Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When the King is Sick...

When the King is Sick…

‘Grandpa,’ said Thoko, ‘Why don’t all countries have kings? Wouldn’t it make everything simpler? The king takes all the big decisions, and the rest of us can just get on with our work!’
     ‘It’s not that simple,’ I said. ‘For instance, supposing the king gets sick, what happens then?’
     ‘He goes to the hospital, just like anybody else,’ retorted Thoko. ‘What’s the problem?’
     ‘Have you never heard the story,’ I asked ‘of what happened in Ancient Egypt when the Pharaoh Mighty Mouth fell sick?’
     ‘What story is that? I know you Grandpa, you just make up stories as you go along.’
     ‘So you may think,’ I said. ‘But I am referring to the Parable of the Sick Pharaoh which is found in the Gospel According to St Kalaki at Chapter 23.’
     ‘What happened to the Pharaoh?’
     ‘He fell sick.’
     ‘Obviously,’ said Thoko irritably. ‘But why was that a problem? We all fall sick!’
     ‘It was a problem because the Pharaoh was in control of everything. Everybody had to obey his orders, even if those orders were the opposite of what he had said the day before.’
     ‘Mighty Mouth,’ laughed Thoko, ‘what a strange name!’
     ‘In those days people were named according to what they were. People had names like Messenger, or Runner, or Brains and so on. The Pharaoh was Mighty Mouth because his word was law.’
     ‘And then he got sick?’
     ‘Mighty Mouth got so sick that he suddenly stopped talking.’
     ‘And that was the problem?’
     ‘It was a big problem! How would his obedient people know what to do if he suddenly stopped issuing instructions? Without Mighty Mouth they wouldn’t know whether to jump up or sit down.’
     ‘They should have just have sat down and had a rest,’ laughed Thoko, ‘and waited for the Mighty Mouth to get well enough to issue more instructions. But surely the Pharaoh must have had ministers to run the country, and to continue giving instructions?’
     ‘That was another big problem,’ I explained. ‘You see, in those days a Pharaoh was always in great fear of being toppled by one of his ministers. So a Pharaoh was always careful to appoint as ministers only those whom he considered to be incapable of threatening his position.’
     ‘You mean he had to choose ministers who were not very clever?’
     ‘Not so clever, you might say, to put the matter politely. So Mighty Mouth had appointed ministers called Dotty, Dummy, Puppet, Shambles and Sleepy.’
     ‘He was the Minister of Money, and whenever he was in a meeting he fell asleep.’
     ‘Then how did he manage to talk to the others?’
     ‘He would wake up to talk, but then all the others would fall asleep.’
     ‘So when Mighty Mouth fell sick, did the dummies make a mess of running the country?’
     ‘The first silly thing they did was to say that Mighty Mouth wasn’t sick, he had just gone away on holiday to Samaria.’
     ‘Why did they lie?’
     ‘Partly because they were all compulsive liars, and couldn’t even recognize the truth if they saw it. But mainly because the people thought that the Pharaoh was a God, and couldn’t get sick, so they didn’t want to admit that he was actually human.’
     ‘But weren’t the people entitled to know that the Pharaoh was sick? Wasn't he their leader? Hadn’t he gone to Samaria using their money?’
     ‘In those days the people had no rights, and the ruling class just took the people’s money and did what they liked with it.’
     ‘But did the people believe their lies about the Pharaoh's holiday?’
     ‘Only for a day. Then news came from Samaria that Mighty Mouth was being treated by a Medicine Man.’
     ‘And did Mighty Mouth get better?’
     ‘No, unfortunately he died the next day.’
     ‘And did the dummies now tell the people the truth?’
     ‘Of course not. They said that their beloved Pharaoh was getting better, and ordered all the people to get down on their knees and pray for the complete recovery of their great leader.’
     ‘But why couldn’t they just tell the truth?’
     ‘Obviously they now needed time to prepare for his death.'
     'Which had already happened?'
     'Exactly. But they needed time to agree amongst themselves which of the dummies would take over as the new Pharaoh, and much money changed hands between them before they finally agreed.’
     ‘Who did they choose?’
     ‘They chose Sleepy, so that they would all be able to steal as much as they wanted while he was sleeping. Also he was very old and senile, so they knew he wouldn’t last too long.’
     ‘But while they were fixing things, wasn’t the body of the previous Pharaoh getting a bit, er, you know…?’
     ‘They had him mummified while the people continued to pray for his recovery. The Egyptians were very clever at that. Then after a month they announced that he had died suddenly and unexpectedly, and brought him home for a grand funeral.’
     ‘So was that the first time that such a thing had ever happened?’ asked Thoko.
     ‘Of course not,’ I replied. ‘That’s what always happens when a king dies. That’s why a kingdom is always ruled by one dummy after another, and the long-suffering people never see good government.’
     ‘Grandpa,’ said Thoko with a frown, ‘do you think such things could ever happen here?’
     ‘Of course not,’ I replied, as I put my arm reassuringly around her shoulder. ‘We live in a democracy!’   


  1. I think it was a mistake for the kings subs to keep it a secret. Although the king surfaced on state media seen talking to Indiana jones about infections in his kingdom he appeared ill.www.mindoverissues.blogspot.com

  2. ‘Of course not. They said that their beloved Pharaoh was getting better, and ordered all the people to get down on their knees and pray for the complete recovery of their great leader.’

    Kalaki, this statement is a miss" as dummies never told the pipo that the King was sick, so how can this apply??

    1. Hmmm, you may have a point. But by then the story of the King's illness was out, because the people had already heard that he was being treated by a Medicine Man. However, I was only giving an abbreviated version of the story for Thoko, and for the full text, authorized by God, please refer to the Gospel According to St Kalaki, Chapter 23, Verses 7-42.