In my last first grade class I had two girls who were best of friends, but they were always coming to me with grievances about the other. Attempts to mediate didn’t go anywhere, so I made up a story. We were working with the letter T at the time.
In the topmost room of the Tower of Truth stood the Table of Truth. And in the middle of the table was a tray that trembled with a mysterious liquid everyone called The Water of Truth. Here King Torin put people’s words to the Test of Truth. The king had a scribe who wrote down on parchment all that was told to the king as testimony. The scribe would then immerse the parchment in the liquid. If the words emerged written in gold that proved that they were true, but if they had vanished it showed that they were false. Sometimes some of the words were golden while others on the same page had vanished.
It was Tuesday. Everyone was certain of the day because on Tuesdays the Bell of Testimony would ring announcing the Tuesday of Testimony. It was a small bell, but everyone could hear it clearly.
First to testify was Thomas the tailor.
“Your Majesty, Terrance here has ordered a woolen jacket from me, and now he says he ordered a linen one. He won’t pay for the woolen one, and I will be unable to sell it to anyone else because it is so large.”
“What do you have to say, Terrance?” asked the king, looking at him sternly.
“Your Majesty, to put it simply, I am certain that I ordered a linen jacket. What more can I say?”
“You have spoken clearly,” stated the king, holding out his hand to receive the parchment from the scribe. The page was blank.
You are to pay for the woolen jacket. In addition, you are to give Thomas ten bushels of wheat each month for a year.”
Next to testify was Theophilus Thistlesifter.
“Your Majesty, Theodore here has made it a practice to make fun of my name. He says my full name over and over. He might as well be pushing me or hitting me. He is tormenting me.”
“Theodore, is it true that you are tormenting Theophilus by saying his name to his face over and over? It is true that it is a mouthful to say,” said the king softly.
“Your Majesty, it is true that I do enjoy saying his name, but I had no idea that it bothered him.”
The king reached for the parchment, then read it. He nodded his head. There was a gap in the writing where the words “had no idea” should have been.
“Theodore, you are to visit Theophilus each day first thing in the morning, and you are to say his name, first and last, until he asks you to stop. Then you must stop. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“No more!” cried the king, slapping his thighs. “Listen to your own words. Do they ring true, or are they dull and empty?”
All those present looked at one another. Everyone knew the king had spoken truly.
“I have grown tired of all the complaints being brought to me,” cried the king. “This tower is no longer needed. You know the truth in your hearts. The truth rings true, like a bell.”
In the morning the tower wasn’t there. They say it vanished into thin air, for all that remained was a field, where the tower had stood. There were those, too, who claimed they still heard the ringing of the bell each Tuesday, which reminded them to listen for the ring of truth in their own words and in the words of others.
I have always thought a third complaint was called for to round off the story. At the time it was the best I could do. My mind is not inclining toward the story anymore. Can anyone think of a third pair of complainants that I could use to finish the story, set in the same fictional time period?