The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

Click the image above to fetch a new random story.

King Presented with a Riddle

I announced that my daughter was to be wed straight away, and a crowd of eager suitors assembled at the palace. I was trying to figure out how to select the most suitable partner for the spoiled girl when a farmer stepped forward.

“You will know that the tiger, who is king of beasts, hunts only in the forest,” he declared, “while the jackals hunt everywhere they can pick something up.”

Jackals and tigers? What the devil was he talking about? “The man must be mad,” I fumed.

“I would only remind your Majesty that there are plenty of jackals gathered here today to try and lay claim to your daughter, but, O king, do not pretend to mistake the howl of a jackal with the hunting cry of a tiger.”

I grew hot and pale. Many years ago, my wife and I had had an argument about jackals and tigers. I sent her away in order to maintain my position that a tiger was howling outside the palace that night, and not a jackal, as she insisted. I have regretted my foolishness ever since.

I cleared the court. I had much to learn from the riddle of this farmer.

The King Presented with a Riddle in Jackal or Tiger? Olive Fairy Book