Three Knights stood before the King
Three Knights stood wearing armor
The First shone with silver polish
The Second was dull with rust
The Third battered and dented
The First was proud
And looked down on his fellow
Sharp was his blade
No stain upon helm or shield
The second was bored and cared not
Dull was his blade
Parts of his armor was hung by threads
The last was tired
Armor patched and repaired
Sword scored and scratched but still sharp
The King stood and asked
“How many battles have you fought?”
“How many have you defended?”
The First spoke, clear and smoothly:
“Many battles have I waged and won them all.
I defended any and all.
None doubt my sincerity.
Then the Second Spoke
“I have battled more than He.
Many years have I traveled.
I have fought for king and lord.
The last spoke slowly
I have not battled many
Nor have I won the fight
I have not always defended
Nor have I fought as hard as I could
Then the King said
“Take ten steps forward.”
The First moved
His armor creaked
And he walked awkwardly
Unused to the weight
The Second moved as well
But his armor screeched and groaned
As metal ground against metal
He moved stiffly as his armor protest
The Third move slowly
His armor made no noise
His steps were sure and smooth
The King sat and looked upon each
To the First He said
“A hundred thousand battles you waged
Yet you fought over things that mattered little
You fought battles that you never had to fight
You cared for how you looked and were received
Rather than what good you did
Caring only to be seen that you care
Rather than doing the work that was needed
Depart from me, for I do not know you”
To the Second He said
“Thrice as many battles have you waged
For every fight, you saw you took.
For you cares about the fight and not for the reason
You battled and fought
But never took the time to learn and grow
To care for those whom you fought
Caring only to be right.”
To the Third He said
“Long have you fought and struggled.
Often had you forgotten Me,
Seeking to win on your own strength.
Yet you have remembered Me.
Yet you have learned from your past,
Seeking to be better for me rather than yourself.
Well done, my faithful servant.
Three Knights stand in a row
One shined with light
One stood with rust covered
One scored with age