In the Kingdom of Fools Summary by RK Ramanujan

The story is of a place that was infamous for the dimwittedness of its people and ruler. The king and his minister were especially dumb as they made laws that defied common sense and rational thought.

They decided to order every person to sleep during the day and call it ‘night’. On the other hand, nighttime was schedule for work and was named ‘day’. The life of the place was turned upside down.

One day, the kingdom had two visitors, a master and his disciple or apprentice. They were shocked to see the people sleeping in broad daylight. At dusk, they all woke up and started work.

Moreover, they were pleasantly surprised to see that every single thing in the market was priced the same, at a paltry sum of money. Taking the opportunity they ate as much food as they could with their money.

The master, however, knew that a place of fools can be highly unpredictable and so unsafe in the long run so he left the place. However, his greedy pupil was having too much fun with cheap food and clothing and declined the offer to accompany him.

One night, a thief broke inside the house of wealthy trader. In his bid to escape with the booty, he died as the wall of the house collapsed over him. Aggrieved by his death, his family sought death punishment for the trader whose house was burgled.

The trader denied any culpability and blamed the mason who constructed the wall. The mason named a girl who distracted him while building the wall. The girl blamed the goldsmith who took much longer to complete her jewellery.

The jeweller blamed the trader’s father who had ordered a larger consignment which caused the delay. The king ordered the trader to be put to death on a stake as he inherited his father’s sins with the jewellery and wealth.

Unfortunately, the new stake was much larger for the trader to fit on to so the king asked to find a fat person to be put to death. The royal guards brought the disciple to the king who had gotten huge in a few days.

The disciple now remembered his master and he appeared to answer his wishes as he had certain supernatural abilities. He hatched a plot to save his pupil. He urged the king to kill him in the place of his pupil. The pupil urged to be killed first.

The king asked the master to explain the situation. He informed the king that the stake was pure and new and anyone martyred on it will become king after rebirth. The second person to be impaled on the stake will be reborn as minister of the kingdom.

The king ordered them to be killed at midnight. At night, the foolish king and minister replaced the master and disciple and were put to death in their place.

The next morning everyone realized what had happened. They were relieved to be free from the rule of idiocy and appealed to the master-pupil duo to run their kingdom.

They agreed and restored normalcy to the kingdom and brought back common sense in its everyday life.