The Generous King
Many hundreds of years ago, in Ancient Persia, there lived a great and powerful king called Cyrus. He had conquered many nations and ruled over a vast empire. Amongst his subjects was a man named Crœsus who had himself been a king until his country, Lydia, had been captured by Cyrus’s armies and he had been taken prisoner.
One day Crœsus, who had become a
friend and companion of Cyrus remarked on his liberality. He had watched the
king distribute gold and riches amongst his courtiers, and he was made anxious
by this excessive generosity.
“Oh my liege,” said Crœsus, “far be it from me to advise you, but surely if you give away your wealth so freely you will become very poor; would it not be better to save all these riches?”
Cyrus smiled at his companion.
“Tell me friend,” he said, “how much do you suppose I would have now if during all my reign I’d kept everything and given away nothing?”
Crœsus pondered a moment and then named an immense sum.
“Very well,” said Cyrus, “I will send round to my friends and subjects and tell them that I am in need of money; you shall see the result.”
Messengers were despatched and
when they had returned king Cyrus took Crœsus to see the gifts that had been
Crœsus’s eyes opened wide with wonder when he beheld a great heap of gold, of far greater value than the sum he had named.
“If I had hoarded my wealth,” said Cyrus, “I should be envied and hated by my people; whereas because I have treated them with generosity they love and respect me and I can in a moment have more gold than I could have saved in many years.”
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