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Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju
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THE DESPOT AND THE WAG

A DESPOT in the East wished to have a great name as a very munificent prince, so he gave large presents to everyone of note that came to his court, but at the same time his officers had secret orders to waylay the recipients of his gifts and recover them.

In this manner many a man had been rewarded and plundered. Once a wag came to court, and amused him by his drolleries. The king gave him a great many presents, including a horse. After taking leave of the king and his courtiers, the wag bundled up the presents and put them over his shoulders, and mounting the horse, facing the tail, was going out. The king asked him why he acted in that manner.

[116] "Sire," said the wag, "simply to see if your officers were coming behind, that I may at once hand over the bundle to them and go about my business."

The despot was abashed, and stopped giving any more presents, saying, "Giving is but giving in vain, when we give to take again''


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