The Tyrant King
By Callista Nnachetam
In the kingdom of Osusu, there lived a wicked lion named Tuni. He was the king of all other animals. Every one in the village feared him. One day, Turtle the seer, visited the king and told him of a great famine that is approaching and would wipe out half of the people if proper measures were not taken. After the seer’s departure, the king sent the Eagle, his messenger, to quickly invite his council of advisers, made up of the Cheetah, Tiger, Giraffe, Hippopotamus and Kangaroo for a meeting. When they all came, he retold the seer’s message and asked for their advice. After much disputing, Giraffe, the wisest of them all finally advised that the king and the villagers should all stock up on food in their respective houses. This, they agreed upon and went their separate ways.
Instead of hiring labourers to work on his farms, the king made the smaller animals like cats, frogs, cats and rabbits work overtime, while still working on their own farmlands. He also ordered that 70% of the proceeds from every animals’s farms should be brought to the palace to be stored up in preparation for the famine.
On the third month of a new farm year, the famine came and the people of Osusu were unbothered because they believed they had enough food to last them for the longest. They started off by eating the ones they had stored up in their various houses. After those were finished, they began to go to the Palace and ask the lion for some. They were shocked when the lion told them that they had to pay to get some food. At first, they refused, but when their younglings began to grow emaciated, they agreed to the king’s demand. The animals continued this way for about two years until they had no money.
The council of advisers went to the king about this problem, pleading with him to give food to the smaller animals since they all worked for it, but Tuni the king, vehemently kicked against it and threatened to stop giving them food if they ever interceded for the smaller animals even though he knew he would not for fear that they might come together to dethrone him. The five advisers took it upon themselves to give out small portions of their food to the people they could.
Many animals began to die due to hunger, and the news was brought to the king who didn’t still care about the people he was responsible for. For the third time, the council of elders went to the king, who decided to feast them. During the feast, as per tradition, he took the first bite before anybody and slumped. Unbeknown to them, the king ordered Mr Monkey, the cook, to poison all of his advisers so he could fully oppress the smaller animals. Mr Monkey took it upon himself to poison the king instead, and free the people.
It was a day of celebration for the remnant of Osusu. Giraffe was crowned king to the acceptance of everyone.