The Sword Of Damocles

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There was once a king whose name was Dionysius. He was so unjust and cruel that he won for himself the name of tyrant. He knew that almost everybody hated him, and so he was always in dread that someone will try to kill him.
But he was very rich, and he lived in a fine palace where there were many beautiful and costly things, and he was waited upon by a host of servants who were always ready to do whatever he wanted them to do for him. One day a friend of his, whose name was Damocles, said to him,
"How happy you must be! You have here everything that any man could wish."
"Perhaps you would like to change places with me," said Dionysus.
"No, not that, O king!" said Damocles; "but I think, that, if I could only have your riches and your pleasures for one day, I should not want any greater happiness."
"Very well," said Dionysus. "You shall have them."
And so, the next day, Damocles was led into the palace, and all the servants were instructed to treat him as their master. He sat down at a table in the banquet hall, and rich foods were placed before him. There was everything that could give him pleasure. There were costly wines, and beautiful flowers, and delightful music. He laid on the soft cushions, and felt that he was the happiest man in all the world.
But when he raised his eyes toward the ceiling ; what did he see that was dangling above him, with its point almost touching his head? It was a sharp sword, and it was hanging by only a single thread. Damocles had an horrible thought that the thread could break , and there was danger every moment that it would do so.
The smile faded from the lips of Damocles. His face became pale with fear. His hands trembled. He wanted no more food; he could drink no more wine; even the music did not interest him anymore. He wanted to be out of the palace, and away, as soon as possible, and to anywhere possible.
"What is the matter?" said Dionysus.
"That sword! That sword!" cried Damocles. He was so badly frightened


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