The royal gardener wanted a vacation.
There were some monkeys living in the garden, so the gardener decided to put the monkeys in charge while he was gone.
“Make sure you water all the plants!” he told the monkeys.
“We should inspect the roots first," commanded the chief of the monkeys. "The deep roots need lots of water; the shallow roots not so much.”
So the monkeys inspected the roots carefully, pulling them up out of the ground to look at them.
The gardener came back from vacation to find all the plants were dead, uprooted by the foolish monkeys.
Inspired by: The Jataka, translated by Robert Chalmers.
Notes: This is the Aramadusaka Jataka. Here is an illustration by Ellsworth Young: