Many years ago in China, the Emperor made an announcement. He was getting old and had no son. He needed to find someone to replace him as Emperor of China.

He had always loved gardening so he decided to pass out flower seeds to boys throughout the kingdom. Whichever boy could grow the best plant would win the privilege of becoming the next emperor.

images EMPEROR

Boys flocked to the palace for the seeds. Among the boys was Ping, the best gardener in all the kingdom. His bokchoy, sweet peas and melons were always the sweetest and freshest at the market. He thought surely he could win this contest. He carefully planted the seed the Emperor had given him in a pot with rich soil. He watered and cared for the seed, but nothing happened.

All around him, though, other boys planted seeds that quickly sprouted and grew.


They laughed and taunted the boy with the empty pot. The boy planted his seed in a different pot with even better soil. He fertilized the soil with dried fish meal. Still, nothing grew.

Finally the day came to take the plants to the Emperor. The boy was despondent, but he took his empty pot and walked to the palace. The Emperor examined the other boys’ strong, green plants with a scowl on his face. He frowned even more deeply when he saw the boy’s pot.


“You brought me an empty pot,” he exclaimed. Ping hung his head. He said, “I’m sorry, Emperor. I tried and tried to grow the seed you gave me, but nothing came up.”



The Emperor stroked his chin and smiled. Then he said to the people, “May I introduce you to the new Emperor. You see, the seeds were cooked so they would not grow. I’m not sure how the rest of you grew plants, but they didn’t grow from my seeds. He has been honest and noble.”



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The Empty Pot a Chinese folk story is a fun story teaching kids about honesty. It was published on September 15, 1996 under the title “The Empty Pot (An Owlet Book)”. The book was written and illustrated by Demi.




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