Ping is exceptionally good at growing flowers. In this Chinese folktale, when the aging Emperor decides to find his successor (his replacement), he holds a contest. The Emperor gives every child a seed, and says that “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time will succeed me to the throne.” After a whole year, the other children have flowers they’ve grown to show to the Emperor, but Ping has no flower to show. He cannot get his seed to sprout. What will happen when he presents his empty pot to the Emperor?
It seems like all the children lied to the Emperor, except Ping of course.
- Do you think the Emperor has also lied? Are there times when dishonesty is okay? How do you decide?
- Why do you think all the other children present flowers to the Emperor?
All the children are determined to show the Emperor their best.
- Do the other children show determination? How so?
- Does Ping show determination? How so?
The Emperor is looking his successor, but not just anyone. He wants someone with particular qualities.
- What sort of qualities is the Emperor looking for in his successor? Why are these qualities important?
- If you were Emperor, what qualities would you look for in a successor? Why?
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