Chapter 4 In the Kingdom of Fools
Think about it
What are the two strange things the guru and his disciple find in the Kingdom of Fools?
The Guru and the disciple found that in the Kingdom of Fools people used to work during nights and sleep during days. Everything was cheap and cost the same.
Why does the disciple decide to stay in the Kingdom of Fools? Is it a good idea?
Everything was cheap in the Kingdom of Fools. The disciple had peculiarity of diet. He was tempted by the cheap food. So, he decided to stay in that kingdom. It was not a good idea to stay there for a long time as one could be in danger any time because of the unpredictable behaviour of fools.
Name all the people who are tried in the king’s court, and give the reasons for their trial.
The owner of the house i.e. the merchant, the bricklayer, the dancing girl and the goldsmith were tried in the king’s court. They all were tried because the thief died when the wall of merchant’s house had collapsed. The merchant was tried for building a weak wall. The bricklayer was tried for doing his work carelessly. The dancing girl was tried for disturbing the concentration of the bricklayer. The goldsmith was blamed for making the dancing girl walk up and down to his house a dozen times.
Who is the real culprit according to the king? Why does he escape punishment?
The merchant’s dead father was held responsible for making the wall weak. But according to the king the rich merchant was the real culprit because he had inherited both sins and riches of his father. He escaped the punishment because he was too thin to fit the stake.
What are the Guru’s words of wisdom? When does the disciple remember them?
The Guru was full of wisdom and knew well that the unpredictable behaviour of the fools could create danger anytime. The Guru’s words were, “They are all fools. This won’t last very long, and you can’t tell what they’ll do to you next”. The disciple remembered them when he was arrested by the men of the king to execute merely because he fitted the stake. It was because of the Guru’s words of wisdom that the execution was postponed.
How does the Guru manage to save his disciple’s life?
The Guru arrived on time to save his disciple and created a drama. He told the king that it was not an ordinary stake and whoever went to the stake first would become the king in next life. The second to die would become his minister. The king wanted to avail himself of the opportunity. The Guru and his disciple were released. Thus the Guru managed to save his disciple’s life.
Talk about it
- In Shakespeare’s plays the fool is not really foolish. If you have read or seen Shakespeare’s plays such as King Lear, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, you may talk about the role of the fool.
- Do you know any stories in your language about wise fools such as Tenali Rama or Gopal Bhar? You can also read about them in Ramanujan’s collection of folk tales.
Short Answer Questions (2 marks each)
(About 30-40 words each)
Why were the people of the kingdom confused when they saw the dead bodies of the king and his minister ? (SA-1,2014)
The people of the kingdom were confused as to how their king and the minister were dead instead of the Guru and the disciple* The peoplevere not able to see through the plan which was executed by the Guru against their king and minister.
When does the disciple remember the words of his Guru? (SA-1, DDE-2014)
The disciple did not pay any heed to the advice of his Guru, when the Guru asked him to leave the kingdom of fools. When the king decided that the disciple was the suitable person for execution, he remembered the words of the Guru.
How was the kingdom of fools different from any other place ? (SA-1,2014-15)
Everything was different at the kingdom of fools. The night was considered as day and day as night. Not only the human beings even the animals stayed awake at night. Anything and everything could be bought for a Dudu.
Why did the Guru want that he and his disciple should die first ?(Board Term Sept 1,2013, K2G41GH)
The king had ordered the execution of the rich merchant. Since the rich merchant could not be executed the disciple was chosen to fit the stake. The disciple’s Guru had a vision and saw everything. In order to save his disciple, the Guru hatched a plan.
On what conditions did the Guru and his distiple agree to rule that kingdom ?
(Board Term Sept 1,2013, GKK73AP)
He laid the condition that he would be free to change all the old and foolish laws. Hence night was considered as night and day was regarded as a normal working day. Even persuaded prices were changed according to the value of the material.
Why did the Guru not want to stay in the Kingdom of fools ? (Board Term 1,2012, ELI-013)
The Guru did not wanted to stay in the Kingdom of fools as the people over there were foolish. He was not sure about them and felt that they could harm him.
Why does the disciple not want to leave the Kingdom of the fools ? (Board Term 1,2012, ELI-014)
The disciple did not wanted to leave the place because of the sale of cheap eatables and other commodities and since everything was easily available and life seemed to be very simple and easy.
Why did the king decide to postpone the execution of the Guru and his disciple ?(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-015)
The Guru befooled the king. He told him that the people dying now would be the king and minister in their next birth. The foolish king fell for the words of the Guru and postponed their execution.
What was so strange about the Kingdom of fools ?(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-017)
The strange thing about the Kingdom of fools was that not only humans but animals were also made to sleep during the day. Everything in this kingdom used to come for a dudu.
Who is the real culprit according to the king ? Why does he escape from the punishment ?(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-018)
The rich merchant was thjB real culprit. He had inherited everything from his criminal father. He was too thin to be properly executed on the newly made stake. The worried king started searching foolishly for a fat man to fit the stake and the merchant escaped the punishment.
What advice did the Guru give to the disciple before going out of the city ?(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-019)
The Guru told his disciple that it was dangerous to stay in a Kingdom of fools. He said that there was no justice only foolish, unpredictable behaviour. According to him the kingdom would not last long.
What is the Guru’s wisdom ? When does the disciple realize this 7 (Board Term 1,2012, ELI-020)
The Guru’s wisdom was that there was no justice in the Kingdom of fools and due to the unpredictable behaviour of the fools, he wanted to leave the kingdom at once. The disciple remembers these words when the king decided that the disciple was the suitable person for execution was weak.
Why did the king want to punish the merchant 7 (Board Term 1,2012, ELI-020)
The king wanted to punish the merchant because the wall of his house and it fell on the thief killing him. Since the merchant had inherited his father’s wealth he inherited his sins too therefore, he should be punished.
Who became the king and the prime minister of the kingdom 7(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-023)
As the kingdom was without a king, the people of the kingdom persuaded the Guru and the disciple to take over the throne. So, the holy man became the king and his disciple took the charge of Prime Minister.
What two things were different in the kingdom of fools 7(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-024)
Two things that were different in the Kingdom of fools were that the people worked in the night and slept during the day. Everything was sold at the same price. A ‘Dudu’ could buy a mass of rice as well as a bunch of bananas.
Long Answer Type Questions (4 marks each)
(About 80-100 words)
Disciple in the story didn’t look into the depth of the matter and took a hasty decision of not leaving the kingdom of fools. What light does the story throw on the importnce of good decision making one’s life ? (SA-1,2014)
Disciple in the story didn’t look into the depth of the matter and took a hasty decision of not leaving the kingdom of fools. Disciple was waylaid by the prices of the commodities. Anything could be • bought with a ‘Dudu’. Either it could be a mass of rice or a bunch of bananas. So, the disciple decided to stay back not listening to his Guru who advised his disciple that it was dangerous to stay back in the kingdom of fools as there was no justice, prevalent in such kingdom. It was when the disciple was chosen as the suitable person for execution that he realized his mistake. He regretted his decision of staying back. Just one small decision costed his life.
Do you believe in the fact that our prayers are often heard and answered ? There are miracles which change the course of life. Which miracle took place in the story. ‘In the Kingdom of Fools? What lesson do you learn from the Guru’s word of wisdom ? (SA-1,2014)
It is often believed that our prayers are often heard and answered which was proved in the story. ‘In the Kingdom of Fools’. The king had ordered to execute the disciple. He prayed to Guru to save him. It was a miracle that his Guru heard his prayer and came to rescue him. He whispered something in his ears and then asked the king to execute him first and then the disciple. The king released them both on knowing that whoever died first would be the king in his next birth. It was his Guru’s advice and presence of mind that saved the disciple. The disciple realized his mistake for Guru’s not listening to the Guru’s words of wisdom.
You are the disciple in the story, “Kingdom of the fools”. You are in trouble as you are about to be hanged. You decide to write a letter to you Guru regretting your decision to stay in the kingdom of fools and requesting him to help you. Write the letter in 80 words.(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-016)
Respected Guru ji,
I am writing this letter out of sheer desperation. I regret not paying heed to your advice of leaving this Kingdom of fools. I fell a prey to my temptation for cheap and tasty food and now I am in serious trouble. I have been trapped and will shortly be hanged. Everyone here is foolish and there is no point in reasoning with them. You are my only hope who can save me from this situation. I request you to please come here at the earliest and save my life. I promise in future I will always pay heed to your advice and keep myself in control.
Your erring disciple.
How did the Guru and his disciple become the king and the minister of the kingdom?(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-022)
The Guru knew that his king and his minister were fools. In order to save his disciple, Guru hatched a plan. He said that the first one to be executed at the state, would become the king in the next life and the second to be executed would be the king’s minister. The foolish king and his minister got themselves executed. As the kingdom was without king, the guru and his disciple were made the king and the minister.
How did the Guru manage to save his disciple ? (Board Term 1,2012, ELI-024)
The king ordered to execute the disciple. He prayed to his Guru to save him. The Guru heard his prayer in his vision and appeared to rescue his disciple. First, he whispered something in his disciple’s ears and then asked the king to execute him first. And the disciple followed suit, which puzzled the king. Knowing the secret, the king fell into the trap of his temptation and wanted to be the king in his rebirth. He went into the prison at night and set the guru and disciple free. In their place, he and his minister disguised themselves as the guru and the disciple and got executed. Thus, the Guru managed to save his disciple.
“Guru was a wise man” – how does the story “The Kingdom of fools” reflect it ?(Board Term 1,2012, ELI-014)
“The Kingdom of Fools” clearly reflects that “Guru was a wise man” as he advised his disciple not to stay in that kingdom. As the disciple thought that the future is uncertain, he did not pay any heed to his Guru and stayed on. When he was imprisoned by the King’s men, he realized the significance of his Guru’s words and repented on his not following his Guru’s advice. So, it is proved that Guru was really very wise. And it was because of his wisdom that disciple was saved and they were made king and prime-minister of the kingdom.