: True Stories Of Wonderful Deeds
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
So they praised him every day, and told him that all he d
d 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
"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.'"