Once upon a time, in the heart of the Western Kingdom, lay a
beautiful garden. And there, in the cool of the day, the Master of
the garden was wont to walk. Of all the denizens of the garden, the
most beautiful and most beloved was gracious and noble bamboo. Year
after year, bamboo grew yet more noble and gracious, conscious of his
Master's love and watchful delight, but modest and gentle withal. And
often when the wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast
aside his grave stateliness, to dance and play right merrily, tossing
and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the
Great Dance of the garden, Which most delighted the Master's heart.
Now, once upon a day, the Master himself drew near to contemplate his
Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy. And Bamboo, in a passion of
adoration, bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting.
The Master spoke: "Bamboo, Bamboo, I would use you."
Bamboo flung his head to the sky in utter delight. The day of days
had come, the day for which he had been made, the day to which he had
been growing hour by hour, the day in which he would find his
completion and his destiny.
His voice came low: "Master, I'm ready. Use me as Thou wilt."
"Bamboo," – The Master's voice was grave --- "I would have to take
you and cut you down!"
A trembling of great horror shook Bamboo…"Cut …me… down ? Me.. who
thou, Master, has made the most beautiful in all thy Garden…cut me
down! Ah, not that. Not that. Use me for the joy, use me for the
glory, oh master, but cut me not down!"
Beloved Bamboo,"—The Master's voice grew graver still—"If I cut you
not down, I cannot use you."
The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his
proud and glorious head. There was a whisper:
"Master, if thou cannot use me other than to cut me down.. then do
thy will and cut".
"Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I would cut your leaves and branches from
"Master, spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust; but
would thou also have to take from me, my leaves and branches too?"
"Bamboo, if I cut them not away, I cannot use you."
The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away.
And Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low: "Master,
"Bamboo, Bamboo, I would yet… split you in two and cut out your
heart, for if I cut not so, I cannot use you."
Then Bamboo bowed to the ground: "Master, Master… then cut and
So did the Master of the garden took Bamboo…
and cut him down…
and hacked off his branches…
and stripped off his leaves…
and split him in two…
and cut out his heart.
And lifting him gently, carried him to where there was a spring of
fresh sparkling water in the midst of his dry fields. Then putting
one end of the broken Bamboo in the spring and the other end into the
water channel in His field, the Master laid down gently his beloved
Bamboo… And the spring sang welcome, and the clear sparkling waters
raced joyously down the channel of bamboo's torn body into the
waiting fields. Then the rice was planted, and the days went by, and
the shoots grew and the harvest came.
In that day Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty, was yet
more glorious in his brokenness and humility. For in his beauty he
was life abundant, but in his brokenness he became a channel of
abundant life to his Master's world.