Today, I share with you a tale of one of the best writer’s the earth has ever brought forth, Shakespeare. He titled it The Winter’s Tale and I will attempt to paraphrase it in the best possible way I can.
Once there lived a king in Sicily, whose name was Leontes. He had a childhood friend who also was now King of Bohemia, Polixenes. Now Leontes had a wife, who was the queen, whom he so much loved and showed her all there is in love and in kindness but wanted the queen, Queen Hermione, to meet his old companion and school fellow, Polixenes.
Now, after much persuasion and invitation, King Polixenes of Bohemia accepted the invitation of King Leontes. The visit pleased Leontes very much and alas, he could show to his wife his dear and cherished friend. Having spoken cheerfully about his friend to his wife, Hermione put up the best of characters and paid attention to all their telling tales, never feigning interest.
Then time came for Polixenes to leave for his kingdom and declined Leontes request to lengthen his stay. But the persuasions of Queen Hermione made him do so for she became saddened. This made him extend his stay.
Now the decision of Polixenes to extend his stay at the request of Hermione did not go well with the Leontes. He became bitter and jealous and all of sudden became suspicious of his wife of noble and good character and his long trusted friend.
This suspicion made him order Camillo, a Lord of Sicily to poison Polixenes as he told him of his suspicions of his wife having an affair. But Camillo, being a good man and knowing that no such thing has occurred informed Polixenes and escaped with him to his kingdom. Their escape angered Leontes the more and ordered for his wife, Hermione, be put to prison as he was so sure she has not been faithful to him.
Whiles in prison, Leontes sent other Lords of Sicily to go and consult the oracle to prove his wife, the queen, was guilty of what he was so sure of. As time passed in prison, she gave birth to a daughter and wrapped her in fine cloth and jewellery.
Paulina, a dear friend to Hermione begged her to take the new-born child to the king, believing that it may turn his heart. But Paulina was wrong! King Leontes was so sure of the guilt he accuses his wife of and sends her away from his presence. Paulina then, intentionally, left the baby in a basket before king, thinking as the baby laid there so innocent of the supposed sin of the mother, the king may change his heart. But again, she was wrong. He ordered for the baby to be taken away to the shores far away from his kingdom and left to die.
The Lords King Leontes sent returned with news from the Oracle with which King Leontes insisted they read aloud for all to hear whiles his wife stood trial. The message read: “Hermione is innocent, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true servant, Leontes a jealous and cruel king, and he shall live without an heir unless that which is lost is found.”
He became furious and asked the judge to continue with the trial and accused the Lords of conniving with his wife. Whiles he was speaking, a servant rushed in and informed him their son had died of sorrow for his mother for he loved her dearly. At that moment, Hermione fainted and King Leontes, coming to his senses that what the oracle said may be true, felt sorry and asked everything to be done to revive his wife. The news came that she was dead.
To make a short tale shorter, the daughter that was dumped ashore an island to die was saved by a shepherd who raised her well and used some of the jewels she came with to cater for her. She grew up into a fine young lady of noble character and King Polixenes’ son fell in love with her with whom she also fell in love with but Polixenes forbade their marriage for she was of low birth.
Camillo knowing their feelings were true and knowing that Leontes had been sorry and wanting to have a moment to apologise arranged with him to master scheme that will allow the two birds marry. It was at King Leonte’s palace that the truth of her identity was revealed as he realised she was so familiar to his dead wife..
All this while, Queen Hermione wasn’t dead. Paulina had kept her safe and begged to be revealed only when her daughter was found. Also King Polixenes, not finding his son and Camillo knew they could only be at one place and setoff to find them at Leonte’s palace. At the palace, he was pleased to know that the lady was, after all, of highborn and agreed for them to wed.
Leonte was caught between happiness and sadness knowing he was wrong after all. Forgiveness was extended to him by all who he had wronged and they lived joyfully together with what was remained of their living years.
To be accused by a loved one of something you did not do hurts badly. Wrong speculations have ruined many relationships and broken a number of hearts but be not the one who carries it out. It is said that trust no man, but sometimes all that is needed to be done, is to trust a loved one.
My name is Kotey, and in order to avoid speculations, I choose to be honest.