THE OLD COUNSELOR
Once upon a time there was an old and very wise counselor. The king loved him very much and always asked for his opinion before he did anything. But the old man turned sixty, he begged the king to let him resign. At first, king didn’t agree, but when he noticed his insistence, he let him go. He gave the old counselor a mule packed with gold for all the service he had done, then he built a beautiful palace for him to live. When he resigned, the king found a new counselor. Time passed and king wanted to try if the new counselor was as wise and neat as the old one was. So he called him and said:
- I want you to bring me twenty wolves, thirty braves, forty wise men and sixty eggs within three days.
The new counselor wrote everything down and got out very surprised, because he thought he couldn’t do it since the first moment. Then he went to his room and called all the ministers for an assembly. When all of them were present, the counselor told them what the king had asked and said:
- If we do not find all those he asked, they will hang us all. So, we should find a solution.
The ministers discussed and tried, but none of them found a way out. Then they went home to try and find the solution. So the first day passed, the second too, and the third day came. The counselor hadn’t slept since then. His wife, his daughter and family noticed something was going wrong, but they were afraid to ask him because he always shouted at them. Then his daughter decided to go to his room and ask. When he saw his daughter enter the room, he began to shout:
- What the hell are you doing here? Why don’t you leave me alone?
But the girl said: - What is happening, father? It’s been three days you are like this.
Go away and don’t distract me, this is my job and you shouldn’t be here. – he told her.
The daughter begged him so he told her his trouble, because he trusted her. When he finished, the girl said:
- Go immediately to the old counselor, he has been in this position before, and he will help you.
He thought for a while and said: - He is an old dotard man, but I think he might help me.
So he got up and went to the old man. The old counselor welcomed him. Then the new counselor told him about his trouble and begged him to help because his life was in danger. Then he said:
- I’ve sent hundreds of hunters to go and catch the wolves, but they haven’t brought even one.
That’s not it, I need to find thirty braves and forty wise men. I can bring not thirty, but three hundred braves, and I still don’t know how the king wants them and it’s the same for the wise men. And about the eggs, it’s a simple work, because I can bring him a big basket full of them.
The old counselor heard and wasn’t speaking. He was looking surprised at the man and smiled. When he was done, he said to the old man: - Please, I beg you, help me or the king will kill me.
And the old man still didn’t talk to him. The new counselor continued: - Please, talk to me!
- I don’t have what to say. -the old man said.
- Please, say a word and help me out. –the man begged.
- Do not insist, I won’t tell you anything. – turned the old man.
- Why can’t you help me? –he asked.
- I am afraid that if king finds out that I have helped you out, e will hang me too. – the old man said.
Then the new counselor got down on his knees and begged him for help, and said he would tell nobody. The old counselor said:
- Listen to me carefully, and don’t tell anyone that I helped you.
- Just tell me and I will tell these words only in my grave. – man said.
The old man continued:
- Listen! The king is not asking from you wolves, braves, wise men and eggs. This is a riddle and you have to find it.
- And how can I get this?!- the new counselor shouted out loud.
The old man was staying calm and said:
- I am going to say it. When the man is twenty years old, he is as strong as a wolf, when he’s thirty he is brave, when he turns forty, he becomes wiser and when he’s sixty he becomes like the egg that breaks easily. So, go to the king and tell him: twenty men are strong like twenty wolves, thirty men that have turned thirty are brave, forty men that have turned forty are wise and the men that age and turn sixty, become like the eggs that break easily.
The new counselor got up and ran to the king, and told him everything he heard from the old man. King was delighted by his response, but he wasn’t completely convinced that he had found it by himself. So he asked he told him the solution. But the new counselor didn’t tell. Then the king said that he would hang him if he didn’t tell the truth. Ant the man was forced to do it. King called the old counselor and ordered him to get back to his job, while the young man stood as his assistant.