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Folklore: Answer 3 questions by the king

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KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT OF CANTERBURY


Related threads:
DTStudy: King John and the Bishop (Child #45) (21)
Happy! – Dec 24 (Bad King John) (1)


CeltArctic 15 Feb 16 - 07:46 PM
NOMADMan 15 Feb 16 - 08:11 PM
CeltArctic 15 Feb 16 - 09:24 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Answer 3 questions by the king
From: CeltArctic
Date: 15 Feb 16 - 07:46 PM

Hello all,

My father used to tell a traditional Scottish folktale called Donald and the Skull. There is a part of the story which I am certain I have heard in a ballad, almost verbatim. But I am damned if I can recall the name of the ballad or who I heard singing it.   I am really hoping someone here will know.

The part of the story is this:

A king demands that someone answer three questions in order to avoid being executed for something. His idiot brother offers to go in his stead. He stands before the king and is asked the three questions:

King: How much am I worth?
Brother: Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver, so you can't be worth more than that.

King: How long would it take me to go around the earth?
Brother: The sun does it in 24 hours, so you can't go quicker than that.

King: What am I thinking?
Brother: You think you are talking to my brother.

So, does this ring any bells with anyone?

Moira


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Answer 3 questions by the king
From: NOMADMan
Date: 15 Feb 16 - 08:11 PM

This is the tale related in Child #45, "King John and the Bishop." There the king has threatened to behead the Bishop if he can't answer the questions. The king asks the questions of a shepherd who has been hired by the Bishop to go to the king masquerading as the Bishop. He gives the same answers related here except for "what I do think." To that one he replies, "You think I'm the Bishop of Canterbury" He then identifies himself. The king is amused. He ends the game and tries to elevate the shepherd to the Bishop's post but is thwarted in that when the shepherd informs him that he is illiterate. The Bishop, of course, survives.

Regards,
John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Answer 3 questions by the king
From: CeltArctic
Date: 15 Feb 16 - 09:24 PM

Thanks, John. I just figured it out myself. This story of the three questions is told in many folk traditions in a story format. Obviously it is a very popular idea.


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