[Illustration: (see king011.png)]
And never did Really-Is neglect to make his offering every morning in the temple sacred to the god Things-That-Ought-To-Be; though in secret he worshiped there because of the decree of Seemsto-Be. And no one told the false ruler that his commandment was broken, nor spoke to him the name of his brother Really-Is.
But after a while, as time passed by, things went not so gaily with the impostor on the throne of Allthetime. And it was the Crown that did it—that wonderful Magic Crown.
The Court Fool noticed it first and made a jest about it, and Seemsto-Be laughed royally long and loud, and all the Court laughed with him, for the fool, Thinks-He-Is, is a most famous fool, the greatest that has ever been since the Father of Fools was born.
Next, the Lord Chief High Chamberlain noticed, and the Lord Chief High Chamberlain whispered to Seemsto-Be a most portentous whisper. And the portentous whisper of the Lord Chief High Chamberlain reached the ears of the Chief First Officer of State; then passed from Officer of State to Officer of State until it reached the Chief Captain of the Guard, and soon the soldiers of the royal army and even the royal servants of the palace were whispering, whispering, whispering about the strange affair.
Then it was that Seemsto-Be sent throughout the kingdom, commanding in haste to the palace the most expert workers in gems and the most cunning workers in gold to be found in the Land of Allthetime.
It was true. The priceless jewels of the Magic Crown were losing their brilliancy. The precious gold of the Crown was becoming dull. Nor could all the skill of the workers in gems, all the craft of the workers in gold restore the beauty of the Crown or keep its fading splendor.
And so the whispers grew louder and louder until the people began to talk in low tones among themselves, questioning, questioning one another of the meaning of this thing. And at last the Royal Officers of State began to look with distrust and fear upon their ruler, who tried so hard to wear bravely his crown of tarnished gold and lusterless gems; and the soldiers came to look with doubt and fear upon the officers, who whispered so among themselves; and the people looked with suspicion and fear upon them all.
Without understanding, filled with dread and apprehension, worn with wracking worry, poor Seemsto-Be sought with honors, decorations, and distinguishing titles to hold the fast-failing confidence of his court and army, and with holidays more frequent, festivals more gay, games more interesting, and parades more gorgeous, tried to keep the waning loyalty of his people.
Now all this time, while the poor foolish pretender, Seemsto-Be, was losing his power even as the beauty of the Magic Crown was fading, King Really-Is lived very quietly in his little house under the walls of the abandoned temple, and never did he fail to make his daily offering to his god, the god Things-That-Ought-To-Be. And always when his brother Seemsto-Be with the fading Crown upon his head, passed in gorgeous procession of state, surrounded by his distrustful officers, doubting soldiers and suspicious people, Really-Is smiled sadly and whispered to himself: “Poor Seemsto-Be, poor foolish one!”