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The fable of the fern and the bamboo…
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The fable of the fern and the bamboo is what you should read if you are having a hard time

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In everyone's life, there are ups and downs. When we are in a happy period, everything goes well and it seems impossible that things can go differently.

Instead, when things start to go wrong, it seems like nothing is going right, and we wonder how was it possible to end up this way, and we almost no longer recognize ourselves. These are common experiences and it is normal to have doubts. 

In fact, all human beings, in all eras and in all places, have lived through such situations. This ancient Chinese fable illustrates this and invites us to face the dictates of destiny with wisdom.

image: maxpixel

Once upon a time, there was a carpenter who had a happy life with his loving wife, two beautiful children, and a well-paying business. At a certain point, his business started to go wrong and it seemed that fewer and fewer people needed his services. A friend advises him to go see a wise old man who lives deep in the heart of the forest. 

The following morning, the carpenter starts looking for the sage and, after many hours of walking, he finally reaches the abode of the elderly gentleman.

He is greeted with affection, and the sage offers him tea, then the carpenter tells him about his problems. After a few minutes of silence, the old sage asks the carpenter to follow him to his backyard garden, which he has been cultivating with great care over the years. 

"I have to tell you a story", says the wise man, "See that fern and that bamboo in the middle of the garden?".

The carpenter nods. "I planted them many years ago, the same day, and I have given them the same care, but their responses have not been the same."

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image: Pixabay

"The fern immediately grew strong and lush, but there was no trace of the bamboo. The years passed and I continued to water and take care of the plants in the same way. After five years, a small bamboo shoot appeared. From that moment on and after only a few months, the bamboo plant had grown taller and stronger than the fern, in a very short time.

"In your opinion, why?", the old man asks the carpenter, who does not know how to respond. "I'll tell you why. It is because, for all those years, the bamboo plant was putting down roots. It knew that in order to survive it needed to be well-rooted so it took all the time it needed to grow big and strong

"There are periods in our lives when we are like the fern and we immediately obtain what we want. And in other periods we are like the bamboo plant --- we are preparing for better times.

"You are now like the bamboo plant but what you are going through is not useless because you are putting down roots for an even better future." The carpenter now understands and thanks the old sage who, before dismissing him, reminds him of a profound truth: 

"Nothing happens by chance in life --- Happiness makes you gentle and kind. Trials and problems keep you strong. Pains make you human. Failure keeps you humble. Success makes you bright and hopeful."

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