The Cleverness That Saved Her Life
Once in Chile , there lived a young king who was very clever. He believed that cleverness was the most important thing in the world. He often played jokes on others and tried to outwit his advisers by asking them lots of riddles .
When the young king began to look for a wife, he set out to look for a woman just as clever as he was. He went to each village in his country and asked girls the question: “If you take very good care of a basil* plant, how many leaves will it grow?” None of the young women in the villages could answer the question, and they all went away embarrassed by their lack of cleverness.
One day the young king came to a village where a clever young woman named Carmelita lived. The king asked her the same question. Carmelita looked the king straight in the eye. “I’ll give you the answer,” she said, “as soon as you tell me how many fish there are swimming in the sea.”
The king could not answer her and was impressed by her cleverness. He came back to the village the following week to try to outwit Carmelita, but once again she was too smart for him. Then the king knew that this was the woman he wanted to marry. He asked Carmelita to be his queen. She agreed on one condition. “I’ll write down a request and seal it in an envelope,” she said. “When it is my time to die, I want you to open the envelope and grant me my last wish.” The king agreed. So Carmelita signed and sealed her request and then gave it to the king.
After they were married, the young king was often impressed by how clever Carmelita was. However, one day he became angry when Carmelita showed her cleverness in front of others. So he sentenced Carmelita to death.
Carmelita said nothing except to remind her husband that he had promised to grant her a last wish. So the king opened the envelope and read the words inside. Then he laughed, hugged his wife and canceled her sentence of death. Can you guess what Carmelita’s last request was?