The swordmaker's sonThere was a craftsman who used to make swords for all the soldiers in the kingdom. One day he made some extraordinary swords and he took them to the king, hoping to get a reward. As soon as the king saw the swords, he took one and started hammering a stone with it. Immediately the sword broke into pieces. So the king said, “I don’t need that kind of sword. It is useless!” The craftsman was very sad.
A few days later he came to the palace again with a new sword. This time he said to the king, “This sword is far better than the previous one.”
The king took it and again started striking it against a solid stone. In no time it broke in two. The king said, “Don’t come to me any more. I will give you money, since that is what you want. But don’t bother me with any more swords. Don’t come again!”
A few days later the craftsman’s son came to the king with another sword. The son was very clever. He didn’t tell the king that he was the craftsman’s son. He simply said, “I have heard that somebody brought you swords twice and you didn’t like them. Now I am sure that you will like this sword that I have made. It will take anybody’s life in a twinkling of an eye.”
Immediately the king took the sword and was about to strike it against a stone. The boy, who had been warned about this, said, “Please, please, wait! Swords are not meant for stones. They are meant for men. What use is it to strike a stone if you want to test a sword? You use a sword to kill someone or to defend yourself. You can apply it on me and see if it is really powerful.”
The king said, “All right, I am ready. I am going to use it.”
The king picked up the sword and was about to strike the boy when the boy said, “O King, you are a noble ruler. Will you not allow me to use a shield to protect myself? If you fight someone, will you not allow that person to at least have armour?”
The boy put on armour and then said, “Now you strike me and see if the sword breaks or not.”
As the king lifted the sword, suddenly the boy pulled out another sword to defend himself. “What are you doing?” cried the king.
“O King,” replied the boy, “you are attacking me. Should I not defend myself? This sword is my protection. You are a noble King and I am a noble soldier.”
The king, who was very pleased with the boy’s intelligence, said to the boy, “Then you are ready to be one of my knights.” So he made the boy a knight.