She pulled her old coat tighter around her as she stood there in the bitter rain. Through the window, misted with rain and her breath, she could see them inside, warm and dry, seated at long tables laden with food and drink. She so badly wanted to be inside, but she did not dare. She remembered the times she had tried before, different rooms but the same sort of scene. She had stood there, forlorn, alongside the diners, but they had crowded up together and refused to make room for her. Once or twice, in those painful memories, she had dared to take a vacant seat, unnoticed until she reached out for food. Then they had turned on her. Who did she think that she was? What made her imagine she had any right to be there? She had no answers, and under their onslaught she had retreated outside where only the darkness could see her tears.
Why would it be any different this time? But she had to try, she was so, so hungry! Her wet, trembling fingers could hardly turn the door knob, but desperation drove her. Timidly she crept into the room and stood against the wall, taking in the scene. At least it wasn't raining here, but as she looked at these warm, well-dressed people, she realised how bedraggled and unkempt she looked by comparison. Who would want to sit next to her? At the nearer end of the room there was a table with several empty seats. If she sat down at the end, surely no one would mind? At least she could rest her legs, and there would be just a little food within reach.
But just as she reached that forgotten seat, there was a commotion at the other end of the table. A man was rising from his place and walking towards her. Was she going to be thrown out again?. But no, he was smiling at her like no one had ever smiled at her before. "Come with me," he said, "you belong up here." Too astonished to protest, she let him take her by the arm and lead her to the seat next to his own. Only then did she notice that his chair was a throne. And as she sat down beside him, he tenderly reached across and wiped the tears from her eyes.