A long time ago
so long in fact that the stones that built the kingdom are dust
and the dust has been squeezed again into rock, there was a thief.
This thief was caught (as thieves often are) and was brought before the king.
The thief, knowing that his life was forfeit said to the king
"Oh mighty king, I am but dust to thee. But if you grant me a single year
I will teach your favorite horse to sing."
The king, amused by the thief's boldness, ordered it to be so.
And so, each day the thief was brought from the jail to the stable
where he diligently sang to the king's favorite horse, much to the amusment of the guards, the stable boys and anyone who happened along.
Finally, the guard captain, unable to contain himself any longer said to the thief
"Why do you this, oh thief? Do youo nont know that thy persistance is fruitless?"
And the thief smiled and answered
"I have a year, and in a year much may happen: The horse may die, the king may die, I may die...
or perhaps, just perhaps, the horse will learn to sing."