Grass Houses

Submitted by Chris Dahl

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Grass Houses

King Toobo lived deep in the jungle in a sprawling grass house. He was loved by his people. On his fiftieth birthday, his loyal tribe wanted to present him with a fabulous throne from which he could rule.

All the craftsmen and artisans of the land gathered in the village and tried to decide on who would have the honor of making this fine gift for their leader. The one who made such a gift would go down in history as a great person. After hours of discussion and some heated debate, they still could not decide who would have the honor of creating this gift. They decided on a contest. The metal-workers would work together to create a throne of metal, the stonemasons one of stone and cement, and the carpenters would work with wood.
On the day of King Toobo's birthday, the entire tribe showed up to witness the marvels that had been created by the finest craftsmen in the land, and, in the center of the village stood three thrones. They were all anxious to see which Toobo would pick.

First, the carpenters presented their wooden throne. Toobo sat in it for a moment, and then stood and spoke: "I cannot use this throne," he explained. "In the rainy weather, it will get wet and moldy." Then he ordered two servants to stow it in the attic of his grass house. They struggled under the weight and wondered if the grass floor would hold the throne.

The masons brought forth the stone throne. "I cannot use this throne either," the king said, sadly. "In the winter, it will be too cold." He ordered the servants to stow it in his attic. The rafters began to groan from the weight of the two thrones.

The steel workers brought their present to the king. Toobo shook his head and denied the gift. "In the hot days of summer," he told them, "it will be too hot." The servants immediately scurried off up to the attic with the steel throne. Even Toobo could hear the beams and rafters groaning.

Later that night, just into his fiftieth year, the weight of the three thrones broke the beams above the king as he sat at his birthday feast, dropping their full weight on him and the merry tribe members he had invited to celebrate with him. King Toobo died from his injuries early that morning.

Many came to sing his praises and tell stories of his greatness after his death. A huge headstone was carved by the stone masons with the date of his birth, the date of his death and, of course, the saying that could have saved his life: "people who live in grass houses should not stow thrones."

Rest in Peace King Toobo.

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