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Chapter 14: The Bird Has Flown

The king said, “Don’t be worried about the money. But remember one thing: don’t try to cheat me; otherwise death will be the only reward for you. So you can have a palace to yourself; do whatsoever you want to do, but you will be guarded, you cannot leave the palace. And whatsoever money you want, you simply send a message and the money will be delivered to you.”

And the priest started asking millions of rupees everyday. But the king had enough. Within three weeks the priest informed, “The clothes have arrived. A great celebration should be arranged; people should be informed. The whole capital should be decorated with lights, fireworks, balloons, because something absolutely extraordinary is happening.”

And the king did as he was told, and the whole court was waiting with great silence. And the man came with a beautiful box, golden box. He opened the box.but before opening the box, he said to the court, “One thing I should remind you: I have been told by the angels that these clothes can be seen only by those who are born of their own fathers - no bastard can see these clothes. Remember that.”

Then he opened the box - the box was empty. The king looked in, the viziers looked in, and everybody started praising the clothes. Who wants to be called a bastard? Everybody knew that the box is empty, but when others were praising the clothes, everybody thought within his own heart, “It is better to keep absolutely mum. It seems that I am not the son of my father. Only I am not the son of my father, because everybody else is seeing the clothes.”

And when the king saw that, “All the viziers and the courtiers and the queen, everybody is seeing the clothes, so what is the point in saying now that I don’t see?” - he also started praising the clothes. There was great rejoicing, and the crafty priest told the king, “Now give your clothes one by one to me and I will give you the divine clothes.”

His coat was taken, his shirt was taken, his turban was taken.and he was handed nothing, just nothing! Just the gesture, empty gesture. A turban, which didn’t exist at all, was placed on his head. He was looking silly in his own eyes. The shirt disappeared, then he was afraid.then the pants disappeared, then he was standing just with his underpants, afraid: “Now what is this man going to do?” And everybody was clapping and shouting with joy, “Our king has got divine clothes! How beautiful they look!”

Then the crafty priest asked for the underpants. For a moment the king hesitated, but now it was too late. Now to say, “I don’t see,” will be very illogical. Up to now you were seeing - what happened? Suddenly you are not the son of your father? He had to give - reluctantly, but he had to give. He had given his underpants also, now he was standing absolutely naked, just like a Jaina monk. And everybody was clapping and shouting with joy, and people started dancing. And everybody was trying to defeat everybody else, so it is known to everybody that, “I am the son of my own father far more than you are.” It was a great competition.

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