No one loves a messenger when he brings back bad news and I have to tell the king that the whole French fleet was destroyed by our enemy the English. The king does not take bad news very well and he has been known to kill people when they upset him. David slew the man who told him that King Saul was dead, so this has been going on for a long time. I guess that I could tell the king that I have good news and bad news and then ask him if he would like to hear the good news or the bad news first. If he want to hear the good news first, I will tell him that all of our troops died like heroes. When he wants to hear the bad news, I will have to tell him that everyone is dead, the English won the battle and sunk all of our ships, which probably won’t go over very well.
It is not easy being the king and having responsibility for a whole country and this prevents the king from getting a good night’s sleep most of the time. This loss of sleep makes him cranky and irritable and when he gets in a foul mood, it is best to stay away from him. He consulted with his generals, but ultimately it was his decision to go into battle and sometimes he makes bad decisions because of the tremendous pressure that he is under. The bearer of bad news is the one who is usually blamed for a catastrophe, and they become the scapegoat for the faults of others, as that is the simplest explanation and thus it becomes the accepted way of passing the buck.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix – Mad About Metaphor, August 17 2019 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where she asks us to write about the metaphor, “Don’t shoot the messenger”.