A Word of Welcome


There was once a farmer, eager to grow the strongest and tallest bamboo ever.  He asked the village elders for advice on which seed to use and how best to prepare the land and then he set to work.  He cleared weeds and stones from a well watered, sheltered and sunny spot, and planted the seeds at just the right depth and just the right distance apart.

All the first season he watched for the first signs of life, he kept the soil watered and the weeds away and waited.  But the bare soil stared back at him and there was no sign of any growth.  For the second season he kept the soil damp and the weeds away but the red soil seemed only to mock him - nothing!  Still, he tended his plot, clearing any unwanted growth away, keeping the soil damp and the land sheltered.  He was sure the conditions were just right, and yet for a third season his bamboo did not grow.

The farmer was not disheartened.  For a fourth season he tended his plot.  A fifth and sixth season, the land was carefully nurtured: weeds pulled away, the soil watered and the plot sheltered from hard winds and hot sun.

One day, in the seventh year, the farmer came to check his land.  The village elders had come before him and they stood back as he approached so that he could see the fresh green bamboo stems that had pushed the soil apart and were already knee-high and reaching for the sunshine.  The elders knew that all the farmer’s patient and persistent care would serve his crop well.  Nothing could bring the shoots out of the soil any sooner than they were ready, but after seven years of toil under the surface this bamboo would now become the fastest growing plant in all the world!

Richard Gambier