There was once a rash and hasty king. He was never in the habit of pondering before he took severe action.
One morning the royal barber cut the king accidentally while shaving him. The royal stables caught fire a little while later, and the king’s favourite horse was burnt to death. And then the king received terrible news. One of his ships sank at sea.
“Which was the evil face I saw this morning that I am beset with such calamities?” the king thought. Then he recollected how he met the washerman while walking just before dawn.
“Get hold of that dog of a washerman and hang him for all the troubles he has brought upon me,” the king ordered his men. The washerman was brought, tried and sentenced to be hanged. The entire town gathered to see the hanging.
At the last moment, the washerman wanted to appeal to the king.
“Well,” said the king. “What do you want?” “Sire,” said the washerman, “first thing in the morning, you saw my face, and you had a gash on the chin, a horse burnt in the stables and a ship sunk at sea. I, too, looked upon your face first thing in the morning and saw what I am getting!” The king was put to shame before his subjects. He cancelled the punishment for the washerman at once. From then on, he never came to hasty conclusions.
Chandamama October 1955 | G. R. NATHAN