Shengliver’s Note: What does not kill you makes you stronger.


Last Saturday Peng went back home to visit his folks. He was surprised that a shrub in the front yard was about to blossom. Buds dotted the pale green.


The flowering plant reminded Peng of his ex-neighbour, who died several years ago. This neighbour was a country herbalist. A kind fellow, he treated the kids in the village very well. When Peng and his playmates went to have fun about his yard, the herbalist never got angry.


When Peng was in middle school, one day he noticed at the back of the neighbour’s cottage a lot of trees. They were all thriving. What puzzled Peng was that his neighbour had rarely watered the trees since planting.


He ventured to ask the man, “Sir, why didn’t you water your trees?”


The man answered, “Watering would have spoiled them, lad. If you water a tree regularly, it will get used to it. Then if you stop watering, it will be thirsty and weak. Should disease or bad weather set in, chances are it will perish real quick.”


Peng was amazed. The talk with the neighbour made him wiser. Even today in high school, he still bears the wisdom in mind. “The difficult life now will not harm me. It will make me hardy,” he murmured.


Last year Peng planted several trees in the back yard. Before he left for school on Sunday, he went over to have a check on them. Only one of them survived. Of course he had not watered them at all, following the sage. “This plant must be the toughest,” Peng mused.


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