How did the Queen use a pebble and a bath to dispel rumors about her to King Solomon?
There are many legends about how King Solomon used a ploy to find out if the Queen of Sheba was really a demon with hairy legs and hooves feet of the beast. I surmised in a novel excerpt how the Queen taught him a lesson after she recognized his ploy to see her footprints.
The novel is a contemporary application of a story form to promote understanding of proverbs and ancient wise sayings in relation to modern times.
As we sat at the table, Bilqis silently raised her glass of wine in a gesture of a toast. She remained silent while she drank the wine.
“May I ask about the saying you mentioned in the garden?” I asked inquisitively to break into her seemingly moody silence.
“The saying is this, between flesh and stone, let him not put a pebble into my foot.” She replied in a somewhat confrontational tone as she stared into my eyes.
“Solomon, think about this saying while I refresh and change into clothing that is more comfortable.”
Bilqis rose from the table and began calling out instructions to her servants who quickly brought a large screen with floral designs within ten feet of the table where I sat. Next, the servants placed a table behind the screen and a large tub and began filling it with buckets of water while at the same time articles of towels, clothing and bottles of lotions were set upon the table. The servants then positioned a number of lit lamps upon the table. I could now see a shadow form of Bilqis and her servants. The illusion of flowers on the screen and the shadow of a beautiful woman preparing for a bath began to captivate me. I sat watching the sensual progression as I drank my wine.
Bilqis first stood with outstretched arms as her servants disrobed her to display a shadow outline of a perfect female front view, a slim waist curving perfectly into round feline hips, and ended with her long perfect proportioned legs. As she turned sideways, a view of her backside displayed an outline shadow of her long neck, straight back and curvaceous buttocks. This view also revealed a straight nose, pointed chin, uplifted pomegranate breasts, and ended with long thin legs.
“So, Solomon, what is your interpretation of the meaning of my saying?” Bilqis called out to me in a questioning tone after she sat in the tub or water as her servants went about bathing her.
“I need to dwell on it a moment more.” I replied in an obviously caught off guard tone of voice.
“Do you need any clues; have you ever felt a pebble under your foot inside your sandal?” Bilqis asked in a helpful tone while at the same time I could hear and see water poured on her back.
“A pebble under a foot can be very painful. The reason why your saying pertains to not allow someone to put a pebble there is what I am still pondering.” I replied as I watched the outline of Bilqis being helped out of the tub and gently towel dried by her servants.
“I am almost finished now.” Bilqis replied to notify me, as her servants now appeared to rub oil on her skin as she stood again with arms outstretched. I continued to watch the shadows behind the screen anticipating the next servant that stood by her holding a robe-like garment to slip over her head. I thought to myself that I had never witnessed a more stimulating and personal experience from any of my many wives and concubines.
Bilqis finally walked out from behind the screen and stood facing me. She playfully turned and swirled around in her loose white shiny fabric styled as an Israelite robe.
“This gown is very comfortable. How does it look?” Bilqis smiling asked.
“Your beauty compliments your robe. Your clothing makers appear to be very talented.” I replied.
Bilqis sat down at the table, lifted her unfinished glass of wine, took a sip, and then demurely smiled while staring at me as she announced.
“My servants have also made a robe for you. They await you now. It is your turn to be refreshed. You will enjoy their help. They are very gentle and skillful.”
Bilqis leaned back and continued smiling as she saw the surprised consternated look in my face as I considered her invitation. Was she testing me in some way or was this some ritual of her culture? I finally concluded that I must not offend her by refusing her request. She had no qualms or reservations about bathing in front of me. I slowly rose from the table and warily walked behind the screen to her awaiting young smiling beautiful maiden servants. The servants began to assist me by gently raising my arms to undress me while Bilqis now watched.
“You mentioned that you were still pondering on the part of the saying about why someone would place a pebble in your sandal. Please tell me what you are now thinking about the meaning of this saying?” Bilqis asked as my bathing ritual continued.
“If someone intentionally put a pebble into a sandal, I would interpret their action was to stop or impede someone because it would become too painful to continue walking.” I answered as I finished bathing and assisted into a robe.
She laughed when I returned and twirled around before sitting down at the table. I then lifted my glass of wine toward her in a return toast and drank up the entire cup.
“Have I answered the meaning of your saying correctly? If so, what may I ask is your reason for bringing up this saying?”
“Solomon, I intended the saying to convey this message. When a pebble between flesh and sandal, becomes apparent, you should quickly remove it before it becomes a blister. You act immediately, because delaying will make it worse.”
“The meaning of my message to you is this. Neither of us must place anything to obstruct or impede our path to a truthful and meaningful relationship with one another. I know the rumors about me. Now that you have somewhat seen my nakedness, and my footprints in your wet garden ground, you know that I am not half woman and half beast. You saw neither hoof prints in the soft ground in the garden, nor did you see any horns or wings in the shadow of my body when I bathed. Is this true Solomon? Have I now removed a pebble from your sandal?”
“Yes” I acknowledged guiltily. I had instructed my servants to wet the ground in advance to find out if there was any truth to the rumor of Bilqis having hoofed feet.
“Solomon, I have no secrets which you cannot ask of me. I believe you also want to know why I do not walk normally. I will explain this at another time. I will truthfully answer any question you may have about me and I expect you to do the same. Now please leave me as the bathing has made me sleepy and now want to retire. I want to be refreshed when we meet again tomorrow. Oh, by the way, just to inform you, I also have dispelled some rumors about you. I now know that you are truly a mortal man.”
“Before you leave, I must warn and remind you to always knock three times on the door to signal the guards to open. Remember, they must first remove the string from the cages of my pets, or else they will devour you.”
Bilqis then stood up and faced me. When I stood up, she reached for my hand with the seal ring and positioned my fingers into a fist. Then she placed my ring upon her soft breast and boldly stared into my eyes as she explained.
“There is also a rumor that a simple touch of your ring has the power to destroy demons. Please take notice that I am still alive. I trust that our mutual bathing this night has washed away all the rumors about both of us. Goodnight Solomon.”
As A Lily Among Thorns – A Story of King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, and the Goddess of Wisdom by Rudy U Martinka
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