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The King Who Changed His Ways

Published October 1, 1975
Countries: None
Age Levels: 12 and up

Many years ago people suffered under the rule of a very cruel King.  The King's only interest was filling his treasury with money.  He taxed his people heavily.  He was always inventing new taxes he could charge.  When anyone resisted playing the unfair taxes, the King found a way to confiscate their property for his treasury.

A time came when no one in the kingdom had any money.  No one had a single lira, or coin, to spend.

The King thought of a way to see if he truly had all the money in he land.  He took a beautiful maiden from her home and had her brought to the palace.  He had her dressed in the finest clothing available and offered her for sale as a slave at the marketplace.  The price was to be a single lira.  Men all over the land wanted to buy the girl.  However, not one had even one coin to pay the price to buy her.

Ahmed was the son of a once wealthy merchant.  His father's business had been ruined by the high taxes, and his father had died.  Ahmed now lived at home, caring for his aging mother.  As he passed the market, he saw the girl.  She was so lovely.  She should not be forced to work for anyone.  He wanted to buy her and set her free.  Oh, he would love to have her as his wife.

Ahmed thought about a special secret his mother had shared with him.  There was a single coin that she had kept hidden away at home.  Mother called it a special coin.  It was the first lira his father had earned in his business.  Certainly, Mother would agree that the price of freeing this girl and possibly gaining a daughter-in-law would be a good use of the special coin.

Ahmed ran home with home in his heart.   But his hope was crushed when he looked in the hidden place.  The coin was gone!  "Mother," he called!  "Where is our special coin?"   He told her about the beautiful girl and his desire to set her free.

Mother wept and told Ahmed where the coin went.  "I buried the coin with your father," she said.  Our parents once told us stories that the dead had to be buried with a coin in their mouth.  The coin paid for the passage to the afterlife.  I thought it best to bury your father with the coin, just in case the stories were true."

Ahmed kissed his Mother on the cheek and left her side.  He ran to the graveyard where his father was buried.  He felt certain that his father would want him to have the coin.  Before long, Ahmed was on the way to the market with the coin in his hand.  In his mind, he knew that he would first buy the girl's freedom.  Then he would befriend her and court her and someday propose to take her as his wife.

The greedy King was just congratulating himself for owning every single lira in the realm when Ahmed arrived at the market.  The boy had a coin.  He carried one lira that he offered to buy the girl's freedom.  Where did he get that coin?

Guards brought Ahmed before the King.  He was forced to tell where the coin had come from.  As the King heard how Ahmed had obtained the coin from his own Father's grave, a tear fell from his eye.  "My own greed has forced one of my people to disturb the dead.  I am so ashamed of myself," he thought.  Then the King swore to change his ways.

The girl was freed without payment of the coin.  Of cource, she fell instantly in love with the young man who had arranged for her freedom.  The King distributed his wealth among his subjects.  His kingdom became a place filled with justice.

The King had a bell hung next to the walls of the city gate.  He had a rope tied to the bell and announced, "If ever an injustice happens again in my kingdom... All anyone has to do is pull the rope.  If ever I hear the bell, I will come and correct the wrong."

The King's words even came to the ears of a little bird that lived just outside the city walls.  When a snake threatened to eat her young hatchlings, she flew to the King's bell and pulled the rope.  The King heard the bell and called to his guards.  The guards followed the bird.  It led the guards directly to its nest.  The guards saw the snake and killed it right before it could swallow the hatchlings.

"Now, I can die in peace," said the King.  "Once, my wickedness disturbed the dead!  Now, my justice even reaches the birds of the air."

Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs.