Dan Gibson, Storyteller/Banjoplayer
Sample Stories and Verse
The Wonderful Cracked Pot
Adapted by Dan Gibson
copyright 1999 Dan Gibson
Drawing of an Indian water-bearer (Bishti), by
D.T. Padekar, provided by Dr. Ardeshir B.
Damania, University of California at Davis.
Two interesting things have happend to this story: Earl Nye, President and CEO of TXU, used an
adapted version in his opening remarks to the EEI Diversity & Workforce Effectiveness Conference held
in Dallas in April 2001, and:
Dr. Ardeshir B. Damania of the University of California at Davis found this story on my web site and had
it published in a non-profit Indian agricultural journal named Honey Bee, based in Ahmedabad, India. The
journal highlights Indian farmers' own innovations in crop, cattle and poultry improvements made without
the use of fertilizers and expensive imported technology. Ahmedabad, you may recall, was hit hard by
an earthquake in February 2001 which killed more than 30,000 people. Dr. Damania passed along this
information and an illustration to go with the story: a drawing of an Indian Water-Bearer (Bishti) by D.T.
Padekar, SRISTI, www.sristi.org
In India, the water carrier, called a "bishti," was once an important part of village
life. He carried water for the whole village, and the job was passed from generation
to generation. Some used earthen pots slung on a bamboo pole, others used leather
pouches carrying 30-40 gallons of water. The bishti's importance has dwindled as
wells and modern water delivery systems become more common, but Dr. Damania
said he has seen bishtis in recent years. In fact, there are still some locations which
pack animals, carts or motorized vehicles can't reach, but a bishti can.
You can find more stories from India at DimDima, an online magazine from India
with a good selection of stories and a huge amount of information about India. (See
the "Links" page on this web site.
The Wonderful Cracked Pot
Once there was a man who carried water every day from a stream to his house. He
carried it in two large pots hung on each end of a pole slung across his neck. He called
them his "wonderful pots."
One pot was perfect. It was always full of water at the end of the long walk from the
The other pot was cracked. It leaked, and always arrived at the house only half full. One
day by the stream it spoke to the man.
"I am ashamed of myself," it said.
"Why?" the man asked.
"Water leaks out the crack in my side all the way back to your house," the pot said.
"Because I'm not perfect, you can't bring home two full pots of water. I'm a failure, just a
"You should not feel that way." the man said. "You are not a failure. You are a wonderful
pot. And, you can prove it to yourself.
"As we return to the house today, look carefully alongside the path. When we get home,
tell me what you saw."
All the way home, the cracked pot paid attention to everything he saw. At home the man
asked, "What did you see?"
"Flowers," said the cracked pot. "I saw lots of flowers."
"Yes you did. Aren't they beautiful?"
"Yes," said the pot. "But, once again, half the water I was carrying leaked out. I'm sorry."
"There is no need to be sorry," said the man. "Tell me, did you notice where the flowers
"Well, yes," he said, a little puzzled. "They were only on my side of the path, but not on
the other side. Why is that?"
"For all these years," the man said, "I have planted flower seeds on your side of the
path. Every day as we walked back from the stream..."
"Ohhhhhhhh!" the pot interrupted, shaking with excitement. "I watered the seeds through
the crack in my side, and the seeds sprouted and the flowers bloomed, and..."
"Yesssss," said the man, who was as excited as the pot. "Because you are the way you
are, everyone in the village can decorate their homes with beautiful flowers.
"Each of us is a cracked pot in one way or another." he said. "But there is still no limit to
the beauty we can create."
From that day on, the cracked pot knew just how wonderful it really was.