A long time ago, there lived a very, very wise King. He was so wise he knew the ways of most everything. He knew of animals, birds, fish, and trees. And he taught people from all over the world about these.
Now one breezy day, a tiny bee lost her way, and flew right into the King’s beautiful palace. The little bee begged the King, “Please, let me live, and I will serve you some day.”
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 and 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 nuisance.
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. The King asked a silkworm to climb through the hole, which is not a big problem for a tiny silkworm, 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.” 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 from 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 honour, 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 to test the king’s powers. They all look so real. 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, he was gifted with a wise and discerning heart, and paradoxically, both riches and honour.
This is a fun story that teaches us about having the wisdom to make a friend with anyone, even seemingly small and weak. Their friendship and knowledge could serve at unexpected times!