Two children were balancing on a stone wall in the pre-dawn light. There was not much else going in the village at that hour. Except for the very young, most people were slow to rise that morning. A spirit of lethargy was thick in the air. There were a lot of strangers stuffed into these few acres. It was the Great Census. The night had been too exciting, too exacting, too exasperating, and too long before every traveler had collapsed in exhaustion, filling up every corner and then some.

The children played half-heartedly with each other, but they were bored. Soon they were drifting along the streets seeking company for their misery. It was not hard to find. The ranks grew, but the boredom kept apace.

At the edge of the village, one tyke climbed a bit of stone. Another proclaimed him king of the hill. This led, of course, to dissenters proclaiming a rival, and a satisfying bit of a brawl. “I vote for Jacob!” shouted one. “No, Benjamin! Benjamin!” squeaked a little cherub with a crush on her nominee. “I know where the real king is,” boasted a little shepherd. “Who?” “Where?” “How do you know?”

“I heard about it. There is a king. He’s a baby. He’s in the cave behind Samuel’s inn.” “I don’t believe you.” “If he’s a king he wouldn’t be in a cave.” “Prove it!” “Let’s go find out.” Suddenly the morning wasn’t so boring. They had a purpose and a quest, and took off.

There was a baby, but there was no crown. They looked and looked at something they all had seen many times over, but all they saw was what they had always seen: a baby. Just a baby. It was boring, wasn’t it? If it was, why did they want to stay? After a long while, one of them whispered, “He really is a king!” “Why do you say that?” “Because, because, I don’t know, because he’s so…little!” It was a good enough reason for young hearts, and they all voted unanimously for their little King, and were content.


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