An ancient King in India sentenced a man to death. The man begged that the sentence be rescinded, and added, "If the King will be merciful and spare my life, I shall teach his horse to fly in a year's time."

"Done," said the King. "But if at the end of this period the horse cannot fly, you will be executed."

When his anxious family later asked the man how he planned to achieve this, he said, "In the course of the year the King may die. Or the horse may die. Or who knows, the horse may learn to fly!"

Anthony de Mello in The Heart of the Enlightened