In the Kingdom of Fools: Summary

In this story, In the Kingdom of Fools, by A.K. Ramanujan, we see a tale of a kingdom ruled by a foolish king and his silly ministers.

In the Kingdom of Fools Summary

The story, In the Kingdom of Fools, is an adaptation of a Kannada folktale by A.K. Ramanujan’s ‘Folk Tales from India’. It is an interesting story about a kingdom that is ruled by a silly king and his foolish ministers. He, with his ministers, asked the people to consider night as day and day as night. The kingdom slept throughout the day and would go about their daily tasks at night.

One day, a guru and his disciple visited the kingdom and were astonished to see the reverse rules set by the king. They were surprised to see that everything in the kingdom cost one rupee only. The two were happy at the start because they could purchase anything by sending one rupee. However, they understood that it was not wise to stay in a kingdom with fools, so he left. The disciple wanted to stay back because of how readily food was available at a reasonable rate. He enjoyed the food and ate a lot. As a result, he grew fat in just some days.

One day, a thief broke into a rich merchant’s house. He made a big hole in the wall and got in. When he was leaving with the stolen items, the wall of the house broke down, and he got killed. The thief’s brother complained to the king about the merchant and suggested that he should be punished for not building a strong wall. The king summoned the merchant to his court.

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The merchant put the blame for the weak wall on the bricklayer. The bricklayer was called to the court. He was an old man and pleaded that the king would punish the dancing girl who distracted him from work by dancing on the street with jingling anklets. The old dancing girl blamed the goldsmith because he delayed work, and she had to walk up and down the street so many times. The goldsmith did not come to the court because he was attending some rich merchant’s orders for wedding rituals.

They ruled that the merchant who was ordering jewelry was the same house owner whose wall collapsed. The merchant pleaded that his dead father ordered the jewelry. The kind made his mind to punish the merchant for his father’s deed. The new stake was asked to proceed with the execution, but the merchant was too thin to fit there. The king asked to look for a fat man who would fit the stake, and his men looked all over the kingdom and only found the disciple as the appropriate fit. He was innocent and requested that they do not punish him for other’s deeds. Given that it was a kingdom of fools, no one listened to his logical explanation.

As the disciple waited to be executed, he remembered his guru and sent a request for his help. 

The guru was blessed with magical powers and, in vision, saw the disciple’s condition. He whispered in the disciple’s ears and requested the king to punish him. When the disciple heard this, he asked the king to punish him.

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The king was confused about who must be executed first and asked to solve the conflict. The guru said that whoever died first would be reborn as the future king of that kingdom, and the ones who died next would become the ministers. The king was shocked and did not wish to lose his kingdom. He discussed this with the ministers, and they decided to go on the stake so that they could be king and ministers in the next life. They went to the prison secretly and set the guru and disciple free.

The king and ministers, dressed as the guru and disciple, were executed the next morning. The people made the guru and his disciple their king and minister, respectively. The guru was hesitant but gave in. He reversed the rules of the kingdom so that people could lead a normal life.

In the Kingdom of Fools Analysis

The story is a folktale about a kingdom that is ruled by a foolish king and his ministers. The people over the orders. The story exemplifies the reason the place is named the Kingdom of Fools. They get hold of innocent people, one after the other in name of justice. It gives the message that people should stay away from foolish people, else someone always suffers. One must never tackle foolishness with logic, but simply use wisdom. The guru did not use logic and argue, but managed to flatter and convince the King that this could be a way for him to be a King in the next life. He saves the life of his disciple and gets the kingdom good riddance from the foolish kind and his ministers.

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In the Kingdom of Fools Theme

The story draws up the situation of a kingdom that is ruled by a foolish king and ministers. They take ridiculous decisions and impose them on their people, like reversing night with day and vice versa. The story tells one to stay away from foolish people, and else one can end up suffering or fall in trouble because of the other’s foolishness. The theme of the story is the foolishness of the king and ministers that eventually led them to die. They voluntarily chose to die so that they could retain their positions in the next life. The story suggests that one should deal with foolish people with wisdom and not logic.

In the Kingdom of Fools Analysis Key Points

This is an interesting story of a foolish king and his ministers. They impose strange rules in their kingdom. They are naive and easy to fool. They voluntarily die so that they could become kings and ministers in their next lives. The story explores the foolishness of the king and ministers and says that it is wise to stay away from such people.