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Georgian Folk Tales, by Marjory Wardrop [1894], at


The Queen's Whim

A CERTAIN queen wished to have a palace built of the bones of all kinds of birds. The king ordered birds to be caught, and the building was begun. Bones of all kinds were brought and cleaned, and the walls were rising, but they could not find a hedge-sparrow, and, as the queen wanted all sorts of birds, a search was made for the missing one. At last the hedge-sparrow was found, and brought before the king, who asked where she had been. 'Mighty monarch! I have been flying all over the kingdom counting the men and women; unfortunately there are twice as many women as men.' The king ordered the bird to be punished for telling him such a shameless falsehood. 'King of kings,' said the hedge-sparrow, 'perhaps I did not count in the same way as you do.' 'How did you count, then?' 'I counted all those men who are under the slipper of women as old women.' The hedge-sparrow thus hinted that the king himself was an old woman, because he had not strength of mind enough to resist the foolish whims of his wife.

Next: VIII. The Fool's good Fortune