A Laconic Answer


There was a time when the people of Greece were not united but instead there were several states each of which had its own ruler. Some of the people in the southern part of the country were called Spartans and they were famous for their simple habits and their bravery. The name of their land was Laconia, so they were sometimes called Lacons. One of the strange rules, which the Spartans had, was that they should speak briefly and never use more words than were needed. A short answer is often called laconic that is such an answer, as a Lacon would give.

There was in the Northern part of Greece a land called Macedonia. This land was at one time ruled by a king named Philip. Philip of Makedonia wanted to become master of all Greece. So he raised a great army and made war upon the other states, until nearly all of them were forced to call him their king. Then he sent a letter to the Spartans in Laconia and said: "If I go down into your country, I will level your great city to the ground."

In a few days an answer was brought back to him. When opened the letter he found only one word written there.

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