Dec. 18th, 2011

Aaron watched the exotic royal procession approach him on the dusty road. A great cloud was thrown up by their passage; he knew they were coming a half-hour before they arrived. He felt them before he saw them emerge from the dust; the tread of their enormous beasts of burden shook the ground. Aaron remained where he was, in the middle of the road, beating an occasional paradiddle on his drum.

The elephants stopped before they stepped on the boy. Swarthy attendants in rich crimson robes gesticulated at Aaron. "Move, boy!" they demanded.

"I cannot," Aaron answered. "I was called to this place by God."

There was a stir in the procession, and important figures dismounted from their howdahs. Three men stepped forward, each of them rajas, or kings, or some other exotic form of royalty.

"Called by God, you say?" one of them said in passable Aramaic. "Why for?"

"I do not know," Aaron answered. "I'm just a simple boy with a drum."

"Ah," said the kings, nodding sagely and muttering amongst themselves. Aaron waited.

One of the kings pointed up into the sky. A star burned there – a star so bright that it could be seen even by daylight. "God has commanded us to follow that, to seek out a new King of the Jews," he said. "Perhaps God has commanded you to this place to attend us, and celebrate the birth of the one whose coming has been prophesied."

"Perhaps," said Aaron, nodding. "I would play my drum for a king, if he would have me."

The three kings smiled. "Good!" said their spokesman. "Then follow along behind us. We are heading to Bethlehem; it is not far. Your drumming may give our humble arrival a little pageantry."

"Yes, Lords," said Aaron deferentially, and he fell into the back of the procession. All was going according to plan, exactly as he had been instructed by King Herod.

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