Once upon a time there was a farmer who had two gardens. One was in the mountains and the other was in the plains. The farmer loved both gardens very much. But in particular he loved one tree in the mountain garden. This tree was a bamboo.
Bamboo was very tall and very beautiful. The farmer used to visit Bamboo every evening to admire and enjoy her beauty. When the farmer was visiting, Bamboo would always dance beautifully, which made the farmer even happier. The farmer loved Bamboo very much, much more than other trees.
It so happened that there was once a drought in the plains, and the lower garden started to dry. The drought was so severe that the plants started to die off. The farmer was desperate to find a way of watering this garden. There was plenty of water in the mountains, but he had no way of taking the water to the plains. Then the farmer remembered his friend Bamboo.
So the farmer went to Bamboo one evening and they started talking. “Bamboo,” said the farmer, “I love you a great deal.”
Bamboo was very happy. Dancing, she responded, “I too love you so much, master.” The master was pleased.
“So now, Bamboo,” said the master, “I want to use you.”
“I am ready, master,” answered Bamboo.
“But there is one condition,” the master went on. “In order to use you, I must cut you down.”
Bamboo was grieved and very disturbed. “Master,” said Bamboo, “you say you love me. Why then do you want to destroy me?”
“Bamboo,” the master said, “I don’t want to destroy you, I want to use you. But in order for you to be usable to me, I must cut you. If you are not ready to be cut, I cannot use you.”
Bamboo was most unhappy, because she feared the pain. But because she loved the master and trusted him, she decided to let the master go on. So the master took a hatchet and cut down Bamboo. It was very painful.
The master said, “Good, but there is some more work to do on you; I have to chop off your branches.”
Bamboo complained even more. “Master, you want to kill me now.” The master remained silent; and seeing that he was serious, Bamboo decided to submit. The master took his hatchet again and cleaned off the branches until Bamboo was very clean. Then he said, “This is really good, Bamboo, but there is still one last thing. I have to pop out your inside.”
Bamboo was terrified. The last two steps had been painful enough, but to pop out her inside — that was unthinkable. Bamboo struggled with this.
But then the master said, “I cannot use you unless I pop out your inside.” Seeing that the master was serious, Bamboo again submitted.
The master took an iron rod and popped out the inside until Bamboo was hollow. It was extremely painful. But Bamboo was now ready to be used.
The master used Bamboo as a pipe to connect his two gardens. Soon water started to flow from the mountain garden into the garden in the plains. The plants were revived. Seeing her usefulness, both Bamboo and the master were very happy. They ended up greater friends than before.
Thanks to Emmaus-Katigamu for sharing this spiritual story with us!