In the farthest cellar of the spacious castle was a dark dungeon. This was where the prisoner was kept. - Why was he here at all? His appearance had displeased certain people who wanted to maintain their power. He had also fearlessly tangled with the king's scheming advisor and had uncovered the evil machinations of "Serpent's Tongue", as he called him. The king had then slandered him and had him thrown into prison without further ado. - Did the king even know about it? The king took advice from a few chosen men. But not all of them meant well for the kingdom; one or two of them were quite intent on their own advantage. The prisoner thought about these things in prison. Again and again, the thought of revenge surfaced in his mind.
One day the kingdom was threatened by a foreign power. Already the enemies had crossed the borders! Panic and alarm reigned throughout the castle. All defensive resources were mobilised. Even the guards in the castle and the guards of the prison in the cellars were withdrawn because they were needed "upstairs".
The prisoner can escape - setting out for freedom
The long-awaited opportunity for the prisoner had finally arrived: He managed to break out of his cell in this unguarded moment!
He rushed out without looking back, stumbled through long corridors, hurried up steep stairs... Already he was in the castle. Hungry and desperate, he searched for an exit.
Randomly he stormed through several rooms.
The King's Round Table
Suddenly he was standing - completely unexpectedly - in the great hall of the councils, in front of the king's round table. The king's decision-makers, who were holding their emergency meeting, froze when they saw the deceased.
He was haggard and emaciated, his cheeks were sunken, his face was dirty, his clothes were in tatters, his fingernails were chopped off and black, his hair and beard were shaggy and matted. The whole appearance made more the impression of an animal than a man!
The escaped man hurriedly looked around and discovered food, fresh water, wine on a table... Without thinking, he grabbed a chicken with his bare hands and put it in his mouth. Then, with an erratic movement, intending to escape, he pushed the table and with it other chairs and tables.
It was a noise and a mess.
Serpent's tongue, the king's closest advisor, had blanched. His voice rolled over as he shouted, "Guards!!! The prisoner has escaped! Stop him! Bind him!!! Back to the dungeon with him!"
The Good King
But the king kept his calm and looked at the prisoner. He said calmly: "Wait a minute! I know you...". He sharply rebuked Serpent's Tongue: "Silence!". Again his gaze was on the escaped prisoner. Yes! He recognised him! Calm and collected, he said, "Oh... Hello...! So here you are...! Long time you were gone..." It looked the intruder up and down and realised: "Yes - it's true! You are one of us. It's you...!" After a pause, it said quietly to itself, as if in thought, "We have been betrayed and now we have disaster... you... you have been in prison - unjustly..." A stern look fell on Snake's Tongue, who ducked his head and would have preferred to disappear under the table.
Relaxation and release of trapped resources
The king turned back to the escaped man, walked up to him and said, "Now... come!" Gently but firmly, he put his arm around the derelict's shoulder and led him out of the room to the kitchen, where he fed him until he was full. Next he ordered a bath for the runaway. He was now washed and shaved, his hair and nails were cut. Then he was led into a warm room where there was a soft bed. The king said: "First have a good rest. Tomorrow we'll see!"
The next morning, the king himself came to his room with a bundle of new clothes: "Get dressed. You're coming to the council today!". On the way there, he said quietly, "Then sit down next to me. Just watch, you hear! Keep quiet, listen, and see how this goes. If I need your support, I'll tell you."
The high council was astonished when the king entered with his new companion. The latter was hardly recognizable in his neat appearance.
New resources and victory
Now the critical situation in the empire was further discussed and solutions sought. Finally, the king asked the newcomer to speak. He produced important information. He had evidence against Snake's Tongue, namely that he had schemed behind the king's back - in the interest of the enemy! The newcomer spoke strongly and fearlessly, for he had nothing more to lose and everything to gain. He exposed the evil machinations of Serpent's Tongue. The king removed Snake's Tongue from office and had him thrown into prison. Instead, he appointed the newcomer as his advisor. The newcomer also had an effective answer to the enemy threat: he was able to mobilise additional forces, allies, with whom the enemy army was successfully put to flight.