What is meant by the idiom "every barleycorn a king"? How does this contribute to the tone toward the king?

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The short story "The Lady or the Tiger?" by Francis Richard Stockton tells of a semi-barbaric king with a unique method of justice. When an accused person is brought to the king, he does not bother to hear the details of the crime and render a decision. Instead, he places the accused in an arena in which two identical doors stand side by side. Out of one of the doors would come a hungry tiger, which would quickly devour the accused. Out of the other door would come a lady to whom the accused would be immediately wed....

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