Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Once there was a wise king who was looking for a sage and devoted adviser to help him in his activities and especially in the judgments he made for people.
Therefore he called before him five of his best and most reliable people, from which to choose the most faithful. He opened a golden box and took out from it five big, refulgent diamonds and told them:
”The one who gives me the most precious advice will receive a diamond as a reward.”
And the first one rushed to say:
”What advice could we give you, your grace?” ”We are some worms and your grace is so dignified, you are life itself, you are the treasury yourself with the power you have.”
The king thanked him for his words and gave him the first diamond. Then it came the turn of the second one who wove a nice word of praise for the king and for this he got the second diamond. The third and the fourth did the same and they received their diamonds too. It was left only one more diamond in the box. The king took it out and keeping it in his hand addressed the fifth:
”It came your turn now to get the last diamond.” ”I am listening to you.”
Then that man stood respectfully before the king, made a curtsey and said:
”Your grace, you are very powerful and have big wealth but these were given to you by God so that you would prove worthy of ruling your people.” ”For this reason, I, your servant, advice you to use all the gifts you have and all your riches lovingly and justly for the good of your people.” ”This is the advice I give you.”
Then the king put the diamond back in the box and said:
”Because you expressed your opinion without any fear or flattery I will give you something more precious than the diamond.” ”You will have my trust and you will be my first counselor to advise me how to rule my people reputably all the time.”
The next morning the other four counselors came before the king and they were pale because of their disappointment. They scarcely mumbled:
”Your grace, there must have been made a mistake, because the diamonds are fake.” ”We went and checked them.” ”They are some plain stones that are shining”, they said, falling down at his feet and trying to contain their anger.
”But you offered me false words”, the king answered them sharply. ”Only false diamonds match false flattery.” ”Go away from here!”