Henry VIII, a bluff and hearty, but pathologically tyrannical king (especially in his later years) appointed an ambassador to France at a time when relations between the kingdoms were poor indeed.

The ambassador was a reluctant one, particularly because of the truculent nature of the message he was to carry.

"Your Majesty," he said diffidently, "King Francis will be perfectly capable of removing my head on receipt of a message so phrased."

"Fear not," said Henry. "Francis well knows that if he were to behead my ambassador, the head of every Frenchman in my dominions would be removed within twenty-four hours."

"I am sure of that, sire," murmured the ambassador, "but consider thatamong all those French heads, not one will be found to fit my shoulders."