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Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju
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THE WEALTHY MAN AND THE STRING

A WEALTHY man in the East had no knowledge of music; yet he pretended to know a great deal about it. So, whenever a famous singer came to him, he would tie one end of a string to his coat-tail, and give the other end to his wife, who understood music well, and who generally sat behind a screen, according to the custom of ladies in the East. The understanding was that whenever there was anything in [19] the singing that was specially praiseworthy, the wife should pull, that the man might nod his approbation of it.

Once a great singer was displaying his skill, and suddenly the string snapped. The man cried, "Wait a bit, good singer; the string hath snapped!" The whole audience was amazed, and in the end, knowing what he really meant, exclaimed, "A parrot and a fool can do nothing without prompting!"


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