The King and the Apple

There was a king who had a beautiful slave whom he loved and honored above the other slaves.
For amusement, the king liked to put an apple on the slave's head and shoot the apple with an arrow.
This game terrified the slave.
"What makes your beautiful face look so ugly?" a fellow slave asked him. "You're his favorite; there's nothing to fear."
"When he hits the apple, he credits his skill," the slave replied, "but if he hits me, he'll say I'm the most useless slave he's ever owned. For my own sake, I hope he hits the apple."

Inspired by: The Conference of the Birds by Farid Ud-Din Attar, translated by S. C. Nott. This is in section 9: Reply of the Hoopoe.
Notes: In the original story, the slave is said to have a body "like silver" and his face would turn "the color of gold" with fear. I'm not sure how that sounds in Persian, but in English it sounded odd, so I changed it to the slave's beautiful face becoming ugly.

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