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The Three Sluggards

THE king of a country a long way off had three sons. He liked one as well as another, and did not know which to leave his kingdom to after his death: so when he was dying he called them all to him, and said, ‘Dear children, the laziest sluggard of the three shall be king after me.’ ‘Then,’ said the eldest, ‘the kingdom is mine; for I am so lazy that when I lie down to sleep, if any thing were to fall into my eyes so that I could not shut them, I should still go on sleeping.’ The second said, ‘Father, the kingdom belongs to me; for l am so lazy that when l sit by the fire to warm myself; I would sooner have my toes burnt than take the trouble to draw my legs back.’ The third said, ‘Father, the kingdom is mine; for l am so lazy that if l were going to be hanged, with the rope round my neck, and somebody were to put a sharp knife into my hands to cut it, I had rather be hanged than raise my hand to do it.’ When the father heard this, he said, ‘You shall be the king; for you are the fittest man.’