Inside, the kitchen was cool in the heat of the day. Outside the Minstrel, a painter by trade, was painting the house of the Princess. The laughing voices of their children filtered into the house as they played outside on the lawn, enjoying each other’s company, the summer sun, and the freedom of the school holidays.
White flower, a regular visitor, came into the kitchen. They talked for a while until the Princess who was mulling over a holiday, asked “I’m thinking about going away on holiday for a week or two. If I give you the keys, could you keep an eye on the place?” “Yes I can do that” White Flower responded. “When are you going?”
Suddenly they both stopped talking. The Minstrel had stretched himself out across the outside of the kitchen window as he painted the window surrounds. Clad only in brief shorts, his nipples were firmly pressed against the glass. White Flower thought it was funny. Irked, the Princess pulled a face. Did he not know women weren’t visual? “Tomorrow” she replied, making up her mind.
The Minstrel had been goading her with snide little put downs, but always through White Flower. She was tired of it. As she packed that night, the Princess asked the King “I’ve seen how White Flower likes to flirt with men. She enjoys their attention, even though she is married. How is it that she can feel confident and attract men, and here I am feeling so bad about myself?”
The King looked up from his book and replied “My reply to both you and White Flower is that your true beauty should consist of a gentle and quiet spirit”. She sighed and said to her King; “Yes, Lord. And I suppose that you are going to tell me that this is in your word, and for me to look it up.”
“Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4
The King smiled and said “Yes, it is in my word, and yes, look it up. Why are you are feeling so jaded?” She replied “The men in my life, the ones in this story, have all been masters at putting me down or putting me last.” “Forget them for a moment. Stop looking at yourself through their eyes. How do you see yourself?” the King asked, holding her eyes.
She sighed and said “I know my face is not long, as my mother suggested. I know that women are equal to men, despite what my father and Silver-tongue have said. I know I am attractive, but I feel I am not as attractive as other women. Even if I do manage to be as attractive, then the other women will have something in their personality that is better. With the men, their work will come first, or there will be something wrong with me in their eyes, or I won’t feel right in their arms.”
The King replied “You are suffering from low self-esteem. From childhood you had a damaged self-image which you never recovered from, exploited by Silver-tongue to his advantage, and now aggravated by the Minstrel.
“He is needling you, is he not?” the King asked. She nodded “Yes, it reminds me of Silver-tongue and his words are wearing me down. I want rid of him as I may end up hating him. He seems to take a perverse delight in flattening me. It seems he builds himself up by pulling other people down.
I want to walk away from the friendship. He is not important to me, but the children’s friendship is. Please bring me someone who sees me for who I really am, and desires me.” The King paused and replied “Be careful of what you ask.”
He continued, addressing the matter of the Minstrel. “He hasn’t got a clue. Even if he goes, how will you see yourself? Before you walk away, I want you see yourself as you really are, and develop enough self-confidence so his taunts do not matter!” “Oh, no” she moaned. “I cannot do it. How can I change all that from a lifetime overnight? He replied “Do not look to a man to do it. Look to Me. I can help you.” She sighed “I want that. Please help me change the way I see myself.”