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OPINION: Parable of a Helpless King, By Ayodele Adio

​The big problem subsequently became: Which child gets the part of the land where the gold is? And as long as that could not be resolved, the land could also not be shared. If the land cannot be shared, the fact remains that the family strife would continue and deepen.

A rich farmer, also a King, married three wives who bore him a child each. When his children grew up, they worked on a farmland and each gave a fraction his income to their father for his upkeep (as he was getting old). They kept the remainder of their incomes to themselves, to pay for needs and merriment. The harder they worked, the more money they made.

Then, one day while working on the farm, one of the children found a huge cache of gold buried beneath the soil he was tilling, and called the attention of his other brothers to this, before the good news was broken to their father.

Their father decided to call his old friend, a gold merchant, and shortly thereafter they were in business. The father and his children concentrated their efforts on the new gold business and abandoned the farm.

Subsequently, the old man’s deal with his old friend brings in much income, the proceeds from which he grants his children sizeable allowances periodically.

Everyone was happy until the children married and bore their own children. The first married one wife and had two kids. The second had two wives and four kids, while the third married four wives and had ten kids.

The father then decided to redistribute the periodic allowances amongst his children. The bigger the family, the more the allowance each received. As such, the third son got the biggest allowance.

Quarrels started over the allowances and worsened as the first son felt he was being treated poorly. The second son argued that he found the gold and the third cried that he had a bigger family to feed.

The father then resolved to share the entire land equally among the three children, so they could till the ground and earn for their sustenance.

The big problem subsequently became: Which child gets the part of the land where the gold is? And as long as that could not be resolved, the land could also not be shared. If the land cannot be shared, the fact remains that the family strife would continue and deepen.

To resolve this conundrum, what should the father do?

Ayodele Adio is co-host of a Lagos radio programme.

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