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War of Words


A king sent a message to the ruler of a neighbouring country. The message read: "Send me a blue diamond as large as a pigeon's egg or else..."
The king on getting the message wrote back:
"We don't have such a diamond and if we had..."
The first king got very angry and declared war on his neighbour. The fighting went on for several months till a third king arranged a meeting between the two warring rulers. So they met and the first king said to the other: "What did you mean when you said, 'Send me a blue diamond as large as a pigeon's egg or else...'?"
"Why," he replied, "I meant a blue diamond as large as a pigeon's egg or else... some other diamond. I love diamonds. But what did you mean when you said, 'We don't have such a diamond and if we had-'?"
"It is easy to guess my meaning," said the other man. "What I wanted to say was, if we had such a diamond we would have gladly sent it to you."
The Kings pledged to write more clearly in future communications and embraced and made peace.


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