The Broken Clay Pot

An Ancient Korean Folktale


            Deep in the mountains of ancient Korea there once was a farmer who lived in seclusion. Each day he would descend to the river bank carrying two empty clay pots, a journey that took several hours.

            But one day on his way down, the clay pot on his left hit a stone and cracks began to appear. The little clay pot began to cry, knowing it was now of no use to the kind farmer. But still the farmer carried him down the mountain.

            Arriving at the river bank the farmer filled both pots with water- first the one on his right, then the one on his left. And as expected the pot began to leak, spilling water everywhere. “Just leave me here and go,” cried the little pot. But the farmer ignored him. He picked him up and began his ascent.

            For many months the farmer did this, bringing both the pot on his right and the pot on his left down to the river. And every time the pot on his left spilled water along the path while the farmer carried him back. Until finally one day the left pot cried, “Farmer, please just throw me away. When we reach your home I am empty and without water. For what purpose do you continue to carry me?”

            But then the farmer turned his little clay pot to look back upon the path that they climbed. “If it were not for you, this road would not have blossomed with flowers that now lay my path.”

            Sometimes we’re too ashamed of who we are, of the difficulties we’ve endured. But there is always a purpose for each of us even if we cannot see it for ourselves. As traders we should never be ashamed of our losses, of the accounts we’ve blown up, or of the mistakes we’ve made. It’s those mistakes that mold us into the better traders and better people.