There was peace between Sultan Muhammad, king of the Turks, and his father-in-law Demetrius, king of the Morea. Sultan Muhammad sent many gifts of precious stones and pearls as befits a king to Demetrius his father-in-law because of his love for his daughter. Then Demetrius sent back to his son-in-law a certain fine golden chest that was closed and doubly sealed with his seals. He ordered his messenger that nobody was to open the chest except the king himself. King Demitrius sent the Sultan Muhammad a certain letter, saying, “Thank you, indeed. Your kindness and goodness has reached me and restored my soul; and now let my lord receive this blessing from your servant. So says Demetrius, who seeks your peace and well-being.”
The sultan was astonished at this closed and sealed golden chest and said to himself, “Maybe it contains precious stones and jewels which are few in number but of high quality and value.” So he opened the chest and in it he found one small taffeta.
The sultan “was furious, his anger boiling inside” (Esther 1:12) at this gift and he exclaimed to his people, “Do you see how this unbelieving wretch repays me, mocking me and sending me this single herb!” In his anger, he showed the taffeta to all his ministers and attendants and they were astonished but feared to say anything. The sultan ordered his people, “Prepare food and swords, for in seven days’ time we shall go to war against him, since he considers that I am worthless.”
The following day the holy rabbi of Canstantinople was seated and learning, as was his custom when the sultan sent for him and told him what had happened and showed him the herb. The sage inspected it with his wondrous wisdom and saw that this matter was of the Holy One, blessed be He. The holy rabbi realized that “the king’s anger is a messenger of death; the wise will calm him. (Proverbs 16:14) The wise man took a deep breath and explained to the sultan, “My lord sultan, listen to me, for you are a wise man and a mighty ruler. He has not sent you this without reason. What have your ministers and attendants said of it?”
“They have said nothing and looked not into this matter,” said the king.
Then the holy rabbi explained, “This small amount here is worth more than all the silver and gold and precious stones and pearls in the world. For my lord the sultan has sent him money, but he has sent my lord something that can deliver you from evil. For when my lord goes to hunt or in some place where there are wild and savage beasts, take the taffeta with you. As soon as any evil beast smells it, they will fall apart limb from limb. And the way to test it is to take it to a place where there are evil beasts.”
So a man whom the king held to be his enemy went and slept with it beneath him in a dangerous place. When he and the others who were with him woke up in the morning, they found that the wild beasts were scattered limb from limb.
When the sultan saw the wisdom of the rabbi, he gave praises to the Holy One, blessed be He. The sultan learned that “one who is slow to anger has great understanding.” (Proverbs 14:29)
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)