Two years ago I celebrated the Feast of Purim for the first time. I had no idea really about the holiday, but a group of friends decided to give it a try. We made the typical holiday treats that go with it, but opted out of dressing in costumes. I wrote this creative retelling of the Book of Esther.
In a foreign land steeped in grandiose history as renowned as legends of old, lived a young woman, of the tender age of 16. Esther was beautiful to behold, but her real beauty came from deep within her soul. Characteristics like honour, loyalty, and sacrifice, the kind forged from suffering. These would be the real jewels in her crown, but them I am getting a bit ahead of myself in this story.
Esther was orphaned at a young age and raised by her older cousin, Morrey.
Morrey didn’t have an easy life, and to be burdened at 28 with the task of raising a 5-year old was hard even on the best of days. Morrey knew a thing or two about honour and sacrifice, so he never complained about what he gave up by taking Esther in.
While Morrey couldn’t boast in Esther’s outward beauty, he was a most proud “Father” as her character was a reflection of his.
One day, the king of this great foreign land had thrown a fancy party for all his rich friends and politicians. His wife, Vanny, whose nickname might as well have been Vanity, refused to attend the party. This embarrassed the king in front of all his guests, and was the rudest, most disrespectful thing a queen could do.
Due to her behaviour, the king, Ashton, removed the crown from Vanny’s head and decreed he would give it to another woman.
A search went forth throughout the kingdom for young single women of great beauty. Esther never dreamed she would be asked to go to the king’s palace as she was born into the poor class of people in the kingdom. Her people had been taken as slaves when the previous king, from another kingdom had destroyed her people in battle.
However, the official in charge of the search, Hagar, saw Esther and he insisted she come to the palace.
Morrey had spent what little money he had to buy her a nice dress to walk about the town square, ensuring she would be noticed by Hagar. Being so finely dressed, Hagar never questioned Esther about her family, nor did she volunteer to give away any of her secrets.
Esther’s modesty and loving nature won Hagar over immediately. She wasn’t like all the other girls; demanding, ungrateful, whiney or pouty. This made Hagar very generous when it came to ensuring Esther had the best of the resources the palace had to offer.
After a year of learning royal protocols and undergoing rigorous beauty regimens, it was Esther’s turn to spend time with the king.
The king took notice of how different and special Esther was, more than any of the other women. She had captured his heart and his favour.
Ashton, the king, wasted no time in making Esther his queen. The party he threw in her honour was lavish, but he loved spoiling her after all.
As time passed, Morrey spent more and more time in the town square market places, where business for the palace and king was conducted. He did this to hear any stories he could of how Esther was doing…oh, how he missed her.
It was on such an occasion that Morrey overheard Bill and Thomas planning an attack on the palace. Terrorists in the king’s palace sent chills down Morrey’s spine. What would happen if they were successful and Esther was killed in their evil plan against Ashton?
Morrey was able to send a message to Esther about what he had heard so she could warn the king.
When the investigation was concluded, they found the evidence of the terrorist plot to be true, and Morrey’s tip was noted in the case file. Bill and Thomas were justly punished for their crime.
A few years later, King Ashton, started to favour one of his personal security team, Hector. Hector rose to the top of the leadership command, and wanted everyone to show him respect, whether or not they felt he deserved it.
Morrey didn’t like Hector and refused to show him respect. Morrey felt you needed to show respect in order to be given it in return, and Hector wasn’t one to give respect to others, only demand it.
This enraged Hector; “How could someone of Morrey’s status, a slave, the lowest of all in the kingdom, be so prideful as to think he didn’t have to show respect?”
Hector wasn’t just going to teach Morrey a lesson, he was going to teach all the slaves a lesson, a lesson that would cost them all their lives. Did Morrey really think he didn’t have the power to end his life? He was just a slave after all.
Hector convinced King Ashton that this kind of disrespect from slaves would be contagious and the best way to stop the spread of this devastating “disease” was to squash it.
King Ashton had no idea the woman he loved was part of this group and told Hector he could do whatever he thought best.
A law was passed that on a set date, not to far in the future, that all slaves from this specific region were to be killed, including the women and children.
Morrey kept a vigil in the town square, crying and mourning for his people.
Esther’s friends in the palace told her about what Morrey was doing. She sent a trusted friend to find out what was going on since Morrey couldn’t come into the palace.
When Esther’s friend returned with the news, Esther’s stomach tightened up, the blood began to drain from her head so that she became dizzy, sweaty, and felt her heart palpitate, causing her to stumble back and almost faint. Her friend grabbed her and helped her to a chair.
Esther knew she had to do something to not only save her life, but everyone else’s as well. The only problem was; how to tell the king what was going on. She wasn’t allowed to enter the king’s chambers without permission. The penalty was death to do so, unless he held out his sceptre granting that person grace and mercy.
Esther being no stranger to sacrifice, knew that if she didn’t risk her life now, it would be taken anyway by Hector.
Esther created a plan to spend three days fasting and preparing herself to put operation “Enemy Overthrow” into motion.
After the three days were complete, Esther, dressed and looking as beautiful as possible, went into the king’s chamber. As soon as the king saw her, his face lit up with delight and he extended the sceptre to her.
The king had been so busy with palace business that it had been awhile since he had spent quality time with Esther. He told her to ask for whatever she wanted, the sky was the limit. In our time, it would have been like he told her she had won $1 million dollars.
All she asked for was a dinner party with the king and Hector.
Hector being a conceited, boastful man, went around bragging to all his friends and family how great he was, as evidenced by the special dinner party he had attended with the king and queen.
This special honour wasn’t enough for Hector, he was still angry that Morrey refused to respect him. His friends said, “Why don’t you make a public display for Morrey where he can be put to death for his insolence?”
Hector wanted nothing more than to rid himself of Morrey and ordered the building of the public execution place. This special delight was the icing on his cake as he was going to have dinner with the king and queen yet again.
The king was having trouble sleeping that night because he sensed something was troubling the queen. She still hadn’t asked for anything and she promised to tell him at dinner tomorrow night, but he worried about what it could be.
He decided to read through some old case files (a sure cure for insomnia). He remembered the foiled terrorist attack and asked for that case file. He noticed that the man who had reported the plan had never been rewarded, and he wanted to do something for him.
Hector had come to ask the king’s permission to carry out the execution of Morrey, the next morning.
“Hector, what gift would you give someone who honours the king?” Hector, being the self-righteous creature he is, thought the king was talking about him.
“Have royal robes put on him, and put him on the king’s horse, give him a crown, and make one of the king’s most trusted officials parade him around the kingdom declaring his honour”, said Hector.
The king loved his idea and told Hector to go get his horse, robe and crown and take Morrey out and parade him in front of all the people.
No sooner had he finished what he considered the most humiliating task he was ever ordered to do, he was ushered to the dinner party with the king and queen.
King Ashton took Queen Esther’s hand in his after dinner and asked her to please tell him what she desired. He couldn’t bear another sleepless night and it made him so happy to do things that would please her.
Esther asked the king to spare her life and that of her people. The king not aware of the plan to exterminate her people asked who was responsible for ordering her death.
Esther, no longer afraid to speak boldy, knowing she had the full support of the king declared, “Hector, he is the one!”
King Ashton got up from the table enraged by the betrayal of his friend. He had to get some air
Hector stayed with Queen Esther begging for his life. He was so ardent in his pleas that when King Ashton come back into the room he thought Hector was trying to take indecent liberties with his wife, and ordered him to be executed on the very spot where he planned to execute Morrey.
Hector’s belongings and position were then given to Morrey as Esther had revealed his relationship to her.
Since a previous law couldn’t be broken, a new one was made, which allowed the slaves the right to defend themselves on the day planned for their annihilation.
On that day, the slaves were triumphant in overcoming their enemies and were able to live in peace as a result.
To this day, a celebration is held to commemorate Esther’s willingness to lay down her life for others, and the victory over their enemies.
The Feast of Purim is that day, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
That ends my little tale. I hope those that are staunch Bible followers are not offended by my creativity with the story, it was not my intention to offend. I wanted the story to be relatable to the kids that were participating in the celebration, hence the reason for the paraphrasing of the Biblical story.