How something is said is what counts

A sultan dreamed that he had lost all his teeth. Upon awakening, he called in a man who interprets dreams to explain the meaning of his dream “What bad luck will be yours, Sir!” he explained. “Each lost tooth represents the loss of a member of your family.” “What? You cheeky wretch! Aren’t you ashamed to bring me such horrible news?” And he said to the bystanders, “Give this wretch 50 lashes.” The sultan sought a second opinion from another reader of dreams. After he heard the dream, he almost screamed out: “Lucky you! This means that you are going to outlive all your relatives.”Encouraged by this news, the sultan told the dream reader, “Thanks, my friend. Now go to my treasury and let my accountant pay you 50 gold coins.”On the way the accountant asked him, “But your interpretation of the sultan’s dream was the same as the first man’s.” He smiled slyly and said, “That is true; but it all depends on how you say it.”   

–  Pierre Lefevre

In both instances the interpretation of the dream was one and the same. But what made the difference between 50 lashes and 50 gold coins was the way it was said or presented. The way you present the matter matters most.

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