The secret of King Maón

To the east of Ireland, in a province called Leinster, a monarch named Maón reigned many years ago. This king had a rarity that everyone knew and nobody could find an explanation for: he always wore a hood that covered his head and only allowed his hair to be cut once a year. To decide who would have the honor of being his hairdresser for a day, he held a public drawing among all his subjects.

The strange thing about all this was that the one who was graceful did his homework but then never returned home. As if the earth had swallowed it, nobody knew anything about him because King Maón made him disappear. Logically, when the date of the election approached, all the neighbors felt that their destiny depended on a cursed and unfair game and they started to tremble

But why did the king do this? … The reason, that nobody knew, was that he had horrible ears, big and pointed like those of an elf of the forest, and he could not stand that nobody knew it. It was his best kept secret! For that reason, to make sure that the word was not spread and everyone found out, each year a person from his kingdom would cut his hair and then lock her for life in a dungeon.

On one occasion the unfortunate winner of the draw was a young woodcutter named Liam who, against his will, was taken to a hidden place in the palace where the king was waiting for him.

– Come in, boy. This year it’s your turn to cut my hair.

Liam watched the king remove his hood very slowly and realized that he had discovered the king’s famous secret. He felt a terrible panic and desire to escape, but he had no choice but to fulfill the royal mandate. Scared, he took the scissors and began to trim the ends and bangs.

When he finished, the king put on his hood again. Liam, fearing the worst, knelt before him and crying like a child begged him:

– Majesty, I beg you, let me go! I have an elderly mother that I must take care of. If I do not return, who will attend? Who will work to take the money home?

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– You know I can not let you go because now you know my secret!

– Sir, please, I swear I will never tell anyone! Believe me, I am a man of my word!

To the king he seemed a sincere boy and felt sorry for him.

– It’s okay, it’s okay, stop whining! This time I will make an exception and allow you to leave, but you better never tell anyone about my ears or there will be no place in the world where you can hide. I warn you: I will go after you and the punishment you will receive will be terrible. Understood?

– Thank you thank you thank you! I promise you, Majesty, that I will take the secret to the grave.

The young peasant had just been the first in many years to save his skin after seeing the king’s hideous ears. Relieved, he returned home willing to resume his quiet life as a lumberjack.

The first days he felt completely happy and fortunate because the king had freed him, but over time he began to feel bad because it was unbearable to keep such an important secret. The idea of ​​not being able to tell his mother even tortured!

Little by little the secret was becoming an obsession that occupied his thoughts twenty-four hours a day. This affected both his mind and his body that was weakening, and it withered like a plant that nobody watered. One morning he could no longer and fainted.

His mother had been seeing something strange for her son for a while, but on the day when he ran out of strength and collapsed on the bed, he knew he had fallen seriously ill. Desperate, she went to look for the druid, the wisest man in the village, to give her a remedy to heal him.

The man accompanied her to the house and saw Liam completely motionless and drenched in sweat. Immediately the diagnosis was very clear:

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– The problem of your child is that he keeps a very important secret that he can not tell and that responsibility is destroying his life. Only if you tell someone can you be saved.

The poor woman was speechless. She would never have imagined that her beloved son was so bad because of a secret!

– Believe me ma’am, it is the only solution and you must hurry.

After saying this, the druid approached the trembling and pale Liam and spoke slowly in his ear so that he could understand his words well.

– Listen to me, boy, I’ll tell you what to do if you want to get well: put on a cloak so you do not get cold and go to the forest. Once there, look for the place where four roads cross and take the one on the right. You will find a huge willow and he will tell you the secret. The tree has no mouth and can not tell anyone, but at least you have gotten rid of it once and for all.

The boy obeyed. Although he was very weak, he went to the forest, found the willow and, approaching the trunk, told him in a low voice his secret. Suddenly, something changed: the fever disappeared, he stopped shivering, and he recovered the color in his cheeks and the strength of his muscles. He had healed!

It happened that a few weeks later, a musician who was looking for wood in the forest saw the huge willow and caught his attention.

– Oh, what an awesome tree! The wood of your trunk is perfect for making a harp … Right now I’m going to cut it down!

He did so. With a very sharp ax, he knocked down the log and brought the wood to his workshop. There, with his own hands, he made the harp with the most beautiful sound of the universe and then he went to explore the surrounding villages to delight with his music anyone who would listen. The melodies were so beautiful that he quickly became famous throughout the province.

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Of course, the musical skill of the harpist reached the ears of the king, who one day told his counselor:

– Tonight I will give a banquet for five hundred people and I order you to find that musician that everybody talks about. I want him to play the harp after the desserts so there’s no time to waste. Go find him right now!

The counselor obeyed and the harpist presented himself dressed in his best clothes before the court. At the end of the meal, the monarch gave him permission to start playing. The musician stood in the center of the room, and with great finesse put his hands on the strings of his wonderful instrument.

But something unexpected happened: the harp, made with willow wood that knew the king’s secret, could not contain himself and instead of issuing musical notes he spoke to the audience:




King Maón was stunned and turned red as a tomato because of the great shame that invaded him, but when he saw that nobody laughed at him, he thought there was no point in continuing hiding any longer.

Very worthily, as befits a monarch, he rose from the throne and removed his hood so that everyone could see his ugly ears. The five hundred guests stood up and thanked their courage with thunderous applause.

King Maon felt immensely liberated and happy. From that day he stopped wearing a hood and never again punished anyone for cutting his hair.