The Rat King’s Son
Narrated by Merga Debelo
This is a story about rats. There was a whole colony of rats who thought they were superior to all animals on earth. They were very arrogant and ambitious and they had a king who was the worst of them all and thought he was above them.
After some time the King had a son, and he said, “Look, my son is the greatest being on Earth, so I need to find a wife of the same standard and status.”
But because none of these miserable animals on Earth could be a good wife for him, he had to marry the creator’s daughter.
So he gathered the elders and he said, “Go and ask the creator for his daughter’s hand in marriage.”
So they went to the creator and they said, “We have an excellent son; he’s handsome and intelligent and exceptional. We want you to give us your daughter as a bride for our son.”
And the creator said, “I can see from what you say that your son really is something special. I think that, in fact, he’s so special he should marry somebody even greater than my daughter.”
But the elders said, “Look, we think you’re the greatest being.”
So he said, “No, I’m God, I live in the sky. Fog comes and wraps itself around me and I can’t do anything about this. Therefore, I think you should go and ask for the fog’s daughter. She’s very beautiful.”
So the elders went back to the King and said, “Look, if God says the fog’s greater than him, it must be so.”
So the King asked the elders to go to the fog and ask for his daughter.
So, once again, the elders set off and they went to the fog’s palace and said, “Look, we have this great son and we hear you have a beautiful daughter, can she marry him?”
And the fog said, “Tell me about him.”
The elders said, “He’s handsome, intelligent and great.”
The fog said, “If that’s the case, our daughter is below him, and he should marry someone even greater.”
So the elders said, “Who can be greater than the fog? Even God admitted that you can suffocate him.”
The fog said, “Oh, the wind. It comes and scatters me to pieces, I’m no match for the wind. He has a daughter, so go ask the wind.”
So they go back to the King and then to the wind.
And they explain to the wind about the King’s son, and the wind says, “Well, it seems as though he’s really something above my daughter. Why don’t you ask one greater than the wind?”
“But who’s greater than the wind? You can scatter the fog.”
So the wind said, “Go and ask the mountain who just slaps me and makes me fall back.”
So they agree, and talk to the King once again, and go to the mountain.
They tell the mountain their problems, and the mountain said, “That’s a good idea, but you know my daughter isn’t fit to be married to him. There’s someone greater than me.”
The elders said, “Who’s that?”
And the mountain said, “There someone who can burrow straight through my insides and breaks me down to pieces: that’s the bush rat.”
So they go back to the Rat King and say, “Well, the mountain said the bush rat was greater. Can we ask him?”
The King said, “What a good idea. We’re cousins, and get along fine.”
So, the theme is that you can put someone in his place in a nice way.
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