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TITLE
The King and the Honest Man
EXTERNAL ID
HC_GAELICSTORYTAPE_016
DATE OF RECORDING
1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
2350
KEYWORDS
oral tradition
folklore
stories
Gaelic
story telling
audio

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This story is recorded in Gaelic and the following is an English translation.

The King and the Honest Man.

Long ago, in an eastern country, the king was trying to find an honest man who would collect the taxes from the people. He did not know at all, or where in the wide world, he would get a man who would be suitable for the work. Honest people, you understand, are just as rare there as in our own country and everywhere else. But at any rate, at long last, he asked for advice from a faithful old friend of his own. That one was not long in telling him what he ought to do.

"You just send word out throughout the land that you need a man who will collect the taxes for you", his friend said to the king. "Give an invitation to everyone who wants the work to come to the palace on a certain night. I myself will choose an honest man for you from that group."

The king accepted this advice willingly and happily. On the evening which was appointed a large company of people of every sort gathered at the palace. Each one of them expected that he himself would get the job.

They were all told to go in to where the king was. Before they reached the large regal room they had to go through a small, narrow, dark room. As soon as all the men were assembled together before the king the king's friend whispered softly in his ear.

"Tell them to dance," he said.

"The first thing you have to do is to dance," said the king. "Come on, then, begin. Come on, let all of you dance."

Strange and unusual was what happened now. There was no-one there, among the whole company, who did not become ashamed, and who did not say that he would rather not do that - except one man only who did exactly as he was told. He began to dance in a lively manner.

"There you now have," said his friend to the king, "the honest man you were looking for. He will do the work correctly and faithfully. I'll guarantee you that."

"But how do you know that?" asked the king.

"Just like this," replied the other one. "I shall tell you what happened here tonight. I put a row of bags full of money in the small, narrow room. The men came in, one after another, and each man that came filled his pockets from the money-bags ... that is, every man except this one who was dancing for you. There is not an honest man here apart from him. When you told them to dance they were terrified of doing that, for they knew perfectly well that when they would start dancing the coins would start jingling in their pockets and that that would tell the whole world how dishonest they are."

And there you have the way the king found the honest man whom he required.

This story is from a collection of stories available on tape, with an accompanying book, under the title 'Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd'

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The King and the Honest Man

1990s

oral tradition; folklore; stories; Gaelic; story telling; audio

The Highland Council

Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd (Cassette)

This story is recorded in Gaelic and the following is an English translation.<br /> <br /> The King and the Honest Man.<br /> <br /> Long ago, in an eastern country, the king was trying to find an honest man who would collect the taxes from the people. He did not know at all, or where in the wide world, he would get a man who would be suitable for the work. Honest people, you understand, are just as rare there as in our own country and everywhere else. But at any rate, at long last, he asked for advice from a faithful old friend of his own. That one was not long in telling him what he ought to do.<br /> <br /> "You just send word out throughout the land that you need a man who will collect the taxes for you", his friend said to the king. "Give an invitation to everyone who wants the work to come to the palace on a certain night. I myself will choose an honest man for you from that group."<br /> <br /> The king accepted this advice willingly and happily. On the evening which was appointed a large company of people of every sort gathered at the palace. Each one of them expected that he himself would get the job.<br /> <br /> They were all told to go in to where the king was. Before they reached the large regal room they had to go through a small, narrow, dark room. As soon as all the men were assembled together before the king the king's friend whispered softly in his ear.<br /> <br /> "Tell them to dance," he said.<br /> <br /> "The first thing you have to do is to dance," said the king. "Come on, then, begin. Come on, let all of you dance."<br /> <br /> Strange and unusual was what happened now. There was no-one there, among the whole company, who did not become ashamed, and who did not say that he would rather not do that - except one man only who did exactly as he was told. He began to dance in a lively manner.<br /> <br /> "There you now have," said his friend to the king, "the honest man you were looking for. He will do the work correctly and faithfully. I'll guarantee you that."<br /> <br /> "But how do you know that?" asked the king.<br /> <br /> "Just like this," replied the other one. "I shall tell you what happened here tonight. I put a row of bags full of money in the small, narrow room. The men came in, one after another, and each man that came filled his pockets from the money-bags ... that is, every man except this one who was dancing for you. There is not an honest man here apart from him. When you told them to dance they were terrified of doing that, for they knew perfectly well that when they would start dancing the coins would start jingling in their pockets and that that would tell the whole world how dishonest they are."<br /> <br /> And there you have the way the king found the honest man whom he required.<br /> <br /> This story is from a collection of stories available on tape, with an accompanying book, under the title 'Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd'