Seeds speak the truth — II

Ling told his mother

that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But

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 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. “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 you found that the seed would not grow,

you substituted another seed for the one I gave

you. —