A beggar lived near the King’s palace. One day he saw a proclamation posted that invited anyone to come and dine with the King. Yet the beggar looked down at his filthy rags and realized there was no way he could dine with the King. He was just too poorly dressed.
The beggar thought, and went to the servant’s door of the Castle. When the King’s servant answered the door, the beggar blurted out “Do you have any clothes that I can wear? I want to go to the King’s dinner, but I can’t go this way.” The servant smiled and led the beggar into the Castle, to the King’s very chambers.
When the beggar saw the King he was so afraid that he failed to notice the loving compassion in his eyes. In a quavering voice he repeated his request, and the King said “You were wise in coming to see me.” He called the prince and told him, “Take this man and dress him in your finest clothes, get him cleaned up for the great dinner”.
The prince took the beggar off and dressed him in the best the Castle had to offer. When the beggar was fully clothed the prince said, “You can now attend the dinner without fear. And what’s more, these clothes are the best that money can buy. They will last you forever.”
The beggar thanked the prince, but, as he prepared to leave, he began to wonder “What if the prince is wrong? What if these new clothes won’t last forever?”. So the beggar picked up his old rags, put them in a bundle, and carried them with him to the banquet.
The dinner was greater than the beggar had ever imagined, but the beggar couldn’t enjoy himself. He had to hold his old smelly clothes on his lap, and spent so much time watching the old clothes that he missed some of the greater delicacies that were served.
After the dinner the beggar went out, dressed in finery, and continued to carry the rags with him. When people saw the beggar they didn’t see the fine clothes he wore, but they saw the rags that he carried. The beggar became known as “the man with the rags”, and his life was miserable.
Years later the beggar laid dying, and the King came to visit him. The King sadly looked at the bundle of rags, and, as he lay there, the beggar realized that these rags had cost him a lifetime of true royalty. He wept bitterly at his foolishness – and the King wept with him. (source: the message, “Kingdom Clothing” by D. E. Buffaloe)