Tales : The Farmer’s Answer

It happened once upon a time that a certain farmer had developed the ability to grow very fine watermelons, and one year he grew one that was larger than anyone had ever seen before. All the people in his region praised this melon and admired the farmer’s skill.

About that time, the king of the country decided he would tour his country in disguise. He did this from time to time, for he liked to know something about his land that did not come through the mouths of his ministers.

The king heard about the enormous melon, and came to visit the farmer. After admiring the melon, he said to the farmer, “Will you give it to me?”

“No,” replied the farmer.

“Then will you sell it to me?” asked the king.

“No,” said the farmer again, “I will not sell it, either. I intend to take it to the king.”

“Oh?” said the king. “And what if the king does not accept it?”

“If the king does not accept such a fine melon as this,” said the farmer, “then he can go to the devil!”

And a few days later, as he had said, the farmer brought his enormous watermelon to the court. When entered the throne room to present it to the king, the farmer recognised his visitor from a few days before, but he did not say so. He merely offered the melon with respect, saying, “Your highness, this melon is yours.”

The king looked keenly at the farmer, and said, “And if I do not accept it?”

The farmer turned red with embarrassment and said, “Then I think your majesty already knows the answer!”

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