The Wizard attempted to sit down on the only chair in the room. He quickly saw that it was too small for him so he promptly stood back up, brushed off his robes and cleared his throat. “Let me tell you a story,” he began. “This is an ancient fable that I was told as a child. Now I am passing it on to you. As the story goes, there was once a great king. He grew very old and knew that he must go the way of all of us. But he had not been blessed with children to whom he could confer his kingdom. So, he gathered all the children in his kingdom together and gave each of them a seed. He told them to plant the seed, take care of it, and return in one year and show him what the seed developed into.
“One little boy took the seed home. His mother helped him gather a pot and soil and plant the seed. Each day, he faithfully watered the seed and waited for a sprig to break the surface. But nothing happened. Weeks went by and still nothing. There was no sign of a plant. He heard the other children talking about the grand and glorious plants they were tending and his heart sank. When the year was up, the children were summoned by the king to return to the palace with their pots. The little boy did not want to go as he was too ashamed of his failure. But his mother encouraged him. She told him to take his empty pot and explain to the king how hard he tried to take care of the seed and get it to grow.
“With head bowed in shame, the boy took his pot. He entered the palace and saw all the magnificent flowers, plants, and trees the other children had produced. He placed his pot on the floor in the back of the room and tried to hide behind a column when the king entered the room. The king went from child to child as they held out their beautiful plants for him to examine. He nodded at each one but said nothing. Closer and closer he came to where the boy stood, hiding behind the column. The boy dropped his head and waited for the reprimand that was sure to come.
“Looking down, the boy noticed the fancy shoes the king wore stop in front of him. He dared not look up as the other children gathered around and twittered. But the king reached out and took the boy’s hand. The king pulled him past all the other children as they pointed and sneered at him. The boy’s face flushed red in shame and his heart pounded in fear as he walked beside his ruler.
“The king continued forward, stopping in the front of the room. Turning to face the children, the king said in a loud voice, ‘Behold your new king,’ The other children gasped. The king continued, ‘One year ago today, I gave each of you a seed. I told you to plant it and water it. But the seeds I gave to you were dead. None of them would grow. All of you, excepting this boy, tried to deceive me by planting a new seed. Only this boy displayed the integrity to do exactly as he was told regardless of the consequences. Only this boy has the integrity to rule our kingdom.’”
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