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The sage who came empty-handed


Many centuries ago, a rich sultan gave a banquet in honor of the birth of his son.  All the nobility who partook of the feast brought costly gifts, except a young sage who came empty-handed.  He explained to the sultan, “Today the young prince will receive many precious gifts, jewels and rare coins.  My gift is different. From the time he is old enough to listen until manhood, I will come to the palace every day and tell him stories of our nation’s heroes.  When he becomes our ruler he will be just and honest.”

The young sage kept his word.  When the prince was at last made sultan, he became famous for his wisdom and honor.  To this day, an inscription on a scroll in that ancient city reads. “It was because of the seed sown by the tales.”