June 21, 2023
Sharing another story from the second audiobook in the “Tales of the Kingdom” series: “Tales of the Resistance,” David and Karen Mains discuss the bottom-line message of the Lord Jesus Christ: His Kingdom. Understand that the Kingdom of God is wherever the reign of God’s Son is recognized and honored.
We happen to have written three books called “The Tales of the Kingdom” series, with 12 stories in each book. And we’re sharing with you four of those stories, and all of them focus in some way on the king. The king is a major figure in all of these stories, “Tales of the Kingdom.” The king is a Christ figure.
David: It’s one thing to feel helpless in a situation. You haven’t the ability, the skills, or the, say, the resources to bring about change.
Karen: But then it’s something else to feel hopeless. Hopeless, not helpless, but hopeless. And this is sort of where you think, “Things will never improve. I’m never going to get out of this mess. No one is going to step in and rescue me. The situation is past recovery. All hope is gone.” A lot of people feel that way, David.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go podcast, featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
Karen: We happen to have written three books called “The Tales of the Kingdom” series, with 12 stories in each book. And we’re sharing with you four of those stories, and all of them focus in some way on the king. The king is a major figure in all of these stories, “Tales of the Kingdom.” The king is a Christ figure.
David: I think, Karen, this story has a certain darkness to it. And it would be helpful if just quickly you could say what prompted the writing of the story, and then we’ll listen to it.
Karen: I don’t apologize for the darkness because I think that’s where people often find themselves, particularly those who feel hopeless. And we certainly have a lot of that in our culture during these days. I mean, economics worldwide are not good, and we could go on and on and on. It’s a very dark time. But during this time in my life, I was working a lot in women’s ministries, and unbeknownst to me, and really not well known at that time. This was probably 25 years ago. I began to run into a lot of women who were suffering from the effects of having had child sexual abuse happen in their past.
I mean, I had no experience with it. So that thrust you into a learning curve, and I began to consult with folk who were professionals who were dealing with it. And they would coach me in how I could be a part of the healing process of these women who were coming to me. I became convinced at that time of the power of the presence of Christ. And in these books, the three: Tales Of The Kingdom Book, Tales Of The Kingdom, Tales Of The Resistance, and Tales Of The Restoration, the king is the Christ figure who enters into these people’s lives. They’re fictional, but they represent real situations, human situations, and this is one of those stories.
David: If the enchanter looked into a child’s eyes, his gaze could burn a scar on the soul. Some children became ill and malformed at his evil glance and were outcast from Enchanted City. These were the lucky ones. Others went away forever into a country that was only in their minds.
Carnie lived in a huge mansion on the edge of the mountain that rose behind Enchanted City. Mount Hill lifted its grand peak to the sky and proudly displayed a vast array of large estates and palatial homes. The child’s father was a wealthy merchant who traveled far to purchase costly goods for sale in the city bazaar. Carnie had everything a girl could want. She never went hungry or shivered in the cold. Her father was rich enough to hire servants. Her mother was beautiful and kind. She had no brothers or sisters demanding to share her toys. But something was wrong. Something was so wrong with Carnie that her mother wept quietly in the day when everyone else was sleeping. Her father walked around with a worried frown, creasing a deep line between his eyes. The servants huddled in groups discussing the girl’s sorry condition.
Carnie stayed in her room. She refused to look out her windows at the lovely starry nights. The shutters were locked. The blinds were shut. And the heavy winter tapestries were always drawn. The only persons allowed in the room were nurse, who left carrying silver trays of half-eaten food, and Carnie’s mother, who stayed only for short visits, but never her father. He, unfortunately, reminded his daughter of the enchanter.
All the old-time servants remembered that the girl had once been a happy, beautiful little pixie with sparkling brown eyes and lustrous curly black hair. Her cheeks dimpled when she smiled, and she was always smiling, dancing about full of embraces for everyone. She was a love that whispered to one another, their starched headpieces bobbing in a tight circle. Such a love! So sad.
But five terrible years ago it had happened. The enchanter’s ball, held yearly at a mansion of the wizard’s own choosing, took place that year at the Marble and Cedar Palace of Carnie’s father. The house had been filled with fire-priests, and the evil enchanter’s minions stood guard around all the revelers, who laughed and danced and acted as though they were having a good time. Though some admitted it was hard to have fun on command.
That night, Carnie had been safely tucked in bed. Mothers hid their children out of sight when the Enchanter was nearby, not because he didn’t like children, no, no. The problem was he liked them too much, and in all the wrong ways. Orphans, of course, belonged to the Enchanter. They became his forced labor to do the dirty work of Enchanted City. But children of the wealthy were not beyond his conscription. Many a beautiful child had been drafted to serve as a pampered attendant in the Dagoda. Few parents considered this a privilege.
Downstairs the music played. Bells sewn to the hymns of fire-priest robes jangled. Laughter and merriment called the little child from her deep sleep. She crept from bed and tiptoed to the circular railing that guarded the bedroom corridor from the vast space that arched to the great ceiling above and to the grand ballroom below. She would find her mother, she thought. Thumb in her mouth, dressed in snug pajamas, she descended the stairs step by step, her hand gripping the banister. No one noticed her. Not the laughing adults, not the servants hurrying by with trays of drinks and apperties. But her little eyes caught sight of the tallest man in the hall. She stopped, one foot in mid-air, and stared. He was wearing the most beautiful robe. It flashed as he turned and shimmered as he swayed. His dark hair was brilliant and soft. It was the enchanter at his most attractive, in rare party form.
Suddenly he turned in place as though he felt her eyes on him. The man fixed his look on her, captured her eyes with his own. It was too late to look away. Too late. Too late. She was a beautiful child. He waved his hands in the air, casting an enchantment. Sparks flew from his fingertips. And though the music played on, everyone in the room stood stone still. The man left the party and walked across the room to the grand staircase and the child. He climbed each step slowly, one at a time, his gaze burning with intensity.
Mesmerized as she was, child though she was, she sensed danger. She backed up a stare, her thumb still in her mouth. His look was hot, and she was afraid. He looked at her a long time, and she felt his stare pierce to her very soul.
“Mama!” she finally cried. And the spell was broken. People finished the laugh that had been interrupted. And the thought at midsentence and the incomplete dance-step, though the music played, and the room was suddenly filled with merriment again. Her beautiful mother came running, her long, silken dress rustling. She lifted her daughter in her arms. “What are you doing out of bed?” The enchanter spoke. “You have a very lovely child there.” Carnie could feel her mother shiver. Karnie was taken back to her room and tucked into her feather-quilted bed. But when she woke in the morning, she couldn’t bear for anyone to look at her or to look into her eyes.
So, the curtains were drawn, because she was afraid someone was peering in at her. And the doctors, her father called, frightened her more. And when they looked at her, she slipped far away from them. Far away through a small door to a place where she could hide and where no one could find her. She slipped onto a roller coaster car and rode it swooping up and down. Away from the eyes, the eyes up, far, far up, slowly, slowly. Then a rush, then a running ride, then a whooshing down, down, down into carnival land she went. And when her mother came calling her name, “Carnie”, she had gone far, far away into the tilting cages of the Ferris wheel. Up and around and high, staying high at the apex, slower than, faster than, faster than, slower looking down. She could see her mother, her beautiful mother far down. She could see her mother’s tears swell and drop becoming frozen crystals that grew large cubes of ice, catching shafts of light, shards of hard, brilliant sparkling, flittering, then exploding in fireworks. “Blachua! Blachua!”
The nurse always crept quietly in the shadows of the hushed clothes room, casting down her eyes. She held the girl until the carnival music had quieted and the vendors had stopped calling. “This away, this away, get your ticket here!” The nurse held her until the carnival girl had stopped hiding in the noisy clamor that was her own mind.
Her father came once, and his look of concern sent the child further into carnival land than she had ever been. He paced outside her door, and the servants whispered and held their starched aprons to their faces. They could all hear the child screaming in terror as she swooped high on the roller coaster and then rushed down only to climb slowly up again and again. The Ferris wheel going round and round. The roller coaster going up and down, down, and around. The carousel going around and around. The organ music grinding. Boom-pa-da, boom-pa-da, boom-pa-da, da!
Everyone missed the lovely little girl who had danced and laughed and loved. Everyone was glad when she had quiet days and seemed more like her old self. And everyone dreaded the moments when a thoughtless look or even an imagined glance would send the child on the carnival rise that went on and on and never closed down and never moved to the next town. “Don’t look! Don’t look at me”! Carnie would scream when no one was even in her room and when all the drapes were tightly closed. And when nurse would rush to check she knew by the faraway look on the child’s face that the music had begun again and that from the distant height of the inward Ferris wheel she herself was only a tiny speck on the ground and her own cry, “Come back! Don’t go away”! could scarcely be heard.
For five years, Carnie went away in her mind, afraid that he would come and stare at her again with a glance. Any looks of love or only of casual interest reminded her of that night when he had captured her with his burning eyes. “Don’t look! Don’t look”! She would cry and go away.
Each time she returned she was thinner, more worn, as though the journey was too difficult for a child to make by herself. All who loved her suffered, but most of all her father, who mourned deeply at his exile from his own daughter in his own house.
One midday she was awaken by her mother’s whisper. “Can you help her?” Carnie kept her eyes closed, “not another doctor.” They were all enchanter’s men who sent her far away, if she just didn’t look, if she just wouldn’t remember. A man’s voice answered quietly, “Yes, I can help her.” “Not another”, she thought. Fear knotted its fist in her chest. She moaned and began scrambling toward the keyhole entrance in her mind to escape.
“She’s awake”, said her mother. “She’s going, Carnie, don’t go, don’t go. Someone is here who can help you.” In a hurry, Carnie found the little door that opened from here to there. But before she slipped through, she heard the man say, “Don’t worry, I’ll go with her.”
Then the carnival music hid the sounds. Carnival fireworks exploded. “Bluchua! Bluchua!” Carnival barkers shouted, “Peanuts! Popcorn cotton candy”! The merry-go-round thought, Carnie, no one can find me there. The merry-go-round goes round and round, and the painted horses go up and down. I can run and hide and stay there forever and ever. Bluchua! Round and up and round and down. “Peanuts! Popcorn, get your ticket here”! Round and up and round and down. Bluchua!
The longer she rode. The more Carnie thought she heard someone calling her name. She rode and rode on the painted pony until she was out of breath. It was a man’s voice. If she could only drown it in the carnival music. “Boom, pa-da, boom, pa-da, boom, pa-da, da!” But she still heard him calling, “Carnie! Carnie!” The enchanter. She knew what his evil eye had spoken when she was just a little child still sucking her thumb and cuddled in warm pajamas. “You are mine. All mine.” She had always known that one day when she was grown the fire wizard would come to get her. With one look he would capture her eyes and she would be helpless but to follow.
This time she would stay here in carnival land and ride the carousel round and round and up and down forever and forever. “Carnie! Carnie”! With a sigh Carnie gave up. She dismounted the painted pony she had been riding. It was no use. He was here. The enchanter. She might as well look into his hot eyes. How could she resist one who could follow her through the secret keyhole into this boom-pada madness, round and up and round and down, with a sob?
The girl looked toward the place from where his call had come. Yes, a man was standing in the middle of the carousel, under the arch of the turning roof. She could go round and round forever, but he would always be in the center of her turning. “Carnie”, he called again. “Don’t be afraid.” Carnie lifted her eyes to see, not the enchanter, but a most beautiful young man. She cast her eyes quickly down again. “Carnie, look up.” Something in the young man’s tone banished her fear. She lifted her eyes and for the first time in years looked full into a face. The wound within that it ached and throbbed with pain began to ease. He raised his hand to her and in a moment in wonder she lifted hers across the painted ponies to him. At his touch the merry-go-round music began to slow. The blasting of the fireworks faded. The carnival music grew silent. “Boom, pa-da, pa-da, pa….”
She was in her room when she came to herself with her mother’s shocked face close. Nurse suddenly drew the draperies open, lifted the blinds through apart the shutters. Light, glorious light flooded the once dark place. She was still in her bed. The eider down was rumpled and moist with sweat. She was still holding the young man’s hand. She was still looking into his eyes, but he was smiling the gentlest of smiles, and his look was full of a love that could capture you, but only if you wanted it to.
“Oh, mother”, she sighed, “I have been so far away.” Her mother was crying now, but her tears were ordinary tears that glistened on her cheeks and fell in the pillow where Carnie’s had rested. Then she remembered it had been years. “Where is my father”? She asked. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen my father.”
Carnie’s mother looked up at the young man, questioning. He nodded his head, and nurse rushed from the room to wake Carnie’s father from his fitful sleep. “How can we ever thank you”? said Carnie’s mother. Carnie thought she was so beautiful with her eyes, moist and shining. The young man smiled again, bent, and kissed the palm of Carnie’s hand, which he then placed beneath the coverlet. “Become a part of the resistance that is working for the restoration of my kingdom”, he answered. “Throw all your resources into it, but only if you think it’s a cause worth living and dying for.”
At that moment Carnie’s father rushed into the room. He knelt by her bed and looked into her eyes, and the two of them embraced each other and wept aloud. Through her tears she could see the young man shaking her mother’s hand and accepting the nurse’s grateful hug. Then the man moved through the doorway, where the bevy of sleepy but curious servants were crowding and peering into her room. “Don’t go away”, she thought. “I want to look into your eyes one more time.” But she remained silent because she knew that one who could enter into the middle of madness in order to lead her safely out would always be at the center of her life no matter how far she journeyed. She knew she would never again be out of the loving circle of his gaze.
Outgo: The fastest way to get information on where to buy the Tales of the Kingdom Trilogy 30th anniversary edition is to go to this website www.KingdomTales.com. You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. And if you would like to write to us, please send us an email at the following address, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2023 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
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