& The Desert Harp
Sometimes the best tellers of the important stories are the powerless: the children, servants, aliens, and sojourners who see clearly and whose stories often speak truth to power.
In this re-imagining of King David, we see a little part of the story of the passionate successful young king, through the story-telling of the servant of his hostage, a prince of the defeated Moabites.
Short, sweet, funny and poetic, it has it all: pretty girls, a lion hunt from chariots, and David singing one of his own psalms by firelight.
Preview from Chapter 1: The Crossing
“You see we lost the war, in case you didn't know. The endless war that began just on the edge of all our stories, and then grew. Like the little lizard in the legend, who turns into a raging dragon in the night and destroys his foolish master, so the war grew: burning in the villages, scattering the herds, slaughtering the young.
I remember it had only been about ten days, about, since we had all finally stopped running. A messenger came one night and said that the old men had been talking to the Conqueror. Now my Lord the Prince was to stand surety for his people, a hostage. I would not leave him. Where should I go?
Israelite scouts always think they are so invisible... hah! Behind Kir Haresseth, the two of us tricked a hundred of them into chasing their own tails for days. For all the good it did us.
Crossing into Judah that morning there were scouts too. I knew they were there, but I was more interested in some lion prints. Twice now in two days we’d seen them, and she was at least stalking our donkey (if not exactly us).
Picking across the reeds and mud, wading and swimming the narrow Jordan, I came upon her mark again on the other side: one paw-print wide as a King’s dinnerplate, stamped neatly in the clay. The donkey and I stood there and dripped, and both listened carefully, and sniffed the wind. Standing on the west bank, I looked north and south: "We are diplomats!" I yelled into the silence, but She did not show, and the Prince would not laugh.
The Jordan went into the Bitter Sea, and we trudged north toward Jericho, green and shimmering in the heat..."