Long ago, the kingdom of Vidharbha was ruled by a just king by name Vidhyadhara. Vidhyadhara was very learned and wise and brave at the same time and so he was the perfect ruler of his country He was very much loved by all his subjects. The only grievance the people and the king had was that Vidhyadhara had no heir. The very thought that there was no successor to the king made the people and the king very sad.
Now, the king was a very avid gardener too. He took great interest in growing new species of plants and relieved his stress by spending time in his garden. He had great knowledge about various plants.
One day, Vidhyadhara called his minister and asked him to make an announcement to the public. The announcement was for a contest for the children of the kingdom. They were asked to come to the palace on a particular day.
On the given day, the gates of the palace witnessed a long queue of children waiting eagerly with their parents. Soon after, the king came out and said, “My dear subjects, as you all know, I am looking out for a successor to this throne of mine. I am now going to give you each a seed which you should plant in a pot and take very good care of. On the last Sunday of the second month from now, I would like you to bring me the pots and show me the progress and I will decide my heir accordingly.”The king then proceeded to distribute seeds of different flowering plants to each child present there. The parents and children were elated alike and all of them happily took the seed from him and went home.
Now, among the children who took the seed from him, was Suman, the son of a poor man. Suman came home and with the guidance of his father, prepared a pot with the best soil he could find and planted the seed. He poured just enough water every day and saw to it that there was enough sunlight. Weeks passed, but there was no sign of Suman’s plant growing. Suman then added some new soil and manure, but of no avail. He was deeply disappointed as the deadline was fast approaching.
On the appointed date, Suman’s father called out to him,” Suman! Are you getting ready to go to the palace? Today you have to show the pot to the king!” Suman was in tears. Sobbing, he told his father, “I…. will not… go….” On being asked why, he told his father that he could not face the king with his empty pot. Suman’s father told him, “Look my son, you have put in a lot of effort haven’t you? But the plant has not come up. You should not be disheartened. Go to the king and tell him that in spite of your efforts, the plant did not come up. At least the king will know that you made sincere efforts”
After listening to his father, Suman was not still reconciled, but could not disobey his father and so took his pot with only the soil in it and went to the palace with his father. This time again, the same long queue was there with all the children holding pots with beautiful plants, some with flowers and others with beautiful healthy leaves. Suman felt even more depressed looking at the happy children who were beaming with pride. He felt that the children were looking at him scornfully. And many of them were. Suman bent his head down in shame .
Suddenly there was a commotion and Vidhyadhara appeared from the entrance of the palace with his ministers. The children greeted him with shouts of joy. The king returned the greetings and sat on the special seat put there for him. One by one the children went to the king and showed their pots with the plants. The king did not show any emotion, but smiled at each kid as he saw the plant held by them. The kids who had shown the pots were asked to sit in the lawn nearby. Suman was the last child in the queue. Soon it was Suman’s turn.
With tears filled in his eyes and choking with grief, his head still hung, Suman slowly inched his way to the King. “Come my son”, said Vidhyadhara, as Suman came near. He lifted Suman’s chin up and asked him lovingly, “Where is the plant, my boy?” Suman could not contain his grief. “My plant did not come up your Highness”, he said, as he burst into tears. Sobbing uncontrollably, he continued, “I did everything to take good care of the seed you gave me… But… but…” and started crying loudly. The king put his arm around Suman and comforted him.He then turned around and said in a loud firm voice, “I have selected this boy to be my successor”.
The parents and other children who were waiting hopefully got up shocked at Vidhyadhara’s announcement. Vidhyadhara continued, “Yes, I have chosen this boy to be my successor. I was looking for integrity, sincerity and ability to admit failure, in my heir apparent. And this boy has it all!” The people around still could not understand what the king was saying.
Vidhyadhara continued, “I had given all the children roasted seeds on that day and asked them to bring the plant that grew out of that… and I can see that only this boy has been sincere to confess that the seed did not grow and he had the courage to admit what he thought was his failure. He is the right person to be my successor and rule this country righteously!! The seed that I gave was the seed of Integrity!”
Suman and his father could not believe their ears! It was a pleasant shock to them and now all of Suman’s wishes to study a lot and come up in life were going to come true!!
Truth always Triumphs.
Honesty is the best policy