As prescribed by Paulina Constancia
The Story of the Origin of the Papaya Tree
Source: “Selected Old Times Stories” by Doan Xuan Ha
Translated by Nidila Nguyen
In old Vietnam, there was a poor man who had a hobby of breeding birds. One day, his birds ate three corn seeds from the village chief. Three years later, the village chief wanted him to repay the seeds.
The poor man thought to himself, “The chief is very wealthy, but he would not even let three seeds of corn go. He is really a small-minded jerk; I should go ahead and repay him to be done with it.” Then, he brought three seeds of corn to repay the chief. The latter then calculated the loss by multiplying as follows: if the three seeds were planted for three months, they would grow into three corn plants. Each of which would have born at least one fruit, which in turn—if planted for three months—would have produced 1,500 corn plants. . . And so on multiplying for three years. . . Listening to that, the poor man sweated all over.
Arriving home, he got sick and gradually became totally weak. A short time later, his sickness became so serious that when death was imminent, he gathered his remaining strength to crawl to the edge of the river, looked in the direction of the chief’s residence, and murmured, “Where in the world can I get enough to repay you, where?” then he died on the spot. A while later, at the very spot where he died, grew a tree which people named “Papaya tree” which in the Vietnamese sound-based word means “Not enough, not enough.” Indeed, any deed—bad or good—no matter how small it is, will multiply incredibly with time.
Allow me to add to the story… And with this tree, the man paid the village chief many times over as the Papaya tree generously bore delicious sweet fruit over many years.