The king was infirm, bedbound and frail, yet still waited on hand and foot.
"Oh, please, no need to call me 'your worship'. Just treat me like anyone else and call me George."
"Nonsense, your highness! We all live to serve you."
The guilt of undeserved power weighed heavily over the years, tiring the king's shackled soul. He lay in his royal bed exhausted and despairing, trapped to the end. He'd secretly hoped his ill health would have freed him at last from his imposed responsibilities. To be free of the myth of kings was his sole lifeline to hope. Quit believing in me! I cannot save you!
Everyone saw how forlorn he was. A general feeling of pity and a sense of duty of protection came over his diminishing handlers in the fiercest way. Every day the king would vainly try to demur from their worship knowing the false god that he was. How silly for one person to worship another!It would be like watching one blade of grass worship another. Like cells in a body, who would call any one of them unimportant? Such as it is with people.
The flicker of life dimmed as his hope dimmed. The man they called king had tried every trick in the book to be just another ordinary man, to breathe in lifesaving truth. He had no tricks left. It was strange, though. He could feel hope all around him but never grasp it. Why is there this wall? The confusion only dispirited him further, slowly killing him day by day, driving him mad.
What George hadn't realized - but could only sense - was that outside of the nursing home where he resided a revolution had happened. The monarchy and all its trappings had been done away with, replaced by a representative government. The idea of royalty was discarded as an absurdity like witch burning of yore. People found freedom in this though struggled with the newfound responsibility in their lives; no more Anointed One on whom to project divinity to lead them. What an obviously silly charade that had been!
The ex-king's room had been made to look just like his royal bedroom in the palace. The actual furnishings had been retrieved to complete an illusion of times past. Workers were ordered to treat him just as he had been before with no news of the outside world to seep in before his death. The nursing home director had been a staunch royalist who feared the brave new world in which he found himself.
Yet workers complained mightily. "We're tired of keeping up this farce. We want to be free just like everyone else is doing. What we're doing is dishonest."
"We can't always have what we want! There's still such a thing as duty no matter how much it burdens us. I, for one, am honored for the opportunity of self-denial. We serve a greater cause and that cause is to keep George happy in his final days and never to let him know he's not a king anymore. I may not know much but this much I can tell you: finding out he's just another person will kill him. Keep the lie alive. It's the only way. We can't always be obedient to the truth."