The True King: Translation of an Arabic folk tale

The True King: Translation of an Arabic folk tale

After fighting a long war with his enemies, the lion Talhan could establish his government in the jungle. One day he invited all the animals of the jungle so that he could address them and also explain the rules of his politics to them.
The animals of the forest gathered to listen to their new king, Talhan.
Talhan sat on high ground and made a powerful show of his power in front of the animals who had gathered to listen to him. He began his speech with these words: “I just want to take care of your issues and problems. After having established a just system of governance among you, I would focus on the external threats that our territory is facing. And….”
After the end of his speech to the animals, a donkey, who was in the audience, said, “This is the king who we have been looking and waiting for long.” A monkey who was there asked the donkey, “why?”
“Didn’t you listen to his speech? He promised truth and justice for all,” the donkey said.
“It is very easy to make promises. What is important is the fulfilment of those promises,” said the monkey.
“Don’t be a pessimist. I am satisfied with the speech of the king,” said the donkey to the monkey.
“Don’t rush to conclusion. His policies of governance will prove him right or wrong,” said the monkey to the donkey.
“How?” asked the donkey.
“Just see the animals whom he takes as his advisors, helpers, and supporters in running the affairs of the jungle, then you will come to know,” he elaborated.
Some days after this meeting with the animals, the new king of the jungle announced that he had decided to appoint the wolf as his chief administrator, who would be managing and controlling all the affairs of the jungle on his behalf.
Upon hearing the announcement, a giraffe said to a deer who was her friend, “Wolf Tamaan has become the chief administrator of the jungle. The same wolf Tamaan who is responsible for kidnapping animals and killing their children. This is, indeed, a tragedy. Who would we complain to when we would face any injustice and our food is stolen or our children are killed? He has now become more powerful.”
She further elaborated, “The old king of the jungle would check him and would even decide against him. But now he would be doing all sorts of injustices and crimes in the name of the new king.”
One day, the wolf had a meeting with the other wolves of the jungle wherein he said, “The days of hunger and bereavement are over now. Whatever anyone of you can steal now from other animals and whosoever animal you would be able to kill and eat, you are free to do that.”
The other wolves present in the meeting said to him, “How would the new king of the forest respond to such behaviour?”
“The new king, lion Talhan, will participate in our bounty of fresh and sweet food from the flesh of animals and if any of the animals would object to our action, its flesh would be permissible for all of us,” said the wolf.
“How would that be possible?” asked the other wolves.
“We would complain to the king that such and such animal does not like him and would further complain that such and such animal is in correspondence with the old king, lion Salhan.”
All the wolves laughed while their mouths were watering at the prospects awaiting them. All of them said “Good bye to hunger and lack of food!” They even said, “Long live lion Talhan!”
The environment of the jungle changed. All the animals feared for the lives of their younger ones upon seeing the oppression and crimes of wolves.
The animals, with the passage of time, stopped approaching the wolf, Tamaan, and the king, lion Talhan, for the redress of their grievances. Every one amongst them tried to settle things with whatever power they had.
One day a monkey went to an elephant called Fahman and said to him, “Why don’t you, sir, advise the new king Talhan as you were doing to the old king, Talhan?”
“He never asks me for it. But even if he ever would, I would now offer it to him,” said the elephant to the monkey. He further said, “I alone cannot change the things. All those animals who surround the new king and advise him are the worst lot of animals who would never allow him to go for any change in policies.”
“What is the solution?” asked the monkey.
“The solution is that a group of animals should visit the new king and brief him about the realities,” said the elephant.
“Doesn’t he know the truth? He is himself a partner in the crimes of wolves. He has crossed all limits of the misuse of his power,” said the monkey.
There were no rains after some time in the forest. The forest dried up. There was shortage of water in every corner of the jungle.
The wolves controlled all the wells of water where they drank to the content of their hearts and also played with the water, but they would not allow the other thirsty animals to approach these wells.
The donkey said to the monkey, “Now I understand what you had said that day. The new king Talhan does not bother about the fact that the animals of the jungle are dying of thirst while he and his close associates enjoy.”
One morning, all the animals of the jungle went to a well for drinking water but they were shocked to see that the wolves were already guarding it. They had to return without quenching their thirst.
The thirst among the elderly animals intensified and their younger ones started crying. As a result of their growing anger, they one day started an uprising against the wolves. There was a fierce battle between the animals and the wolves. A huge number of wolves were killed. The new king Talhan was scared and he publicly expressed his anger against the wolf. He, in fact, suspended him from the assignment of being his chief administrator.
Upon seeing this change, the elephant said to the king, “O king, the problem is not with wolf Tamaan.”
“Where does the problem lie then?” asked the king.
“The problem lies in your politics and your method of governance, as you are the one who appointed the wolf as chief administrator when you knew that he is a thief and a bad listener as well,” said the elephant.
“I have suspended him and expelled him from the jungle also,” said the king.
“You too must leave the jungle now,” said the elephant to the king.
“Who would rule the jungle then?” asked the king.
“Lion Salhan would return as the king of the jungle,” replied the elephant.
“I would never allow it to happen,” threatened the king.
“But that is going to happen,” said the elephant.
The elephant Fahman proceeded towards lion Talhan and there started a fierce battle between the two. Lion Talhan was seriously injured in the fight between the two. Upon seeing the king injured, the animals of the forest came out and pounced upon the lion and killed him.
The elephant Fahman sent a message to lion Salhan and requested him to return as the king of the jungle.
The monkey said to the donkey, “What is your opinion, now?”
“I feel the jungle would be full of blessings now by the return of lion Salhan,” said the donkey. “But I am surprised by one thing.”
“What is that?” asked the donkey.
“Lion Salhan returned as the king of the jungle without any apparent power on his side and lion Talhan lost his power and got killed despite having the brutal force of wolves at his disposal,” explained the monkey.
Here the monkey said something very amazing to the donkey, “Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, even though the whole world be against it.”

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