There once was a King who lived in the far east. He was growing old and it was time for him to choose a successor. He had no children and he did not like his assistants, so he decided to do something different. He called for all the youths in the land to gather outside the palace on a certain day.

When that day came, all the young girls and boys gathered outside the palace and the King came out and said, “I have decided to choose one of you to be my successor.” The children were all shocked. “I am going to give each of you a seed. You will take this seed home with you, plant it, water it and care for it and in one year from this day bring the plants back here. I will then look at all the plants and choose one of you to rule the kingdom.”

One boy named, Ling, like everyone else received a seed from the king. Ling ran home and told his mother. She helped him get a pot, soil and they planted the seed. Ling watered the seed carefully and awaited for a plant to grow.

After 3 weeks of watering and caring for the seed, nothing yet had grown out of Lings pot. Yet, other children were all talking about the shoots that had sprout already in theirs. After 4 and 5 weeks the other children were talking about how tall their plants were and yet Ling’s pot still had no sprout. After 6 months ling was sure he had killed his seed while others bragged about having tall trees and plants.

One year had passed and the day had come for all the children to bring their plants before the King. Ling was saddened and was not going to go at all. Lings mother said that he should go before the King and be honest with him. What if the King become angry because Ling didn’t show up, it could be very disrespectful. So Ling said he would take his empty pot and he went to the palace with his head hung low.

Upon arriving, Ling saw how all the children had plants, trees, bushes and flowers in their pots. Ling hid behind the tallest person he could find so as to not be noticed. Just then the King came out and everyone clapped. The King walked around and looked at all the plants, smiling. “My, what lovely trees, flowers and plants there are here today.”

Just then the King saw Ling and his empty pot. The king ordered his guards to bring Ling to the front. Ling was terrified. When Ling got to the King, the King asked him his name and he replied, “Ling.”

The King ordered everyone to be quiet. They were all laughing and heckling with whispers and chatter. The crowd got quiet. The King then spoke, “Behold your new emperor.” Ling was stunned, how could he rule a kingdom when he couldn’t even grow a plant?

“One year ago today,” the King began. “I gave you all seeds and asked you to go home and plant that seed and water it and bring it back in one year. I gave you all boiled seeds, which will not grow. All of you brought me plants and flowers that you got from another seed because the first seed did not grow. Only Ling here came forth with the exact seed that I gave him a year ago. Ling was the only one who came here with courage and honesty. Ling is your new King.”


(moral: honesty is the best policy. This story shows the courage it takes to do the right thing.)

have a zen-filled day