He was very popular with the peasants that lived and worked in his kingdom. As far as they were concerned, life was good. The work was hard and water was scarce, and the peasants weren't allowed into some areas of the town because that was where the owners of the farms congregated. It didn't bother them much because it had always been that way; they always looked into that area of the town- it's high stone walls kept secret the goings on. All they could see were men in their fancy hats walking in after leaving the coaches driven by men who weren't allowed to enter themselves.
Everyone knew the King could go into the secret area, but they didn't hold him in the same regard as the other men who went in past those walls. The others were cruel, secretive and manipulative. Many a peasant had lost a daughter or son because of the whims of the farm-owners; the toil they forced upon the peasants was simply more than some of them could bear. The King wasn't like that. He smiled at the peasants , and whenever something went wrong, he always promised to do everything he could to fix it.
Life went well for a long time in the kingdom, until the day they were attacked. The peasants knew other kingdoms surrounded them but they never knew much about them- no need to, as their work and the task of simply getting food and water was enough to keep them fully occupied. Sometimes the town gossips would spread stories about a mysterious foreigner who had entered into the kingdom. Such a story was told on the day they were attacked- an army entered the kingdom an tore the entire place asunder. Daughters were taken, crops were burned, the peasants' lives were ruined and they did not even know who to blame.
Standing in the castle square, surrounded on all sides by the burning rubble of their possessions, the peasants gathered. They demanded and answer from the King- to know what had happened and who had done this, what they had done to deserve such a rain of evil.
The King approached his balcony overlooking the assembled rabble. He could see the fear in their eyes, the ashes from their meager possessions staining their faces. The looked up at him and cried out for help, for an answer. The King looked down upon them and took a deep breath..
Then he turned, and went back inside his castle where he enjoyed a large banquet prepared for him by one of the neighboring kingdoms.
He decided then and there to never leave his castle again, for fear the peasants may take their anger out on him. He sent his favorite soldiers out into the rabble to monitor the situation- anyone who was blaming the King for the chaos was immediately captured and sent to the tower. The King felt no guilt about this as it was for the peoples' own good- the upstart only served to upset the other peasants. When they were upset the peasants' work did not get done satisfactorily.
The King spent the next year in his castle- he had all his food tasted, and the few times he did leave he was surrounded by soldiers. The soldiers made every effort to ensure the King was never surrounded by the peasants. Soon they decided the only place he could go in safety was the secret place the peasants feared so.
Soon the secret place was where the King stayed- far away from the peasants and only surrounded by those he did not fear- the farm owners and other merchants that were, in the King's opinion, the foundation of the kingdom.
The peasants regularly gathered around the castle asking for answers- who sent the army to attack them? The King one day finally answered and, after looking around the crowd spied the foreign visitor whom the town gossips had been calling an exotic prince but in reality was simply a traveling writer who was interested the seemingly abundant opportunities that neighboring kingdoms always said this kingdom was famous for.
The King's finger pointed at the man without him adding a single word.
The peasants fought down the man and killed him in the name of their kingdom. They then returned to the small huts they had been able to rebuild slightly after the attack without any reassurance such a thing would never happen again. Fear and hatred took over the peasants as they stared at each other from their huts, afraid to speak with their neighbors or discuss the state of the kingdom with anybody. Word had it that any insulting word about the President would get the speaker quickly hidden from the public eye.
With the peasants sequestered in their huts and afraid to speak, the King felt able to travel to the secret place in privacy. He was reassured the peasants still adored him because he had given them a cause for their troubles. With a smile on his face, the king traveled to the secret place and met with the king of a neighboring kingdom.
After a noble bow the two sat, and the King thanked the visitor for coming though the kingdom seems to be wracked with fear. The visitor replied that he had heard the attacker had been killed. How, he asked, had this one man been able to organize an entire army?
The king replied that, simply, the man was evil, and the kingdom will do all they can to combat evil.
The visitor smiled and praised the King's bravery in times of adversity. Together they toasted their golden goblets filled with the most precious wine in the land. They toasted to their continued abundance, then looked out of the secret place to the kingdom below. The streets were empty as some peasants hid and other peasants took to their work- feeding the family had gotten much harder since the attack, and the work gave the peasants something to do other than cower.
Looking back to his visitor, the King smiled and took a big bite of his delicious meal, quite sure he could never finish it all.