“Let’s ban it,” said Minister to the King of the Land of White Horses. There’s a long story behind the Kingdom’s name involving a lot of deliberation and a little sense of humor but the focus right now is to ban the sole cause of discontent in the kingdom. If you haven’t guessed it already, the esteemed wise Minister is talking about banning every horse except for the white horse.
“Even better, let us ban every four-legged animal except for the white horse. It is the best way to reinforce the identity of our kingdom. The neighbouring kingdoms must realise that we are willing to do everything to ensure that our might is well-known!” he exclaimed. The king sat on the throne, looking curious, caressing his beard and grunting in approval.
“Are you serious? There are many people who will lose their livelihood,” a courtier stood up and said with shaking legs. He looked around. Other courtiers had a look of sympathy on their faces, but none had the courage to speak up against any decision or even thought that the King and the Minister discussed. Such was their bond, and such was the fear they invoked in even the king’s coterie.
Well, the courtier really should have followed the herd because after that seditious comment worrying about people’s livelihood instead of the might of the kingdom, how could the King not throw him in jail for the rest of his life? The courtiers also cheered in acceptance when the verdict was expressed through a mere twisting of the eyebrows. The knights only needed a signal in the presence of the king. And not even that in his absence. They knew which actions had serious repercussions. Learning the same didn’t require much training. No official scroll was issued. But the King’s army knew the fundamentals of the functioning of the law in the land.
The Law Said, “Love your Kingdom.” Now how was that supposed to be enforced? So the army had its own interpretation. “No one speaks against the king. Speaking against the king means defaming the Kingdom.” Over the years, it had become a norm that the same applied to the King’s Minister as well.
The Law said, “Protect your kingdom.” The interpretation, very obviously was, “People are expendable, the Kingdom isn’t. The population can grow again but the Kingdom’s territories once captured by the neighbour would cause havoc.” If a couple of thousand people died of starvation or as a consequence of the king’s action, it was their own fault. They could always choose to live in the neighbouring kingdom that didn’t follow the same laws. No one would stop them. The neighbouring army just had orders to kill any spy, but hey, that’s a risk one has to take if they are so dissatisfied.
The Law said, “Love thy neighbour”. Oh wait, that was in Grotha, the holy book of the pale-skinned minority of the Kingdom. So, the small population of Grothians in the Kingdom could follow this, but only in case of their immediate neighbour. Any sign of loving the neighbouring Kingdom meant public beheading. Now the army wasn’t too keen on those. It also made the king seem a bit too medieval. So, it was up to the non-Grothians of the Kingdom to organise such beheadings. The Knights would just help write it off as an occasional unorganised madness which was essential for long-lasting peace and prosperity of the Kingdom.
There was another law, but it was amended from the constitution. Historians have trouble deciphering the amendment and so to each their own interpretation. There is no controversy about the original text. But a law, once amended becomes obsolete. To get with the times, it is the amendment which needs to be accepted. Some unwise fool once suggested about again amending the law to stop the infighting in the kingdom and bring clarity. He wasn’t heard from since. How else would the King keep blaming the former king for bringing the Kingdom to its knees? It was not an amendment. It was a black spot that needed to remain muddied.
The original text was – Anyone can own any horse without facing any discrimination for the species, colour, age, height, virility or strength of the horse.
The amendment, some Wise men of the Kingdom say, added the word “White” in front of the horse, to mark the identity, might and pride of the nation.
Another conspiracy theory seeded by agents of the rival kingdom is that the amendment added, “or animal” after the word horse. Any logical thinker could see how this would dilute the ideals the Nation stood for which was the pride of the White Horse. But the conspiracy theorists were spread across the kingdom and just wouldn’t shut up about their interpretation of the law.
This brings us to the Minister’s wise suggestion, which my job is to bring to your kind attention. I would go into details about other marvels of this esteemed Kingdom but the King has little time to proofread this neutral, unbiased and objective scroll and the Minister does not like purple prose. Therefore, keeping the interest of the larger public King’s subjects in mind, with immense clarity I must convey that the old law has been wiped from the constitution to strengthen the Kingdom from the inside and end all conspiracy theories.
From tomorrow onwards, there will be a ban on all four-legged animals in the Kingdom except for the White Horse. Those having a White-horse will have access to all basic facilities and those who don’t must acquire one, even if it from the neighbouring Kingdom of Black Horses (which nurtures tortures White horses in spite). If they are unable to acquire one, they shall be banished from the Kingdom. Whether they take shelter in the neighbouring Kingdom (since they love their neighbour, as per Grotha) or not, is for them to decide. Or their leaders who should do better than coming up with conspiracy theories and buy white horses for them.
Now with the new law banning four-legged animals, the army knew what it had to do. Anyone with any other four-legged animal must immediately kill the animal to protect the sovereignty of the Kingdom. If they don’t, the animal will be killed for them. They have a right to make use of the animal skin, bones and blood which shall be ensured by the King’s court. Anyone who disagreed with the law or its constitutional position can go to the King’s Coterie with a plea where they would be informed of the law’s usefulness for the redressal of their grievance.
The army is given one month to ensure the implementation of the new law and any hindrances can be addressed in the usual way of occasional unorganised madness. From next month, begins new dawn for the Kingdom of White Horses. The Kingdom of Fish, Kingdom of Black Horses and Kingdom of chestnut trees would finally have to accept that they could never come up to the standards, the King had set for the Kingdom of White Horses.
The story is a complete work of fiction written by Pallavi Sareen and is not influenced at all by any real events, individuals, nations or horses. Any offence to the horses, white or otherwise is purely unintentional.