Behind our house there was a patch of land. "It would be a pity to let it go wild. " said Mother. " I suggest that since you are all so fond of peanuts you should grow some there. "
We children and the little maidservants were all delighted. Some of us bought seeds, some dug up the plot and others watered it. In just a few months we had a harvest.
Mother said, "Let' s have a harvest festival tonight and invite your father to taste our fresh peanuts. "
We all agreed. Mother made a variety of dishes using our peanuts and instructed that the festival should be held in the thatched pavilion in the garden.
The weather was not very good that evening, but even Father put in an appearance , which was a rare event.
"Do you all like peanuts?" asked Father.
"Yes! " we all clamoured to reply.
"Who can tell me what' s good about peanuts?"
"They taste good , " said older sister.
"They can be made into oil , " said older brother.
"Everybody can afford to buy them, whoever they might be, and everyone likes them. That' s what' s good about peanuts, " said I .
Father said, "In fact the peanut has many uses, but the most valuable thing about this little nut is this: it' s not like the apple, peach or pomegranate , flaunting their bright , beautiful fruits on their branches for all to see and admire. The peanut lies buried in the soil, waiting until it is ripe before letting people dig it up. If ever you come across a shy peanut plant you cannot immediately tell whether or not it has any nuts. You have to find them to be certain.”
We all agreed with this and Mother nodded her head too. Father continued, “So you should all try to be like the peanut, because it is neither grand nor beautiful, but useful.”
“Does that mean that people should try to be useful rather than famous or great?” I asked.
“That is what I hope of you all, ” Father replied.
We talked late into the night before dispersing. Although we ate all the peanuts that evening, Father’s words still remain embedded in my mind.
Behind our house there lay half a mu of vacant land. Mother said, "It's a pity to let it lie waste. Since you all like to eat peanuts so much, why not have them planted here. " That exhilarated us children and our servant girls as well, and soon we started buying seeds , ploughing the land and watering the plants . We gathered in a good harvest just after a couple of months !
Mother said, "How about giving a party this evening to celebrate the harvest and invite your Daddy to have a taste of our newly-harvested peanuts?" We all agreed.Mother made quite a few varieties of goodies out of the peanuts, and told us that the party would be held in the thatched pavilion on the peanut plot.
It looked like rain that evening, yet, to our great joy, Father came nevertheless.
"Do you like peanuts?" asked Father.
"Yes, we do! " We vied in giving the answer.
"Which of you could name the good things in peanuts?"
"Peanuts taste good , " said my elder sister.
"Peanuts produce edible oil, " said my elder brother.
"Peanuts are so cheap, " said I, "that anyone can afford to eat them. Peanuts are everyone's favourite . That's why we call peanuts good. "
"It's true that peanuts have many uses, " said Father, "but they're most beloved in one respect. Unlike nice-looking apple, peaches and pomegranates, which hang their fruit on branches and win people's instant admiration with their brilliant colours, tiny little peanuts bury themselves underground and remain unearthed until they're ripe . When you come upon a peanut plant lying curled up on the ground, you can never immediately tell whether or not it bears any nuts until you touch them. "
"That's true," we said in unison. Mother also nodded. "So you must take after peanuts," Father continued , " because they're useful though not great and nice-looking. "
"Then you mean one should be useful rather than great and nice-looking, " I said .
"That's what I expect of you, " Father concluded .
We kept chatting until the party broke up late at night. Today, though nothing is left of the goodies made of peanuts, Father’s words remain engraved in my mind.