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March 30, 2009 Posted by Tahir in Books

The King, the Dog, and the Golden Bowl IV

Then an old man appeared, in a rough woollen robe, and with a stick in his hand, upon which he leant heavily.

“Greetings my son,” said the old man. “What brings you to this place?”
“Some time ago I came here in rags,” said Hassan, and was fortunate  enough to be given the meat from its bowl by this dog here. When I left I took the bowl, sold it, and replenished my fortunes, and now I have come to repay the debt, and returned his bowl.”
“All those times are gone,” said the old man, “the vanity and pomp which was once my court has vanished.”
Hassan now saw that this was indeed the generous king whom he had seen feeding the poor and needy in the great palace long ago.
“Your Majesty,” said he, “please take this bowl which I have brought.”
“No,” said the old king, “I had no need for anything, except that which I have here. My hounds catch me game from my one daily meal, and my old gardener has remained with me and continues to grow some roses and vegetables for me. Together, he, I, and the hounds managed to enjoy our lives. After my enemies destroyed my city and my people were taken away in slavery, I have lived very simply here.”
“But, the bowl,”  said Hassan, “May I not leave it to your Majesty?
  “If a dog of mine thought it fit to give away his bowl,” said the King, “it is not for me to take it back. I am sure that he has no need of it now. Oh, return from whence you came, we are sufficiently provided for at the present time.”
So, bowing to the king, Hassan mounted his horse and rode away. He looked back, and saw the old man, leaning upon his stick, wavered last farewell, and then disappear back into the ruins, with his three hounds about him.
 And Hassan, in after days, often told the story, that men should not forget the tale of the King the Dog and the Golden bowl.



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