses, and continue their journey by foot, all the way to the nearest mountain. After the long walk, they finally came to the entrance of the small cave.
King: Why did you brought me here? To look at the bunch of dirty rocks. I have enough rocks way back home .
Shepherd: No, Your Majesty. I brought You here to relieve You of all Your problems. If You step into this cave, inside You will find a small water well. If You drink the water from this well, all of Your problems will be solved. And with the solution to all of Your problems, You will achieve that so much wanted freedom.
King: Does this well has some sort of a name?
Shepherd: The people from my village call this the Well of Eternal Youth.
King: I like that name. Let’s enter this cave.
And so they all went inside the small cave. After a short walk through the narrow and slippery passage, they found a little spring where the water was flowing from some beautiful and colourful rock and overflew in a little naturally formed well.
King: All right, now I want you to be the first to try this water. I don’t trust you. Maybe this water is poisonous.
Shepherd: If that is what You want, Your majesty.
Shepherd takes some water in his hands and drinks. Nothing happened. Then the king orders his guardians and knights to drink some water too. Still nothing happened.
King: I still don’t see the reason why should I drink this water. It’s just a pure water, there is nothing unusual in it.
So the king takes a little water in his hands and makes a little sip. All of the sudden, a great smile on the kings face appeared, and a few moments later a piercing laugh.
King: Look at my arms and legs! They are becoming lighter! I can’t believe it! Why didn’t you told me that this is the well of rejuvenation! This is wonderful! We have to close down this cave that only I can use it!
Shepherd: I hope now You are satisfied. But I have to warn You not to drink to much water at once.
As the shepherd tried to warn His Majesty, the king and his guardians and knights have already jumped into the well and drink water like they never tasted water before. And the more they drank, the more they became younger. At the end, they all turned into babies.
After the shepherd had returned from the cave, he went to the big Noble Council to report what he had done, and what happened to the king and his guardians and knights. Unfortunately, nobody believed him, so the shepherd never became the new king, like it was promised by the big Council. But, as the king and his most trusted guardians and knights became babies, the noblemen have chosen the new king among themselves and gathered the new army with which they easily conquered their barbaric enemies that were attacking their borders.
What happened to the shepherd?
Nobody knows for sure. Some say he returned to his village where he continued to take care for his flock of sheep. Others say he left the kingdom for good, dissatisfied and angry because of the final decision of the big Noble Council.