The old king lay dying, “Send to me my most faithful servant, John,” he said.
The king’s servant, John, approached his master’s death-bed.
“Trusty John, the end is near for me, and I fear my only son is still too young to look after himself. Unless you promise to instruct him in all he should know, I cannot close my eyes in peace.”
“I promise never to desert him,” said Trusty John. “I will serve him faithfully, at the expense even of my own life.”
The old king smiled weakly and said, “Now I may die comforted and in peace,” and then he delivered his last wishes in respect of his son to John, “After my death you must show him the whole castle, one by one, all the rooms, and apartments, and vaults, must be opened to him, and all the treasures that lie in them must be shown to him, save for one, you must not under any circumstances show him the last room that lies at the end of the long passage.”
“And why would that be, my king?” asked Trusty John.
“For the treasure in that room is too dangerous to behold,” replied the king gravely.
“It shall be done as you request,” said Trusty John.
The old king, smiled again, laid his head back on his pillow, and breathed his last.
When the old king had been carried to his grave Trusty John told the young king what he had promised his father on his death-bed, and then added, “I will keep my word to your father. I will be faithful to you as I have been to him, even though it should cost me my life.” …