1389. The beggar’s gift
© Bruce Goodman 28 August 2018
Once there was, and twice there wasn’t, a poor beggar who had spent years meticulously making a cossatactilass. It was huge! The beggar had spent at least two hours a day making it. Multiply that with 365 days in a year and again with the number of years and you’ll see just how many hours went in to the making of it.
Of course, it was priceless so the beggar couldn’t sell it. He decided to make a donation of it and give it to the king.
The king was over the moon. “This is extraordinary!” declared the king. “Not only am I king but I must be the only king in the world who owns such a valuable cossatactilass.”
The king rewarded the beggar with bags and bags of gold and lots of other valuable things as well.
It so happened that the king’s generosity towards the beggar was noticed by an extremely rich duke. Casting all prudence aside, the duke donated his entire wealth to the king in the hope of receiving in return things at least double the value. The king gave the rich duke the cossatactilass. The duke was furious.
“Is this all I get? Just a useless piece of junk? How come you gave that beggar all those riches in return for this piece of junk? My gifts to you were worth a lot more, and I should have been rewarded by you in a far heftier manner.”
“Aha,” said the king. “Your gift to me was motivated by greed, whereas the beggar’s gift was motivated by affection. So you can suck eggs, duke.”
To make his point, the king whipped the dukedom off the duke and gave it to the beggar. Still later, the beggar married the daughter, an only child, of the king. The beggar eventually became the king himself, and the first thing he did was to have the ex-duke’s head cut off.
Everyone else lived happily ever after.