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Literature / The Liar (folktale)

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"The Liar" is a famous old Armenian folk tale. The story begins with a King, who being bored one day decides to issue a challenge to all people in his kingdom. The challenge is that whoever can tell him the greatest lie he has ever heard will recieve an apple made of solid gold. People from across the kingdom and from all walks of life traveled to the King's castle to tell him their lie, and yet the King, who had heard just about every grand lie in his lifetime, was not impressed by any of them. Just as he was about to end his contest without declaring a winner, however, a peasant walked into his throneroom carrying a cauldron. The peasant claimed that the King owed him a pot of gold and that he had come to collect. The King denied this claim and called the peasant an outrageous liar. The peasant said that if the King thought he was such a big liar, then he deserved the golden apple. But the King had grown fond of his golden apple, so he declined and said that it wasn't an impressive lie. The peasant, however, retorted that if he were not a liar then he deserved the pot of gold the king "owed" him. The King, caught in this dilemma, had no other choice but to award the peasant with the golden apple and declare him the greatest liar in the kingdom.


Retellings of the tale are easily found in just about any book of Armenian folktales. Animated Adaptations have been made of the folktale as well, one by Soviet Armenian animation studio Armen Film Animated Shorts entitled "Who Will Tell a Fable?" (in this version the stakes were made higher, the prize of the contest was half the kingdom), and more recently, it was adapted at the hands of Armenian-American cartoonist Hayk Manukyan, and can be viewed here.


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