“Come forth!”
A man, weak and meek, stepped forward before the high-set thrones of the King and the Princess. This skinny man stood in the grand castle of royalty, dressed in layman’s clothes with a bearded face. Behind the thrones, the guards all smirked, snickered, and jeered at his appearance. The King – a big, burly bastard begotting beards beyond brims of his chin – scowled heavily at the nervous, sweating individual bowing before him. The Princess, a beautiful young dame that bled beauty and gorged gorgeousness, sat beside him.
“Speak, peasant! Why have you come forth this day?”
The man inhaled sharply, before standing to his feet, saying: “Dear King, I come today… t-to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage!”
The daughter gasped while the King’s frown deepened.
“Is this so? What have you brought forth today – a gift for her hand, Sir…?”
“Ahmad, Your Highness. And I am afraid… I have nothing to give…”
“Tch!” the King scoffed, nostrils flaring. “And you dare waste our time?! You are to be grateful that I don’t execute you on the spot, here and now!”
Ahmad trembled and shivered, nodding quickly.
Ahmad scurried away, red and embarrassed. So ashamed was he that he found himself unable to look at the Princess as he passed an extravagant and noble-looking man. Ahmad watched, from the entrance, the man approach the King and the Princess, bowing.
“Dear King, I trust you are doing well.”
“Who are you?” boomed the King.
“Dear King, I am Prince Arthur – I hail from a Kingdom far, far to the East. I have come today to ask your daughter’s hand in marriage.”
“I believe a loving marriage between us would do well for our Kingdoms politically and economically, as an alliance would boom both of our homelands. Also, I have a desperate need to lead the men of my Kingdom by example and as such, I must show them how to treat a lady. It is why I seek your daughter, dear King, to treat her like a Princess so that the men of my land may do the same with their women.”
“Ho-ho-ho! Most interesting – continue.”
Ahmad sighed, and moved on, leaving the palace. He walked through the dusty streets, despondent and depressed.
Ahmad eventually entered his small, modest home and pulled up a chair next to his bare table, sitting down slowly and silently.
“Ahmad…?” came a low, elderly voice.
“Hello, Father,” replied Ahmad, sitting up. “What are you doing out of bed?”
“Ah, I’m fine, dear son.” The father waved it off, coming up to his son and kissing him on the forehead softly. “What is the matter?”
“I’ve gone to the King to ask for his daughter’s hand but… I had nothing of value to give.”
“Malarkey!” exclaimed the old man. He bent down and put his finger on Ahmad’s left breast. “This is the most valuable thing you can give.”
Ahmad sighed. “The King doesn’t see it like that… a Prince came by and asked for her hand and the King didn’t hesitate to accept. It’s for the best; he can probably treat her more like a Princess than I can…”
“Ah, Ahmad…” The man shook his head and reached into his pocket, pulling out a seed. “Here.”
“What’s this…? A date seed?”
“That’s right. Now, grow that carefully, grow that attentively, grow that lovingly, and give this to her. No matter what her father says, she will feel an instant love for you.”
“Why is that? Is there something special about this seed?”
The man smiled. “There will be. Only plant and care for it, my son. Nature shall do the rest.”
Ahmad nodded to his father, squeezing his fist. “Okay.”

Day-by-day, Ahmad watched that seed and he gave it water. He watched it carefully, day-by-day. He slept in the same area as it did, wished it growth, and studied its progress. Day-by-day, he recorded every development and doing all he needed to grow the sapling into something beautiful – day-by-day.
And soon enough, the tree grew forth and from it, spread a single date – only one. Ahmad picked it and held it: a luscious, wrinkly, sweet black fruit.
With a deep-rooted sigh and a hesitance planted inside his heart.
“This is the most valuable thing you can give.”
Ahmad walked through the streets again and into the palace once more. There, as always, sat the King and the Princess, still ever so beautiful.
The guards didn’t laugh at his entrance, instead looking him over with respect. Ahmad approached the King, but this time his hand neither shook nor shivered, and his head held high happily.
The Princess, looking upon him, smiled softly while the King, ever so easily indignant, sneered at Ahmad.
“Has the peasant come back?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his carefully grown fruit. “And I’ve brought this.”
“HAHAHAHAH!” The King’s laughter echoed through the chambers, ringing like a gunshot trapped in a capsule. “A date? A DATE?! How dare you come forward with such a minuscule, sorry excuse for a proposal! My mercy does not know repeat; for this insulting act, I will have you execu-”
“Wait, Father,” started the Princess, standing up. Her entire being screamed elegance and demanded an appreciation, deeper than aesthetic, of her graceful beauty. The Princess stepped down and walked up to Ahmad, graciously taking the date from the hopeful man.
The Princess smiled at him and he her as she took a soft bite of the date while Ahmad held his breath, his heartbeat praying to God.
“Oh, my God!” exclaimed the Princess, gasping and gaping down at the date. She then looked up at Ahmad, wide-eyed and blushing. “This is amazing… I’ve… never tasted this before… Dear God!”
“Dear Princess… please accept my marriage proposal to you,” requested Ahmad, bowing cordially at the waist.
“Wait!” screamed the King. “Haven’t you heard the proposal of the Prince before? He can treat you as Queen, he can’t!”
“No… I’ll be treated far better than a Queen.” The Princess bent forward and kissed his forehead.
“What’s that?!”
The Princess smiled at Ahmad, taking his hand and walking out of the palace. “A human being.”

Original Image

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