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Immune to flattery
By Stuart Kerner

A mighty ruler king was informed one day by his advisers that a certain man was approaching who had made a career of flattery, and he was coming to the palace.

‘Be on your guard, Your Majesty,’ warned his advisers. ‘This fellow wins the favour of the high and mighty through flattery, and then gets them to part with costly gifts or grants of land.’

‘I’m too hard-headed to fall for such tricks,’ said the king. ‘ Let him come.’

When the man came he recited a verse in the ruler’s honour and fell at his feet: ‘How honoured I am to be in the same room as the mightiest of monarchs,’ he intoned. ‘I find myself blinded by the radiance of your beauty, the glory of your presence, your divine charm, your grace, your elegance …’

He went on in this fashion for about twenty minutes. When he paused for breath, one of the advisers seized the opportunity to have a quick word with his royal master.

‘Didn’t we warn you, Your Majesty,’ he said. ‘ He is a glib talker.’

‘Have no fear,’ replied the king. ‘As I told you it’s not easy to trick me. The moment he starts to flatter me I’ll have him thrown out. But so far he has spoken nothing but the truth.’


Do you only hear the good things people say and close your ears to criticism?


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