At the palace King Dempsey had summoned all of the merchants in the kingdom to appear before him. No one knew the reason for the summons but the entire court was abuzz with speculation. Of course, it was common knowledge that the king was vain and some suggested that he wished the merchants to find him some rare garment to wear for his extravagant parties; others whispered that the king intended to marry again and was searching for an exquisite jewel to woo the bride-to-be. But despite all the gossip, the king seemed unusually calm. He sat in his throne which was made of solid silver and ornately carved into the shape of a peacock adorned with ruby eyes, sapphire feathers and onyx feet. The throne room itself was covered in carved silver with onyx insets throughout the floor and all the tapestries hanging from the enormous stained glass windows were made of blue velvet, tied back with strings of rubies. It was a ridiculous display of extravagance; as was the emerald green robe trimmed with peacock feathers he had chosen to wear, but this was what was to be expected of King Dempsey.
At long last the merchants were all gathered before the throne and the royal herald rapped his staff on the ground, indicating that the king was about to speak. When the curious murmuring descended into silence, King Dempsey spoke in cool but deliberate tones. “My noble merchants, I do not desire to waste my time so I will plainly state the purpose in summoning you here today. It has reached my ears that the legends of a magic weaver are true and as I am king, I desire to have this talent in my court. All of you sell threads and buy garments in the villages; therefore I command that starting this very day you are to make inquiries in every thread shop and market place to discover the whereabouts of this weaver, but you are to speak your purpose to no one. Whoever finds what I seek must report directly back to me without any delay. The merchant who delivers my prize successfully will be rewarded handsomely but all those who fail will be required to pay double taxes on their garments and threads. Now be on your way for the clock is ticking and I will not be kept waiting.” With that the King waddled out of the room with his feathered robe trailing behind him. All the merchants were left muttering to themselves and cursing the thought of higher taxes if they did not succeed in what seemed to them an impossible task.
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