Sage and Song, Chapter 3: The Tempting Offer

Sage and Song header

Chapter 3: The Tempting Offer

“I also gathered for myself silver and gold and
the special treasures of kings and of the provinces.
I acquired male and female singers, the delights of
the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.”
ECCLESIASTES 2:8

After singing freely, Kester found it difficult to hold himself in check. An instrument offered new avenues for expression, and he wanted to explore them. Given the chance, he would have continued straight through until morning, but an ordinary boy could not sing through the night watches. And I am meant to be an ordinary boy, not an unusual one.

Kester took advantage of a musical interlude to peek at the king. Solomon reclined on a footed couch, listening with eyes half-lidded. Surrounded by comforts. Lost in memories.

My instructions were to act as a scribe and copyist, not a temple singer. Asaph had cautioned Kester against singing in any place where he might be overheard. Wise counsel, given the attention he’d drawn in a single, unguarded moment. What will come of my carelessness?

“Kester.” Solomon languidly announced, “The hour is late.”

He nodded but kept right on playing. “I am not sleepy.”

“Unusual.”

“Oh?” Asaph politely countered, “Were you a boy who gladly obeyed the summons to sleep?”

The king chuckled. “Far from it. But my mother would insist.”

“As must I.” Asaph bowed and added, “With your permission.”

Solomon sat up and stroked his beard. “Why is a child with such a voice laboring in silence? He would be an asset to the chorus. Shall I take him off your hands?”

Kester’s heart sank.

But Asaph only shook his head and smiled. “The quality of Kester’s singing hasn’t escaped my notice, but weigh it against a rarer gift.”

“Oh?” The king sat up, all traces of drowsiness gone. “What can your servant do?”

With unhurried poise in the face of Solomon’s keen interest, Asaph retrieved one of the scrolls. “Many voices can blend in chorus, but few can write as neatly as Kester. He has been a great help to me in collecting your father’s songs.”

Kester held his breath as Solomon scanned the lyrics.

Finally, the king sighed. “I don’t know where you found such a treasure, but you are wise to keep him close.”

Asaph bowed. “Kester is indeed precious. I continually thank God for him.”

“If I cannot take him, may I borrow him from time to time?”

Without hesitation, Asaph answered, “I can withhold nothing, my king. Ask, and it will be so.”

Solomon beckoned. “Come here, Kester.”

Slipping from his perch, he knelt amidst the pillows scattered around the king’s couch. Solomon held out hands that glittered with many rings. The unspoken command was clear, and Kester was startled by the reluctance that flared through his heart. He didn’t want to let the instrument go. But he yielded, and the king took the lion’s head harp. Setting it to the side, Solomon held out his hands again.

This time, Kester didn’t know how to respond, but Solomon took charge by catching the boy’s hands. He turned them over, casually inspecting his palms. The king found the ink smudge, on the pad of one finger and rubbed distractedly at it. “Your hands are soft, yet you play with such skill.”

Kester lowered his gaze.

“Do you prefer scribe’s work to singing?”

An honest answer might jeopardize his place, so Kester framed his answer as a question. “How can I sing your father’s psalms if I do not first apply myself to learning them?”

“Well said.” Solomon released him and sat back. With an inscrutable gaze, he said, “Calluses cannot form on hands left empty; therefore, I propose a trade.”

Kester rubbed his fingertips together, then folded his hands in his lap, waiting.

“You may play my father’s harp whenever you like. But only if you play for me.” With all the confidence of a haggler who knows he has the advantage, the king inquired, “Does my offer appeal to you?”

Kester stole a glance at his mentor.

Asaph gently prompted, “The truth.”

Yes, my king.” Leaning forward, Kester added, “Most assuredly.”


♦ Are you more of a night owl or an early bird?

♦ Asaph and Kester certainly know more than they’re saying. Do you think the same could be said for Solomon?

♦ What kinds of things have been stirring your curiosity lately?


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Author’s Note: This story is a prequel to Christa Kinde’s Threshold Series [Zonderkidz] and updates twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays). More information can be found on the Sage and Song index page.

Sage and Song, © Copyright 2015 Christa Kinde, all rights reserved. If you want to receive an email whenever my stories update, subscribe to this blog. You can also watch for notifications on Twitter.

16 thoughts on “Sage and Song, Chapter 3: The Tempting Offer

  1. Sheay says:

    I am both an early bird and a night owl. yes, the king is holding something back. I am biding my time till I return to my college classes, but I can not wait to start!

    Like

  2. Emma says:

    I am definitely a night owl. Mornings and I don’t get along very well. I think that Soloman knows more than he’s letting on about something, for sure. Maybe Kester and Asaph’s true identities?Lately, my curiosity has been stirred up by some of the things my chemistry class has been covering.

    Like

  3. Arian says:

    Style query: do you use that pattern of punctuation that goes

    “Comment.” Person said, “Other comment.”

    on purpose? If you do, I’ll stop remarking on it. But I snag on it every time it appears. :(

    Like

  4. J. Parkhurst says:

    By habit borne of necessity, I have become an early bird, but I suspect that I shall become both towards the end of this semester.
    I too feel that Solomon is withholding some of his knowledge of matters. It just wouldn’t be your beautiful writing if it were otherwise!

    As for things stirring my curiosity, I’ve been half-pondering a series of phrases (writing prompts) that will eventually make their way into my own novels. My curiosity is rooted in how those particular scenes will end up.

    Like

  5. I am an early bird. I enjoy going to bed when my parents and siblings crank up the TV at five and getting up when they are still sleeping at two o’clock. It’s not that I don’t like wasting time watching TV with my family, but I have important things I have to work on like school work or my book.
    Solomon is defiantly holding back on his knowledge. He was, after all, the wisest man that ever lived.
    What has been stirring my curiosity? Israel, the Hebrew language, God’s holy calendar and His holidays, and things unseen.

    Like

  6. Olive says:

    If Kester was like this when he was little, then I’d like to meet Baird when he was little. Even if that was a LONG time ago. :)

    Like

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