The King of Southland rose from behind his desk in the lush decorated baroque Conference Chamber and went to the window. With his forehead slightly frowned he looked over the spacious court garden to the little sanctuary on a low and softly curved mound some hundred feet away. Tomorrow the temple-like pavilion would be torn down by construction workers, creating space for the new planned palace, a much larger one, much more glamorous than the old castle in which his dynasty had lived and ruled for more than four hundred years.
He rang for his valet. „I‘m taking a short stroll through the park, Sebastian, and I would like to do that alone. I will be back in time for dinner.“
The lackey made a deep bow and opened eagerly the wing door.
Little later the ruler of Southland had reached the sanctuary that was made completely of smooth and translucent marble. He sat down on the low steps that surrounded the graceful building with its slim columns and perfectly round curved dome.
It was a mild summer day, birds where caroling in the nearby forest, bees humming in the beds of purple red roses that covered the slopes of the mound, butterflies where tumbling through the velvet like, warm air, as if they where drunk.
The King closed his eyes, in his mind he took a long journey back through time, since his childhood days, he saw himself as a little and rather chubby boy, chasing his brothers and sisters, hiding behind the columns and in the cooling shadow of the prayer room. Years passed by, he was fifteen now, sitting on the wintry cold steps, holding hands with his first love, the two years younger daughter of one of his mothers gentlewomen, Laura Wolkenstein, telling her with tears in the eyes that his parents had arranged his marriage with a Princess he had never heard of.
The carousel of years floating by continued, now he saw his own children playing hide and seek round the filigree pavilion. In the mirror of the small fountain situated in the middle of the prayer room he discovered his first grey streak in his dense and dark brown hair. His wife had given him seven children, but no joy, no love, no kindness, she was beautiful, but as stupid as bean straw and cold-hearted.
Once again the years passed by, he watched himself laying on the snow white marble ground crying his heart out after they told him that his mistress, his first young love, had died during giving birth to their baby child…
He sat there under the dome of the little sanctuary, torn apart by his memories, until the sunset did weave a veil of flaming red and soft gold over the old temple…
Back in the conference room, that now was lit by dozens of candles, he ordered the young architect that has developed the plans of the mighty new castle to join him immediately.
The handsome fellow went in and bowed respectfully. The King folded up the large papers. „My dear friend, I‘ve made a decision – there will be no new palace.“
The architect’s eyes widened with disbelieve and surprise. „His Majesty – I – I don‘t understand…“
The King smiled softly. „No need to be shocked. – With a part of the money calculated for the costs of the new castle you will restore this old one. It has been good enough for my family for over four hundred years, and you will going to make it good enough for the next generations of our dynasty. With the money left you will build schools! Schools for every child, for every girl and boy in this country. And this schools ought to be palaces, beautiful temples of education and culture. And from now on, Mr. Wolkenstein, you will be be my court architect, and I will nominate you the title of a Duke.“ So spoke the King, and laid his arm around the slender shoulders of his illegitimate son.