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When Prince Median was a young child, he dreamed of being much taller than all the other children in the kingdom. But he wasn’t. He wasn’t small but he wasn’t tall. And this made him very angry.
“When I am king, I will be the tallest in all my kingdom. Nothing will be higher than the king”, he told himself.
One day, he did become king. He had grown up and was not small. But he was not tall either. There were many people in the kingdom who were taller than he was.
Even when he was wearing his crown.
The king called for the royal jeweler.
“The king must be taller than everything. Make me a larger crown”, King Median commanded him.
But even with his new crown, he was not the tallest of all.
“Bring me the royal cobbler”, he bellowed to his vassal.
“The king must be taller than everything. Cobbler, make me taller shoes”, commanded the king.
But even when King Median wore his new crown and shoes, he was still not the tallest of all.
“The king must be taller than everything. Build me a taller throne”, he commanded the royal carpenter.
The carpenter built him a very tall throne.
But there were still people in the kingdom who were taller than the king.
“The king must be taller than everything”, he screamed. “Command all the tall people in my kingdom to bend over and never stand up straight again.” And so it was.
By this time, the king was very tall indeed. But one day he saw a butterfly flying over his head.
“Capture the butterfly”, he shouted to his assistants. “The king must be taller than everything”.
The king’s assistants chased after the butterfly with their nets, but it flew higher and higher and finally disappeared.
The king was very angry.
He called for the royal engineers.
“The king must be taller than everything”, he told them.
“Build me a tower.”
The engineers built a tower for the king. He was very tall now, higher than all the people in his kingdom.
For a moment he was happy.
And then a bird flew over his head.
“Raise me even higher”, he told the engineers.
“Higher”, said the king. “Higher”. And the engineers made the tower higher.
And even higher.
By this time, the king’s tower was so high that his head was in the clouds.
He couldn’t see a thing. “How do I know whether I am the tallest of all?”, he asked himself.
“Higher, higher”, he yelled to the engineers below.
The king was now so far above the clouds that he could see the entire kingdom. He was taller than every mountain, higher than every bird and butterfly.
King Median stood proudly atop his tower. “The king is taller than everything”, he told himself.
“You can help me come down now”, King Median said to his engineers.
“Help you what?”
“Take me down, you babbling idiots”.
“What? Raise you even higher?”
So they raised the tower higher, and higher, until they could not hear the king at all.
And to this day, they still cannot.
That was the original ending. Knowing that some people prefer a “Hollywood ending”, I’ve prepared one just for you.
Kindly turn the page.
Day followed night atop the lonely tower. King Median was hungry and thirsty. He took off his royal clothes and fashioned a parachute.
Everyone watched as King Median floated down ever so slowly from the sky. He was wearing little at all. King Median ran straight to the castle.
And never dreamed of being tallest again.
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