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Frederick William 1 ruled Prussia in the early eighteenth century. He was said to be an eccentric man who stood on no ceremony. He would walk the streets of Berlin unattended, and when anyone displeased him he frequently beat them with his walking stick. It’s no wonder that Berliners often dove for cover when they saw him coming.

One time, as Frederick was pounding down one of the streets, a citizen saw him but it was too late. The man was spotted trying to slide quickly into a doorway. “You,” Fredrick barked. “Where are you going?”

“Into the house, Your Majesty,” replied the trembling man.

“Is it your house?” the king demanded. The man nervously shook his head. “Then why are you going in?” The king glared.

Fearing that he might...

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