As Manson explains in a note, this story about an ancient Persian king is based on a 1566 collection of tales in English, which in turn was based on a third-century Roman rendition. When Artaxerxes walks forth from his palace--unprecedented behavior--sycophants press costly gifts on him as he proceeds. But he is sated with the gifts that visitors are required to give him, and pays them little attention. In time, walking makes him thirsty, but amidst all his newly acquired riches there is nothing to drink--till a shepherd boy gives him water in a cracked jug. The king is so grateful that he gives the boy all his gifts, returning home with just the jar that his courtiers suppose ""must be full of something unbelievably precious. And, of course, they were right."" Manson fills his illustrations with the opulent details of the Persian court, using soft earth tones and images based on contemporary art, adding touches of humor to his representation of the fawning court and the bored king. An unusual, well-designed addition to folklore collections.