A KING issued a proclamation, that whosoever would come to him should obtain all they asked. The noble and the rich desired dukedoms, or counties, or knighthood; and some treasures of silver and gold. But whatsoever they desired they had. Then came the poor and the simple, and solicited a like boon.
"Ye come late," said the king, "the noble and the rich have already been, and have carried away all I possess." This reply troubled them exceedingly; and the king, moved by their concern, said, "My friends, though I have given away all my wealth, I have still the sovereign power; no one asked for that. I appoint you, therefore, to be their judges and masters."
When this came to the ears of the rich, they were extremely disturbed, and said to the king, "My lord, we are greatly troubled at your appointing these poor wretches our rulers; it were better for us to die than admit such servitude."
"Sirs," answered the king, "I do you no wrong: whatever you asked I gave; insomuch that nothing remains to me but the supreme power. Nevertheless, I will give you counsel. Whosoever of you has enough to support life, let him bestow the superfluity upon these poor people. They will then live honestly and comfortably, and upon these conditions I will resume the sovereignty and keep it, while you avoid the servitude you fear." And thus it was done.