THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

A Collection of Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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where he was, the weaver advanced to the envoy, and placed the knuckle-bones on the floor beside him. For answer, the envoy took a handful of millet seed out of his pocket and scattered it round; upon which the weaver set down the hen, who ate it up in a moment. At that the envoy rose without a word, and took his departure.
As soon as he had left the hall, the king beckoned to the weaver.
' You alone seem to have guessed the riddle,' said he, ' and great shall be your reward. But tell me, I pray you, what it all means ?'
' The meaning, O king,' replied the weaver, ' is this : The circle drawn by the envoy round your throne is the message of the emperor, and signifies, " If I send an army and surround your capital, will you lay down your arms ? " The knuckle-bones which I placed before him told him, " You are but children in comparison with us. Toys like these are the only playthings you are fit for." The millet that he scattered was an emblem of the number of soldiers that his master can bring into the field; but by the hen which ate up the seed he understood that one of our men could destroy a host of theirs.'
' I do not think,' he added, ' that the emperor will declare war.'
' You have saved me and my honour,' cried the king, ' and wealth and glory shall be heaped upon you. Name your reward, and you shall have it even to the half of my kingdom.'
' The small farm outside the city gates, as a marriage portion for my daughter, is all I ask,' answered the weaver, and it was all he would accept. ' Only, O king,' were his parting words, ' I would beg of you to remember that weavers also are of value to a state, and that they are sometimes cleverer even than ministers !'
[From Contes Armeniens. Par Frederic Macler.]
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