Once upon a time there lived a foolish king and a famous magician. One day this magician foretold（預言） the death of a rich merchant, who was a favorite of the king.
It happened that the merchant died on that day. The magician never thought that this would cause a lot of trouble. When the king heard that his friend had died, he got very angry. He said it was the magician"s fault, and sent for him at once.
When the magician came in, the king said to him, “I know you are able to foretell the death of others, but can you foretell the date of your own death?”
When the poor man heard this, he was very frightened. He knew that the king was angry with him and wanted to have him killed. For a few minutes he did not answer.
He didn"t know what he could say to save himself. Then he had an idea. “Your Majesty（陛下）,” he said bowing, “I cannot foretell the exact date of my death, but I know that I shall die one day before the death of Your Majesty.”
When the king heard this, it was his turn to be afraid. He thought, if I cut his head today, I"ll die tomorrow. No, I can"t do this. I"ll let him live as long as possible.
Instead of killing the magician, the king now ordered his best doctors to look after him and his strongest soldiers to protect him. And he said to all his men, “Everything must be done to make him live as long as possible.”
foretell [f???tel] v.預言