Sunday, March 2

Not Our Problem

The King sat with his Adviser eating honey on puffed rice.
As they ate they leaned from the palace window and watched the street below.
They talked about this and that.
The King, not paying attention to what he was doing,
let a drop of honey fall onto the windowsill.

"Oh Sire, let me wipe that up," offered the Adviser.
"Never mind," said the King.
"It is not our problem.
The servants will clean it later."

As the two continued to dine on the honey and puffed rice,
the drop of honey slowly began to drip down the windowsill.
At last it fell with a plop onto the street below.

Soon a fly had landed on the drop of honey and begun his own meal.
Immediately a gecko sprang from under the palace and with a flip
of his long tongue swallowed the fly.
But the cat had seen the gecko and punced.
Then a dog sprang forward and attacked the cat!

"Sire, there seems to be a cat and dog fight in the street.
Should we call someone to stop it?"
"Never mind," said the King.
"It's not our problem"

So the two continued to munch their honey and puffed rice.
Meanwhile the cat's owner had arrived and was beating the dog.
The dog's owner ran up and began to beat the cat.
Soon the two were beating each other.

"Sire, there are two persons fighting in the street now.
Shouldn't we send someone to break this up?"
The King lazily looked from the window.
"Never mind.
It's not our problem."

The friends of the cat's owner gathered and began to cheer him on.
The friends of the dog's owner began to cherr her on as well.
Soon both groups entered the fight and attacked each other.

"Sire, a number of people are fighting in the street now.
Perhaps we should call someone to break this up."
The King was too lazy even to look.
You can guess what he said.
"Never mind.
It's not our problem."

Now soldiers arrived on the scene.
At first they tried to break up the fighting.
But when they heard the cause of the fight some sided with the cat's owner.
Others sided with the dog's owner.
Soon the soildiers too had joined the fight.

With the soldiers involved, the fight erupted into civil war.
Houses were burned down.
People were harmed.
And the palace itself was set afire and burned to the ground.
The King and his Adviser stood surveying the ruins.
"Pherhaps," said the King,
"I was wrong?"
Perhaps the drop of honey WAS our problem."

~A Tale from Burma and Thailand
(as told by Margaret Read Macdonald in Peace Tales World Folktales to Talk About)

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