"A fairytale?" Renwyck asked as he smiled brightly to Aislynne. He pursed his lips in thought, going through all the stories that his father used to tell him. After a moment, the watcher nodded firmly. "It was a tale about the Farmer and the King."
"Once upon a time there was a farmer who had a beautiful orchard of apple trees. But they weren’t ordinary apples. They were magical apples that if you took a bite of one, you wouldn’t be able to tell a lie."
"There was a wicked king that lived on a mountain with thousands of loyal subjects. ‘You must be feared to be respected,’ the King would say. ‘That is what makes a great leader.’ And so his subjects feared him, for to disrespect the King meant banishment. So his subjects praised him, spouting that he was the most gracious, kind leader that ever lived."
"The King heard of this magical apple orchard and decided he’d take his closest subject to eat of this special fruit. Then he would really know how loyal he was. So the King traveled to the orchard with one of his noblemen, ordering him to take a bite of an apple. The King said, ‘Good nobleman. What kind of king do you think I am?’"
“‘You’re a wicked king,’ the nobleman replied. Furious with him, the King bellowed, ‘From this day forth, you are hereby banished from my kingdom!’ The farmer took pity on the nobleman and offered him food and shelter in exchange for his help in the fields.”
"The next day, the King returned to the orchard with more of his subjects, having them each eat the apples before asking, ‘What kind of king do you think I am?’ They responded by calling him wicked and cruel, each subject banished after the King got their reply. And so the Farmer took in the people, teaching them to plant and sow and helping them build homes on his land to call their own."
"Day after day, the King would return with more and more subjects, testing them all in the same way — each of them failing and leaving the kingdom to join the Farmer and his growing community. Word spread of this new town that was forming and those who weren’t banished by the King’s decree moved of their own accord to the Farmer’s lands, making a home for themselves."
"One day the King returned, but on that day he was alone. The King turned to the farmer and said, ‘You. You are the last person to eat of the apples in this orchard and answer my question!’ And so the Farmer plucked an apple from one of the trees, taking a bite before looking to the King. ‘Go on,’ the King demanded. ‘Tell me what kind of king I am!’"
“‘You ruled with fear, their adoration all a mask to avoid punishment. When the masks were stripped away, only then did you see what your people truly thought of you. Loyalty is earned by respect and benevolence, not fear,’ the Farmer replied. ‘You have no subjects left to rule, and a king without subjects is no king at all.’”
"And so, it was that day that one kingdom crumbled while another one rose… And a simple farmer became a king."