Florida Couple Finds Message In A Bottle With Heartbreaking Plea
In 2017, Hurricane Irma ravaged not only several islands in the Caribbean but also decimated Florida’s beaches and coastline. However, amidst the ruin and destruction left in its wake, Hurricane Irma brought something to the shores of a Florida beach: a message contained in a green glass bottle which would change the course of someone’s life forever.
Of course, the Florida couple who happened to stumble across the bottle on the beach could have never imagined that its content would be so significant. After all, when they opened the bottle, they couldn’t make heads or tails of the message. Still, they knew that it meant something to somebody, so they began the long, arduous investigation behind its meaning. They could have never known that in doing so, a woman’s life would forever be changed.
An Active Hurricane Season
Even before Hurricane Irma began to form, the Hurricane season was already off to a rough start for most. Just two weeks before Hurricane Irma came roaring through the Caribbean and up to Florida, Hurricane Maria ravaged the Caribbean, leaving unimaginable destruction in its wake.
Hurricane Maria is considered to be the worst natural disaster to have affected select Caribbean territories within the last ten years. Therefore, when Hurricane Irma was announced shortly after Maria caused so much destruction, people were worried sick. Would this signal the loss of a region? Would they ever be able to recover from the widespread damage?
The Strength Of Hurricane Irma
2017 is a year that many people in the Caribbean and in Florida will never forget. Hurricane Irma is one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded and also the strongest one recorded to occur in the open Atlantic. The storm wreaked widespread havoc throughout the Northern Caribbean. The damage caused by the hurricane is on record the second costliest ever after Hurricane Maria, another hurricane which destroyed several Caribbean islands only weeks prior. Among those islands were Puerto Rico, Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, and Saint Martin.
Pictured above is the damage resulting from the destruction of Hurricane Irma in Saint Martin, an island located to the east of Puerto Rico. Houses were completely destroyed, buildings decimated, and almost everything was reduced to rubble. In the face of strong winds and rain, the islands’ infrastructure had no chance. But that’s not the worst part about this entire ordeal.
Hurricane Irma was such a strong hurricane that persons who witnessed the destruction first-hand said that they had never seen a force of nature which was so devastating. Trees were uprooted, roofs were blown off, and houses were reduced to dirt.
Because of the persistent heavy rains and thunderstorms, unfortunately, many people in the Caribbean lost their homes. Landslides were rampant. Sadly, so many peoples’ houses were covered in debris. Even sadder is the fact that countries were still recovering from a previous disaster which wiped out a lot of the islands’ infrastructures. If you thought that was bad, there’s worse.
Apart from the massive destruction of land and infrastructure which came in the wake of Hurricane Irma, there was yet another tragic loss: human life. A little over 40 deaths in the Caribbean have been attributed to the ravages of Hurricane Irma. Of that number, 10 occurred in Cuba with another 11 happening in the French West Indies, namely Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy.
Hurricane Irma was undoubtedly one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the Caribbean, and its damage is still being felt today. People are still trying to recover lost property and several countries are still being rebuilt. That said, the Caribbean wasn’t the only part of the world which was badly affected by this hurricane. Even the United States wasn’t spared from the natural disaster. Florida took a hard hit, one which led to unbelievable damage and destruction.
Of the states which felt the brunt of Hurricane Irma’s furious winds and rain, Florida took it the hardest. In September of 2017, Florida was put under emergency mode in expectancy of the hurricane’s landfall. The government expected the state to take a huge beating, especially considering that it’s situated right on the coast. Therefore, in preparation for the disaster, they put preventative measures in place to lessen the destruction.
Millions of persons residing in Florida evacuated the state for safer territory. They understood that staying in the state could have led to the loss of their lives, especially considering that they were aware of the widespread destruction caused by the hurricane in the Caribbean. In the face of impending doom, the world sat and waited with bated breath for nature to take its charted course.
As Hurricane Irma hurled through Florida, it was clear that the state was never going to be the same again. Electrical companies were shutting down, buildings were decimated, and the streets looked unrecognizable. It was true that Hurricane Irma was going to do the same thing it did to Caribbean islands to Florida. Based on reports, over 70 people were killed in the state of Florida as a direct result of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
In light of the damage and death in Florida, persons tried their hardest to get away from the state in search of safety. After all, staying there would be risking their lives. That said, no one could have expected that at such a dangerous time, a couple would be trying to make their way to the beach instead of staying away from it. That’s exactly what Nikki Snow and Allen Gibson did. What would have inspired such a decision?
Waiting For Landfall
What could have made this couple journey towards the murky Florida waters at such a dangerous time? To see the storm make landfall, of course! Nikki Snow saw Hurricane Irma as an opportunity to bring her boyfriend with her to see it approach Florida’s shores. She felt that it would have been a smart and really cool thing to do. Therefore, on September 10th, 2017, she left her home in Melbourne, Florida, with her boyfriend. They made their way to the barrier island which put some pretty good distance between them and the dangerous waters of the Atlantic.
Sometime in the mid-afternoon, Nikki and Allen decided to take a leisurely stroll down one of the tranquil beaches. They found shelter under a tiki hut where they waited patiently for the storm’s arrival. They were excited to be seeing nature at work. Soon, the winds along the Indiatlantic beach began to get stronger. They were about to see what they came for: nature at its finest. Little did they know that they were going to get a lot more than they had anticipated.
The Need To Evacuate
As the winds began to pick up speed, the couple felt that it was a good idea to begin capturing the moment. They pulled out their phones and began to record the waves as they got higher and higher, capturing the wind doing its magic. They looked out at the open seas with glee and excitement knowing that they were about to witness one of the coolest things imaginable. However, danger began to rear its ugly head.
Obviously, staring a category 5 hurricane in the face comes with its risks. In no time, the winds began to get exceedingly strong, posing a serious danger to their lives. The couple began to get afraid: what would happen to them if they were to stay out on the beach? They soon realized that they had probably gone a bit too far out and that it was time to make their way to safer grounds. After all, they got what they had come for: they were able to take videos and pictures of the storm before it landed, what more was there to do?
A Cool Discovery
Recognizing that they were in danger, the couple began to panic. What were they going to do? The winds were raging: running for it might put their lives at risk. At this point, feelings of doubt and regret began to cloud their minds. Maybe they shouldn’t have gone out? After all, it was extremely dangerous, to begin with. In any event, they didn’t have much time to think as the winds got even stronger and the waters began to lap angrily at the shore’s banks. They had to make a run for it.
With hearts filled with fear and adrenaline racing through their bodies, the couple decided to make a dash for their lives. They were, in effect, racing against time: if they made one false step or wasted one second, it could spell the end of their lives. They desperately held each other as they navigated across the beach’s sands to make their way to a safe place. However, in the midst of the panic and fear, their eyes got a glimpse of something which would stop them dead in their tracks.
An Unexpected Surprise
Just when they were about to leave the beach to get to a safer zone, something sticking out of the sand caught their eyes. It just so happened that both Nikki and her boyfriend spotted it at the same time. Curious, they went over to see exactly what it was. When they got to it, they realized that something was a bit odd about their discovery.
They found what they thought was an empty, green bottle laying on the beach. It seemed like a wine bottle to them, but they realized that something was different. It wasn’t just regular debris left by someone who has little to no concern about the environment. Uncharacteristic of most bottles found littering the beach, this one had a cork fastened in it. What’s more, there was something in the bottle which let the couple know that this wasn’t an ordinary discovery.
A Message Inside
When the couple opened the bottle, what they found inside shocked them. Inside the bottle was a piece of parchment: a letter, to be exact. It was unbelievable: finding bottles with notes written for another is something which is seen in movies and film. Neither Nikki nor her boyfriend Allen could have expected that they would have stumbled upon such a rare discovery.
However, the couple didn’t get a chance to read the note right then and there. They knew that if they stayed any longer on the beach that they could have lost their lives. The wind was getting increasingly stronger and spelled danger for them. Hurricane Irma was fast approaching so they had to get out quickly. With that, they stowed the bottle safely away and made their way back home so that they could read the letter in a safe, cozy environment away from danger.
The couple was able to make their way safely back to Melbourne. They escaped the dangers of Hurricane Irma and were home in one piece. Now that they were safe, they decided that it was time to open the letter found in the bottle in order to discover its contents.
What could this message hold? Was it a message recanting the story of a lost love? Was it tragic? Was it inspiring? What would this parchment reveal? The tension was so evident that you could have cut it with a butter knife. It was now or never: the moment of truth was upon Nikki and Allen.
Well, the sad reality was nothing. Unfortunately, the piece of parchment found in the bottle wasn’t able to impart any knowledge on the lives of Nikki and Allen because the couple couldn’t read what was written on it. The note was written in Spanish. Unfortunately for them, neither Nikki nor Allen knew Spanish, therefore, they weren’t able to translate it.
However, the two were adamant on finding out what treasures this note kept. Desperate to get an answer, Nikki posted the text written on the parchment on Facebook with the hope that someone on her friends’ list would be able to translate it for her. However, Allen had a different plan in mind, one that would surely help them uncover the identity of their mystery writer.
Finding A Translator
Allen felt that he had had a better idea. Thankfully, he worked as a cook at a Cuban restaurant where he lived. It was called El Ambia Cubano. The kitchen manager for the restaurant, Alfredo Hernandez Froment, was bilingual. Therefore, when he went to work, he decided to take the note along with him. He believed that Alfredo would have been able to read, understand and translate the content of the letter to them.
Alfred, excited to know what new discovery lay in wait for him, eagerly read the piece. Luckily, the parchment wasn’t damaged from water because it was placed in a bottle which was sealed shut. After Alfredo read over the information which was written on the paper, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The message was, in fact, nothing that they could have ever expected. What could this parchment have been holding all this time?
A Cry For Help
Alfredo was simply astounded. Before reading the note, he was expecting to have read a variation of a love story or some tragic tale of lost loved. In folklore, these types of stories are typically told in letters sealed away in bottles. Consequently, this was his expectation. Instead, what he read blew his socks off.
The message he read was a cry for help. It was simply remarkable: what seemed to be an innocent discovery was, in fact, a plea for assistance from some mystery writer somewhere in the globe. When the couple learned what the message was about, they couldn’t believe it. They knew that the bottle hadn’t been sent out on a whim, but for this to be its purpose was simply mindblowing. How were they going to proceed with this newfound knowledge?
Making Sense Of It All
In the meantime, Nikki was still trying to use her online resources to get an understanding of what this message might have meant. Luckily, she was able to contact an instructor of Spanish at the Florida Institute of Technology who was able to translate the message for her. Funnily enough, the time she got the translation was also the exact time that Allen’s kitchen manager was able to provide his own translation of the text.
Both versions of the translation told a fascinating story which had this couple in awe. Characteristic of these types of letters, the text spoke of heartbreak and anguish. However, this one had a few elements which were different. Firstly, it was addressed to a specific person. The author appears to have been female, and she was speaking at length about the trials and tribulations she was facing to kickstart her career. Given that Alfredo had a Hispanic-background, he was able to identify with the speaker as he believed that they shared a commonality.
Identifying The Author
Based on the type of expressions used in the text as well as the name which was used in the letter, Alfredo had a hunch as to not only who could have possibly written it, but also the origin of its writer.
He felt that the writer was a young woman who was from a tropical island. He gathered from the letter’s content that the woman was trying hard to make something of her life, however, she kept encountering obstacles. The woman addressed the letter to “mother.”
A Need To Vent
In order to vent her frustrations and disappointments, she wrote her emotions and feelings on the parchment and sent it out into the ocean. Her hope was that the message would have found its way to the right person.
Besides, she was able to get something off her chest. However, she could have never expected that a Florida couple would have found the bottle containing her message, nor the events which unfolded as a result of it.
A Long Trip
Initially, the couple thought that perhaps the bottle was washed ashore from someplace relatively close to Florida beach. They could have never imagined the journey it had to have made in order for them to find it. The strong currents of the Atlantic had managed to push the bottle to Florida for several miles. It was really miraculous.
While the woman could have never expected that the bottle would have been found by Nikki and Allen in Florida, she couldn’t have imagined even in her wildest of dreams what would have become of their discovery. What’s more, at such a cataclysmic time like this where a hurricane is about to ravage the United States, one could never imagine what could become of this. However, the young woman who wrote the letter would soon receive the shock of her life.
Tracing Her Origins
Meanwhile, on the Caribbean island of Cuba, somewhere in Havana, Chila Lynn was a 25-year-old R&B singer and pianist troubled by the direction in which her life was going. Initially, her life seemed to be going very successfully. At a young age, she had a taste of what fame and success could bring. She was cast as the singing voice for the Spanish-language dubbed version of Disney’s “The Princess and The Frog.”
But, as of recent, things were not looking so positive for her. Before we get more into how this songstress took Cuba by storm, let’s take a look at her upbringing and how this beautiful woman honed her talents.
Born in 1991 in La Havana, Cuba, it seemed as if she was destined to become a singer from birth. From a very early age, she enrolled in various music classes because she loved music. She had a passion for it which filled her up. It was as if the spirit of music lived within her.
She was deeply inspired by the sounds of R&B and soul greats such as Aretha Franklin, Mary J Blige, and Alicia Keys. She loved emotive singing. For her, this was the truest form of showcasing one’s musical creativity, and for years, she honed her craft.
She began studying classical piano and music at the school of Manuel Saumell. Therefore, it came as no surprise when she began winning several music competitions during her adolescent years. She was clearly someone who had a lot of talent and who was going to be heard of in a very big way.
As she got older, she had hopes and dreams of becoming a singer. She wanted to be someone who was known all over the world, just like her idols who inspired her to find within her her own voice.
Following her success as the voice for a Disney film, in 2012, Chila decided to launch her first ever album. It was entitled ‘Real Woman’. To make the album, she collaborated alongside some of the best in the industry, including Pink, James Morrison, and Jamie Scott. She released the album under the auspices of EMI Music Spain, the record company to which she was signed at the time.
Chila was very happy to have had her first album off the ground. She was also excited to show the world her talent. Sadly, she soon grew disappointed. While she was able to release her first recording, she didn’t get the kind of success or recognition that she expected. She was down in the dumps. What could possibly be the problem? Was it her image? Was she not good enough? Was her record company keeping her back?
Chila, recognizing that she had the potential to go further, felt stuck in a rut. She wasn’t making any progress, and it seemed as if her dreams were slipping from her grasp. She hoped to make it on the international scene one day as a mega-artist, but for some reason, nothing seemed to work out. She wanted to be famous and to be recognized for her talent.
Distraught and bothered, she wrote down her wishes on a piece of parchment and tossed it into the ocean. She expressed some of her heartfelt sentiments on this letter regarding the course her life was taking. She was notably dejected and had gone through so many challenging situations in her life up to that point. That said, she was determined to find her way back home and to make something of herself, irrespective of how challenging it might have been. One thing that she wasn’t certain of was that her message would have been discovered.
A Stifled Artist
Addressing the letter to her mother, Chila spoke at length about her disappointment with her life, especially considering that she loved music. It pained her to know that her music wasn’t making the kind of impact that she knew that it could have had. With that in mind, before she set sail to the wine bottle, she brought it with her to a church. The church was called Our Lady of Regla.
With a heavy heart and big dreams, she prayed at the church. She asked for her dream to become a reality. With that, she tossed the bottle into Havana Bay, never expecting it to wash ashore some 360 miles north, let alone for it to be found by a couple on the beach. Alfredo understood what needed to have been done, and with that, he set his plan in motion.
Sharing The Same Background
The interesting thing about it all is that of all persons to whom Chila’s letter could have arrived, it landed right in Alfredo’s hands! Alfredo is a Cuban-American who migrated from the island in the late nineties following the Cuban revolution. Apart from the fact that he spoke Spanish just like Chila, he shared with her the same culture and way of life. They weren’t just Cuban: they had something in common which united them.
Even more interesting is the fact that Alfredo had an interest in music, just like Chila. He had a deep love for music which made him feel even more sympathetic towards his fellow Cuban’s story. Because of his involvement in the music industry, he felt that he would have been able to call a few people who might have been able to help her on her quest. He wanted to see her dreams come true, so he contacted her.
Somehow, Alfredo got wind of Chila’s email address. Via that medium, he reached out to her to let her know that he had come across the note which she left in the bottle. Not only did he feel as if he was doing the right thing, but he also felt that Chila would have been very pleased to see his message. They were both Cubans, therefore they came from a similar cultural background. She would have probably been overjoyed to know that a fellow citizen was willing to share a helping hand.
How would Chila have reacted? He thought that she would have probably been shocked, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. For her bottle to have traveled extensively all the way from Cuba to Florida was just unbelievable. There was only one way to find out: to wait for Chila’s response. When Chila came across Alfredo’s correspondence, she was anything but overjoyed.
The World Is Against Her
When Chila saw Alfredo’s email, she was confused, to say the least. The way that Alfredo had expected her to react was definitely not how she felt. Instead of being either excited, happy, or pleased to know that a fellow Cuban was reaching out to her, she wasn’t impressed, to put it nicely. She didn’t believe that the message was genuine: She actually thought that a Cuban was playing a joke on her.
To Chila, it just seemed unreal that a complete and total stranger would be so willing as to extend a helping hand. She was also a bit uncomfortable knowing that someone came across something extremely personal which she documented. She felt vulnerable and a bit ashamed. She had had no intention for this letter to be read. After all, it was simply a means to vent her frustrations.
What To Do?
Chila was a bit beside herself. How should she react? While Alfredo’s actions may be well intended, she had never met this man before. Should she trust him? Doubts began to flood her mind. For so long, she felt as if the world was against her. She struggled incessantly to create a career for herself, a path to let her creative artistry shine. Could this be the big break?
Chila was completely torn. While she had wished for her dreams to come true, she had been disappointed so many times in her life that the possibility that she may have become an international artist was a bit too much, not to mention sudden. What would she do?
A Leap Of Faith
Despite her suspicions, Chila decided to take the bull by the horns and have trust in this man whom she had never met. As far-fetched as it seemed, this man may have her best interest at heart. What’s more, she realized that Alfredo wasn’t, in fact, residing in Cuba. Could this be her big break? She was over the moon!
In a frenzy, she went to relay the good news to her grandmother. The woman was positively shocked, to say the least. She was beside herself: apart from the story being absolutely remarkable, could this also mean that this was going to be the start of a huge career for her? What was going to become of Chila? One thing for certain, she was overjoyed, and it wasn’t just because of the message she received from Alfredo.
Chila was a devout Christian. She believed in the Lord and trusted in his word. Going to church was always an instrumental aspect of her life, and she had faith that God would have made a way for her. She felt as if her prayers were finally being answered. For her, this was a sure sign from God that he was still watching over her.
For all she knew, Alfredo’s message was a sign from God letting her know that she shouldn’t give up as she can count on him even when the going gets rough. What’s more, there was something else which gave her the assurance that God was looking down upon her.
Got To Be The Lord’s Work
Chila was convinced that it was the work of God for Alfredo to reach out to her. When she looked at it, it was a miracle for Alfredo to have received the bottle. Somehow, the strong tides and currents managed to transport her vessel carrying her heart’s content all the way from La Havana to Florida. Then, for Alfredo, a Cuban-American to know the right people to come into possession of the letter: it was all too much of a coincidence for Chila. Thankfully, she had a reason to explain it all.
God. Chila was certain that it was all God’s plan. She knew that God had made it possible for her message to fall in the hands of the right person for her career and her future. She was a spiritual person at heart, hence she felt that God was watching over her. What’s also interesting is the fact that even in her letter, she addresses the subject as “mother.” Most would think that she was speaking about her biological mother. However, those persons are sorely mistaken.
Living On A Prayer
Chila believed that if she bottled her hopes and dreams, God would make a way for her. This was a belief which was cemented in her psyche from a child growing up and was also something which kept her being optimistic. In Cuba, because of the country’s historical background, namely the presence of African slaves, certain cultural and religious beliefs stemming from African tribes filtered down through generations. In doing so, these beliefs merged with Catholic religious beliefs, forming a hybridized traditional belief-system which constitutes a part of contemporary Cuban society.
Persons who follow Afro-Cuban religious beliefs are called Santería. These people often times believe in something known as orishas. Granted, the definition of an orisha varies from person to person based on that individual’s specific beliefs, but generally, orishas are considered to be divine spirits which have taken on the form of a human being. While Chila prayed, she had one particular figure in mind which she felt would have been important in allowing her dreams to come true.
Faith In Yemayá
Chila had never meant for a human being to come across her writing in a bottle. No, she had directed the note to someone who was not even human: an orisha she called Yemayá. Based on traditional Afro-Cuban teachings, this orisha is deemed to be the God of all creation and the God from whom all other deities come. The closest figure to Yemayá in Christianity would be the Virgin Mary.
Actually, Chila believed so much that Yemayá would have made a way for her that she actually threw the bottle into Havana Bay by that specific church. Inside, you can find a shrine of Yemayá. Chila hoped that her desperate prayers and wishes would have inspired this orisha to do something for her, and she believed that she got her answer in Alfredo.
As time passed, Alfredo tried his utmost to keep in contact with Chila. He also listened to her music to get a sense as to what musical style she had. In doing so, he became somewhat of a fan. He loved her music and was equally impressed with her musicianship. He valued her talent and really wanted her to make something of herself. In 2017, she released an album titled ‘Amor y Miel’ (‘Love and Honey’). This labor of love was released internationally. Chila worked hard on this album as making an international release was very important to her.
Sadly, Chila had lost her record deal by the time she was contacted by Alfredo. Nonetheless, she was still motivated and dedicated. She believed that she had what it took to make a huge statement in the international industry, and she knew that if she worked hard, she would reap her rewards. In an effort to assist her, Alfredo decided to get in touch with his connections. He figured that they may be able to steer her in the right direction, or at least provide her with other contacts so that she can get her foot in the door.
Career Kicks Off
Being from Cuba, Alfredo understood immediately that one of the major hindrances holding back Chila from becoming a success was the fact that she was based in Cuba. If she wanted to take her career to any sort of substantial heights, she would have had to find her way to the United States. A good starting point would be to move to Florida considering that they have a fairly large Spanish-speaking population.
One thing for sure, Alfredo really wanted to help kick-start his fellow Cuban’s career. He was ready to invest all the resources he had at his disposal to ensure that she makes it somewhere. Interestingly enough, while he could have derived theoretical benefit from Chila’s possible success, for Alfredo, this wasn’t his goal.
Not After The Money
Alfredo’s goal was never to make a whole wad of cash off of Chila’s visit to the United States. For him, it was never about that. He was simply trying to help a woman who was from his country. They had the same background and culture. It was like helping a sister find her way into the world. He also felt that Yemayá had entrusted him with the task of seeing her dreams come to fruition.
Bearing in mind that he also has a background which is heavily entrenched with Cuban values and beliefs, he understood all too well Chila’s prayer to the orisha. He understood her plight and also understood what he must do to help her. He believed in his Cuban faith and knew that the orisha’s will must be done.
Trusting In Faith
As we know, across several cultures and religions worldwide, the concept of a savior coming to relieve you of your burdens is something which is widespread. Therefore, for Chila, the story of someone coming to her rescue after she prayed to Yemayá was simply an act which made her even stronger in her faith. She felt empowered and trusted God even more now that she had been shown a sign that if she believes, it will happen.
Both Alfredo and Chila believe that their encounter was as a direct result of the orisha to whom Chila prayed. For them, to know that their religious beliefs have become a reality is simply unbelievable. What’s also incredible is that Chila was toying with the idea of venturing into the US to promote her music, a thought which crossed her mind shortly before she sent up her prayers to the orisha. The more she looked at it, the more credible her Afro-Cuban religious beliefs got. What was she going to do now?
Paving A Way Forward
While there is no concrete evidence to demonstrate that Chila has, in fact, established herself among the US-crowd, it is alleged that she has already brought together a band in anticipation to perform there. She’s committed to making her dream come true. That said, those who were instrumental in setting off these chain of events for Chila still can’t believe it. Nikki and Allen are just stunned at what happened.
Snow just can’t get over the fact that her discovery led to such a positive chain of events in someone else’s life, let alone a Cuban singer. However, Chila and Alfredo believed that it was destiny which brought them together to fulfill the wishes of the orisha. How does Alfredo memorialize this fateful encounter?
How does Alfredo remember these miraculous events? In his restaurant, he has a statue of the Virgin of Charity. Next to this statue, he framed the letter he fatefully received from Chila. He keeps it as a constant reminder of the power of God is not only in his life but in the lives of everyone in the world.
What’s more, to him, this letter also serves as a symbol of the power of faith in his Afro-Cuban religious beliefs, something which he holds near and dear to him. It reminds him that if you wish for it, the orisha will make a way to relieve you of your burdens. Both he and Chila are happy to know that their Gods are looking over them.