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Canute
There was once a king of England, named Canute, who was a brave and clever man. But he had many lords in his court who were very foolish. They feared their master, and wished to please him, and because they knew that he was somewhat vain of his strength and cleverness, they thought he would like to be told that he was great, and wise, and powerful.

So they praised him every day, and told him that all he did and all he said was good. They said he was the greatest king on earth, and there was nothing in the world too hard for him to do if he chose. At last King Canute tired of their vain words.

One day, as he walked with his lords on the sea-shore, one of them told him that even the waves would obey him.

"Bring a chair," said Canute, "and place it close to the water."

The chair was brought, and set upon the sand, and the king sat down and spoke to the waves.

"I command you to come no farther," cried he.

But the waves came on and on, until they wetted Canute's feet, and splashed his chair.

Then the king rose and went to his lords, who were standing a little way off, staring at their master, and talking in low tones about his strange conduct.

"Learn from this to keep your tongues from idle praise," said he sternly. "No king is great and powerful but God. He only can say to the sea: 'Thus far shalt thou come, and no farther.'"


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