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
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.
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, 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
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
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap victory.
If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
If you plant openness, you will reap intimacy.
If you plant patience, you will reap improvements.
If you plant faith, you will reap miracles.
If you plant dishonesty, you will reap distrust.
If you plant selfishness, you will reap loneliness.
If you plant pride, you will reap destruction.
If you plant envy, you will reap trouble.
If you plant laziness, you will reap stagnation.
If you plant bitterness, you will reap isolation.
If you plant greed, you will reap loss.
If you plant gossip, you will reap enemies.
If you plant worries, you will reap wrinkles.
If you plant sin, you will reap guilt.
So be careful what you plant now, it will determine what you will
The seeds you now scatter will make life worse or better your life or
the ones who will come after. Yes, someday, you will enjoy the
fruits, or you will pay for the choices you plant today.
~ Author Unknown ~