THE FISHERMAN AND THE KING
Once upon a time there was a fisherman and one day he took his stick and some hooks and went fishing in the sea. He casted and waited for a while, but he couldn’t catch even a single fish. Then he passed in the alley where the king’s palace was. When he went closer to the palace, he spoke loudly: ‘‘Oh, poor me!’’
At that moment the king was at his balcony to cast about, and when he heard the fisherman saying these words, he sent one of his soldiers to call him. When the man entered the king’s palace, king asked him:
- Why were you saying ‘‘Oh, poor me!’’ when you’re walking in the alley?
The fisherman said:
- I went to hook fish but I could not catch even a single one, and now I have nothing to bring to my children who are waiting for me at home.
The king saw that he was very desperate, then he said:
- Go back to the sea and cast the hook, once again, and the thing you’ve caught, fish or rocks, whatever it is, I will weigh it out and I will give you the same amount, but of gold. How much it will weigh, that’s how much gold I will give you, as long as I keep what you’ll catch in the sea.
And so the man returned to the sea, but he caught nothing but a sheet, he took it to the king and told him:
- That’s all I could get!
The king took the sheet and said:
- You’ve been so unlucky, man, because this is halfpennyworth.
Then he took and weighed it out. The king noticed that the sheet weighed more than he thought so he put two coins of gold on the other side of the weigher. But it still weighed more than that. He took a handful of gold coins and put them on the weigher, but the sheet weighed much more. The king was very surprised because he hadn’t seen something like that before, so he called the wisest men in his kingdom and told them:
I want to ask you something, and if you give me the right answer within thirty-one days, then I will give you too much wealth, but if you don’t then I will behead all of you.
The wisest men tried for days and nights to find the truth, but they couldn’t. Twenty-five days passed and they realized they would never find it so they went to a very wise monk because they knew he was fair and said to him:
We are begging you to tell us, why does this sheet weigh more than a handful of gold coins? Because the king told us some days before: ‘‘if you are able to find the truth, I’ll give you too much wealth, otherwise I will behead you’’.
The monk begged and prayed to god. God hears his prayers, so monk told to the erudite:
You shouldn’t be afraid anymore because I’m going to tell you why this sheet weighs more than a handful of gold coins and I will rescue you from the beheading.
When the thirty-first day came, the erudites went to the king; they had come together with the monk who was worn like the. They stood for a while, then king asked if they had found the answer. At that moment, the monk to the sheet and some mud, damped the sheet, covered it with mud and told the king:
- This sheet is the human’s eye. When it had no mud you say it was heavier, now that it’s covered in mud, it must be much heavier, but as we see it isn’t. That’s how the man works. As long as he is alive, he tries to get more and more goods and fortune, and it’s the same with this sheet, it weighs more when it’s without mud. But when the man dies, then he turns into nothing and the eyes close, and everything he has earned in this life, stay here in this life.
- It’s the same with the sheet, now that it’s covered in mud, it seems heavy but in fact it’s feathery.
- Because the mud is useless and it doesn’t weigh.
The king heard and said:
- Bravo! Now that you found the truth and spoke that to me, and I will give you so much wealth that you’ve never imagined.
So he gave them the half of his wealth.