"You may wait here to see the Queen," declared a stout little man as he ushered Columbus into a small white walled room. It had one window facing out towards the road, two stiff straight backed chairs, and a little table that looked like an afterthought.
"Do make yourself comfortable," the little man admonished, stepping in behind Columbus. "Just don't make yourself too comfortable now, because I'm sure you'll be out of here in just a minute. Her Majesty never keeps anyone waiting!" He added proudly.
He settled himself in a chair and put his feet on the table, while gazing at Columbus who was still standing rather uncomfortably by the door.
"What are you doing here anyway?" The man queried. "Asking the Queen if you can have a bit o'pocket money to scrape through the month I warrant! You surely look poor enough!"
He laughed boisterously while Columbus flushed crimson and opened his mouth to say something, but then was cut off.
"This really isn't a good place to get a loan since King Ferdinand is rather tightfisted! Ah! But we all have our faults!"
He gave another boisterous laugh.
"If you need a loan I suggest going to a bank, and these Monarchs certainly ain't that!"
He laughed again and then looked Columbus up and down.
"Say, you look sort of familiar. Have you been here before?"
Before Columbus could answer he chuckled again.
"Oh never mind!" He said. "Lots of people look alike these days, and you must be one of 'em!"
He sat chuckling and wiping the tears out of his eyes as if very much amused, while Columbus still stood beside the door, feeling more and more uncomfortable with each passing second.
After a few more minutes had gone by, a maid poked her head in the door nodding vigorously at the two men.
"You can go see the Queen now, sir," she said to Columbus.
"Thank you very much," said Columbus stiffly.
"Right this way," the man said, thanking the maid and scurrying out into the hall. He turned down a large corridor which led to two magnificent doors. Columbus followed apprehensively trying to push away the sick feeling in his stomach.
"I won't be disappointed if she says no," he told himself firmly. But in his heart, he knew that he would be.
Queen Isabella looked at him carefully after he finished speaking.
"I must say that I am very much interested in your excursion, Christopher Columbus, and I am quite honored to be the one to whom you keep asking for the help. Now what are the things that you will require for yourself?"
Hardly unable to contain his delight, Columbus paused for a moment before answering.
The Queens messenger, Ivan, listened in horror as Columbus began to name his terms.
He wanted to be the supreme boss on this trip;
He wanted most of the treasure for himself;
He wanted to be the ruler of any lands he might discover;
and on and on his expectations ran....
When he was finished, Queen Isabella did exactly what Ivan would have advised her to. Courteously and kindly, yet firmly, she told him that she simply could not meet all of his requests. Therefore, he would have to find someone else who could.
With that, she dismissed him, coolly bidding him good luck on finding a another person who would be more obliging.
Tears stung in his eyes as he rode slowly down the rode towards La Rabida. Now he had no other hope but to ask the King of France. Oh, how could he have been so foolish to ask that many things for himself! He surely regretted it now, but it was too late to take back those words. He had been so overjoyed at the prospect of help that he had let his tongue run wild. Perhaps he could leave Diego at La Rabida whilst he traveled to see the King of France. Perhaps...
His melancholy thoughts were interrupted by swift horse hooves clattering along the road behind him. The horse came to a halt beside him and the young man on its back spoke swiftly to Columbus.
"I am the Queen's messenger and Queen Isabella sent me to inform you that she wishes to see you once more," he said, rather sounding as if he was not pleased with the Queen's association with Columbus. "And she wishes you to make all haste," he added, glowering at Columbus from under his hat.
Columbus gasped in astonishment, but as the messenger promptly turned around to leave, Columbus did the same and followed him back to see the Queen; this time to carefully mind his tongue, and, to his infinite joy, to receive all the help that he would need.
Fifteen years later, in the year 1507, Ivan, still serving faithfully in the royal court, stood thoughtfully gazing at the first map of America.
"Well," he said at length, turning to a friend who was looking over his shoulder,
"I guess that Columbus fellow wasn't so crazy as I thought he was; even though he did think 'twas India."
"I guess not," agreed the friend, adding with a sly look,
"And I suppose he didn't know any better regarding it's not being India."
"That's true," admitted Ivan. Then brightening up, he said, with a mischievous look in his eyes,
"And just think! When more people start settling there, everything that Queen Isabella of Spain did to help establish America will be in their history books!"