In The Kingdom of Fools
By- A.K. Ramanujan’s
EXTRACTS FOR COMPREHENSION
Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow in one or two lines.
The two strangers were amazed by what they saw around them and wandered around town till evening, when suddenly the whole town woke up and went about its nightly business.
(i)Who were the two strangers?
The two strangers were the wise guru and his disciple.
(ii)Why were they amazed?
They were amazed to see that no one was out in the beautiful city although it was broad daylight.
(iii)Why did they wander around town till evening?
They wandered around town till evening because they were curious to know the reason behind the lonely streets of such a beautiful city.
(iv)What was the ‘nightly business’?
The ‘nightly business’ was actually the normal daytime activities like tilling the fields and running other businesses.
Your Highness, when my brother was pursuing his ancient trade, a wall fell on him and killed him. This merchant is to blame.
(i)Who makes this plea? To whom?
The thief’s brother makes this plea to the king of the Kingdom of Fools.
(ii)What was the ‘ancient trade’ mentioned here?
The ‘ancient trade’ was the burglary that the thief had committed.
(iii)Who had got killed and how?
The thief, who had broken into the house of the merchant, had got killed because a wall of the old house of the merchant had collapsed and fallen on his head.
(iv)Was the merchant really to be blamed?
The wall that led to the thief’s death had collapsed because it had become weak after the thief had made a hole in it to sneak into the house of the merchant. Hence, the merchant was not to be blamed for the thief’s death.
“Poor thing, she’s absolutely right,” thought the king, weighing the evidence. We’ve got the real culprit at last.
(i)Who is the ‘poor thing’ in these lines?
The ‘poor thing’ in these lines is the dancing girl who had now become old.
(ii)What was the evidence weighed by the king?
The evidence weighed by the king was the statement of the dancing girl accusing the goldsmith of delaying her order. This made her walk up and down to his house a dozen times and thus distract the bricklayer with the jingling of her anklets.
(iii)Who was the ‘real culprit’ at this stage?
The ‘real culprit’ at this stage was the goldsmith.
(iv)What was done after this judgement?
After this judgement, the king’s bailiffs searched for the goldsmith who was hiding in a corner of his shop.
It’s true your father is the true murderer. He’s dead, but somebody must be punished in his place.
(i)Who is speaking to whom in these lines?
The foolish king is speaking to the rich merchant in these lines.
(ii)Why was the listener’s father termed the true murderer?
The listener’s father was termed the true murderer because the wall of the house that had collapsed on the thief and had killed him was built by the listener’s father.
(iii)Why couldn’t the father be punished?
The father couldn’t be punished because he was a dead man now.
(iv)Who was chosen to be punished in place of the father? Why?
His so 1, the rich merchant, was chosen to be punished in place of the father because according to the foolish king the merchant had inherited his father’s sins along with his wealth.
“What shall we do?” he said when suddenly it struck him that all they needed to do was to find a man fat enough to fit the stake.
(i)Who is ‘he’ and why is ‘he’ in a dilemma?
‘He’ is the silly minister of the Kingdom of Fools and ‘he’ is in a dilemma because the rich merchant was very thin and did not fit the newly made stake.
(iii)What idea strikes him suddenly?
The idea that strikes him suddenly is to find a fat man who would fit the stake so that the king’s order to execute a person for the killing of the thief could be carried out.
(iv)What is a stake?
The stake is a post to which a person is bound for execution either by pushing a pointed object to cut through or by burning.
(v)Did they find a fat man? How?
Yes, they did find a fat man who happened to be the disciple who had grown fat by feeding on bananas, rice, wheat and ghee. He was found by the servants of the king sent all over the town in search of a fat man who would fit the stake.
The king was now thrown into deep thought. He didn’t want to lose the kingdom to someone else in the next round of life. He needed time.
(i)Why was the king thrown into deep thought?
The king was thrown into deep thought because he was in a dilemma whether to keep his word and execute the guru and lose his kingdom or to back out on his promise.
(ii)How was the king under threat of losing his kingdom?
The king was under threat of losing his kingdom because, according to the guru, his disciple and he would become the minister and the king respectively in their next life after being executed at the stake of the god of justice.
(iii)Why did the king need time?
The king needed time to find a solution to the threat of losing his kingdom to someone else in the next round of life.
(iv)What did the king do to get more time?
The king postponed the execution until the next day to get more time to save his kingdom.