The Cracked Pot

A tale from India is retold in ASL (American Sign Language).

English version

Once upon a time, there was an old man who lives in a small village. This old man worked every morning as a water bearer, carrying two large pots hung on a yoke across his shoulders. He carried them back and forth between the house and the water site. One of the pots has a crack in it and the other one has no imperfections.

Every early morning, the man carried the pots on a yoke across his shoulders and walked towards the water site. On his way, there were flowers along the path on his left side and dried grass on the right side. As he arrived at the water site, he filled up two pots to the rim. Then, he turned around and walked on his way back. The cracked pot leaked water all the way back home. The perfect pot always delivered a full portion of water and the cracked one always had only half full. This went on the same every day for about two years.

The perfect pot was proud of its fine job. But the cracked pot felt let down, sad, and guilty of its flaw. It spoke to the water bearer, "I only could deliver only half-empty of water. I'm unhappy about it and wouldn't wish to continue my work.

The water bearer was taken back and said in his compassion, "Oh, don't worry. See there are flowers only on your side of the path where the other side only has dried grass. Know why? From time to time, I planted the seeds on your side of the path because I know you water them along the way. They grew because of the water you leaked. I've gathered some of these flowers and brought them home. The flowers brighten up the house with joy. It's all because of you."

The cracked pot smiled with a relief and it felt content. It is grateful for the insight.

Learn a bit of grammar

Gloss: long-ago small village in-this-area old man lives [indexing]...

English: once upon a time there was an old man who lives in a small village...

This is an example of the topicalization. It describes the scene or setting (space and time) in the beginning of the story.

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