The Leaky Bucket
There was once a beautiful garden. The gardener was very proud of his garden, and he cared for it with great tenderness. Every day, he would make the journey to his little garden shed at the far end of the garden, and there he would fill up his buckets with clear, sparkling water from the nearby stream. Then he would walk along the little pathway to where the flower beds were, carrying water for the flowers.
To water his flowers, he used two buckets, which he kept in the garden shed.
One was a bright, shiny, new bucket, recently bought from the garden centre. One was a very old and rather dilapidated bucket, which had seen long years of service in the garden, but was now well past its best.
The gardener would fill up the two buckets every morning and carry them along, side by side, to the flower beds. The bright, shiny bucket was very proud of itself. It could be relied upon to carry the full consignment of water right up to the flower beds without spilling a single drop. The shabby, old bucket felt very ashamed in comparison. It knew it had holes in it, and every morning it was so sad to see that by the time the gardener reached the flower beds, a good deal of its water had already spilled out along the path, and was wasted.
Sometimes, the two buckets would talk to each other as the gardener carried them along the path to the flower beds.
‘See how efficient I am,’ the shiny bucket would boast. ‘How good that the gardener has me to make sure that the flowers are watered every day. I don’t know why he still bothers with you. You’re a waste of space.’
And all that the shabby, old bucket could say was, ‘I know I’m not much use, but I can only do my best. I’m happy that the gardener still finds a little bit of use for me, at least.’
One day, the gardener heard this kind of conversation going on. When he reached the flower beds, he watered the flowers as usual, using the full bucket of water from the shiny bucket, and the half-bucket of water that was still left in the leaky, old bucket. Then he picked up both buckets, now empty, and said to them,
‘Thank you both. You have done your day’s work very well. Now I am going to carry you back to the shed, but as we go, I want you to look carefully at the pathway.’
So the two buckets did as the gardener asked them. And they noticed that all along the path on one side – the side where the gardener carried the shiny, new bucket – there was just bare earth. But on the other side – the side where the gardener carried the leaky, old bucket – there was a row of young, fresh, green shoots, which, in another few weeks, would be a joyous row of wild flowers, leading all the way to the garden.
Retelling of a traditional story