42. The Beggar and the King

A beggar fell at the king's feet, professing his love.
"For daring to love me," said the king, "you must choose: beheading or exile."
"O beloved king," replied the beggar, weeping, "I will go into exile."
But the king ordered the guards to behead him.
Later, in private, the king's minister asked, "Why did you execute that beggar?"
"Because he wasn't a true lover," replied the king. "If he truly loved me, he would have chosen death, and then I would have spared him and become his dervish. But he loved his head better; he didn't love me at all."

Inspired by: The Conference of the Birds by Farid Ud-Din Attar, translated by S. C. Nott
Notes: This is in section 20: The King and the Beggar. The story is about "the king of Egypt."

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