It was just
before New Year's in Benares, in northern India. Everyone in the
city was getting ready for the three day celebration, including
the gardener of the king's pleasure garden.
a large troop of monkeys living in this pleasure garden. So they
wouldn't have to think too much, they always followed the advice
of their leader, the monkey king.
gardener wanted to celebrate the New Year's holiday, just like
everybody else. So he decided to hand over his duties to the monkeys.
He went to
the monkey king and said, "Oh king of monkeys, my honourable
friend, would you do a little favour for me? New Years is coming.
I too wish to celebrate. So I must be away for three full days.
Here in this lovely garden, there are plenty of fruits and berries
and nuts to eat. You and your subjects may be my guests, and eat
as much as you wish. In return, please water the young trees and
plants while I'm gone."
king replied, "Don't worry about a thing, my friend! We will
do a terrific job! Have a good time!"
showed the monkeys where the watering buckets were kept. Feeling
confident, he left to celebrate the holiday. The monkeys called
after him, "Happy New Year!"
The next day,
the monkeys filled up the buckets, and began watering the young
trees and plants. Then the king of the monkeys addressed them:
"My subjects, it is not good to waste water. Therefore, pull
up each young tree or plant before watering. Inspect it to see
how long the roots are. Then give more water to the ones with
long roots, and less water to the ones with short roots. That
way we will not waste water, and the gardener will be pleased!"
it any further thought, the obedient subjects followed their king's
a wise man was walking by outside the entrance to the garden.
He saw the monkeys uprooting all the lovely young trees and plants,
measuring their roots, and carefully pouring water into the holes
in the ground. He asked, "Oh foolish monkeys, what do you
think you're doing to the king's beautiful garden?"
"We are watering the trees and plants, without wasting water!
We were commanded to do so by our lord king."
The man said,
"If this is the wisdom of the wisest among you - the king
- what are the rest of you like? Intending to do a worthwhile
deed, your foolishness turns it into disaster!"
moral is: Only fools can make good deeds
into bad ones.