The Fable of the Mice's Crisis
The Mouse Kingdom was being overrun by mice of all colors, shapes and stripes.
The King was sure that undesirables would soon have access to the Palace, and he was afraid of losing control. He wanted to retain the aura of openness and his stature as a beloved leader and one of them, one of the common mice. But something had to be done. It was only a matter of time before the unthinkable happened, and he and the Royal family would be compelled to share cheese with a rat.
The Royal Rodent Court was called into extraordinary session to determine a means of protecting the big cheese and his Royal cheese from the unseemly hoards.
“Let’s build a moat around the Kingdom,” one of the senior advisors said forgetting momentarily that his colleagues feared water so much that none would even consider the thought.
“Let’s put the whole Kingdom under the ground and bury ourselves so no one can get in,” said another.
Such shouting and suggesting continued for hours reaching its outlandish crescendo when a junior member proposed “getting a big cat to protect us.”
At this point, the King called a halt to the assembly saying he would turn the whole issue over to a Special Royal Crisis Advisory Commission of senior Mouse Kingdom officials to report back in utmost haste with a proposal that would protect the Kingdom from the unsavoury rodents, but still allow savoury ones to enter with gifts for the King and to serve his needs as he so decreed.
An elderly and thoughtful mouse, who had just returned to the Kingdom after years working in scientific research, was chosen to head the advisory commission because he knew of the full range of threats and customs in the outside world. He opened an office in the Palace; he hired staff; he travelled throughout the Kingdom; he ate lots of expensive cheese; and he went through the motions of consulting other Commission members. But this was only to confirm his immediate thought and plan. He advised the King to build an elaborate maze around the Palace and presented him with a detailed design.
It was a very complex and impressive concept with passageways branching off into different directions. It would be confusing, extremely difficult to navigate and only surmountable with guidance and help from experts. Experts appointed by the King.
“This way we can weed out the undesirables before they get to the final pathway out of the maze and into the Kingdom,” said the wise old research mouse. “We will have guards all along the way, but we must pick a very special and “Powerful One” for the last post to make sure that no unwanted mice, rats, or cats ever make it through.”
The King loved the idea, and as soon as this was known, so did all of the Royal Rodent Court, which immediately approved funding for the construction of the monster maze and for hiring a new army of maze-managers, maze-administrators, and maze-attendants. There was no need to hire the “Powerful One” right away as his would be the last post to be built on the rat-repelling route.
As the monster maze rose up on the north side of the kingdom, the newly hired army of maze-administration and managing mice began training, selecting equipment, choosing furniture, and ordering materials for their guard posts. The maze was an impressive site and a rising symbol of the Kingdom’s new commitment to security and to protecting the integrity of its cheese while still allowing the trade and commerce of the Mouse Kingdom to continue.
All was proceeding with great enthusiasm and energy. All except the recruitment of a “Powerful One.” The King and his Court were gravely embarrassed when the preferred candidate, the mouse who was so obviously stronger and bigger than the others was revealed, on the eve of his official appointment, to be – a rat !!
“Take better care in choosing another – or I will have your heads !” screamed the King, causing his advisors such anxiety that they never ever could decide on another “Powerful One” to take up this critical task.
Years passed, and the maze, with no one to man the final post, remained unopened. The staff hired to manage and administer it kept busy renovating their guard posts and offices and millions of pounds of cheese was distributed to keep the complex ready for operations.
Meanwhile, the common mice of the Kingdom were beginning to starve having been blocked off from the outside world, and they threatened to riot. The Kingdom was in crisis anew, and the King called an extraordinary session of the Royal Rodent Court.
At the gathering, the King expressed his great displeasure over the mountain of cheese that had been wasted on the Maze by the gluttonous and lazy maze administrators, and he announced that they would all be beheaded and then laid off from their jobs with no pensions.