Integrity – Story of the Emperor & the Seed
Here’s a snippet from a Jeffrey R. Holland talk called Integrity (https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/integrity-holland) that a young girl (Jessica Nielson) shared in our sacrament meeting today. It was really inspiring to me:
“May I share with you a little story that I remember from my childhood which helps make the case for integrity in little things so that the big things may then take care of themselves.
A storybook emperor called all the young people in his kingdom together one day. He said, “It has come time for me to step down and to choose the next emperor. It will be one of you. In making that selection, I am going to give each one of you a seed today. Come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed.”
A young boy named Ling was in the crowd of children. He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. She helped him get a pot and some planting soil. He planted the seed given him. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.
After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept checking his pot, but nothing ever grew in it.
Eventually all the others were talking about their plants. Ling was apparently the only failure. Everyone else spoke of small trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.
Finally a year went by, and all the youths brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she encouraged him to go, report how hard he had tried, and be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.
Ling put his empty pot on the floor amidst beautiful plants and flowers of all shapes and sizes. When the emperor arrived, Ling tried to hide in the back of the room. But the emperor spotted Ling—empty pot and all. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front, where the leader said, “Behold your new emperor!”
To a now very quiet audience, the older man said, “One year ago today I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. Yet all of you, except one, have brought me magnificent trees and plants and flowers. Obviously, when you found that the seed I gave you would not grow, you substituted another. Apparently only one young man among you had the integrity to abide by the rules I gave you. I can trust him to take my place and lead my people.”