An interesting fable is found in one of the published lectures of the late historian J.B. Bury. Some investigation into its lineage shows that it is of very old date, and has appeared in various literary sources. One was Boccaccio’s Decameron; another was the medieval chronicle Gesta Romanorum; and yet another was from Lessing’s drama Nathan der Weise. In most essentials, the stories agree with each other, and I will reproduce it here.
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