This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (September 2010)
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The ballad is set at the court of Polycrates, where he is visited by Pharaoh Amasis II. Polycrates boasts of his victories while Aamsis reminds him of the instability of fortune and prosperity, fearing the divine punishment carried by hubris. All the pharaoh's premonitions soon prove to be erroneous, which only leads him to assume the worst. He advises Polycrates to throw away whatever he valued most in order to escape a reversal of fortune. Polycrates, pondering, follows the advice and threws his most valuable ring into the sea. The next day, a fisherman offers him a large fish and Polycrates' cook discovers the ring inside of it. Amasis, horrified, breaks off their friendship and leaves him right away.