Saturday, January 12, 2013

< RM > story - The Emperor's Seed

The Emperor's Seed

Once there was an emperor in the Far East
who was growing old and knew it was com-
ing time to choose his successor. Instead of
choosing one of his assistants or one of his
own children, he decided to do something
He called all the young people in the king-
dom together one day. He said, "It has come
time for me to step down and to choose the
next emperor. I have decided to choose one
of you." The kids were shocked! But the
emperor continued. "I am going to give each
one of you a seed today. One seed. It is a
very special seed. I want you to go home,
plant the seed, water it and come back here
one year from today with what you have
grown from this one seed. I will then judge
the plants that you bring to me, and the one
I choose will be the next emperor of the
There was one boy
named Ling who was
there that day and he,
like the others,
received a seed. He
went home and excit-
edly told his mother
the whole story. She
helped him get a pot
and some planting soil,
and he planted the
seed and watered it
carefully. Every day he
would water it and
watch to see if it had
After about three weeks, some of the
other youths began to talk about their seeds
and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Ling kept going home and checking his seed,
but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four
weeks, five weeks went by. Still nothing.
By now others were talking about their
plants but Ling didn't have a plant, and he
felt like a failure. Six months went by, still
nothing in Ling's pot. He just knew he had
killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and
tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't
say anything to his friends, however. He just
kept waiting for his seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the youths
of the kingdom brought their plants to the
emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother
that he wasn't going to take an empty pot.
But she encouraged him to go, and to take
his pot, and to be honest about what hap-
pened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he
knew his mother was right. He took his
empty pot to the palace.
When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the
variety of plants grown by all the other
youths. They were beautiful, in all shapes
and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor
and many of the other kinds laughed at him.
A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey
nice try."
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed
the room and greeted the young people. Ling
just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great
plants, trees and flowers you have grown,"
said the emperor. "Today, one of you will be
appointed the next emperor!"
All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling
at the back of the room with his empty pot.
He ordered his guards to bring him to the
front. Ling was terri-
fied. "The emperor
knows I'm a failure!
Maybe he will have me
When Ling got to
the front, the Emperor
asked his name. "My
name is Ling," he
replied. All the kids
were laughing and
making fun of him. The
emperor asked every-
one to quiet down. He
looked at Ling, and
then announced to the
crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name
is Ling!" Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't
even grow his seed. How could he be the new
Then the emperor said, "One year ago
today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told
you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and
bring it back to me today. But I gave you all
boiled seeds which would not grow. All of
you, except Ling, have brought me trees and
plants and flowers. When you found that the
seed would not grow, you substituted anoth-
er seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the
only one with the courage and honesty to
bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore,
he is the one who will be the new emperor!"

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