It happened once upon a time that a certain king had in his employ a band of monkeys. The monkeys were willing workers, but they had their own way of understanding things, as the king knew well from long experience.
One day. the king called the chief minister of the monkeys to him and said, “I must be away for some days and I give to your people a duty. There are new, young plants in the garden, and they must be watered, as it is now the warm season and there will be no rain.”
“Your majesty’s wish will be our sacred rule,” the monkey minister replied. “We will care for the plants as our own children.”
“But take care,” said the king. “Do not waste the water! I know your people too well. There is enough water in the tank to care for all the young plants while I am gone, but only if you use it wisely.”
When the king had gone, the monkey minister called his people together, and said, “Now, listen carefully. The king has given us a task, but, for some reason which I cannot understand, he thinks that we are foolish. We will show him that we can be just as clever as Solomon the Wise. I have devised a plan to water all the plants and not waste a single drop of water. Here is what we shall do…”
When the king returned, he went with the monkey minister to examine the garden, and found to his sadness that nearly every plant was dying. “Chief minister,” he said, “what have you done? The whole garden is a calamity. Did you neglect your duty?”
“Certainly not, sire! My people are not responsible for the state of the garden,” said the minister. “We attended the plants every day without fail. And to be sure that we would not waste water, we pulled up each plant to examine the roots. Those with long roots received more water, and those with short roots received less. If they are dying now, it is only the will of the Creator.”