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Georgian Folk Tales, by Marjory Wardrop [1894], at


The King's Counsellor 1

THE counsellor of an Arabian king once bethought himself that, though he had lived so many years, and knew so much, he had never yet found out how much the king valued his services, and to what extent his wife and friends really loved him. He decided to try them all at once, so he went to the palace and stole a goat of which the king was very fond, and of which he was the keeper. He then went home, told this secret to his wife, and in her presence ordered the cook to roast the goat. But afterwards he privately told the cook to hide the royal goat, and roast a kid in its place. At supper his wife praised the dish

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very highly. As soon as the king heard of the loss of his goat, he was very angry, and cried in his wrath: 'If any man finds the thief I shall load him with gold, if a woman finds him I shall marry her!' The counsellor's wife, thinking it better to be a king's wife, betrayed her husband. The king ordered his counsellor to be executed, and married the woman. When the execution was about to take place, the victim's old friends succeeded in saving him by a large bribe, and another criminal was executed instead. The counsellor was hidden in a neighbouring realm. Some years afterwards, troublesome questions of state arose, and none of the council could solve them. The king often longed for his old counsellor, and said: 'For the sake of a goat I sacrificed a clever man, if he were alive he would get me out of all my trouble in a day.' The counsellor's old friends at last resolved to acknowledge the trick they had played. So one day, when the king was in a good humour, they went and said: 'Pardon us, O king! Your first counsellor is alive!' and they told him all. The king was heartily glad, and ordered the exile to be brought back. He was well received, and restored the goat to the king. The king said: 'My friend! we thus see that the greatest scourge of all is false witness, and that we must beware, above all things, of our wives.'


173:1 Francesco Strapparola's story of Salardo and the Falcon is practically the same as this.

Next: XIV. A Witty Answer