The Tarnished Crown

The tale of the tarnished crown is a story of how greed and trickery are always rewarded in the end. It tells of a king, who liked to gamble.

One day when on a losing streak, and out of coins, he removed his crown from his head and laid it upon the table. "This crown" he said, "represents all that I have. My kingdom, my teasury, my wife and mistresses. I lay this crown down as my wager. One cut from the deck, wins the pot, should you all bet all you have." The men confered for a bit, and decided to do this. "Whoever wins", they said, "must set the rest of them up nice." They all entered all they had, and each cut from the deck. The king drew the highest card, the Purple King. He gathered his winnings, and his crown, and left the table a richer man.

Word spread that the king was willing to risk his kingdom in a game of chance, and soon many were gambling with him. Even nobles from other countries offereing thier lands and fortunes. Several more times it happened and the king offered his crown on the bet, and each time he won the cut. A group of noblemen thought there must be some trickery involved plotted to rid the king of his fortune. They invited him to a card game, but when he arrived they told him they only play at dice. While the king was a bit appaled (dice is a commoners game) but, he did agree to play. The king was losing drastically, and as he ran out of coins, he again placed his crown on the table. This crown represent all that I have, my kingdon, my people, my wife and mistresses. I will wager this crown to the highest roll, if all of you wager all you have." All the men quickly agreed, for they knew one of them held clipped dice. They rolled each and the king for the first time lost his crown. He said not another word, and left the table silently, leaving the crown there. The winner stopped him. "We understand the loss, but we would not leave you to the life of a pauper. Take what we have here", he said. and gave the king the winnings of the table. The king left then, his head hung low in shame. The men cheered and danced and mde ready for thier new lives.

The winner, noticed the crown had not been polished in some time. He took it home and asked his wife to polish it, as tommorow he would need to look great for his correnation. For some reason the crown wouldn't polish, and remained tarnished. The man was upset, but as there was not much that could be done, he readied himself for the next day. The next morning he arrived at the castle, and barked orders to the guard to prepare a feast, and was soon arrested. He was brought before the king, who sat his throne, and had upon his head a shining gold crown. The man said "But sire, I won your kingdom last night. You bet your crown, I have witnesses." The king said to him, you are right, that I did bet my crown. I told you all it meant to me, and bet it. The crown that is. My kingdom was never on the table, only the tarnished crown upon your head. The penalty for impersonating the king, is beheading." The man cried aloud as he was dragged away to the dungeon to await his sentence. The king, sat back in his throne, and relaxed, and the shiny gold crown on his head, tarnished.

Some say this happened a total of five times before the kings died of old age, much wealthier than he started. Some say the crowns of the five winners are our there, and if work, they give the wearer a bout of goodluck, however all who have work them, end thier lives in tragedy.

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