Once upon a time there lived a lord. This lord’s name was David. Lord David. David was known far and wide for being snotty, bratty, one who got everything he asked for, and one who lost his temper easily. There was no village around Lord David’s manor because he despised any class lower than himself. There was only a very small town two miles away. If anyone dared live closer than that to his manor, David would personally kick him out.
One day David was throwing a party to celebrate the return of Henry, David’s brother. David was bored, slouching in his throne, wishing the party was for him instead of his brother. David’s sister, Catherine, walked over to the throne and whispered in David’s ear, “You shant slouch at thy own brother’s party. Thy should be proud of thy brother!” David scoffed, “Why should thy be proud of a brother, just for going to another village only to go swing a sword?” Catherine replied, “Thy brother did not only swing a sword, he risked his own life! He battled for what he believes in! He went on a crusade!” David snorted, “I don’t care!” David’s sister stomped away muttering about being an only child.
The manor doors flew open and in walked Henry. He was accompanied by someone dressed in rags. The great hall fell silent. Henry had brought along a servant. Henry introduced his traveling companion, named John. Henry and John walked up to David, who was still slouching in his thrown. Henry said, “I would like you to meet the person who saved thy life on thy crusade. Thy met John when…”
Henry was rudely interrupted by a loud bellowing sound coming from David. David stood up and shouted, “How could you? Thou has always known that I don’t want some one like him anywhere near our manor.” David was clearly pointing at John. “I don’t want him near our manor, let alone in the manor. I want him to be thrown out at once!”
With that, David picked up a turkey leg from his plate and threw it at John. It hit him squarely in the face. John turned a dark shade of crimson. He glared at David and sang a chant under his breath. “You will regret thou actions, for something will appear at the very darkest part of the night. Thou shall transform!” David thought that John was muttering something about him. Little did David know that something would soon appear in his bedroom that would change him in ways he never expected.
That night, when the sky was at it’s very darkest, there was creaking on the stairs. The handle of David’s bedroom door turned and the door squeaked as it opened. A figure cloaked in black slipped through the door. The cloak was so black that it looked like the night itself. The figure slunk to the side of David’s bed. A long hand appeared out of the cloak. It reached out and touched David’s shoulder. David snorted in his sleep and his eyes fluttered open. He jumped, startled to see a face over his.
“Do not worry. My name is Elizabeth. Thou have disobeyed thy people. Thou can be quite disrespectful to others! Because of this, I must switch you. When the sun is directly in the middle of the sky, you will become a peasant for four days. Within those four days, I hope that will do you good. I fare thee well.” With that as her parting words, Elizabeth disappeared and Lord David was left alone, stunned and worrying about the coming day.
The next day, when the sun was almost in the middle of the sky, David ate a huge supper and decided to take a nap. While David slept, someone snuck into the manor and carried David off to a little hut. When David woke up, he was no longer in his bed, let alone in the manor! He was wearing a tattered, dirty outfit. He was lying on the floor on a scratchy matt. Just then, a peasant opened the flap that served as the door and said, “Time to get to work.”
“No. I’m hungry!” David barked. “I’m sorry, we have no food,” the man replied. At this remark, David’s mouth flew open. “No food?” David repeated. “No food,” the peasant repeated once again. “You are wasting daylight. Get to work chopping the firewood,” the peasant said. “I don’t think so.” David replied, “I’d rather not. I think this is a job for you!” “I don’t think so is not an answer I take,” the peasant stated.
David shouted, “Thy do not work! Thy have servants to work for me!” The peasant scoffed, “I don’t know who you think you are, but you are not a lord in some royal family. You are a servant!” With that, the peasant pushed David out the door and put an axe by his feet “Get chopping!” and the peasant walked off.
David sat in a daze for several minutes, looking at the unfamiliar surroundings. He thought back on the words he heard the cloaked figure named Elizabeth mutter at him the previous night. He thought it was a dream but as the minutes passed, he finally accepted that he would have to do the chopping. David bent down to pick up the axe. “Zounds! I never knew that this thing could be so heavy!” David exclaimed. David stood up and lifted the axe over his head. It’s unfamiliar weight and the effort of work knocked him off balance and he fell over and landed on his rear. David landed with an oomph. He groaned and heaved himself back to his feet.
The day was spent working and as the sun was setting, David realized he had only chopped two logs. Although he thought he should have more to show for the aches and pains he felt, he was also proud of himself for he had two rather large blisters on his hands to show that he had toiled hard and long.
But David’s blisters and aching muscles were not enough. When the peasant returned, he frowned at David. “You should have done better. I expected at least 12 logs by this time.” The man paused for a moment and said, “I beg your forgivenesss, I forgot to introduce myself, I’m John.” Upon hearing this name, David’s mouth flew open. “You’re John? I know you! You accompanied my brother, Henry, when he returned home to our manor from a crusade!” David’s shoulders lifted but John just frowned and scoffed, “I have a friend named Henry, but he is too kind and noble to have a brother the likes of you. Now wash your filthy hands. It’s time for dinner.”
It turned out that dinner was cabbage slop, and a glass of brownish water. “Don’t you have mutton or any kind of meat?” David complained. “ I’ve been laboring all day and I’m famished!” John put down his spoon and yelled at David, “I don’t know who you think you are! You act like you live in a royal family. We don’t give away food, you must to work for it. We don’t have anyone to do your work for you, and we don’t eat like kings!” John’s voice rose, and David seemed to shrink back in his chair until he looked like a scared little boy. David slumped over his cabbage slop and decided to keep his mouth shut.
David’s shoulders sank, clearly disappointed. When he finished his meager dinner, David turned and walked to the little hut, John watched David trudge to the hut and he quietly muttered after him, “I do know you. You hit me with a turkey leg! How could I forget you?” John smiled, remembering the incident. John realized a painful lesson was being taught to the arrogant, thoughtless brother of his kind friend.
As tired as David was, sleep did not come easy. His “bed” was only a scratchy mat. Moonlight seeped through the holes in the roof and it was cold! To make matters worse, David only had a tattered thin blanket that did no good to keep out the cold that had settled in with the setting sun. John seemed embarrassed about only being able to hand a lord a blanket so thin.
David thought to himself, “How could thou be so mean to these people? They don’t have enough water. Well, they do have water, but it is brown and disgusting. Undrinkable and unable to quench the thirst built during a day laboring in the sun. They don’t have enough food either, to satisfy the hunger built from this hard work!”
David felt that he had no more than just closed his weary eyes, when he was shaken awake. David’s eyes fluttered open, his vision was blurry. Someone was kneeling over him, urging him to wake up. His vision cleared, and David saw that it was John trying to wake him up, but something was not right. It was still dark out. David groaned, “Thou don’t want to wake up.” John frowned and insisted, “Well, it might be dark but it is time to wake up, sleepy head.”
After John and David ate a breakfast that consisted of hard, stale jerky and some more brownish water with which to choke it down, they were off to work again. John pushed David toward the pile and told him, “Get chopping! Let’s see if you can do better today.” With that, John turned on his heels and marched away muttering something about slackers and spoiled brats. David picked up the axe again, and groaned with the ache in his muscles. But with each swing, he found that the axe grew lighter and lighter. By the end of the day, 12 logs had been chopped. This time, David’s glory was enough for John too. John smiled at David. “Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful improvement.”
The next day seemed to fly by. David had become a tremendous firewood chopper, and as he toughened up his body, he found the nights were not as cold as the first night. The only thing that still bothered David was the water. He wanted to find a way to fix that. He felt sorry for the peasants.
On the forth day, while David was chopping firewood, he thought about the man he was becoming and was very upset with the man he used to be. How could he have been so mean and heartless, despising peasants? He did not understand the life they lived. He realized he had been very selfish and self-centered. The life of a peasant was not an easy one. While chopping with the renewed strength of his anger, he threw down the axe and yelled at the stick pile, “How could thou be so mean? HOW? Maybe that was why I woke up in a hut!” David kicked at the stick pile and the logs went sprawling. David plopped down in the dust and sighed with self disgust.
Just then, John came walking around the bend of the shack. “What was all that racket?” He then saw David kneeling in the dust. John walked over to David, and kneeled down next to him. John whispered in a soothing voice, “How about you go inside and take a break. The sun is almost directly in the middle of the sky and it is getting really hot! “That sounds like a great idea,” David sighed. They both got up, and David walked to the shack and looked back over his shoulder. His eyes must have been playing tricks on him. He thought he saw John talking with a black-cloaked figure. He laid down on the scratchy mat that served as his bed and prepared to take a nap.
When David woke up from his nap, he was no longer in John’s shack. He found he was in his own luxurious bed in his own beautiful manor. David jumped up and shouted, “Thou art back where thou belongs!” As he finished uttering these words, David thought about John and how he had given him a place to stay. He looked down at his hands to make sure that his hands were still callused. He wanted the check to make sure that it wasn’t only a dream. The calluses were still there. David smiled, picturing an axe in his hands and the pile of wood he chopped. He remembered the dirty water he had to drink to satisfy the thirst brought on by the hard work. David wanted to do something for the peasants. He had to do something for them. He thought, maybe thou could give them money. No, the money would run out and then they would become poor again. Thou could build them better houses. No, how many houses could thy build? Thou could give them food. No that did not seem right either. Once they ate up the food he gave them, they would once again have nothing. David thought about this all through the night and into the next day.
On the third day, Henry came into David’s study carrying a glass of cool, clear water. David’s eyes had veen dull and he looked pale ever since he came back from “his mysterious disappearance.” Henry urged David to drink at least drink some water since he refused to eat. David looked up from the piles of paper he was studying and his eyes landed on the glass of water. David’s puckered, worried lips turned into a huge smile and his blue eyes sparkled as he danced around the halls, singing. Henry became worried about his brother. All this change because of the glass of water? Henry said, “Brother, I never knew you to get excited by something as simple as a glass of water!” David’s eyes sparkled with joy, more than they ever had before. David stood up on his desk, then jumped down and gave Henry a big bear hug. Henry gagged, the hug was so tight. David exclaimed, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for the idea!” Then, David started to do a little dance with Henry. This caused him to drop the glass of water with a loud bang, but David ignored it. With this, David spun around and left the room, doing a waltz, leaving Henry to catch his breath and to stare curiously after his brother. He had never seen his spoiled brother act this way before. “My, that was strange!”
As dawn broke the next day, David sent all of his town criers to spread the news that Lord David needed helpers for a secret mission. All who volunteered to help David would be given a reward. Five weeks past as David worked on his secret plan. A rumor went around that Lord David was crazy since no one knew all the details of the plan. Little did they know, David himself was doing most of the work himself.
After the five weeks were over, David sent for John. David, Henry and John gathered together and called all the villagers to gather around. David stepped forward and began pulling off a huge cloth that was hiding something very large. The audience all gasped as the hidden object was revealed. Below the cloth, there was a huge well. A well that was big enough to hold water for all the members of the village. “Thy built the well large and tall so it would hold the rain water,” David announced, beaming. The audience cheered, whistled, and clapped. John quieted the villagers and announced, “Thou would like to thank my friend, David, for doing all of this for us.” The audience clapped and cheered even louder. “You all deserve it!” David proclaimed. “I’m very sorry for the way I treated you in the past. Something happened to me and I realized we are all the same inside. I hope you use your gift well!”
Far back, hidden from the cheering crowed, a black-cloaked figure smiled.