THE KING AND THE HORSES

Once upon a time, there was a distant kingdom whose way of life was utterly dependent on horses. Horses were used to travel, work the land, transport goods, and many other essential tasks.

One day, while he was visiting his horses, the king of this kingdom observed how one of them, which had been his mount for many years, was covered in flies. A few days later, the horse died.

— We have to do something! —thought the king—horses are fundamental to our kingdom. We must avoid by any means that these flies will kill more horses.

The king brought together the council of wise men. After deliberation, they decided that the best decision would be to order all the horses to be locked down. Thanks to these measures, horses will be in contact with the flies as little as possible, which would prevent flies from spreading from horse to horse.

Horses can only be outside for essential tasks. In this way, we will prevent the flies from killing more horses — they thought — we have to make the flies disappear.

But what the king and the council of wise men did not understand is that the horses that cannot trot in the sun and play and run freely outdoors get sad, feel tired, and become weak. Nor that, when horses become weak, a simple fly, which a healthy horse would easily kill with a swinging of his tail, causes a whole plague of flies around the horse.

A few days later, the news reached the king that the flies were killing all the horses. The problem hit harder at the stables, where were kept the oldest and weakest horses. There were so many flies in these stables that even the strongest and healthiest old horses died.

Upon receiving the news, the king and his wise council thought — these terrible flies are worse than we thought, there are still too many horses outdoors that carry flies, we must enforce stricter lockdowns.

The king did so, after which some peasants met and requested an audience with him.

—Your majesty, we cannot work without the horses. We are in poverty and hunger. We do not know how long we can continue like this. Besides, the horses continue to die despite being locked down — the peasants explained to the king — perhaps we should end the lockdowns.

-Be quiet! — the king shouted — do you think you know more than the council of wise men? It is because of those who question these measures and do not lock down hard enough their horses that the flies are becoming a growing problem. I hereby decree forbidden to question the measures of the council of wise men.

The horses remained locked down while their deaths increased steadily, and the kingdom was getting poorer and poorer. Those who dared to take out their horses because they considered that it was pointless to lock them down or because they needed them to survive were rejected and marginalized by the rest of the kingdom’s subjects, who did not hesitate to blame them for the situation.

Years went on, the kingdom fell into poverty, and many horses died. One day a friend of the king, and the king himself of a neighboring country, visited him. Seeing the poverty and misery that plagued the kingdom and the shortage of horses, he was surprised.

 — What happened here? — Asked the king’s friend — Your kingdom has always been rich and prosperous. How could you end up in this situation?

 — Have you not suffered a plague of flies in your kingdom? — Replied the king surprised — It has been terrible in our kingdom, it has caused the death of thousands of horses and brought poverty to our people — he claimed convinced.

 — No, luckily, our kingdom is as prosperous as ever, and our horses are strong and healthy.

 — How fortunate is your kingdom! — But it would be best if you were careful and cautious. Most likely, the plague of flies will soon reach your lands as well.

The king of the neighboring country returned to his kingdom worried. The next day the king of the neighboring county summoned his council of wise men.

Raúl Pérez P.G. @corrnotcausa.com

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