The Pear

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Cosimo de' Medici (1389 - 1464) was among the most influential men of his time, in addition to being one of the richest men in Europe. Although ruthless and unbending, he endeavored to undertake small acts of charity when occasion permitted and was widely revered by his people during his lifetime and thereafter.

Once, while traveling through the countryside, Cosimo stopped at a small inn for his evening meal. While there, he observed a peasant eating a very plain meal. Cosimo asked the innkeeper to bring the man a large Anjou pear.

"What's this," exclaimed the peasant when the fruit was placed before him.

"It is called an Anjou," explained Cosimo.

"Bah," exclaimed the peasant. "You probably expect me to thank you, but sir, in my country we eat only little pears that grow wild. We feed pears such as this to the pigs."

"Well," replied Cosimo as he lifted the pear from the table with great indignation, "I do not ..."