The Emperor’s Seed


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 children 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

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 3 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. 3 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. 6 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. 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 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 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. 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!”

If you plant honesty even from boiled seed, you will reap trust.

Leave a Reply

4 responses to “The Emperor’s Seed”

  1. Akposon says:

    What a hard way to learn. Men of integrity always live a fulfilled life. Even if truth is killed and buried, it will resurrect.

  2. Steve says:

    Just read this to my grandkids on a road trip. It was a great springboard to conversations about always telling the truth to grandpa. This makes Grandma smile. Wait, why is she winking at me.

  3. mukesh says:

    again a great story to motivate people to follow the right path…

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