There was a small island kingdom, inhabited by a peaceful race of people who prospered through the advances they had made in agriculture. One day, they were visited by a shipful of traders from a faraway and exotic country. However, unknown to them, stowed away in the holds of the ship, came a few rats. Now these rats had a free run in the island and started to multiply rapidly. Soon, they started to devour the crops no sooner had they started to flourish. The farmers started to get worried by this and when this reached a crisis situation, they demanded to meet with the king.
Now the king was a kind old man and he and his court of ministers heard the plight of the farmers. He was very disturbed to learn that his beloved farmlands were being ravaged by the foreign vermin. He asked his advisory council to convene in order to deliberate on the issues at hand. The council came up with a novel idea: the best way to get rid of the rats was to outsource the process of the killing of rats to the farmers themselves. Since it was a matter close to their heart, they would be vigilant in getting rid of the rodents with utmost vigilance. So, the kind old King announced that whoever brings to the council a fully grown dead rat would receive one gold coin. At this, the farmers heaved a sigh of relief and started about their life.
A special committee was formed to accept and dispose the dead rats while handing over the reward coin to the farmers on the spot. The program was a massive success and everyone enthusiastically came to arms; it was a matter of survival, after all. In a couple of weeks, the Royal Granarian reported that there was an uptick in the national grain production for the first time in weeks. It seemed that the King and the Council had prevailed, as the problem of the rat infestation seemed to have been beaten back.
However, this positive flicker was not to last too long. A few weeks later, the Royal Granarian sought audience with the King. He reported that the initial uptick was not long lasting and since then, the grain production has been going down exponentially, and there were almost no production at the moment. This shocked the King, who summoned his committee of rat disposal. Disheveled, tired and slightly panicky, the committee members arrived before the King and reported that more and more people were coming with dead rats. There seemed to be no end to people turning up with dead rats and demanding their reward. They reckoned at this rate, the kingdom would go bankrupt within a week or two.
The King was shocked on hearing the two sides of the story, and he immediately convened a meeting of the Council members and advisors. Nobody could gauge why the grain production was still suffering despite such massive rodent mortality; finally it was decided that they would launch an investigation to assess the situation.
The king decided to send a covert observer to the villages. The observer toured through the villages across the small island nation and returned to report to the king after a few weeks.
He seemed quite scared and panicked when he told the King about what he had seen. He had seen that the farmers had stopped agriculture entirely and at the present moment, all they were doing, was breeding rats in huge containment areas constructed across their lands. The entire population was breeding rats in order to kill them when they had grown up and bring them to the committee to claim their reward of one gold coin.