Growing Goblets

Ogedei Khan, son of Genghis Khan and immediate heir of the Mongol Empire, was extremely supportive of his prime minister, Yeliu Chucai, who had served his father, as well.

Once, before some foreign envoys, he made a speech saying that the greatness of his empire was due to his minister’s wisdom, and asked boastfully whether they themselves had anyone in their own nations who could compete with Yeliu in virtue and wisdom.

With some shame, Ogedei then admitted that he himself drank too much, but was now determined to follow his minister’s advice and reduce his intake, bowing to drink only half of what he once had.  He kept his vow, but in a strange way.  He only drank half as many goblets of wine as before, but he ordered them larger and larger, until they had grown to be twice as large as they had been before his vow!


Supping with Lucullus

Lucullus was famous for the extravagance of his meals.  He had certain rooms set aside on his estate for guests of certain rank, so he had only to give the name of a room in order to ensure that his servants knew what sort of feast to set.  He was once ambushed by two friends who wanted to have merely a simple meal with him.  They stayed with him as he told his slave to prepare a simple meal, but by specifying the room, he was able to get around his friends’ plans and prepare a sumptuous banquet for them after all.  One night, having no dining companion, his servant asked him whether he wished for a simple mean, since he was alone.  “Don’t you know?’ he replied.  “Tonight, Lucullus sups with Lucullus!”