Meaning: To avoid talking or make a desperate effort to avoid saying something.
Once upon a time there lived a king. He was totally obsessed with himself and never appreciated that anyone should point a finger at him or say a word against his decisions. His pupils were all well aware about his peculiar trait and hence always made sure that they never stepped over the line.
One day the king was sitting in his garden, when all of sudden a gardener caught his fancy. He told one of his servants to fetch the gardener.
The king asked him, “how long have you been working in my garden?”
After counting on his fingers the gardener said, “nearly 15 years my king”.
King thought for a minute and said that means you have great experience in gardening. From now on you will handle my entire estate garden. I want it to look beautiful and always have flowers bloomed.
The puzzled gardener had nothing to say except for “yes my king”.
Time passed and with approach of spring the entire kingdom bloomed. It had all shades that one could ever imagine, in other words from distance it seemed like a rainbow had stepped down from the sky.
Soon people from neighboring places started visiting the place and the popularity of the kingdom reached its zenith. The kingdom earned lots of money from tourists visiting his place. He was happy with the gardener and richly rewarded him. Everyone was extremely happy.
As time passed and season began to change, soon the flowers started to wither out. The king became concerned with decline in people visiting his kingdom. He called for the gardener and asked for an explanation. Before he could say anything, the king ordered him saying he had only a month to make sure that same beauty is restored else he will have to face consequences.
The gardener was worried as he knew there was no way he could make flowers bloom without the appropriate season. Soon time came to an end and the king in his wrath ordered the gardener to be hanged till dead.
Everyone was forced to BITE THEIR TONGUES as no one was ready to offend the king and put their own lives at risk. All knew it was not the gardener’s fault, he had no control over seasons and natural cycle but still no one was able to speak it out loud in front of the king and forcefully kept silent. All of them silently watched the gardener being taken away by king’s guards towards the prison.