In the good old days a Clown in the East, on a visit to a city kinsman, while at dinner pointed to a burning candle and asked what it was. The city man said, in jest, it was a Sunling, or one of the children of the sun.
The Clown thought that it was something rare; so he waited for an opportunity, and hid it in a chest of drawers close by. Soon the chest caught fire, then the curtains by its side, then the room, then the whole house.
After the flames had been put down, the city man and the Clown went into the burnt building to see what remained. The Clown turned over the embers of the chest of drawers. The city man asked what he was seeking for. The Clown said: “It is in this chest that I hid the bright Sunling; I wish to know if he has survived the flames.”
“Alas,” said the city man, who now found out the cause of all the mischief, “Never jest with fools!”
The Despot and the Wag
A Despot in the East wished to have a great name as a very munificent prince, so he gave large presents to every one of note that came to his court, but at the same time his officers had secret orders to waylay the recipients of his gifts and recover them.
In this manner many a man had been rewarded and plundered. Once a wag came to court, and amused every one by his drolleries. The King gave him a great many presents, including a horse. After taking leave of the King and his courtiers, the Wag bundled up the presents and put them over his shoulders, and mounting the horse, facing the tail, was going out. The King asked him why he acted in that manner.
“Sire,” said the Wag, “simply to see if your officers were coming behind, that I may at once hand over the bundle to them and go about my business.”
The Despot was abashed, and stopped giving any more presents, saying: “Giving is but giving in vain, when we give to take again.”
The Crane and the Fool
In the East there lived a Fool, who went one day to his fields and said: “I sowed a month ago; should the crops stand two months more, I shall get three hundred bushels of corn. But I am in a hurry, so if I should reap now, I dare say I shall have one hundred bushels at least.”
A Crane who heard his words said: “If I were you, I should have all the three hundred bushels this very day.”
“How?” said the Fool.
“Why,” said the Crane, “you stored up water in the tank to feed the crops for three months. A month has elapsed, so water enough for two months more remains in the tank. Should you open the sluices and let all the water flow into the fields, you will have all the corn at once.”
“Are you sure I shall have all the corn at once?” said the Fool.