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How the Boy Became the New King

Categories: Wisdom

This is my favorite childrens story.  I don't recall the source, and don't have the exact text, so I'll tell it the way I remember it.  If any of you recognize the story and can provide the source, I'd be grateful.

There's a story of a old king who was dying.  He needed to find a worthy successor, so he sent a message out to the townspeople.

"Whoever can jump from the ground to the top of my castle will be the new king," he proclaimed.

The king set a day of festivals for all the men who wanted to try their chance at becoming king.  All the knights came, and the lords, and barons, and dukes, and earls. In fact, every man in the kingdom came hoping to be crowned king.

One by one, each candidate tried with all his might to jump from the ground to the top.  But with each attempt, the men withdrew having failed to make it all the way to the top.

When the last man tried and failed, the people were sad.  They needed a new king.  "Who would it be?" they asked.

But before the old king could answer, a young boy approached.

"I can jump from the ground to the top of the castle," said the boy.

The people laughed hysterically.  If none of the knights or lords or barons or dukes or earls or any of the other men could do it, how could a child possibly succeed?

But the king smiled, stepped back, and allowed the boy to compete.

The boy went to the stairs and jumped up one step.  Then he jumped up another step.  Then another.  And another.  Soon, the boy was at the top of the castle.  He had jumped all the way from the ground to the top, one step at a time.

The king immediately proclaimed the boy the new king.

And the people cheered for their new king, knowing he was worthy of the golden crown.

User Comments:
Brenda-Jo - Dec 24, 2013 08:01:51 — I do recall hearing this similar story a few nights ago. It made me think of my long jogging routes that seemed endless until I discovered that just running to one telephone pole at a time felt almost effortless. Great story Max. You tell it wisely.
john - Apr 15, 2014 11:42:02 — I was trying to find the title and source for this story when I came across this page. A little farther down I found a second page where the author wanted to find the source of this story (it wasn't as well described/told, but I'm sure it is the same story). The page had one comment:"I believe  ...more
Jonas - Apr 15, 2014 08:37:11 — Thanks, John!  The Big Jump and Other Stories by Benjamin Elkin is available on  The cover image doesn't ring a bell, but it has been a long time.  Maybe that's the book I read as a boy.  Thanks again!

"If you can't say something nice, let's hear it!"   — Joan Rivers

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