Albrecht was a decent man, lonely on his castle overlooking the sea. He would watch the surf wash along the beaches from a balcony on a tall tower. He liked to see what rubbish the tide brought in and watched how it changed the landscape of the beaches. He had servants, and visitors that one couldn’t quite call friends, but might be affectionately called routine acquaintances. Yes, he was lonely, and why not?
With a castle of dreams that in the end lay empty, they which have the most to grieve are those without an imagination, for with one, they can people the castles on the seashore thus filling the emptiness with life.
Albrecht had no imagination, and could not fill the emptiness of his castle. He sighed and watched the tide trying to decide how he would pay his taxes. Being melancholy wasn’t a useful occupation, and he earned very little income.
He was born into a high class, but knew absolutely nothing about money. He had servants yes, but those servants were paid in objects. They took masterpieces home, and whatever else took their fancy. They ate meals with him like family.
He sold items to pay the chef, and had received loans and grants based on his lofty moral character. The end was in sight now, however. His friends or servants had stripped almost anything left of value save the stones themselves. A few of these were pried away, but most considered the work involved not worth the prize.
The creditors wanted their money, and his servants, or friends, began not showing up for the increasingly meager meals that he personally concocted. Cooking was new for him, and his ingredients paltry.
Perhaps he viewed his friends’ absence as a kindness. He no longer had tea ready in the morning, nor the paper delivered to his bedroom door. He found he had to do these tasks, as well as his own laundry. These ordeals cut into his melancholy gazing toward the sea, making his job of sadness and despair even harder.
This was the day, he thought resignedly. Would they take his castle by the sea? The walls were stripped bare, there was virtually no furniture. He kept the bed he slept in. This was due to the fact that he rarely left his bedchamber, which had French doors that opened onto the aforementioned balcony.
Albrecht’s lawyer tried to inquire after Albrecht’s friends, or servants to retrieve the stolen property when Albrecht fired him, explaining that his servants, or friends, would never steal from him. He saw the tax collector walking up the path, the appraiser had all ready come and gone. This must be it.
“You’ve come to take my castle by the sea?” He said to the short little man in the simple black suit.
“Unless you have any assets which I can use as a payment?”
“No, I have nothing, except my sadness. I have a noble heritage. You could take those things, I suppose, but I am uncertain what would be left if you did.”
“You would give up your nobility? Your famed melancholy, for this?” The tax man was surprised. What good would a castle be without a moody lord residing within?
“Of course.” The tax man took these qualities, putting them in a sturdy briefcase, and bid Albrecht good day.
Being no longer sad, and no longer noble made Albrecht look around the castle in a new way. He was amazed that he could live in such a drafty large place. The heat bill alone must cost a small fortune, not that he knew what a fortune was anymore.
He promptly took his few possessions and left. The castle was empty of even melancholy, and no longer held the value of noble heritage, and seemed beyond impractical to him.
As he walked along the path away from the castle, with the sea washing in gracefully, he determined his lot. He was destined to be a seafarer, nothing else would do, he thought cheerily.