There was a Kingdom of Fools where both the king and his minister were idiots. In an attempt to be different from others, they foolishly took the decision to change night with day and vice versa. Hence, the people in this kingdom would do all their work like tilling the fields or running their businesses at night and all would sleep when the Sun rose up. Those who disobeyed were threatened with death punishment. So everyone followed this foolish practice.
One day, a guru and his disciple visited this kingdom and were surprised to find the whole kingdom asleep during the day. When night came, people began their routine activities. The two men had become very hungry by this time, so they went to a grocery shop. It was utterly surprising for them to see that everything had the same cost – a single duddu. Initially, they were both happy as they could buy all that they wanted for a very nominal amount.
However, the guru, being a wise man, decided to leave the place and told his disciple that the behaviour of fools cannot be predicted and it was not safe to stay there for long. But the disciple decided to stay back, and the guru alone left the city.
One day a thief broke into a rich merchant’s house by making a hole in the wall. However, when he was leaving after the loot, the wall of the old house fell on his head and killed him instantly. The thief’s brother complained to the king that the merchant was to be blamed for this death and should hence be punished. The foolish king assured him of justice and summoned the merchant. The king told the merchant that he would be punished for having murdered the man who burgled his house. The merchant was a wise man and escaped punishment by telling the king that the wall had been built in his father’s time. So the bricklayer who built such a weak wall was responsible for the thief’s death and should get the punishment.
The bricklayer too wisely evaded punishment and put the blame on the dancing girl. He claimed that he got distracted by her jingling anklets when she went up and down the street on the day the wall was built by him. The dancing girl in her turn shifted the blame to the goldsmith. She said that she had to walk up and down the street many times because the goldsmith had delayed her order. The goldsmith defended himself by pleading that he could not complete the dancing girl’s order in time because he had to first finish a rich merchant’s order. This rich merchant was the father of the same person on whom the blame was put earlier. So the rich merchant was summoned again. He pleaded his innocence on the ground that the jewellery had been ordered by his father. But the foolish king told the merchant that he had inherited his father’s sins in the same way as he had got his wealth. Hence he must be executed for the killing of the burglar.
A new stake was, ordered by the king for the execution. However, moments before the killing, the minister observed that the merchant was too thin for the new stake. So, it was decided to find a person who fitted the stake. The disciple, who had gone fat after eating bananas, rice, wheat and ghee for days, was caught to be killed in place of the merchant. He pleaded that he was a sanyasi and had not done anything wrong. But the king’s men did not listen to hint He was reminded of his guru and while waiting for death he prayed to him in his heart for help.
The guru had magical powers and he saw everything in a vision. He arrived at once to save his disciple. He first scolded the disciple and then whispered something in his ears. Then admiring the king for his wisdom, the guru urged him to put him to death in place of his disciple. The disciple at once understood the guru’s move and insisted on being put to death earlier than his guru. This behaviour puzzled the king. He asked the guru to explain the reason behind the desire to get executed first. The guru asked the king to promise him that if he told him the reason, he would put him (guru) to die earlier than the disciple. The king assured him, and the guru, taking the king aside, told that the stake was the stake of the god of justice. It was new and no crime had ever been put on it. Hence, whoever dies first will be reborn as the king and the next person will be reborn as the minister.
This information put the king in deep thought. He discussed the matter with his minister and they decided to go to the stake themselves. The minister told the executioners that the criminals to be punished would be sent at night. They should be killed one after the other without any mistake. At night, the king and his minister secretly went to the prison and set free the guru and his disciple. Then they disguised themselves as the two criminals and were executed as per their revised orders. When their bodies were taken down to be thrown to the crows and vultures, people panicked. The city got confused. They mourned all night and finally went to the guru and begged him and his disciple to be their king and minister. The disciple agreed easily but the guru agreed on the condition that they would be allowed to change the old laws.
Then on, night and day began to be used in their normal way and the price of all things no longer remained one duddu each.
DETAILED SUMMARY OF THE STORY
There was once a Kingdom of Fools. In this kingdom, both the king and the minister were idiots. They wanted to rule in a way different from other kings. They ordered that everyone should be awake at night and work during the day. One day a guru and his disciple arrived in the city. It was broad daylight and everyone d everyone was asleep. As soon as the sunset, the whole town woke up and started its business. The two men were hungry. They went to buy some groceries. They found that everything cost the same — a single duddu. When they had cooked and eaten, the guru realised that it would not be wise to stay in a kingdom of fools. But the disciple didn’t want to leave the place because everything was cheap there. So the guru left the place and the disciple stayed on, He ate his fill every day and grew fat. One day a thief broke into a rich merchant’s house by making a hole in the wall. As he was carrying out his loot, the wall of the house collapsed on his head and he died instantly. The thief’s brother went running to the king and complained that the merchant should be punished for not building a strong wall. The king sent for the merchant. But the merchant pleaded that it was really the fault of the man who built the wall. The bricklayer was brought in. He said that when he was building the wall, his eyes and mind were distracted towards a dancing girl. She was going up and down that street all day with her anklets jingling. The dancing girl was brought to the court. She gave the excuse that she had given some gold to the goldsmith to make some jewellery for her. The goldsmith was a lazy fellow. He delayed the work. He made her walk up and down his house a dozen times. When the goldsmith was brought before the king, he said that he had to attend to a rich merchant’s orders first. There was a wedding at the merchant’s house and he was not ready to wait. That was why he made the dancer come many times to his door. The king asked him the rich merchant’s name. He was none other than the merchant whose wall had fallen. But the merchant cried that it was not he but his deceased father who had entrusted the jeweller with the job of making the ornaments. At this, the king remarked that it was proper to punish him in place of his father. A new stake was ordered to be made ready for the execution. It occurred to the minister that the rich merchant was too thin to be properly executed on the stake. He discussed this with the king. It was decided that a fat man should be found to fit the stake. The eyes of the servants fell on the disciple who had fattened himself for months on bananas and rice and wheat and ghee. He was taken to the king. The disciple pleaded that he was innocent but it was all in vain. While he was waiting for his death, he remembered his guru. The guru saw everything by his magical powers. He arrived there at once to save his disciple. He whispered something in his disciple’s ear. Then he requested the king to put him to the stake first. When the disciple heard this, he said that he was brought there first and so be should be put to death first. The king was puzzled by their behaviour. He asked why each of them wanted to die first. The guru hesitatingly told him that whoever died on the stake first, would be reborn as the king of that country. The one who died next ‘4 would be the future minister of that country. The king did not want to lose the kingdom to someone else in the next round of life. He and his minister decided to go on the stake themselves and be reborn asking /1 and minister. The king told the executioners to put to death the first man who came to them and then do the same to the second man. That night the king and his minister went secretly to the prison and released the guru and the disciple. They then disguised themselves as the two and got themselves executed. The people now begged the guru t and the disciple to be their king and minister. The two agreed and changed all the old laws. From then onwards, the night was to be night and day was to be the day. Also, nothing A could be got for a duddu. The place became like any other place.