Tales : The Single Flaw in the Palace

There was, once upon a time, a king who built for himself an extraordinarily magnificent palace. He poured uncounted wealth into it, erecting gilded towers and shapely cupolas, and adorning every hall with the finest carpets and luxurious divans spread with silken brocades that were refreshing to both the eye and to the hand.

When the palace was complete, he invited people from every country of the world to come and marvel at his creation. After presenting the guests with fine gifts, he bade them be seated and tell him how they found his palace. “Has anything been overlooked?” he asked them. “Has anything been forgotten? Please tell me.”

But as the king had hoped, all the guests affirmed that the palace was beyond description, and that even with the closest examination they could not say that anything was lacking – all the guests, that is, save one, a certain Sage who rose to his feet, and politely declared, “Sire, you have built a truly splendid palace, to which paradise itself would pay homage, if it were not for one small crevice which to my humble eye appears to be a blemish.”

These words stung the pride of the king, who said, “Blemish? I see no blemish. What crevice are you speaking of? You are an ignorant person, merely seeking to make yourself important. This palace is perfection itself.”

“Not so, O King, not so,” said the Sage. “It would be perfect if it were not for the crevice of which I speak. Alas, it is the opening through which Azrael, the Angel of Death will someday enter. What a pity that you are unable to stop that gap, O King, for when Azrael comes, all of this glittering magnificence will be no more to you than a handful of dust.”

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