A drop of honey
A Fable from Myanmar
Who fights like cats and dogs?
Long, long ago this story was told. It has been told ever since, and here I tell it to you today... The Story of the Drop of Honey.
One fine morning, a king was sitting with his prime minister in the courtyard of his palace. The two men, who were good friends, liked to talk to each other. While they chatted, they ate some rice cookies with honey.
The king laughed loudly at a funny remark which the minister made. He waved his arms and accidentally spilled some honey on the edge of the courtyard. The prime minister pulled out his handkerchief to wipe up the honey. But the king stopped him, saying, “My dear friend, please don’t bother about that drop of honey. You are much too important to do such work. Later on, I’ll call a servant to clean it up. Please go on with the story you were telling me.”
The two men continued telling each other stories and forgot about the drop of honey. The honey, however, slowly trickled down the courtyard on the path bellow. A fly came buzzing by and ate some of the honey. While it was enjoying the honey, a lizard darted out and swallowed the fly. The sudden movement of the lizard woke up a cat which was sleeping at the side of the street. The cat jumped after the lizard, which quickly darted away.
Just at that moment, a dog trotted by. When it saw the cat jump, it began to bark furiously. Soon the quiet street was filled with the hissing and barking of the cat and dog.
All this noise brought two women out of their houses. They were the owners of the two animals. The owner of the cat threw a stick at the dog to chase it away. The owner of the dog shouted at her to leave the dog alone and to take away the nasty cat instead. They began to shout at each other.
The husbands of both women heard the shrieks and came out to see what the matter was. Each husband took his wife’s side, and they finally came to blows. Their frightened children called their uncles and families to come and help. They all joined in the fight. Within a few minutes, the street was full of struggling men and women.
The awful noise finally reached the king and his prime minister who were still sitting in the courtyard. When the king saw the battle in the street, he told the palace guards to stop it. They ran out and ordered everyone to stop fighting. But nobody listened to their commands. Finally, the chief guard ordered his men to draw their weapons. With their swords in their hands, the guards rushed upon the people and several men were killed.
This made the people of the city angry. They rebelled and began to burn and loot the whole city. In the confusion, even the palace was burnt down.
In despair, the king sent out his army. The rebels fled from the city, but continued fighting in the countryside. Civil war broke out all over country.
After many months of fighting, the crown prince brought peace. The king however was forced to give up his throne to his son. So, the pride of the king in not wanting to clean up one drop of honey cost him his throne and the peace of his country.