It is said that around the year 250 B.C in ancient China, a prince of the northern region of the country was about to be crowned emperor, but according to the law he first had to get married.
In the light of this he decided to open a “challenge” to the women of the palace or whoever was worthy of this marriage.
The following day the prince announced that he would receive in a special celebration all those who wanted to marry him, and that he would then set a challenge to them.
An old lady who had served in that palace for many years, heard about the preparation for such event and felt sad because she knew that her daughter had for some time nurtured feelings of love for the prince.
When she got home she mentioned everything to the daughter, and was surprised when she told her that she intended to go to the party. In complete disbelief she said:
“My daughter, what will you do there? All the most beautiful and rich women in the land will be there…”
“Forget about this foolish idea, I know you must be suffering; but don’t turn this suffering into an act of madness.”
The daughter answered: “My dear mother, I am not suffering neither am I mad. I know I can never be the chosen one, but it is my only opportunity to be at least a few moments close to the prince, and this is enough to make me happy.
In the evening, the young woman arrived at the palace.
And indeed all the most beautiful women, with the most beautiful dresses, with the finest jewels, and the strongest of determinations, were attending this event.
Finally the prince set them the challenge:
“I will give to each one of you a seed. The one who will bring me in six months the most beautiful flower, will be chosen as my wife and empress of China.”
The proposal of the prince was rooted in the culture of that people, who valued highly the ability to “nurture” anything; be it traditions, friendships, relationships, etc…
As time went by that sweet young woman who didn’t have a lot of gardening know how, would care for that seed with a lot of tenderness and love, because she knew that if that flower would be like an extension of her love, she would have nothing more to worry about.
After three months nothing had grown.
The young woman tried everything and used all the gardening methods she knew about, but nothing had sprung up.
Day after day her dream seemed more distant from her, but her love for the prince more intense than ever.
In the end, six months had passed and there was no sign of a flower.
Knowing that she had done her best the girl told her mom that regardless of the circumstances she would still return to the palace at the agreed time, as all she wanted was the opportunity to spend some more moments with the prince.
At the agreed time there she was with her flowerpot completely empty, although all the other women were holding vases with the most beautiful flowers of different colours.
She was surprised, as she had never seen anything that beautiful.
Moments later came the time everyone was expecting. The prince examined each candidate with careful attention.
After walking past each candidate he announced that simple young lady as his future wife.
Those present were in complete shock.
Nobody could understand how he could have chosen the one who had the empty flowerpot.
And so the prince began to explain calmly:
“This young woman was the only one who nurtured the flower and is worthy of becoming an empress. The flower of honesty, because all the seeds I gave out were sterile.”
“Honesty is like a flower grown with rays of light, that lightens those who nurture it and spreads light all around.”