The Wealthy Man and the String
man in the East had no knowledge of music;
yet he pretended to know
a great deal about it. So, whenever a
famous singer came to him, he would tie
one end of a string to his coat-tail, and
give the other end to his wife, who understood
music well, and who generally sat
behind a screen, according to the custom
of ladies in the East. The understanding
was that whenever there was anything in
the singing that was specially praiseworthy,
the wife should pull, that the man might
nod his approbation of it.
Once a great singer was displaying his
skill, and suddenly the string snapped.
The man cried, "Wait a bit, good singer;
the string hath snapped!" The whole
audience was amazed, and in the end,
knowing what he really meant, exclaimed,
"A parrot and a fool can do nothing without prompting!"