Damocles was one of the courtiers of Dionysius, a King of Sicily. He always flattered the king, saying. “How grand it must be to be a great king like you ! One day Dionysius said to him, “You shall be a king for one day……
Damocles did not believe his ears. He thought that the king was jesting. The next morning the king sent for him. He asked him to take his seat on the throne. Damocles’ heart was in a flutter. He thought he would be the happiest man in the world.
Dionysius quietly slipped away. Damocles found himself on the throne dressed in royal robes. The courtiers stood round him. They praised him to the skies. Their words of praise sounded to him like sweet music.
Just then there was a commotion on one side. Damocles looked up. He stood aghast when he saw a sword above his head. It hung by a thread like horse hair only. Damocles turned pale. What if the sword fell on him! It would be the end of his precious life. His joy came to a sudden end. He now began to count the hours. He wished to get rid of the throne. He even sent a word to the king to allow him to go.
“You cannot leave this place till the day is over,” said the king. “You have got what you wanted.” Downcast and disappointed, Damocles remained where he was. He thought he was the most unhappy mortal alive.
Now it was dinner time. Damocles was offered the choicest dishes but he had no appetite for anything. The sword hanging over his head was terrifying enough to take life .out. of him. He envied the nobles and courtiers. How happy and carefree they looked! How glad he would be to change places with them.
The time wore on. The feast was over. The courtiers retired. Damocles sat all alone brooding over his luck. At last it was evening. The king came. He asked Damocles how he had fared. Damocles fell on his knees. He said that he was very unhappy and wanted to go.
The king took pity on him. He allowed him to leave the throne. He warned him never to say again that the king is the happiest mortal alive. Damocles heaved a sigh of relief. He begged the king’s forgiveness. The king thus taught Damocles a useful lesson. He learnt that —’Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown’.