THE Emperor Pliny had three sons, to whom he was very indulgent. He wished to dispose of his kingdom, and calling the three into his presence, spoke thus: "The laziest of you shall reign after my death."
"Then," answered the elder, "the kingdom must be mine; for I am so lazy, that sitting once by the fire, I burnt my legs, because I was too slothful to withdraw them."
The second son said, "The kingdom should properly be mine, for if I had a rope round my neck, and held a sword in my hand, my idleness is such, that I should not put forth my hand to cut the rope."
"But I," said the third son, "ought to be preferred to you both; for I outdo both in sloth. While I lay upon my bed, water dropped from above upon my eyes; and though, from the nature of the water, I was in danger of becoming blind, I neither could nor would turn my head ever so little to the right hand or to the left." The emperor, hearing this, bequeathed the kingdom to him, thinking him the laziest of the three.