Flying Dove

(an old legend, re-written for children)
IN THE TIME of Kang Hsi, one of the early Ching Emperors, in the quiet village of Wanhsien, lived a charming little girl whose name translates as Flying Dove.

She was a lonely little girl; since she walked with a limp, none of her peers wanted to play with her because she could not run fast enough to keep up with them.

So one lovely spring day, Flying Dove decided to start making herself useful by going to the river to fetch water for all those people in the village who had no one else to do it for them. She was going to start doing this by means of two large clay urns hung at either end of a yoke she would carry on her shoulders.

Flying Doves family was very poor, and so her parents appreciated the fact that sometimes, the people whom she helped used to give her a piece of fruit, or a handful of rice, or an egg, in order to thank her for her aid.

One of Flying Doves jars had a tiny, hairline crack down the side; but there was nothing she could do about it, because her family could not afford to get it mended. So she always lost some of the water on her way back, because since she limped, and the water was heavy, it sloshed about, and it took her a long time to return to her village. But nobody minded, just as long as they had enough water in which to cook.

With her conical hat pulled well down in order to protect her from the sun, Flying Dove made the journey to the river and back about five times a day. Everybody was amazed that such a frail-looking girl had such stamina.

When the next spring came around, Flying Dove realised that something beautiful had happened.

On the left side of the path leading towards her village from the river, there was a profusion of flowers in all the colours of the rainbow. Breathless, she hurried home to tell her mother about the beautiful sight.

Her mother, usually such a sad person, clapped her hands with joy for the first time in years, and all the people in the village came out of their homes to see what the matter was.

They all went to see the miracle that had happened on the track; and then the wise man of the village explained to them that the dribbles from the cracked clay pot had watered the ground and caused the seeds to sprout.

Whats more, he said, he had realised that Flying Dove, because of all that exercise, no longer walked with a limp; her own kindness had caused her to cure herself.

However, although she could now run even faster than the other children, she did not waste time playing; instead, she encouraged them to be like her, ever helpful to others. Soon afterwards, the villagers had only to scratch the ideographs for their names on their water jars, and leave them outside the house; laughing, happy, united band of children used to leave for the river in along procession to fill them up, without even once complaining& And all with a spring in their step&

When it comes to commitment and responsibility, remember that unless a grain of wheat is responsible and committed, it will remain in the ground and not bear fruit.

But the grain of wheat that is committed and responsible will bear fruit; even though it knows it has to die to achieve this. It will give birth to a whole ear of wheat, that will either be used to make flour for bread to feed us, or else as seeds for even more ears of wheat.

So whichever way you look at it, when you are responsible, by not relying on others, and committed, by always giving your best, you will be a true, good, and kind friend to everyone.


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