A noble and kind king once ruled over a vast and prosperous kingdom. Everybody lived contented and happy lives though the king began spending his days inwardly worried about the future. He was growing old and had no child to succeed him. He did not want to leave his people unprotected after his death.

Mulling over this for the hundredth time, one day the king reached a new resolve – he would find a worthy and honest future monarch from among his citizens. Talking with his chief minister, they came up with a plan.

The king was a lover of nature. It was well known that he liked to grow plants. So an invitation was declared for all the children of the city to come to receive a seed from the king.

A long line of boys and girls filled the court. The king personally gave each child a pot with a seed planted inside. He told everyone they should take good care of the seed and bring it back to the palace a year later for him to see how well it had grown.

All the excited children bound home to tell their families about the king’s gift. One child, a quiet and honest boy called Ters also went to his mother to show her his pot. Ters liked watching things grow from their small beginnings. With care and diligence he watered the pot and positioned it on a window sill so it caught enough sunlight.

To his alarm, Ters found no budding sprout. He tried replanting the seed, changing the soil, changing its position and anything else he could think of. But it was a huge disappointment to him to see nothing grew! His mother encouraged him to keep taking care of the pot but months went by without any change.

A year on, there was again a long line of bustling children in the palace. Ters felt sad and silly when he saw all the children held plants of different heights and colours. Some had tall thin plants, others had bright flowers hanging and others had glossy leaved stalks. The king examined each one with interest and enthusiasm. He was surprised when he reached Ters’s empty pot.

“Whose pot is this?” he asked.

Ters stepped forward.

“What happened here?” the king said.

Embarrassed, Ters told his story of how the seed just didn’t grow despite his care and attention over the year.

The king was pensive for a moment. Then he cracked a huge smile and made an amazing proclamation.

“I hereby announce young Ters as prince – heir to my throne.”

There was great shock and commotion among courtiers and the children. Waving for calm, the king said, “I had sown roasted seeds in all the pots last year. They could never have yielded any plants. Ters was the only child honest and brave enough to come here with his empty pot. The rest tried to cheat me with plants they potted themselves.

“We want a king who is courageous and true, so I appoint Ters. My ministers and I will impart all our wisdom to you and do everything we can to make you a worthy and honourable leader.”

Thus, amid cheers and claps, Ters received the extraordinary favour of the king and grew up to be a wonderful ruler.