Once after a hearty dinner, one king discovered a poetic talent in himself. He summoned his courtiers and announced that he had become a great poet. Since then, at the whim of the king, everyone would rush to the palace to listen to his works.
All the courtiers would praise and admire his talent: “What wonderful poems! They’re getting better and better! It’s amazing how you manage to keep improving, sire! No one can surpass you!”
“The time has come to reveal my talent to the world!” thought the king.
The king was soon informed that an Armenian poet was passing through the city. The monarch invited the poet to dinner, treated him with a hearty meal, and then, of course, asked him to listen to some of his poems.
He read his poems until midnight, screeching and mourning vigorously in the process. When he finished, he patted the poet on the shoulder and arrogantly asked: “Well, what do you say? Which verses did you like the most?”
The poet took the king’s hand off his shoulder and answered honestly: “Your Majesty, one distinguishing feature of your poems is that they are all tasteless. I did not like any of them.”
The whole courtyard got silent. It got so quiet that one could hear the knees of the courtiers trembling. The king was furious and ordered the poet to be imprisoned.
A week later, the king again invited the poet to dinner. Again, all the courtiers were present along with a table with sumptuous snacks.
The poet was clearly tired and hungry, but the king offered him to listen to his poems before dining. He read everything he had written during the week and then asked: “So, how about this?”
The courtiers applauded the king, awaiting the poet’s review. And he answered very calmly: “You may throw me in jail again.”
This time, the king stayed calm. He laughed heartily and said: “It is better to have an honest friend than many false and hypocritical servants.”
The legend says that the king fired the unreliable servants, stopped writing poetry, and would thereafter rule his kingdom wisely and righteously.
Source: 100 Legends of ArArAt