In the world according to Empress Ming, the sun rose and set on her. In her self-decreed high and superior opinion it mattered little what others thought, or talked about. She swept away the unnecessary chatter with the flick of a hand as if she were tossing away an unwanted crumb. Her servants were only allowed to speak about matters of importance to her, even when they were not even speaking to her.

“You will not live in my house, if you do not do as I say! Leave me now! Be gone!” she commanded in a haughty tone.

“You must only say what I think is of importance. I am wise, I know everything that is of any meaning in the world. Shoo, go away!”

One by one her servants left her employ. Unbeknownst to her, they were not her personal slaves as she seemed to think, but had free choice and the right to free speech. They exercised the rights, packed their bags and walked away.

The poor empress was left to do the sweeping and cleaning of her huge palace all by herself, to cook her own meals and serve herself.

“I know, I shall speak to the monkeys and they will do my bidding. We communicate well and they do as I say.”

Using her great mental powers of animal telepathy, she walked out to the monkey enclosure, her haughty head held high with confidence. The monkeys greeted her with excitement. She shook her wise head knowingly and said, “You will not speak unless I give you permission and then you may only tell me what I want to hear. Anything else is of no importance. You will do my bidding.”

The monkeys gathered around her adoringly and chattered in their native tongue. Ming shook her wise head, sure they had understood her all-knowing superior commands.

She left the door to their enclosure open when she walked out, mentally willing them to follow her to the house to begin working. She walked vain head in the air toward the grand empty house, never looking back, as if she was leading a great procession of kowtowing subjects who would only do her bidding.

She sat in her beautiful embroidered chair and watched out the window at her lush gardens, sure of her all-knowing mastery of everything in the world. Ming dozed in the warm sun certain all was as it should be now because she had commanded it to be so.

Hours later she woke in the setting sun that filtered through the window, rudely daring to make itself known in her royal presence.

Hungry, she walked regally to the formal dining room, sat at the head of the table and rang the dinner bell, but no one answered her summons. Her stomach grumbled angrily expecting to be filled on command.

“Monkeys,” she called out, “Where is my dinner?” but no one responded. There was only silence in the house.

Ming stomped to the kitchen and found it strewn with food, a mess of smeared and smashed edibles. Broken dishes and overturned trash covered the floor.

On the counter sat a white envelope addressed to Empress Ming. Monkey fingerprints covered in food marred the crisp white paper. Carefully the haughty empress opened the envelope with her long nails.

She pulled out a white piece of paper on which a message was written in perfect penmanship,

“ Dear royal all-knowing, all commanding empress,

We thank you kindly for your food and wise counsel, but we like to think for ourselves, so we have followed the servants to their new homes where we are welcome to speak our own minds. We wish you peace in your silent surroundings where you only have yourself to talk to. There is a wondrous mirror in the great entry hall which will do all your bidding and only speak what you wish to hear. We are sure it will serve you well in the manner you demand. Fare thee well.

With respect, The Monkey Minions"

Moral of the story: She who will only hear her own words, will soon only have her own words to hear.


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