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Story Summary: In the Kingdom of Fools by A.K. Ramanujan

In the Kingdom of Fools by A.K. Ramanujan is a popular Kannada folk tale. The story is about a strange kingdom where its king and ministers act as fools profoundly. In comparison to other nearby kingdoms, their working methods and operations were child-like and foolish in nature. Once they decided to go against the phenomenal of day & night. They passed the order of calling day as night and vice versa. And people of the kingdom were forced to work at night and sleep during daylight.

Once a guru and his greedy disciple arrived to the kingdom, they found it weird that in the daylight people were fast asleep and the streets were deserted. Also in the city, they found that everything cost same, be it food or clothing. They both enjoyed sumptuous food for some days together. Well, one day the guru took leave by saying that this is the kingdom of fools and anything can happen here. You cannot really trust fools. While the disciple, being greedy about food, did not heed his words and decided to stay in the city for the love of food. The guru was gone. The disciple grew fat in size because of over-eating and sedentary lifestyle.

One day in a wealthy merchant’s home, a thief tried to break in for burglary. He made a hole in the wall, while going the wall collapsed, killing him instantly. The brother of the thief approached the king for justice. The king, assuring him justice, called for the merchant. The merchant defending himself said that the wall was old, built during the time of his father, who was dead now. The merchant passed the blame on the bricklayer. The bricklayer was called out soon, the bricklayer again passed the blame to a dancing girl. When the dancing girl was called out, she passed the blame on a jeweler. Unfortunately, the jeweler turned out be the merchant himself.

Though the fault was of his dead father. But the merchant inherited everything from his father, so according to the king, the death punishment for his father must be passed on to the merchant. Soon a stake for execution (death) was made. However the stake that was built turned out as heavy one and the merchant was a thin man to be executed on it. Since all ministers and their king were fools, they couldn’t think of any other option, hence said that a fat man should be brought for the execution. The soldiers searched the town and that fat disciple was found for execution.

Just before the death penalty could carry out, the disciple remembered his guru. The guru being wise could see the things from his end; as an upshot he appeared at the site to save the disciple. Firstly, he scolded the disciple for being too relaxed in the country of fools. Next, he asked question about the difference between guru and disciple to the king. The king replied that guru was bigger than disciple. The guru requested the king to execute (hang) him first. Why? The king asked.

Guru said that the stake was brand new, so whosoever dies on it will be reborn as a king of this kingdom. And the person dies second will be born as a minister. The king believed the gossip of the guru, thus he discussed the same with his minister. At any cost the king couldn’t lose his kingdom to any random saint. Thus, they decided to die. At night they disguised themselves as guru and disciple and in the morning they were hanged. When people found out that their king was dead – they took a sigh of relief. Afterwards they requested guru and his disciple to take over the kingdom as a king and a minister respectively.

So, if you see the conclusion, you will find that trusting fools is a grave mistake that can put any one’s life on stake. Fools don’t know what to do, they don’t know how to find a feasible solution to a specific problem.


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