The Emperor and the Bride
|This is another
version of a story which is believed to have
originated from the Church in China, the other
version is The
Emperor and the Seed:
An emperor in the Far East saw his son growing older and felt that the time had come to choose a bride for his son, as was their culture and custom. Instead of choosing one of the many noble women of good birth in his kingdom, he decided upon a different way of choosing a suitable bride who would be of good character and integrity in order to rule with his son. As part of his plan, he sent out a decree to all the young women of suitable age in the kingdom. His servants were instructed to say, “I have decided it is time to choose a bride for my son. To help me in this process one of my servants will give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come to the palace one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the owner of the one I choose, will be the bride of my son!”
The people of the kingdom were astounded by this! What WAS the emperor thinking, was he not concerned about noble blood and heritage and their kingdom's customs and traditions? Surely there must be some reason for this...
One young girl named
Ling lived in a poor part of town not far from the
palace and she, like many others, received a seed.
She went home and excitedly told her mother the
story. Her mother helped her get a pot and soil, and
she planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every
day she would water it and watch to see if it had
grown. After about three weeks, some of the other
young women began to talk about their seeds and the
plants that were beginning to grow.
When Ling arrived, she was amazed at the
variety of plants grown by the other women. They
were truly beautiful to look at and
so pleasing to the eye with all of the many
different types of plants in all shapes and sizes
that were represented! They were very
enterprising projects which were certain to catch
the Emperor's attention and sure to reveal their
individual abilities as careful and wise gardeners.
Justifiably, many were very proud of their personal
achievements. Ling held her empty
pot and kept her eyes on the ground in front of her,
aware that many of the other young women were
pointing, giggling and laughing at her. A few felt
sorry for her and offering consolation said, “At
least you tried.”
“My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be chosen to be the bride of my son who will in turn be emperor of this kingdom!” All of a sudden, as he was speaking, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with her empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring her to the front. Ling was terrified.
"Now the emperor
will see that I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me
punished or even killed”, Ling thought.
Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, you were each given 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. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers because when you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my true seed in it, untouched and not substituted with any other life. My son will be best served by one with such integrity and purity in both heart and deed. Therefore, she is the one who will be the wife of my son!”
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and do not return there, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall NOT return to Me void without producing any effect, but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:8-11)