Once upon a time, there was an old King who was a widower. His Queen had left him with three children: two sons and a daughter.
The elder son, Boris, was a fearful, outspoken, yet happy sort of a chap.
The younger son, Donald, despite his fancy appearance, was a loud, angry and unhappy dude.
The youngest, Jacinta, was a quiet, melancholic and thoughtful girl.
One day, the King devised a test for his children. He summoned Boris, Donald and Jacinta to the Royal Chambers and said, “I will be going on a long journey for many years. When I return home, I will name one of you to be my successor.”
The children solemnly acknowledged what the King had said.
The King continued, “I will leave each of you with a bag of seeds to take care of in my absence.”
The next morning the King called for his horses and said farewell. In parting, he handed Boris, Donald and Jacinta each a bag filled with seeds.
Boris took his bag of seeds to the Palace Treasury and locked them away in an iron vault for safekeeping. Like an auditor, Boris wanted to account for every last seed.
Donald decided to trade the seeds at the local marketplace for some gold coins, which he could keep and exchange for fresh seeds at a later date. Like a trader, Donald wanted to take his chances in the market. As the price of gold coins rose and the cost of seeds fell, Donald could profit from the exchange.
Jacinta walked out of the Palace and planted the seeds at numerous points in the surrounding countryside. Like an astute and ethical investor, Jacinta appreciated the essential role seeds played in building a bridge to the future.
Many years passed.
One day, the King, tired from his travels, returned home.
Boris, who had been waiting anxiously for his father’s return, was the first to greet the King. By and by the King asked Boris about the seeds. Boris took the King to the Palace Treasury and opened the iron vault to reveal how safe the seeds were. Once open, the vault released a foul stench of rotten, fermenting and worthless seeds.
When Donald heard of the King’s return, he hastened with the gold coins to purchase fresh seeds. The market price of seeds had dropped considerably in recent months due to a mysterious local oversupply. Donald only needed to part with one gold coin to obtain a full bag of fresh seeds for his father. The King was happy that his second son was more enterprising than the first.
Later that afternoon, the King found Jacinta returning to the Palace from a walk and carrying a basket laden with apples, which she nearly dropped from the delight of seeing her father home. By and by the King asked Jacinta about the seeds. Jacinta took the King by the hand and led him to a high window in the Palace. When the King looked out, the entire countryside was filled with flowers and fruit trees that had grown up whilst he was away.
Jacinta said, “There, Father, are your seeds.” The King named Jacinta as his heir the very next day.
After the King’s death, the Royal Historian interviewed the three about leadership.
Boris was outspoken, “I had as much chance of becoming King as of being decapitated by a frisbee or of finding Elvis.”
Donald ranted “There was voter fraud. I should be King. Jacinta obviously rigged the election process.”
When asked, Jacinta shared, “To me, leadership is not about necessarily being the loudest in the room, but instead being the bridge.”