The Shoe King

He had always loved cycling around his pretty little town

With the sea breeze so violent that it sometimes blew away his crown


For, you see, Karl was the king of Honningsvag, small as it may be

And owned every bit of land there, as far as eye could see


He loved cycling, and he loved his subjects, but one thing he loved even more

Shoes were not just his passion, but his obsession, or so goes the lore

From Irish Brogues to Crocs and even Kolhapuri Chappals, he hoarded them all

And when a visiting dignitary arrived from some exotic foreign land, it was his shoes that held Karl in the greatest thrall


But it so happened that the kingdom faced a very severe drought

For years and years, there was no rain, and people had to really suffer a lot

Karl emptied the coffers of his palace, and bought food and water from other lands

And every evening, he came outside his palace, and gave it all away with his very own hands


But still, it was not enough, the foreigner traders demanded even more money for supplies

Karl was distraught, for there was neither money nor gold, and he couldn’t bear his hungry people’s cries

So he called them for a meeting, and got down on his knees

And begged them to feed his people and let go of their fees


But the traders were hard-boiled specimens, they simply refused, and told the king

There is still a large treasure left, you’ve not really given us everything

The king was confused, and said- There’s no gold left in the coffers, I’m not playing a ruse

And the traders replied- Your biggest treasure is still with you, O king, your spectacular collection of exquisite shoes


The king was horrified, it was like taking a child away from his parent, or even worse

But he could see no avenue of escape in front of him, there was just nothing else left in his purse

So he bade his shoes goodbye, aware that he would never see them again

The tears in his eyes were just a small reflection of his deep, tremendous pain


And as the first tear fell to the ground, so did the first drop of rain

For the Gods could take it no more, they could not let Karl’s sacrifice go in vain

It rained hard, like the Gods themselves were crying, it rained like it’d never rained before

And barefoot, Karl cycled his way to the top of the hill, till his feet got blistered and sore


And there he still stands, with a broken heart, but proudly standing tall

Looking over his land, and his people, whom he loved above all


And since that fateful day, no citizen of the town has ever worn shoes, they just put them up on the wall as decoration

In memory of a king who sacrificed the one thing he loved the most in this world, so that he could save his nation




About anuragbakhshi

At the age of 40, I decided to exit the corporate world, and enter the world of stories as a full-time writer. Wish me luck!
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