The story of Clever Malka, known by different names in different cultures, is one I frequently use when telling stories to adults at a special occasion -- a party in honor of a birthday or a wedding, for instance. I change the locale (e.g. "The kingdom of Fairfield") and the names of the king and his bride. Guests are usually delighted when I describe the girl as the daughter of a furrier, say, which of course I have determined beforehand, and when I tell which of the kings favorite foods she served to him at their last dinner together. I have found that out, too, before I begin the story. It might be anything from gazpacho to pepperoni pizza. It works extremely well.
If the future father-in-law is a furrier, the garment he has made for the king is not satisfactory. If he is a painter, the portrait of the king does not reflect his cleverness. Any slight excuse will do to make the king threaten the poor tradesman with imprisonment in the dungeon unless he can answer three riddles.
For those not familiar with the story, the daughter answers the riddles, saves her father, and marries the king on the stipulation that she will not interfere in his affairs. When she does he divorces her but tells her that she may take what she loves best from the palace. She takes the king. The trick is to remember the names from week to week. I told the story one week about Nancy and Edward at a small gathering in, yes, the kingdom of Fairfield. The next week I was at a party in honor of the conductor of a symphony orchestra in upstate New York. His name was Frederick. Her name was Gilda. I did well all through the story -- Frederick and Gilda, Frederick and Gilda -- until almost the very end of the story, when I felt I could relax. I let my mind skip ahead to plan what story I would tell next and what the transition would be, while my mouth prattled on. It was when I heard the audience gasp and giggle that I realized that I had just said, "He woke up and there was Nancy at his bedside."