This humorous and pointed tale, written in rhyme, is a penetrating social satire about the arrogance and stupidity of young, power-hungry rulers who believe, for some reason, that they will be young forever.
King Franחois-Clounsois IV proclaims that he will remain young forever. He adheres to a healthy lifestyle and surrounds himself with young and inexperienced advisors. One day he discovers a white hair in his mustache, is struck with fright and immediately confers with his advisors. When one of them claims that old age is an infectious disease, the king decides to banish from the state all the elderly, from the age of seventy and up. The exiled elderly do not despair: they build themselves a glorious state, managed with wisdom, efficiency and without violence, so that the police officers there have no work. The reputation of the old people`s state spreads far and wide, and soon everyone understands that it is a fun country to live in. People under seventy begin to desert to it as well. The furious young king decides to fight the old folks and conquer their state. He goes to battle at the head of an army, confident in his victory. But a surprise awaits him: the elderly are thoroughly prepared, and make use of unconventional weapons, such as hot soup, dumplings, knitting needles, walking sticks and even dentures.... The battle concludes with a splendid victory for the elderly, and the filthy, exhausted king marches back to his kingdom, his defeated army dragging behind him. To his surprise, the castle guard does not recognize him and tells him that doesn`t even notice that his hooves are becoming muddy. The rest of the animals join in the rescue, and together they pull the courier brother from the swamp. There`s great joy, and the brother hugs the heroic deer with tears in his eyes. The excited deer doesn`t mind anymore that his brother is dirty with mud and sweat. He even rolls about with joy on the ground with his friend the monkey, until it`s hard to tell them apart under all the dirt. From that day on, the deer is no longer afraid of dirt, and besides handing out the mail in his village, he also works as a courier, crossing streams, mountains and deserts, running and sweating and feeling great satisfaction.
Illustrations: Dani Kerman
English translation available (for publishers only)