To teach the cubs that telling tall stories and exageration does not make you a better person, and that to tell truth is always more rewarding, no matter how boring it might seem at the time.
In the Kingdom of Britain, King Edward sent out a decree, calling for all the knights of the land to gather in his court, with their stories of great bravery and self sacrifice.
The knights travelled from all the far corners of the land, enduring great peril as they made their way to King Edwards court.
As they gathered in the court of the King, they all compared their stories of bravery and triumph.
Sir Gerald of Suffolk, told the king of how he fought not one but two of the largest and most angry of dragons.
ÛÏFor five days I fought them, amid the brimstone and fire that belched from their great toothy mouths. The first one I slayed, came at me from behind, and as I turned I could only see his great teeth gnashing and chomping as it charged toward me. I quickly drew my sword and leaped to the side and with a single stroke, drove my sword into its skull. It lurched and jumped and fell to its death.Û
All the court gasped as Sir Gerald told his story, but the King remained unmoved from this tale of great courage. Sir Gerald saw this and continued with greater enthusiasm, trying to inspire the King.
ÛÏThe second was more ferocious than the first. It flew in from the sky, with its fiery breath and sharp talons, screeching with the most unearthly noise any man could stand. Had I not been so brave I too would have run for my life, but no! I stood my ground and as the great beast flew over the top of me I lifted my sword and sliced the great beast down its belly. Its insides burst out and covered me with vile smelling slime and blood. The beast slammed so hard into a cliff that it shook the earth and caused a land slide from the mountain above and that is where the beast is buried for everÛ.
The King looked over and sighed as he adjusted himself in his chair, unmoved by this great story of courage. Sir Gerald sat, satisfied that no one in the court could match his story of great bravery.
The King turned to Sir Roger of Scotland and asked, “What story of great bravery do you have to offer?”
Sir Roger stood up and in a broad Scottish accent, told of his great bravery.
ÛÏSire, it was not more than a year ago when the kilts from the north came knocking at my door step. Ach, if there was 20, Sire, there was 100. They came bearing weapons of all descriptions, pitch forks, as sharp as a dragons tooth, sickles, hoes, spears and arrows, swords of all types. They held me captive in my castle for 3 months, encamping themselves outside my door. It was starvation they were after in the end as my walls were far too strong for them to break down. In desperation after a week of no food or water and my army long since deserted, I snuck out of the castle via an unguarded secret entrance, and as they slept. I slaughtered all but a few, who I sent off running back to their primitive hovels with a warning, never to trouble the doorstep of Sir Roger againÛ.
Amid cheers and acknowledgments for his bravery, Sir Roger took his bow and with a slight look across at Sir Gerald, sat back in his seat, pleased with his applause and feeling him self far superior to all the other Knights.
Yet the King was still unmoved, not seemingly at all impressed with this story of great bravery.
Many other Knights told their long tails of bravery that evening and as the evening was about to conclude, the door to the great hall opened, not a great amount, but just enough to allow a young squire in to the hall.
The King noticed this and ordered the guards to bring this insolent squire before him. The squire was thrown to his knees and the king looked down on him.
ÛÏHow dare you come to the court of the King so late. As a squire you of all people should be here before even your master. What have you to say for your self, before I have you removed and beheaded.
The young squire looked up at the King, and with a tear in his eye, spoke softly.
ÛÏPlease forgive me Your Majesty, I am not worthy of your audienceÛ, there was a laughter that filled the hall as several Knights made comments such as ÛÏThe truth well told thereÛ.
ÛÏWellÛ, said the king. ÛÏWhy are you so lateÛ?
The young squire looked up at the king, and through sobs of tears and emotion told his story.
ÛÏSir,, for three years now, I have devoted one hour of my day to sit and tell my father, who is blind and bed bound, the stories I hear in this court. Stories of great crusades and great victories over barbaric tribes. Stories of Dragons and Princesses. But tonight sire, as I would have normally done, I visited my father, with the permission of my master, only to find him in a terrible state. He had a fever and was not clear in his speech. I asked the doctor, what is wrong with my father, but the doctor just told me to be with him, for this is the time he will need you the most. So Sire, I had to make a choice, come to this hall and listen to the great stories of the knights of your court, or sit with my father and tell him the stories I know already, aware that to disobey your orders will mean certain death.
I chose to sit with my father, as I know sire that should this have been his last day on earth, it was more important to be with those who I have great love for than to sit and listen to many great stories. This sire is where I have beenÛ The squire lowered his head as a tear fell from his cheek.
ÛÏAnd so young squire, did your father live or die?Û the King asked.
ÛÏNo sire, I am sorry to say that my father died not more than an hour past, I sat with him to the end and as he died I was telling him of your adventures in France and how you crushed the French with your mighty armiesÛ. The young squire sobbed as he looked down at the floor, watching every tear fall into a small puddle.
The King was silent for a moment, and then, from the inside corner of his eye, a small tear formed and started to trickle down his face.
ÛÏYoung squire, you do know the punishment for being late for my court?Û the King spoke quietly to the squire.
ÛÏYes my lord, death by beheadingÛ the squire answered.
ÛÏAnd yet you chose to sit with you father while he died, and face the consequences of being late for my court?Û the King spoke louder, so that the whole court could hear him. A number of smirks and chuckles echoed around the hall.
ÛÏYes SireÛ the young squire answered.
ÛÏWhat is your name young squire?Û the King asked.
ÛÏIt is John sire, John of Cornwell, son of Sir Phillip of CornwellÛ the squire spoke out with great pride in his voice.
With this the King stood, reached down and slowly drew his sword from its scabbard. There was a deathly hush around the hall as all expected the King to draw blood and take the head from this young squire, there in front of all.
The king lowered his sword, touching the young squire once on the left shoulder, once on the right and once on the head.
ÛÏArise, Sir John of CornwellÛ the King bellowed out in a loud voice.
ÛÏJoin me at my table as a Knight of the realm, as you have shown greater courage, bravery and self sacrifice than any man in this roomÛ.
The surprised knight stood, still shaking at the thought of loosing his head, and still with the tears he shed for his father on his face. He looked at the King and noticed a smile and a tear on the face of the king.
It took a squire with a true story of bravery to move the King that night. The moral of this story is made up bravery is a fine story, to be told to amuse children and ignite the imagination, but true bravery comes from the heart, in the smallest actions, in the least expected way, but always out of love.