182. King Solomon and the Birds

King Solomon was in love. When his beloved asked for a house built of eggs, Solomon ordered all the birds of the world to bring him eggs.
The hoopoe arrived last, and he brought no eggs.
Solomon glared at the hoopoe angrily.
"I'm late because I was pondering a difficult question," said the hoopoe. "Which are more numerous: men or women?"
"What did you conclude?" asked Solomon, curious.
"Women!" replied the hoopoe. "Because fools like yourself, building houses of eggs, cannot be counted as men."
Enraged, Solomon cursed the hoopoe to have a foul smell, and hoopoes stink even now.
[an Amazigh story from Algeria]

Inspired by: "King Solomon and the Eggs" in Algerian Folktales (in Folklore) by M. W. Hilton-Simpson, 1924.
Notes: You can read the original story online. In the original story, the hoopoe offers three different excuses for delaying, but I have used only the third one.

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