A Wise King: a parable

A King (or Queen) has ascended to the throne only to find the affairs of the kingdom neglected and the court in utter chaos.

When asked why, no one could say for sure what happened or how it happened. The Lords pointed fingers at the previous ruler and advisors who had moved on etc. but ultimately the circumstance remained bleak.

What’s a wise King to do?

As is often the case the King leaned over to his Fool and asked for his take.

“My Lord,” he says. “You are wiser than I but have heard tell a story that may help.

Once there was a King who commissioned a new Navy. Leaders were chosen to head up work teams and find the best shipwrights in the land and the finest materials. On the day of launch all 100 new vessels were commissioned and pressed into service under great pomp and ceremony. Within 100 yards of the docks each ship, to a one, sank into the sea.

Well of course this was a huge embarassment as you can imagine and the furious King had his advisors brought in to be questioned. All of them, to a one, had wondrous and profound reasons for why the ships sank. The materials were blamed. The purchasers were incompetant. The shipwrights were lazy…on and on it went until it was clear no satisfactory answer was ever to be found.”

“What did this King do?” the King inquired of the Fool.

“I know not my Lord, but I can say this – it would have been madness for a King to do the same thing again, with the same people, and expect different results.”

The King pondered this for a while before calling his advisors in and relieving them all, to a one, of their duties.

Afterward when the throne room was empty the King leaned toward his Fool and said simply – “find me advisors who know nothing of the past and only look forward.”

“Indeed,” the Fool said, “my Lord is most wise” and with these words he left.


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