A Very Wise King
A legend retold about the wisest king there ever was.
Solomon, Knowledge, Wisdom
Approximately 7 minutes
The King was amused to think a tiny bee could one day serve such a mighty king. He released the bee and said, “Go, be on your way, for I need nothing more from you today.”
Many days later, the people of the kingdom filled the palace yard. A queen was coming to visit from a a far away land. She heard many people claim this king was very wise. She had to know for sure that they were not all just lies. Finally, she arrived and came up to the King’s lofty throne. She offered her friendship and wonderful gifts, but finally the queen made her real purpose known.
“I hear you are wise,” she said. “You are wiser than the rest. Would you be willing to put your wisdom to a test?”
The King agreed, and she did her best, with riddles, tricks, and difficult tests. In fact, she became quite a bothersome pest.
One day she gave the King a large gemstone, and through the very middle was a tiny twisty hole. “See if you can put a thread through this gem,” she challenged the King with a devious grin. But the King asked a silkworm to climb through the hole, which is not a big problem for a tiny silkworm, you know. And as it did, a thin thread of silk followed the silkworm all the way through.
Another time, the queen tested his skills by filling a room with fifty boys and fifty girls. They were all dressed alike so the King could not tell, if one was a boy or another a girl. “See if you can pick out the boys from the girls. Then I will know you are the wisest in the world.”
But the King knew exactly how he could tell. He had his servants bring bowls of water for each child. Then he told the children not to make this a race, but he would like all of them to wash off their face. The boys splashed and splashed at the very word go, but the girls daintily dipped their fingers into the bowl. By this the King could very easily tell, who was a boy and who was a girl.
Now the queen was quite angered at the King’s show of wisdom, and all the more determined to find a way to trick him. “We must have a test,” she challenged her advisors, “To prove this king’s a fool, not to prove he is wiser!”
So they came up with a plan that would surely not fail. It indeed was a test to make the others look pale. They ordered the queen’s craftsmen to make ninety-nine flowers, fake through and through, but looking so real. When finished, even the queen could not tell they were fake. She was sure the King would make the very same mistake. And then from the King’s garden, she took just one real flower, and cleverly hid it among all the others.
“Tomorrow will be a wonderful day," the queen said, “because we will make the wise King look foolish instead. Yes, during the party that is held in his honor, we will test the King then, to find his ‘real’ flower.”
The next day, the people gathered from over the land to attend the party and worship their king. Then right after the meal the queen stood and spoke. She grabbed the attention of all of the good folk.
“Listen everyone, I have something to say. Just one more test to give the King today. My craftsmen created many beautiful flowers. They all look so real to test the king’s powers. Ninety-nine are fake, but one is real somewhere. Can the King find that one, if only he dare?”
The King, not wanting to be fooled by this queen, accepted the challenge she handed to him. He sniffed at the flowers, but they all smelled so sweet, and all of the flowers were as soft as could be. The flowers were all so beautiful to see, now which one could the real flower be? The King hesitated, and the people did wonder, “Could our king not be so wise and so great? Surely he could tell a real flower from fake.”
The King became a bit perplexed and did not know what to do next. Suddenly, he heard a faint buzzing sound, something was there buzzing around. It was the tiny little bee he saved many days before. “I am here at your service, here I am sir. I am here to repay the kindness you gave, on that one breezy day.”
The tiny bee quickly flew over the flowers and in no time at all found the one searching for, the one with the honey, so sweet and so pure. The King stooped down and plucked the flower. “Here is the one, no need to look further.” He handed it to the queen to see. And the craftsmen confirmed, it was the real one indeed. Finally, the queen had to give in and admitted this king was truly the wisest there ever had been.
And yes he truly was, for this was King Solomon, the son of David. When Solomon prayed for wisdom instead of riches, God said, "I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings." (1 Kings 3:12 -13)