There was once a water bearer who carried two pots of water on opposite ends of a long pole across the back of his neck. One pot was perfect, the other had a small crack. By the end of the water bearer’s trip, the pot with the crack had lost half of its water.
The perfect pot sneered at the cracked pot. “The poor man works so hard to fill you up and then you can’t even keep all the water inside you. Drip. Drip. Drip.”
The cracked pot felt terrible. One day it said to the man, “I am so sorry. Because of me you lose much of your hard work. I am filled with shame.”
“Why?” asked the water bearer?”
“There is a small crack in my side and water slowly drips out. By the time you reach the end of your journey I am only half-filled. You do not get the full value of your hard work.”
The water bearer felt sorry that the cracked pot was suffering so badly. “There is no need for shame. You do what the perfect pot cannot do.”
The cracked pot was incredulous. “How can this be? I do not understand.”
The water bearer smiled and said, “As we walk, look to your left and then to your right. Tell me what you see.”
The cracked pot thought this was ridiculous. How was looking going to erase shame? But it did what the water bearer said. “To the left there was nothing. To the right there was a lovely row of flowers lining the path on which the water bearer walked. “What do you see,” asked the water bearer.
“I see a row of flowers lining the path on the right. What does that have to do with me?”
“When I saw that water dripped from you, I planted seeds along the path. The water that drips from you, waters the seeds. Now there are lovely flowers along the side of the path. Had you no crack there would be no flowers.”
Wit and wisdom from around the world and through the ages. Tales by Nancy King.