When the emperor was about to depart from this world he called his people and said, “You know my love and care for you. I want to give up my imperial position to one of my sons who can manage your affairs honestly.”
The emperor called all young men and said to them, “I’ll give everyone of you a seed to plant and on the next year, present to me the growing tree. Then, I’ll choose the best for the kingdom.”
Every young man took a seed and planted it in a clay pot. Everyone took care of the seeds to be the emperor. Ling cared for the seed but he noticed that the seed did not grow; it was spoilt. He lamented his luck sadly and did not know what to say to the emperor. His mother was encouraging him continuously and assured him the importance of working honestly regardless of the result.
A year later, the seed was about to decay completely. Ling wanted to excuse himself from meeting the emperor. Nevertheless, his mother encouraged him to go. He noticed that every young man had a small beautiful tree that differed from the other. He was the only one who had nothing. The emperor ordered each one to put his tree in a large hall. Everyone was waiting the emperor’s decision and to be the chosen crown prince. When Ling took his place everyone mocked at him.
The emperor walked examining each plant. Finally, he came to Ling’s pot and said, “For whom is that?”
All young men laughed while Ling was very confused. The emperor ordered Ling to come so Ling was very afraid. The emperor looked wondering while saying, “This is your next emperor.”
All people wondered and whispered to each other while the emperor revealed to them the secret, “I gave you all seeds after putting them in boiling water till they died. The honest man is Ling, as he did not replace the seed while all other young men replaced the seed by another one.”
Grant me the spirit of honesty and faithfulness.
Grant me to fight with the spirit of hope.
May I be faithful over a few things,
So that You make me ruler over many things.
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord”
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