The Gold Hat Officials
The word is a key which opens the hearts. The word means good.
It comes from divine and everybody can make it to its key.
A key for a beautiful soul."Chinese wisdom.
The door to the throne room opened and the sun in all its splendor was reflected in the glittering gold of the sun crystals on the walls. Prince Aron closed his eyes. The brightness pained him. His cowed, slow movements told the gathered officials that their ruler felt disconsolate and empty on this morning. When the official for good thoughts saw him touch his forehead with the right hand, lamenting of pain, he greeted him with the words: "Children don't have headaches."
Prince Aron almost collided with a peacock who, though he carried a scroll of paper under his arm, had forgotten to put on his glasses. The peacock apologized absent-mindedly and, as a sign of respect, he fanned out his color-gleaming plumes. The absent-minded peacock was one of seven fan birds in the palace whose task it was to study the social order and who were on their way of one day joining the ranks of the great scholars of Nubia, which was a very old civilization. Nubia (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) is an ancient word for "gold"as the peacocks had discovered in writings dating back to even greater antiquity.
But that wasn't enough for them by any means. Their thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. Not even the officials' gold hats were beyond the purview of their studies. This was due to a folk legend which persisted among the commoners: those in power are those who wear the hat, provided they can decipher the meaning of the ornaments. This is why the officials secretly charged the peacocks with decoding the magic signs on the golden cones. But no matter how many mysteries they solved, ever new questions kept popping up. It was thus no wonder that the peacocks' minds swirled with a thousand different matters day and night in their quests for enlightenment. With so many distractions a clash with the prince was almost inevitable. All Aron could do to preserve his sanity was to nod while in his head still echoed the hoof beats causing slight concussions.
Thus the day began, as it often did, with a brilliant sun and a moody prince. Two officials took Aron by the arms and lifted him on to the precious sun throne. His short legs dangled in the air without touching the ground, making him wriggle impatiently with furious indignation. His father would never have looked so ridiculous. But where was his father now? Better not think about it, he commanded himself steadfastly. He'd make the official pay for the fact that he was still so small. Enraged, he pounded his sun scepter on the armrest of the throne, a magnificent, high-back seat, in which the prince looked rather small and forlorn.
Aron's dark eyes scrutinized the line of officials as if he was missing some one. "Where is my wish official?"the prince snapped at the officials present. The scowling tone of his voice did not bode well. They knew that the prince was looking for someone on whom to pin the "guilt"and vent his bad mood. The wish official's only job was to anticipate the prince's every wish. So it happened on occasion that his strength was completely sapped and he felt empty and used up.
"You mean to say the wish official is sick because he works too hard?"The prince was getting all worked up. "If someone here has a headache, it's me."
The officials sneered and shrugged.
"I'll teach you respect!"Aron threatened, glowering belligerently.
The prince jumped off the throne and mustered the officials one by one. He may be small, but he was of high birth, which he believed gave him the right to treat the officials with condescension.
"Let's see who among you will have the privilege of catering to my wishes today,"he thought out loud.
The official for good thoughts looked him straight in the eye. Carefully, he smoothed out his long, white garment and then stroked his beard with great savor. One might have thought that the good thoughts felt they are being tickled and therefore chuckled softly as if they were at home in the official's beard rather than in his head. The dignitary had his hands full for he thought day and night about how to guide the Nubians toward good thoughts. Symbolic of good thoughts, like the key to a beautiful soul, was a chain of golden thought-threads the official wore around his neck. The prince gave him a long, hard look and brooded for a long time over whether he could use any good thoughts. What for, he concluded, I always have some kind of thoughts. They come and they go. Some stay longer, others pass in a flash. I don't need any good thoughts today. I'm anyway in a bad mood.
He moved on to the official for velvet and silk (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) whose small, pinched lips gave him a touch of arrogance. Everything about this official exuded a certain elegance, from head to toe. He gave himself airs of indifference as the little prince confronted him, apparently sensing that he could look forward to a day off. The prince despised all the big ado of fitting sessions, feeling fabrics, twisting and turning in the sunlight. Neither did he care for having to change into different attire for every occasion. All this was a nuisance to him. Thus he avoided, as much as possible, the stern official for velvet and silk, who had tried often enough to sound in the prince a string of all that is beautiful and exquisite, radiant and noble.
"I own a royal blue cloak of heavy silk embroidered with a golden sun of shimmering gems."He opened the cloak and the sun gems glittered, as proof, not only outside but also from the inside. "There are seven chests filled with the most precious garments which nobody has ever laid eyes on. Why should I wish for a new garment everyday if all I wear is my favorite sun cloak?"
"It is a question of style to dress correctly as the occasion warrants. The people expect this much from their prince. The appropriate dress expresses your nobility toward the people, especially since they look up to Your Highness as a paragon. You feel like a paragon, don't you?"the official for velvet and silk asked.
"Balderdash"was the prince's snide reply. He didn't like being told what to do. Pompous cock, Aron thought ticked off. Of all the officials, he liked this one the least.
Just then his gaze fell on the official for roast pigeons (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) . "You will have the privilege today of looking after my well-being,"the sun prince decided and dismissed the rest of the officials.
"Hurry up. I'm famished!"Aron clapped his hands. The official for roast pigeons was a good-natured, heavy-set man who had no greater concern than the art of eating, but was all too often made to suffer from Aron's binging bouts. The ceremonial aspects of dining, to be celebrated like a feast, were suspended on such days and Aron stuffed his face as if he were on the verge of starving to death. The roast pigeon official's heart sank to see the prince forgetting his good upbringing as he screamed: "Chocolate pudding, sun crowns and strawberry cats, and lily ice cream, topped off with the green foods of the gods, chocolate pineapple and cocoa with mountains of whipped cream, and, and . . . a talking cockatoo of cotton candy! If he can't name the object I want, then I'll just gobble him up. The same goes for you, by the way, if everything doesn't run without a glitch,"he warned the official for roast pigeons.
"That'll be lots of fun!"Aron salivated with a big grin on his face. The official for roast pigeons' heart skipped a beat. Some days the prince just couldn't get enough of playing his foul tricks on him.
As for his treasurer, the prince didn't deign to honor him with a single glance as he stormed past him toward the grand table that had been set up with lightening speed.
"That was just in the nick of time,"whispered the guardian of the coffers into the ear of the official for roast pigeons. Aron was obsessed with the idea of erecting the highest and most beautiful of towers (1) (2) (3) (4) for his palace.
He wanted the sun palace to be visible from far away. But for this, he needed more and more gold currency. It was the job of the treasury official to see to it that the gold currency in the coffers didn't get depleted. Thus the treasurer took a deep breath and stuck his hands, adorned with resplendent amber rings, into his trouser pockets. Today the big treasure chest would stay under lock and key.
Prince Aron sat down at the long table in the dining hall. He looked to the right and left to make sure nobody was watching him. Then he took the silver cutlery from the table and stashed it inside his cloak."Where is my silver cutlery?"he snarled at the official for roast pigeons.
"It was here just now. The table was set to perfection,"insisted the unsuspecting official for roast pigeons.
"You stole the silver cutlery. I'll cut your salary."Aron chuckled with secret glee. The official for roast pigeons lowered his gaze in dismay. He suffered and remained silent. The thought crossed his mind: the prince is again especially nasty today, just like a poison snake.
The prince had the napkin tied around his neck and started to eat. He ate against his bad mood and put his hope in the happiness maker in the many chocolate dishes. For he still carried a vague, nameless sadness in his heart. "If only my parents were here,"Aron ruminated. "Where may they be?"The prince always asked himself the same question. Thoughts passed through his mind like clouds driven by the wind and he had to guard against their getting all too gloomy.
His headaches had subsided but now he felt an intense pain in his stomach from all the pudding and ice cream. Aron thus tiptoed back to the palace garden to his beloved flowers, the lilies, which were waiting for him in the water garden. They weren't hard to find, for they watched their own blooming splendor day in, day out in a massive, mirror-shaped pool. The sea of flowers formed a luxuriant wreath around the water's surface, its beauty protected by a myrtle hedge. Both sides of the pool were lined with a labyrinth of countless confluents that gave this part of the palace garden (1) (2) its magic touch. next