The Cracked Pot

by Win Bradley
(Richmond, Virginia)

Original Text: The Cracked Pot


A water bearer for the King had two very large pots, each hung on the end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

Several times per day the water bearer would bring water from the local river back to the King's palace, but the cracked pot always arrived only half full. For years this went on, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to the King's palace.

One day the King finally took notice and asked about the half filled pot. "Why do you keep that thing?" asked the King. "I want you to get rid of it. You could save yourself some work with two pots that remained full."

"My King, do you and your wife enjoy the beautiful flowers at your dinner table every evening?" asked the bearer.

"Certainly," replied the King. "But what does that have to do with a half-filled water pot?"

The bearer responded, "I would like to ask my King to accompany me to the river this afternoon. I will show you what I mean."

The King agreed, and that afternoon both men walked to the river. Along the way the King noticed the beautiful flowers along one side of the path.

"These are the flowers that decorate our palace and dinner table," said the King. "But why are they only on one side?"

The bearer responded, "After I discovered the cracked pot, I planted flower seeds on that side of the path. When I return from the river, I water the flowers with the cracked pot. It means a little more work for me, but I am able to see a beautiful path for my troubles, and the flowers now grace your home."

After a pause, the water bearer added, "I understand your wife also loves the flowers very much Sir."

"Keep your cracked pot," said the King.

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Accepting flaws, making the best of things, being innovative... all are important points in this story. I also like to think that another point is sharing.

The water bearer is clever. He makes the best of the flaw in his pot, he even has to work harder because of it, but sharing the flowers is the real beauty in this story.

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Revised Text:

A water bearer for the King had two very large pots, each hung on the end of a pole that the bearer carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

Several times per day the water bearer would bring water from the local river to the King's palace, but the cracked pot always arrived only half full. For years this went on, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water each time to the King's palace.

One day the King finally took notice and asked about the half filled pot. "Why do you keep that thing?" asked the King. "I want you to get rid of it. You could save yourself some work with two pots that remained full."

"My King, do you and your wife enjoy the beautiful flowers at your dinner table every evening?" asked the water bearer.

"Certainly," replied the King, "But what does that have to do with a half-filled water pot?"

The bearer responded, "I would like to ask my King to accompany me to the river this afternoon. I will show you what I mean."

The King agreed, and that afternoon both men walked to the river. Along the way, the King noticed the beautiful flowers along one side of the path.

"These are the flowers that decorate our palace and dinner table," said the King. "But why are they only on one side?"

The bearer responded, "After I discovered the cracked pot, I planted flower seeds on that side of the path. When I return from the river, I water the flowers with the cracked pot. This means a little more work for me, but I am able to enjoy a beautiful path for my efforts, and the flowers now grace your home."

After a pause, the water bearer added, "I understand your wife also loves the flowers very much, Sir."

"Keep your cracked pot," said the King.

----------

Accepting flaws, making the best of things, being innovative... all are important points in this story. I also like to think that another point is sharing.

The water bearer is clever. He makes the best of the flaw in his pot, he even has to work harder because of it, but sharing the flowers is the real beauty in this story.

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