“Chief of Police and Chief of Spies” the servant announced.
“Show them in”, the King ordered.
The two men entered the private audience room and bowed low.
“I don’t recall ordering your presence” the King said looking at the Chief of Spies.
The King shut him off with a wave. “I will hear your report” he said to the Chief of police.
“We captured the person who set fire to the King’s summerhouse “.
“Very good. Proceed with arranging the execution. Dismissed”.
The King silenced the spy with a look. When the Chief of Police had left the room, he turned to the spy.
“Now, you can give your report”.
“The situation is not so clear cut. The man who started the fire is an idiot. He could not have planned it”.
The spy waited. The King remained silent.
“Three hooligans planned the arson – as a jape. They arranged the combustible materials, soaked them in oil, brought the idiot with them and because it was a cold night said they were going to get some food, and suggested the idiot light a fire to keep warm. The idiot did not know the nature of the premises. They supplied him with matches and fled”.
“You have captured those responsible?”
“The idiot told us who they were, and they are under arrest”.
“I would like to speak to them”.
“Of course”, the spy concurred. “Will the idiot be released?”
“Of course not. He is to be burned for his crime”.
“But he is not the guilty party”.
“He burnt the summer house so he is the guilty party. And the people must see that the guilty are punished. But the men who planned it had a good idea. How to commit a crime with clean hands. Arrange for them to have a front seat at the execution. And afterwards they will be willing to share any other good ideas they have with us”.