Once upon a time, there was a terrible King. This terrible King would amuse his friends by torturing peasants he brought in to his court from the countryside.
His favorite form of torture was fooling peasants into torturing themselves. The King and his court especially loved these sorts of games.
One day he brought in a man from the countryside with grand ambitions for wealth. Knowing this, the terrible King said to him, “I will give you 1/4th of my Kingdom if you allow us to cut off your hands.”
Said the peasant, “but without my hands, how will I work the land, feed myself, clothe myself?”
Said the King, “Fool! When you are rich like I, you’ll have servants to work the land, and to feed you and clothe you.”
“Ah yes, I see.” said the peasant. “Go ahead then,”
And so they cut off his hands.
Said the King, “ah, you’re now a wealthy man indeed! But you could increase your wealth still!”
Said the peasant, “please King, tell me how?”
Said the King, “Ah, but if you will only allow us to remove your eyes and eat them, I will give you a full half of my kingdom!”
“But without my eyes, how shall I see where to go?” asked the peasant.
“Fool!” said the King. “When you are rich like me, you have servants who can see for you! My own eyes are dim and weak, and I have my servants describe to me what they can see and I cannot.’
Considering owning half the kingdom, the peasant king rolled the idea of doubling his wealth back and forth in his mind.
“Ah yes, well then.’ said the peasant. “Let’s go ahead with it.’
As soon as the peasant had agreed, a mystical looking device, gilded with gold, was brought out into the court.
“Just look into this device,” said the King, “and you shall soon be a very rich man indeed!”
The peasant leaned over the box, looked in, and the device snatched out his eyes.
“It is a great honor to be your equal, your honor.” said the peasant.
“Ah yes then!” said the King, “Dress this man in my finest robes! A man whose wealth equals my own, should look the part!”
Servants dressed the man in a robe made of rags, and placed on his head, a crown made of tin.
“If only you could see these fine accouterments…” said the King.
“Ah, yes, “said the peasant, “they seem to be quite nice.”
Said the King, “You are now a very wealthy man! You are my equal, owning half of what was once my kingdom! But how would you like to increase this wealth still?”
Ever greedy, and thinking about how he could soon be even more rich than the King himself, the peasant said, “I would like that very much.”
“Ah yes, well, “said the King, “I have never tasted human tongue. If you let me eat your tongue, I will give you 3/4ths of my kingdom.”
“But how will I call to my servants/” said the man.
“Simple,” said the King, “Once, I fell ill and lost my voice, so the court wizard created a device that allows me to project my thoughts to my servants, directly into their heads.”
The peasant man had never heard of such a thing, but did not want to seem a fool, so he said, “Ah yes, let’s go ahead with it then.”
Another gilded wooden box was brought out to the court, with many mechanical devices within it.
“Just lean forwards into this device,” said the King.
And so the peasant man did. And the device cut out the peasant man’s tongue.
“Just to prove to you how well this thought transfer device works, imagine now the most glorious feast.’
“Ah yes, I see it now” the peasant attempted to say, but could not, as he had no tongue.
The King’s servants brought before the peasant a platter of hot garbage and cold cow feces. The peasant ate all that was served to him, but could not taste, and continued to believe that this was a glorious feast of roasted meats, cheeses, fruits, and other delicious foods.
The King and his court did all they could to avoid laughing at the peasant as he ate garbage and feces.
“Ah! You are such a wealthy man now!’ said the King. “More wealthy than I!”
The peasant smiled, stupidly.
“I have long been King, but I have never eaten human ears before, and it’s such a taboo. Surely you can help me sate this desire?”
The peasant jerked his head up and nodded, excited to rule the entire kingdom.
After his ears were removed, he was placed in a dungeon, where he had no hands with which to feel, no eyes to see, no tongue to speak, and no ears to hear. He thought he was a great and wealthy ruler of the kingdom, and died thinking so.
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