Once there was an old emperor in china.
The emperor did not have either a son or a daughter.
The old emperor wanted to find a suitable heir.
So there was an announcement throughout the empire.
It was announced that the emperor is looking for a suitable heir.
All the children were invited to take part in a test.
So on a school holiday, all the children collected at the venue.
Each child was handed a seed to plant in a pot and care for one year.
At the end of one year, all the participants would gather again and the emperor would inspect the result of their efforts.
All the children carried the seeds home carefully and did what they thought best.
One particular boy, called Ling filled a pot with good soil.
He sowed the seed with great care and watered it for a month.
The next month, he added some nutrients to the pot containing the seed.
He tried to put the pot in a place where it would get the morning sunshine.
He tried adding different things that were supposed to be good for plants.
But the seed did not germinate.
Ling was crestfallen.
As the year was ending, Ling found it difficult to accept the result.
He was probably too careless or ignorant to adequately care for the royal seed.
His dear mother and father understood his predicament.
They always wanted him to be honest.
At the end of one year, all the children went to the venue again.
As Ling walked to this place, he saw many children with their parents.
All these children carried beautiful pots with small plants in them.
Some had small plants with a few leaves in them.
Some children had beautiful green plants with a flower or two.
Ling did not see another child like himself who was carrying a pot without a plant inside.
Ling looked at his mother who looked back at him with reassurance and love.
At the large ground, the emperor walked by each pot and inspected each with interest.
He would often stop and talk to the children and ask their names.
As the emperor passed by Ling, he paused for a moment and asked his name.
Then he carried on to the next child and then the next.
The children with the green plants with red, orange or pink flowers beamed as they showed these off.
Ling saw the emperor returning towards him and was surprised when his pot was picked up.
As the emperor held the empty pot high, all the gathered children started laughing.
The emperor raised his hand and everyone went quiet.
Let me tell you dear children, he said.
And listen dear parents.
An year back I gave each of you a seed after boiling them in water for some time.
This greenery that I see around me is beautiful.
But most beautiful is honesty and courage.
Ling is honest as he did not switch the seed.
Ling is courageous as he did not hide the result of his efforts.
Only Ling is fit to be my heir and the future emperor.
Please do point out any errors; 请指出任何错误