A Story from the Middle East
A poor man dressed in rags came to the palace to attend the banquet. Out of courtesy he was admitted but, because of his tattered clothing, he was seated at the very end of the banquet table. By the time the platters arrived at his seat, there was no food left on them.
So he left the banquet, returning several hours later dressed in robes and jewels he had borrowed from a wealthy friend. This time he was brought immediately to the head of the table and, with great ceremony, food was brought to his seat first.
"Oh, what delicious food I see being served upon my plate." He rubbed one spoonful into his clothes for every one he ate.
A nobleman beside him, grimacing at the mess, inquired, "Sir, why are you rubbing food into your fine clothes?"
"Oh," he replied with a chuckle, "Pardon me if my robes now look the worst. But it was these clothes that brought me all this food. It's only fair that they be fed first!"