The Fairy Tale about the King (1927)
Not too long ago there lived a terrible king who ruled over a large country, and his power over his subjects was absolute. He was in his best years, healthy, vain, and fat; and like his forefathers he had waged many wars, so his power grew greater and greater. He had sent monstrous armies against peaceful neighbours and caused widespread destruction. Countless numbers of people lost their lives because of him. Yet he continued to act like a god and ruled as he pleased. Everyone trembled before him; nobody dared to refuse his slightest wish. Thousands upon thousands of people worked for him, and actually there was nothing for him to do except indulge his moods. Because he became bored so quickly, he had his fawning servants tell him stories about his ministers and marshals. And when it pleased him, when he became suspicious of one of his close subordinates after hearing some kind of story, he ordered the person concerned to report to him. Then he would make that person look ridiculous, mocking and insulting him so much that the minister or marshal would request to be dismissed from his office. Yet no sooner would the minister or marshal express that wish than the king would become extremely furious. He would take his whip and lash the man to his heart’s content. Then he would have him thrown into prison.