he is allowed to enter the Temple of Truth after he acknowledges that
he has followed the Law and paid the Price, denial of Wealth of
Traditions, Holy Prejudices, Sacred Opinion, Customs, Favors, and
Honors of the World.
While waiting in the Quiet Room, the Pilgrim hears the tale of
the uncrowned king told in four parts.
The first part, told by the Voice of the Waves, describes the
setting and situation of the allegory.
In the Royal City Daybyday, located in the Land of Allthetime,
the King What-Soever-Youthink lives with his twin sons, Really-Is and
Seemsto-Be. There are many religions and temples in the land; however,
they do not receive equal attention since some temples are empty and
others are crowded. The
sons see a glorious city in the distance and are granted permission to
visit it. Riding their
horses, Reality and Appearance, they arrive in the City Sometime
situated in the Land of Yettocome.
There, they wonder at the beauty of that city.
The second segment, told by the Voice of the Evening Wind,
concentrates on the boy's romancing of the king's daughters,
Imagination and Fancy. However,
romance is cut short when the sons learn that their father has died.
The tale is picked up by the Voice of the Night as the tone
grows somber. Prince
Seemsto-Be gets a head start on the rightful heir, Really-Is, and
leaves him behind. The plan eventually backfires though because the older prince
stops at the house of Wisdom before traveling on. There he learns the secret of the magic crown, which his
father wore, and the correct road to travel to the kingdom. His brother has taken the road, Chance, but the true heir
takes the road, Opportunity. From
his visit with Wisdom, the prince learns that "The Crown is not
the kingdom, nor is one King because he wears a crown" (King,
p. 87). When the true
king secretly arrives in his kingdom, he patiently lives in a small
house and worships daily, unknown to his brother.
In the meantime, the imposter king temps the people with
holidays, feasts, and parades to keep them happy.
However, in the fourth part told by the Voice of the New Day,
the magic of the crown reveals itself, as it becomes tarnished and
lusterless while sitting on the fake's head.
The other brother has developed a following because of his
patience and devoted worship. When
the false king discovers his brother's presence in the city, he goes
to him and asks him to rule the city with him.
The rightful king sadly refuses since the law declares that a
hypocrite cannot reign. The
next day the brother is found dead at the temple where he worshipped
the God, Things-Are-Good-Enough.
The rightful brother takes the throne, but the crown
disintegrates since the brother has proven that a true king needs no
symbol of his rank. His
personality is evidence of his royalty.
The king establishes one temple, and from then on, his people
are happy worshipping their God, Things-That-Ought-To-Be.
Though the allegorical names are rather ludicrous, the message
of The Uncrowned King is clear:
there should be one church in which to worship one God.
The people go through phases of worship in the mythical
kingdom. Under the rule
of the imposter, the people are entertained, much like the
congregations are entertained in God and the Groceryman.
They soon tire of that approach and turn toward the rightful
king who offers one church and simple worship.
The theme of God and the Groceryman, some seventeen
years later, follows this allegory exactly but in an expanded,
Thus Wright focuses on two problems of the church in his novels
about social gospel. First,
the hypocrisy of the church and its members is seen in each of these
four books--That Printer of Udell's, The Calling of Dan
Matthews, God and the Groceryman, and The Uncrowned King.
Although there are the seeds of antidenominationalism in
Wright's first and second novels, that concept is not fully developed
until the allegorical Christmas book and the 1927 novel.