upon a time there was a king who was both curious and in need of amusement
so he sent his heralds throughout his land to invite those who would
compete to a contest for liars. The person judged the most outrageous liar
by the king would receive a golden apple from the king's own hands.
from everywhere. There were nobles, merchants, peasants, and clergymen
in all sizes. Each of these people told the king their lying story, but
the king had heard the lies before so he didn't believe them.
The king was
tired of all this traffic. After all, he was a busy man. He was thinking
of ending the contest without declaring a winner when a poor, ragged
man turned up.
The king politely
asked what the man wanted and the man, looking bewildered said, “Surely
you remember that you owe me a pot of gold and I have come to collect it.
The king indignantly
said, “You liar, you. I don't owe you anything.”
The poor man
said, “If I'm a liar, give me the golden apple and we'll be even.”
The king realized
that there was a trick here somewhere and said, “One second thought, you
are not a liar.”
The poor man
simply said, “If I'm not a liar, just give me my pot of gold
and we'll be even.”
The king thought
about it and handed over the golden apple.