The Delphic oracle prophesied that a great pestilence would sweep over the land, cleansing it of all the weak and the corrupt. To hide the pronouncement from the masses, the Grecian king appeased the soothsayer with sacrifices of his most prized possessions each year. The stakes crossed the line however when the oracle wished to see the king’s stallion. Outright refusal would not suffice and so a plan was actuated to replace the steed with a lesser stock. Manes were trimmed, muzzles cleanly waxed, and calves embronzed to imitate the true prize. On the day of the offering, the king unveiled the nigh indistinguishable impostor to the gasps of the court. The priestess starred for a hard minute before replying face in palm.
“I thought it taller and nobler, but I see now its dense backside. A blind ass would have done better.”
Her mordant wit flew over everyone’s heads.
Entry to this week’s What Pegman Saw! Location is La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná in Paraguay.
A young prince once asked an old cripple how he could sleep so soundly each night. The cripple responded that he had been born with his deformities and had learned to live with this fact. Curious, the prince offered to have his best doctors and servants treat him. The old man chuckled and politely declined, replying that he was content with his lot in life. That night, the boy dreamed that he had turned into the cripple who begged for his livelihood. Waking up from the nightmare, he swore to never let such a fate come to pass.
Decades later in old age, the prince who ascended the throne and became king wandered the halls alone at night. Now an insomniac, he cursed the cripple for having steered him onto his current path. On his deathbed, the man finally broke down and begged for a reprieve. His wish was granted.
A blind seer cast rock and stone into a bottomless well. The sounds of slab breaking against the walls drew echoes that painted him a picture. Whispering a dire prophecy to the King, the seer then retreated into the cave. The next day, the King’s men returned with malevolent footsteps. Charging the seer with speaking untruths, they arrested and imprisoned him. During the interrogation, the seer told his account. “I heard the sound of movements amid tumbling rocks. Someone was hiding in the depths awaiting his majesty”. The interrogator smirked and cut out the fool’s tongue.
An old copper ring sat in a jewelry case on display for years. Surrounded by emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, the buyers ignored it for they saw neither splendor nor significance. One day, a young boy asked the store owner why he placed the equivalent of a peasant alongside royalty? The owner responded, “The peasants are the true masters of the land for they till the soil and produce the grains we eat. Whilst the nobles all seek an entrance to royalty, they forget who they actually serve”. The young boy nodded and bought the dull looking band. A heir to the throne, he would win the support of the people as he came of age. On the day of coronation, the copper ring could still be seen on his hands, this time radiant in the eyes of an entire nation.
Water! I’ll give you anything in my land for a sip of water cried the thirsty King who was at his wit’s end. The desert merchant, pitying the king’s predicament, gave him his water pouch free of charge. Heading West, the King encounters a beggar dying of thirst. My King! Spare me a sip of your water and I will guide you out of the desert. Nonsense! Retorted the King. My kingdom is just over the other side of that canyon… Traveling between the high ridges, a flash-flood sweeps through the valley and the King drowns.