Looking Back

by Roger Russell

Princess Regina stepped from the dias, her royal robe trailing carefully as she exited the chamber. Her ladies in waiting smiling at each other as they followed along behind.

Merlin watched them exit, and his eyes narrowed. The actions were all correct, but something was bothering the young woman. He had paid close attention to her as she grew and matured, and there was no mistaking the subtle signs.

It was definately time to visit her and find out what was wrong.

Regina wasnt really suprised at the soft knock on her door, and smiled as Merline slipped into the room.

"What is distracting you? This morning on the throne you smiled and nodded like your mind was a thousand miles away.

"is there something I can do, for you and the kingdom?"

She thought a moment. It had been weighing on her mind for a couple of weeks now, and Merlin was right. As befitting her position she owed her land her undivided attention.

"Merlin, all this busy work I do. Visiting, decisions on legal matters, settling disputes... what good does it do?"

Now he had the cruxt of the matter.

"Regina, put on some of the least expensive of your gowns and come with me, I have a chore that might help you see the truth of the matter."

Soon they were down in the main dining hall. The tables and chairs had been pulled to the edges of the room, leaving the floor bare. It looked a mess, the rushes had been swept but the remnants of the spills were easily in evidence.

"Today, you are going to wax the floor."

He motioned to the floor, and to a bucket and scrub brush beside it. The look on his face left no arguement. It was time she learned floor care, it seemed.

Getting on her hands and knees she started in. The water was soon filthy and maids brought fresh buckets. Regina really did her best to do a good job, from the looks of it, it had been a while since it was scrubbed and waxed properly. But the room stretched on before her... there was no hope she could do the entire job by herself. She kept at it, but her spirits were soon flagging.

Merlin took her arm and helped her to her feet.

"You would never get the entire floor clean and waxed. With this kingdom you alone would never fix every injustice, either.

Then he turned her around to show her where she had cleaned. The marble floor sparkled. The patterns were visible as she had never noticed them before.

"You asked me ...'what good does it do?' In this kingdom you have a unique position to clean away the grime and put polish on the lives of those you rule over. While people can survive without it, the quality of life you bring shines on all it touches."

As she nodded, he added "If the days ahead look to be too much, take the time to look behind and see the good you have done before."

He looked at the floor and smiled at her, putting an arm around her shoulder. Walking her to the door he added,

"Boy, do you know how to polish!"

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