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The King Who Became a Commoner for Love

There was no question he loved her. He was absolutely bedazzled by her. Surprising, really, because she was plain, maybe even… well, (to someone else perhaps) disappointing. But then, he himself was a poor man who didn’t have even two coins to rub together. He wasn’t especially handsome, either. But he was good… a good and godly man, and he swept her off her feet, and won her heart. What makes that ordinary story extraordinary is the rest of the story.

The story—told by Soren Kierkegaard —actually begins, “Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden.” He was a great king and he could have whatever he wanted. Every statesman feared his wrath, every foreign state trembled before his power; they would have all sent ambassadors to the wedding.

He realized that if he asked his courtiers they would say, “Your majesty is about to confer a favor upon the maiden for which she can never be sufficiently grateful her whole life long.” That was the problem! Even if she wanted to come with him, he would never know for certain if she would have loved him for himself. So he wrestled with his troubled thoughts alone.

Finally, he decided. If she could not come up to his high station and be sure to love him freely, he must descend to hers. And he must descend stripped of his royal power and wealth, for only then would he know if his beloved loved him freely, as equals. So he laid aside all his power and privileges, and came to her as her equal, to win her love.


Soren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2009), Page 21

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