The Story of the Tin Knight

One Song. I have but one song,
one song only for you.
One heart tenderly beating,
ever entreating,
constant and true.

One Love, that has possessed me,
thrilling me through.
One Song my heart keeps singing,
one love only for you.

Some day when spring is here,
we’ll find our Love anew.
And the birds will sing,
and wedding bells will ring,
some day when my dreams come true.

In the public domain, 1985.
from Snow White, by Walt Disney, 1937.

Once in the country of Orange, on the western coast of a magic land there lived the Tin Knight. T.K. was his name. He was a godly and gentle man who loved a young maiden named Truth, from La-la land, whom he had courted and wed, and who lived with him in a little castle down the lane.

Bravely, every day T.K. would ride forth to wrest a living from the land of Orange, doing battle with the forces of Debt and the foes of Credit and Payments and even sparing with the dred giant “IRIS”. That was a battle he was glad to win.

Valiantly he would engage these forces, duelling with shrewd bosses and hard publishers; the wagemasters, and those of coinage, with whom he joined the fight. To reach these, he had to ford the swift river Traffic, with its dangers and places of sudden death. Hard and long was his daily battle, wresting from these the wages he needed for the keeping of his castle and the supplying of goods for his maiden and their little children.

The country of Orange was a harsh land. Though he rode forth daily, sometimes there were few to do battle with, for a famine was in the land. Oft times, after joining in a match for wages, he would find his defeated foe empty handed, with little to take back to his castle.

But though the land was harsh and offering little for reward, T.K. was joyful in the daily battle. T.K. was happy giving strong blows and taking hard blows to his beautiful armor, which he named “Faith”: for he fought for his young maiden and his little ones. Though the enemy’s blows and cuts were fierce, he would hardly feel them. Even when he fought “IRIS”, those wounds were small, though they were given to be mortal.

Day by day as he rode to do battle, his young wife, the sweet maiden whom he loved, watched him go. Long were her hours alone. But she was resourceful and with a mind to work, often looking for ways to help her mate and hero. She, seeing the harshness of his battle, and the little he could sometimes net, decided that she could learn to fight also. Though it was often that way at the other castles, when she told him of her idea, he was a little sad, for he thought that he should be the one to brave the dangers. But, loving her, he agreed to her request.

His sword was called “The Word” and his lance he named “Artful”, and with these he did battle. His maiden Truth found a little dagger to learn with. This she named “Little Words”, and with it she was quick and very skillful in reaching the vital spots of the heart and soul. He could see that, with some training from the abbeys of learning, that she would soon be as skillful as himself with “The Word”. Perhaps, he thought privately, her renown would someday exceed his own. Not being a jealous man, he agreed with his Lord that, if it be so, then well and good. He vowed secretly in his heart that he would help her all he could. for the land of Orange and the magic country was ruled by a great and mighty King who sought brave men and women of the sword to rid the land of wrong and to pave the way for truth. Having loved his King better than all else, this was for him an easy thing to do.

So his maiden went forth daily to the abbeys, and soon she was as adept as T.K. in the ways of warring for wages. It was just as T.K. had imagined it to be, though her skills were different from his own. With these new skills, she vowed to learn to use the great sword, “The Word”. She practiced with it often, loving its power, just as T.K. did. The Tin Knight encouraged her in every regard, for he loved her and would never keep from her any good thing. His great heart rejoiced with her over her new-found skill and with the renown she enjoyed at the abbey and in her small place of battle.

It still saddened him a little that she found it necessary to learn to battle as he did. For he thought, “If I were better learned in my craft, I might have given her all she needed, and she would not have sought to do battle for wages too”. The Tin Knight thought these things because he was only mortal and not yet a perfect man. He forgot that his real training was with his sword “The Word”, and with it, his King had made him quite skillful.
Into every garden there must sometimes come a serpent. It was no different for T.K. and his own garden. The serpent’s name was “Strife”. Knowing that it could not defeat T.K. in fair battle, the serpent went to the knight’s maiden Truth, to do its wretched deed. It came upon her while she was practicing with “Little Words”. Mistaking him for an Abbot, she was unaware of its plans to ruin the Tin Knight.

“Tell me, sister, is it not true that every man has falseness and evil in his heart, no matter how good he appears or how hard he might work?” The maiden readily agreed with this, for beforetimes she had seen this with her own eyes in the men she had known in her own land.

It did not take long for him to convince her that she should use “Little Word” on T.K. and their children. “Surely it will be well for them to have all the evil cut out of their hearts”, she thought. (She did not know that only the great sword, “The Word” was a healing tool. It would cut but in the process it would also heal much deeper wounds).

So she began. It did not take long, dear reader, for the maiden to find all sorts of small faults in T.K. and in her children. Though they loved her and would have died for her, the small wounds she gave them in her quest to rid them of all evil, began to take a toll on them all.

Her daughters were driven from her because, right or wrong, they believed it was terrible to use “Little Words” within an intimate family. Her sons soon learned to wear their armor at all times and be secretive with their thoughts and plans, for they did not wish to be confronted with their own faults.

T.K., only lightly wounded from his battles, was cut most deeply by her skillful attacks. Soon, he took to wearing his armor too. Though it kept him from being intimate with her, and he wished it were not so, he thought that he must protect himself from her, for her. “How can I have the strength to go to battle every day for my maiden if I am wounded by her?” he said to himself.

More and more, as the daily attacks by his beloved maiden, wearied him, the four dark and forbidden “Questions” waited daily outside his castle door. “Why am I going to battle every day?” “What good is it to keep on?” “Would not the street maids be more ready with a kind word for me?” “Why do I endure this? I will take my sword and put an end to her!”

Terrible thoughts not fit for a good man, seared their way into his mind. Soon, he was unable to face her peacefully. Numb from his wounds, he began to be neglectful of her. That only brought on renewed efforts on her part to cut out the evil-wrong in his actions. Being unable to ever wrong her, yet he harmed her with his own little dagger, just as she had harmed him. Wounded and bleeding, they faced each other. “How did we get this way?” “This is not what we ever wanted”. “What is happening to us?” These were the things they questioned to themselves as they looked at their new relationship.

The blame for all of this was with T.K. Just as the King’s hardest punishment was for Adam in the garden, the Tin Knight was to endure the blame for all of this. Though he thought that she was doing some good by using “Little Words” so skillfully in that way, he was weak, and did not stand up to her, and cause her to cease the grave misuse of her dagger. That almost ruined their family and their marriage. Their enemy was cunning smart. He knew just where to hurt T.K. and the maiden, and their family. He knew that he could not reach them in honest battle. But through teaching the maiden the subtle misuse of her skill, and through knowing the mortal weakness of T.K. and of his love for her, he nearly brought them to defeat.

It was the King, who hearing of this great mess, brought word to T.K. The King told him to sit down and write this little story for his maiden and have her read it with him. “No, that would not solve anything,” T.K. thought, but perhaps it would be a beginning for them. Perhaps by sitting down and reading together, and discussing it together openly and honestly, this story could help them see that the love they had for each other was still there. It could be a new beginning for them. A very great miracle occurred as they sat and read the story together. Their bloody wounds began to disappear, one by one, as if they had never happened. This was very astonishing to them, so they asked the King about the story, to see if it were magic.

The king knew the truth, you see. “Strife” had told the maiden a lie. T.K. had believed it himself. The serpent told her that “Little Words” could cut out the wrong, but he meant that she should kill their love, with her dagger. He meant for the dagger to kill all her children too. The King knew better. Even “Little Words” cannot kill love. All the wounds, all the terrible “Questions”, all the enemies of the King can never destroy True Love.
And True Love is what the Tin Knight and the maiden had for each other. Though their family was also terribly wounded, they found healing. T.K. , the children of T.K. and the lovely maiden could finally see, and marvel that:

“No matter what, in the end, True Love will always win.”

And so one fine day they were called by the King to move closer to His City. There they lived happily ever after in the beautiful New Land of the King, where there were no more battles, or wars, or little daggers, or serpents. But they all lived in peace and love, with all their families. And they lived, not in castles, but in free and open homes. There they were happy and blessed, before their God, the Lord their King.

Roger Born

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