The trees in the orchard were
covered with ripe, juicy oranges that were nearly as big as melons.
Zhang-Wu walked among them. The fragrance of the citrus fruits made it
nearly impossible to resist picking one. Zhang-Wu looked on the branches
for the largest orange. "I see the perfect orange," he said, but frowned
when he realized it was dangling from one of the highest branch. "How am I
going to reach it?" Zhang-We looked down the rows of trees. He spotted a
ladder leaning against one of the trees. Slowly, he dragged it over and
leaned it against the trunk. He climbed up and pulled the big orange off
the branch. He sniffed it. "Hmmm, it smells delicious."
Just as he was about to peel the
thick skin off, his brother, Yang-Chen came running towards him. "Zhang-Hu,
what are you doing?" he asked. "You know Father doesnít like us to eat the
oranges. We need to sell them."
"I know, Yang-Chen. Why donít you
sit with me and weíll share it. Smell it," he urged, putting the orange in
front of Yang-Chenís nose.
"Itís very fragrant. Iíll have some,
but only one orange. Thatís all," Yang-Chen cautioned.
Zhang-Hu peeled the orange. He broke
it in half. "Say, Yang-Chen, how many seeds do you think are in my half of
"How many do you think are in mine?"
"If I guess the right amount, can we
pick another orange?" Zhang-Hu asked.
"Father will be angry with us. If I
win, then we donít pick another orange," he replied.
"I will guess that you have six
seeds in yours," Zhang-Hu guessed.
"I will guess that you have seven
seeds in yours," Yang-Chen answered.
They each pulled a section off their
orange halves. Juice squirted out and ran down their fingers. Yang-Chen
licked the sticky juice off and popped the section into his mouth. Soon he
spit out a seed. "Here is one."
Zhang-Hu put two sections into his
mouth. Juice squirted everywhere and ran down his mouth onto his shirt. He
soon spit three seeds into his hand. "I have three in one section,
Yang-Chen. I have five sections. Do you think Iíll only get four more
seeds?" he smiled.
Yang-Chen ignored him and ate his
orange. When he finished, he counted seven seeds. He didnít tell Zhang-Hu.
He just folded them in his fist and held them until Zhang-Hu was finished
with his orange.
Zhang-Hu kept spitting seeds out. By
the time he was finished, he had fifteen seeds in the palm of his hand.
"You guessed wrong," he laughed at his brother.
"You guessed wrong too," Yang-Chen
"Since we both were wrong, then I
can chose if I want another orange or not," Zhang-Hu said. "I want
another." He jumped up and began to climb the ladder.
Just then the boys father, Chen-Li,
walked up. "What are you doing up in the orange tree?" Chen-Li asked his
son. He looked over at Yang-Chen, who lowered his head in shame.
Zhang-Hu looked down. "I am just
checking the oranges for bugs, Father."
"Climb down here," Chen-Li commanded
his son. Zhang-Hu did as he was told. When he jumped off the ladder,
Chen-Li noticed the orange juice stains on Zhang-Huís shirt.
Knowing Yang-Chen wouldnít lie to
him, Chen-Li looked directly at him and asked, "Did you eat an orange?"
"Yes, Father. Zhang-Hu picked it and
we shared it. We wanted to see how many seeds were in it."
"Oh. I see. And how many seeds were
in the orange?" he asked Zhang-Hu.
"I had fifteen and Yang-Chen had
seven. That makes 22 seeds," he answered.
"Then for 22 days you have to work
in the orchard. Every morning you will come out here and weed and water
the trees," Chen-Li scolded.
"Yes, Father," the boys replied.
For the next 22 days they worked
very hard. Their father kept a close eye on them. He wanted to teach them
obedience. Never again did they pick another orange. They waited for their
father to offer them one, which he did quite often. After the 22 days had
passed, the boys ran off to play. They had learned a valuable lesson that
day in the orange orchard.
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