This story, The Empty Pot, takes place in a town in China where the emperor was seeking a successor. The emperor organized a competition where every kid in the village received flower seeds, and whoever grew the most beautiful flower would be named the next emperor. Everyone was watering their plants and making them grow and everyone’s flowers were blooming except one. On the day of the end of the competition, this boy’s flower hadn’t grown at all and everyone else had these beautiful blooming flowers. Even though his seed hadn’t bloomed, he brought it to the emperor anyway. It turned out that the seeds the emperor had given all the children had been burnt, so they weren’t supposed to grow. Everyone else had grown these beautiful flowers because they did not use the seeds that they were given and cheated by using their own seeds. This boy then became the next emperor because he had been honest.
This was a story my informant (JL) and her brother were told by their parents when they were growing up. She said her parents loved story time in general and it was a large part of her upbringing. This story in particular stuck with her the most, largely because the characters were Asian but also because the lesson stood out to her.
There’s a clear lesson in this story about honesty, in a creative format that can clearly stick with people throughout their lives. My interpretation of this story is quite similar to that of my informant. I enjoy seeing diverse representations of culture in the media that I consume, especially when it relates to my identity. I think, like my informant’s experience, that this story is a very easily digestible and successful way to teach children a valuable lesson through an engaging story.