Once Upon a Time...
A Greedy King ruled over a very small kingdom. The King loved money and always wanted more, but his Subjects were already taxed heavily, and the Greedy King had to keep thinking of new ways to persuade them to pay heavier taxes.
The Greedy King appointed a Lord Chancellor, because the Lord Chancellor told him that only he could help the King raise all the extra money he wanted.
The Greedy King announced that he needed a new royal coach, so that he would be able to visit all the corners of his Kingdom and make important speeches to his Subjects. Happily, the people of the Kingdom (who had little money for themselves and weren't very clever) paid extra taxes to pay for the King's new coach, but when it was unveiled everyone was disappointed.
The Greedy King had promised that his new coach would be the grandest royal coach in all the world, but everyone could see that it was really just an old, second-hand cart that the Lord Chancellor had repainted and lent to the King. Some of the people of the Kingdom were very unhappy about this, because everyone had given more than enough in taxes to pay for a very grand royal coach, but the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor had just spent the money on themselves.
It wasn't long before the Greedy King wanted more money. His Lord Chancellor issued a proclamation that the Kingdom was to have the most advanced and modern government in all the world, and that the people should give extra taxes to pay for it.
The Greedy King's Subjects were reluctant, but, once again, they paid extra taxes in order that their Kingdom would have the best, most modern and most efficient government in the whole wide world.
But when the day for the grand unveiling came, many among the populace were, once again, disappointed.
Instead of spending the money on everything needed to give their Kingdom the best government in the world, the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor had just redecorated the Lord Chancellor's own house, and filled his spare bedroom with old, rusty typewriters to make it look like a government office. And, once again, the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor had spent the money on themselves.
By now, the people of the Kingdom had got wise to the Greedy King and the Lord Chancellor. Whenever proclamations were issued to call for extra taxes, most of the people just ignored them.
The Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor were worried. They had got used to being very rich because of the stupidity of their Subjects, but more and more people were beginning to tell the truth about their Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor.
The Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor had such troublemakers sent into exile, and continued to think of new ways to raise taxes.
One day, the Greedy King issued a proclamation: A terrible dragon was threatening the Kingdom, and the King himself was prepared to go and fight it, alone, if only his Subjects would give him enough money to buy a new steed, a grand new suit of armour and a powerful sword.
Again, the people of the kingdom gave enough money to pay for their brave King to go and fight the dragon.
But, once again, the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor spent the money on themselves, and the Greedy King rode out to meet the dragon on an old carthorse, wearing old, rusty armour and carrying a bent, blunt sword. And when the Greedy King saw the dragon (which was actually quite friendly, and not fierce at all), he ran away and hid from it, for he was also a cowardly King.
This time, the Greedy King's Subjects were really cross. Many people were now speaking openly of never giving the Greedy King another penny in taxes.
Again, the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor had the troublemakers sent into exile.
By now, the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor were getting worried. The Treasury was running out of money. They were both spending so much of the Kingdom's money on themselves that the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor weren't even able to pay the wages of the Palace Servants.
Bills were arriving at the Palace every day from Creditors but these were going unpaid, also, as the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor continued to live the good life and ignore the growing poverty within the Kingdom.
And then, one day, the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor received worrying news. There were an ever-growing number of Creditors threatening to throw the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor into jail if they didn't pay their bills.
The Greedy King issued an urgent proclamation. The most important and urgent proclamation he had ever issued. He sent letters to every single one of his Subjects, announcing that an even more fierce Dragon had returned, and not only that, but that the armies of many neighbouring Kingdoms were massing on the borders and preparing to invade. The Greedy King begged for more money so that he could defend his Kingdom, and he solemnly promised that this time he wouldn't waste a single penny of it.
But it was too late. No-one believed the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor's lies any more. Everyone knew that it was just yet another scheme to get more taxes.
And so the Greedy King and his Lord Chancellor were sent to debtor's prison, and the people of the Kingdom all lived happily ever after until they appointed another Greedy King, and the whole miserable business started all over again.