The tale is told of the traditions in a strange mystical land where rats and men once lived together in peace. The rats just want to eat, while men have lofty dreams for society. When the palace is infested by rats, they will eat any food and every food; yet as a king, you dare not say they've stolen it, else you'll be guilty of accusing the rats for being rats as though they had a choice in that, and thereby pointing at their creator for being unjust. So the people understand that when the king's palace is troubled by rats, the king has pointed accusing fingers at the rats. Rats have been the cause for much troubles all previous kings have had, ranging from lassa fever to food poisoning, but never has a king been chased out of his palace by the rats. Never; until a certain king's reign.
But would you blame the new king? Everytime, he has to buy foodstuff, he needs to replace furniture, so much recurrent spending in a time when honey isn't selling fast with the merchants from other kingdoms, who have found easier profits with sugar. So he started asking who's finishing the food, the furniture and even the money hidden in his room. The rats, of course! Hadn't anyone told him? Hasn't it been said that stealing is not corruption? Their creator has blessed the rats with a conducive environment, and anyone that threatens their existence will be fiercely battled by the rats. They'll hide in his shoes, climb his chest while he sleeps at night, hide in the royal toilet and take over the rooms of the king's daughters. He'll only have peace when he leaves the palace.
Why is the king's palace a breeding ground for rats? The king can only have peace and return to his palace after answering the question since he has disturbed the rat "kingmakers", who clearly believe it is a divine right to live and feed in the palace. Except if the king's strategy is to outlive the rats which is odd, seeing that rats understand they won't live forever and they just want the survival of their children. You can't win if you don't survive, can you?
Except the king will not eat, and order no food to be kept in the palace, there's no sane way out of this dilemma. The rats will rule "their" kingdom. But hunger is a king's greatest sacrifice, and one that loves his meat dearly is not fit to be king in lieu of times like this. So the people will ask for a new king soon. Because the king cannot fulfill his promises to the people if he's not in the palace. The people have stored all the food in the king's palace, according to the king's wisdom. And now, there are no more rats living among the people. But the king is now away from the palace, and they can't have their food back. The king has successfully rid his people of rats but can't rid his palace of the same rats, simply for the fear of hunger.
"Honey is not selling so good again, let's plant rice." This is the change the people had to make. If you want rice, you've got to plant rice. But the king cannot come back to the palace to share the grains for planting. Probably because he doesn't understand how Agriculture works, that men sow and then reap. Is the king waiting in the abroad, for the next harvest season so he can store the grains in the abroad and have a feast in the absence of rats since his meat is safe in the abroad. I rarely hear about rats in the Queen's land.
Should the people cry for a new king? Then the rats will pick a man among them, one who will live in the palace and not complain about leakages because he's a rat. The people will serve a rat king because the palace feeds the people. And here is the rule of grains again, he who has the grains, makes the rules. Stomach infrastructure is a bastard. Corruption is an organization.
Where is the king? Where are the grains? The people have questions. Questions they won't have if the king was a rat king. The people will happily serve a rat king because the people cannot think without a king. If they could think, all the food won't be in the king's palace. Corruption turns men into rats. Why do rats exist? Is it a just thing for men to kill rats?
Written by : Adeyemi Aderenle