Jerome walked down to the town centre, found a good spot. No one chased him away any more. Even the soldiers stopped to look at him as he started throwing the balls in the air.
The word about him went through town like fire in dry grass, and soon it reached the King’s castle.
Bring him to me! I want to see what all the fuss is about.
Jerome saw two soldiers approach. He stopped juggling, trying to hide the balls behind his back.
Come with us, the soldiers said. The King wants to see you.
The King? Why?
No whys, young man. The King’s desire is your law.
He was taken through the castle gate. He couldn’t take his eyes off the stunning architecture. Such beauty. Such wealth. In the huge throne room the king was waiting.
So this is the famous artist! The King was sitting on his throne, built to intimidate. Tell me your name!
J-Jerome, Your Majesty.
So, what are you waiting for. Juggle!
Jerome looked around. A soldier made a gesture, he’d better do as the King say. He got his balls out and started juggling.
The Moon Ball did its magic. All the balls went flying in the air as if they were connected to him. He was in control. Soon his hands stopped shaking. A smile spread over his face.
The King laughed. Applauded.
Jerome let himself go, dancing, experimenting.
Enough! The King said after a while. Jerome stopped. The King applauded.
Marvellous! He said. Quite and performance! Let me see those balls.
Jerome hesitated. A soldier came over, took the balls from him.
Extraordinary, said the King, looking at the Moon Ball. He threw it in the air. It floated slowly back to his hand. Not like when Jerome threw it, but still quite a ball..
I’ve had a good time today, young man. You can have these back. I’m keeping this one.
But… Said Jerome. It’s mine!
Not any more, said on of the soldiers, giving his bean sacks back to him. Be grateful he didn’t take them all.
Please, Your Majesty!
The King left, playing with his new toy. The soldiers threw Jerome out of the castle.
The King kept his new treasure in his sleeping chambers. He had it by his bed, looked at it at night before he went to sleep. It was the most precious thing he owned, and most of the kingdom belonged to him.
Tonight there was a big full moon outside, and the ball seemed to shine brighter than ever. The King lie in his bed, looking at the comforting light from the Moon Ball. His eyelids got heavy, and soon he was snoring loudly.
Jerome walked out of town. He had spent all his money, and made nothing. He walked up the hill, found a spot to sleep. He could see the whole town from here.
The Moon Ball started moving back and forth on the little table. It lifted, levitated in the air. It floated over the King’s bed, towards the window.
The King opened his eyes. He saw the ball crossing the room. He jumped out of bed, ran to catch it, but it was already out of the window.
He stood and watched as it floated over the rooftops. There was nothing he could do.
Something moved in the air over the houses. Jerome couldn’t really see what it was, but it was floating over the city, towards where he was sitting. Soon he recognised it.
A tear ran down his cheek as it landed softly in his hand. It was back to where it belonged. Back to where it had chosen to be.