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Funny Fairy Tales by Ambrose Bierce

Uncalculating Zeal

A MAN-EATING tiger was ravaging the Kingdom of Damnasia, and the
King, greatly concerned for the lives and limbs of his Royal
subjects, promised his daughter Zodroulra to any man who would kill
the animal. After some days Camaraladdin appeared before the King
and claimed the reward.

'But where is the tiger?' the King asked.

'May jackasses sing above my uncle's grave,' replied Camaraladdin,
'if I dared go within a league of him!'

'Wretch!' cried the King, unsheathing his consoler-under-
disappointment; 'how dare you claim my daughter when you have done
nothing to earn her?'

'Thou art wiser, O King, than Solyman the Great, and thy servant is
as dust in the tomb of thy dog, yet thou errest. I did not, it is
true, kill the tiger, but behold! I have brought thee the scalp of
the man who had accumulated five million pieces of gold and was
after more.'

The King drew his consoler-under-disappointment, and, flicking off
Camaraladdin's head, said:

'Learn, caitiff, the expediency of uncalculating zeal. If the
millionaire had been let alone he would have devoured the tiger.'

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