The Emperor's Seeds
An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to
choose His successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his
children, he decided something different. He called young people in the
kingdom together one day.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and 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
very special seed. I want you to 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, and the one I choose will be
the next emperor!"
One boy named Ling was there that day, and he, like the others, received
a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped
him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it
carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.
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
checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 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
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 his Mother said he must be honest
about what happened.
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 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 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
terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!"
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 everyone 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 emperor?
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 the
rest of you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another
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!"
[ "In The Garden With Jesus", by Tiziana Ruff -- from 'andychaps_the-funnies' ]
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