A long time ago there were two countries. Each country had a King. One King was a good King and the other King was a bad King as we will find out. Now, as you all know a Kings main job is to go out and make war on his enemies. It is the reason that Kings exist. If a king is not out making war against his enemies, he will go out hunting and make war on the animals of the forest. A good war will enlarge the kingdom, enhance the King fame and gives him more subjects to rule over. But before a King can make war, he should make sure that his subjects provided for. For while the subjects of a King owe everything that they have to their King, the King is also responsible for the welfare and good being of his subjects.
There are many parts to taking care of subjects: making good laws, passing down sound judgements, but the most important one is making sure that the granaries are filled in times of plenty. For as surely as fat times follow lean times, lean times follow fat times. In times of plenty, the excess harvest should be saved so that in times of need the subjects do not starve. Subjects who are starving are weak and cannot praise their King nor defend his kingdom.
Now in our two countries, these were years of plenty, and the Kings knew that they would go to war. The good King also knew that it was his duty to make sure the granaries were filled, and so he did. However, the bad King wanted to win the battle so badly that he sold off all the grain in his granaries to buy expensive war machines. A little incident happened, it was blown up into a huge crisis and the two countries went to war. Each King assembled his army and let it to the battleground at the border of their countries as had happened so many times before. The armies were evenly matched and they fought all day. At the end of the day the army of the bad King held its ground and he was declared the victor. The expensive war machines had helped, but less than hoped for. However, both armies were so weakened and exhausted by the fight that they turned around and went home, as they had so many times before.
The years after this battle were years of want. The harvest had failed and both kingdoms suffered. However, the kingdom of the bad King suffered much more than the kingdom of the good King for there was no grain in their granaries. When the little incident happened that blew up into a huge crisis, both Kings assembled their armies and marched to the battleground on the border. This time the good King won the battle because his men were stronger.
The good King advanced his army into the country of the bad King. They may not be able to take the whole country, but the good King had to let his men do a little rape and pillage as a reward for winning the battle. The bad King realizing his precarious position came out to parley with the good King. The bad King had nothing to offer the good King but some used war machines and the hand of his daughter in marriage. The good King accepted that the daughter of the bad King should should marry his son and that when the two Kings has passed on the greater battleground in the sky, the son of the good King would rule both countries. Thus the two kingdoms would become one united country. A country that would be large and strong enough to make war on the countries on the far side of the mountains.
The moral of this story is that in times of plenty, make sure that the granaries are filled, for as surely as fat times follow lean times, lean times follow fat times, and the best protection against lean times are full granaries. On this matter, a King must beware of false council. When times are good, the false council will say "What could possibly go wrong? The times are fat and everyone is happy. Make the populace more happy by selling off the grain in the granary and rewarding the citizens each according to what they have contributed." Even worse, when times are lean the false council will say "Times are awful and getting worse, we must take the grain out of the peoples mouths and put in in the granaries for the harvest next year could be even worse than this year." The point of a granary or any store of wealth is to save the excess during the fat years so that they can be used during the lean years.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
The Fable of the Good King and the Bad King
Posted by Richard Taylor at 3:06 PM
Labels: Dismal Science
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