Hans Christian Anderson told a very instructive tale of how a weaver had taken everyone including the emperor and his advisors for a ride by dressing the emperor with “invisible” clothes. Only a little child could discover the naked truth that the emperor had no clothes when everyone had been admiring their emperor’s new invisible clothes!
Same thing happened when I told a little girl somewhat a similar story of peculiar prudence of another king. Here the king was a lion in his jungledom somewhere in Africa. In that jungle, zebras had constantly been hunted by packs of hyenas. So, the lion king declared that a big field near his den would be made a sanctuary for the zebras. A big billboard was erected there. It contained the king’s order that one would be punished if one dared hunt a zebra in the sanctuary.
Zebras became very happy. At last, they could peacefully eat grass and trot without any fear. But just after a few days, hyenas again started hunting zebras in that very sanctuary even under the very billboard. Naturally, zebras went to the lion king and complained him about their humiliations and deaths even in the sanctuary.
Hearing this, the lion became very angry and he promptly summoned an all animal meeting and said, “Listen, one hundred guards must immediately be recruited. Those guards will be provided with weapons. They will protect zebras in the sanctuary.”
Then the lion king declared, “Every adult animal can now apply for the job but only those who have well fed body and cunning and sharp mind will be selected.” Having seen that hyenas started licking their lips while listening to the king, an old zebra said, “Your Majesty, please reserve at least some posts for zebras for our safety and security. We have been tortured for thousands of years by animals like hyenas. As a result, right now, we cannot compete with them. Your Highness, I am afraid, they may not protect us…”
“No reservation of jobs,” said the king, “will be allowed in my territory of absolute equality! I believe only in meritocracy.”
Hearing the story the little girl said, “Ha! Ha! The lion king was as stupid as that emperor who had walked stark naked!”
Sujit De, 5/11 Government Housing Estate, Sodepur, Kolkata – 700 110