“The Beggar Prince”
“THE SON OF THE KING IS LOST!” The cry went out from runners on horseback who galloped through every street, every village, every field and forest of the kingdom with the terrible news. Young prince Roger was missing. The King was frantic to find his only son. Posters showing his face were up on every tree and wall that could bear his image. The reward as more than most peasants could even count much less inherit and the search for the child royalty was all that the people of the kingdom could talk about.
Even in the beggar’s village, the anxiety for the lost prince was noticeable. While the poor, the homeless, the sick and the outcasts that were citizens of this village were often too absorbed with survival and finding safe and peaceful places to sleep and eat, the thought of their beloved prince being lost, stolen or dead was heartbreaking to them. The prince was the darling of the kingdom. At only twelve, every boy wanted to be him, every girl his future bride and every parent his future in laws..
Godfrey lived in the beggar village with his uncle Sven although he rarely saw his Uncle because he was often off finding food for them or trying to get honest work. So Godfrey had time in the village to make friends and even play, like the other boys and girls of rich people could do. To a beggar a rich person is just someone with a real mom and dad, a house to live in, clothes that were clean and new, a school to go to and enough to eat not to mention presents at Christmas.
Godfrey went down to the “playground” which was an area of the city that various boxes, tubes and broken toys that were thrown away by people who were not beggars were gathered for the children to play with during the day. Uncle Sven organized this playground so somebody made sure the things there were “safe” or as safe as a playground in a beggars village could be. As Godfrey was trying to take apart a broken tool, he looked up and saw a boy he did not recognize. He walked over to introduce himself.
“Hello, my name is Godfrey. Who are you?”
“I don’t know.” The boy answered mysteriously.
“What do you mean you don’t know? You know your name and who you live with don’t you?” Godfrey objected.
“No. I forgot everything. I don’t know my name and I don’t live with anyone. Someone found me wandering on the streets of Kingdom City and they brought me here because they said beggars have to live here. I don’t think I have a name. I am not anybody.”
Godfrey found this new boy very strange. Even beggars usually know who they are. But instead of being nosey, the boys just played together and became friends. They met every day and made up games from the thrown away junk that was kept in the beggar’s playground. One day they were walking on the roads outside the beggar’s village when Godfrey saw one of the signs for the lost prince. Instantly he stopped and stared.
“What’s wrong, Godfrey” the boy with no name asked.
“Look, there on the sign is a drawing of the Prince of the Kingdom who is lost. Look at it. That drawing looks just like you.” Both boys stared but the nameless boy could not see it. It was clear as can be to Godfrey that the nameless boy looked exactly like Prince Roger.
“Well I am not Prince Roger.” The nameless boy objected. “Look at me. Do I look or act like a prince? If I had run away from the castle, wouldn’t I be in prince’s clothing? Wake up Godfrey. I don’t think there even is a Prince or a King or a Kingdom. Everybody is just rotting away in their own beggars villages every where.”
How could Godfrey get the lost and forgetful Prince Roger to look up and see who he really is? He seemed so down, so lost, so convinced that the very real path to salvation and glories and riches just did not exist when Godfrey knew full well it did. The next day, they were exploring unopened cans in the playground when Godfrey spotted a glimmer under the lost boy’s shirt.
“Let me look at something.” He warned the nameless boy. “Don’t get nervous, I won’t hurt you.” And he put his hand under the collar of his shirt and found a chain. Pulling it up there was a bright gold medallion hanging from the solid silver chain. “Look at this. Did you know this was there?” Godfrey asked.
“No, it’s a surprise to me.” The boy answered.
“Look at it. Its solid gold and the chain is silver. Look at the inscription. It says ‘To my precious only son Roger’ and the symbol on it is the symbol of the King. Can’t you see? The King has put his mark on you that you will be his royal son forever and this mark can give you your inheritance. We just have to get you back to the King.” Godfrey explained with a voice that was both excited and full of compassion for the lost boy.
“Well ok. I’ll play your little game if you want me to.” The lost prince finally conceded but not with very much conviction. Godfrey asked some people and found out how to make his way to Kingdom City. He got a little food and the two beggar boys made their way to the home of the King. Once there, Godfrey was able to find back alleys and passageways to get the lost Prince to the gate of the palace. There he told his friend to just walk into the courtyard and his friend did as he was asked to do.
“IT’S THE PRINCE!” The hubbub went up like a riot. The excitement shot through the castle and far off in the castle walls, Godfrey could hear the King shouting “MY SON? MY SON HAS COME BACK TO ME? BRING HIM TO ME?” and the love in that father’s voice almost made Godfrey cry. Godfrey repeated his route back out of Kingdom City and into the quiet Beggars village and went to the playground to think but when he got there, he was shocked at what he saw. There sat the royal King Roger, in his old beggar’s clothes playing with a stone.
“Why are you here?” Godfrey asked terribly upset that the prince was not at home with his family. “You are Prince Roger. You should be on the throne, ruling the universe with your father.” He cried.
“Godfrey, I appreciate your efforts but that was all just a game. There is no King, no Kingdom and I am just a beggar just like you,” he said. That depressed statement of blindness to his royal inheritance upset Godfrey so much, he went home where his Uncle Sven was home at last from his work. Godfrey told his Uncle all about the Prince and how they had traveled to the King but the Prince just could not understand his inheritance.
“Well it’s like all of us sometimes, Godfrey.” Uncle Sven said lovingly. “We are all Children of God and are heirs to His vast fortunes. The cattle of every hill are His and He want us to live in his love and joy but so many times we live in sin and poverty, refusing to see the wealth that is already ours. Go and get the young prince. We will feed him and care for him and pray for him that God will open his eyes to who he really is, the son of the most high King.”
Godfrey did that and along the way he prayed for himself and the other beggars and for all of us that all of us would understand who we really are, the children of the Master of the Universe and the sons and daughters of a God who will give all to us, if we will just live with him and let him live in us.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. [Revelation 3:20]