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The Folktale Project

Jul 20, 2018

Once upon a time there lived a king who liked to walk in disguise about the streets of the city, listening at people's doors. It was, in fact, his favorite amusement. Other kings of that land had been fond of war or hunting or fishing or games, but there had never before been one who liked to listen at doors. For this reason he was called "the listening king."

"It is the greatest fun I have," he often said to his counsellors. "Being a king would be a stupid life if one didn't have some diversion."

"Be careful that it does not get you into trouble," said the wise men. "We have often heard that listening to other people's secrets is a dangerous practice."

"I've had nothing but pleasure from it, anyway," the king would reply. Then he would add, "So far, at least."