September 13, 2016

The Parable of the Mung Beans

This was written sometime in 2006, when I still use Tabulas to blog. I realized that I wasn't able to include it here when I was transferring from Tabulas to Blogger.


This is a story about two housewives who each bought a sack of mung beans. The first housewife, eager to share her purchase with her family, prepared a soup dish consisting of mung beans, pork, and malunggay leaves. The second housewife wanted to use her purchase as dessert, so she made some moon cakes and used the mung beans as filling. Both of the housewives' families enjoyed the food very much, and because of this, the housewives felt good about themselves.

After eating the mung bean dishes, the housewives discovered that they still have a lot of uncooked mung beans left over. Looking around the house, they realized that there is little room where they can store the excess mung beans. The first housewife decided to keep the mung beans on a shelf, while the second housewife decided to keep the mung beans in the kitchen, right next to the other vegetables. Before storing the mung beans, both housewives decided to wash the beans, for they are afraid that these beans might get dirty and they do not know when they might use these beans again.

After seven days, the housewives decided to check on the mung beans, and to see if anything bad has happened to them. To their surprise, they saw little yellow sprouts instead of the little green beans that delighted their families' appetites one week ago.

"This is preposterous!" exclaimed the first housewife. "This is not the mung bean I first started with! Why, I washed the beans and put them in a safe place, and this is what I got! A ruined heap of maggot-colored vegetables!" And she continued to whine and to complain about the ruined mung beans.

The second housewife was equally unhappy about the situation. She did not want this to happen, for she had other mung bean dishes in mind that she wanted to try. There are a lot of vegetables in her kitchen, and the last thing she wanted is another vegetable to take up space in her already-crowded kitchen.

However, she decided to give the mung bean sprouts another chance. "This isn't what I wanted, but maybe something good will come out of it," she mused.

"Nothing good will come out of it," countered the first housewife. "We might as well accept the changes and get on with our lives. We still have other vegetables that we can use, no sense holding on to those ruined mung bean sprouts."

The second housewife did not want to give up that easily. For that evening's dinner, she tried to make vegetable spring rolls for her family and included the mung bean sprouts in the dish. Her family never tasted spring rolls like this before, and they sure did miss the mung bean dishes. But they realized that the spring rolls aren't that bad, they just tasted different.

The first housewife, still disappointed, did not want anything to do with the mung bean sprouts anymore. She made use of her usual vegetables for dinner. She reasoned out that the change is inevitable, but her family has to stand strong about it. She is thankful that there still are old familiar things to hold on to, not to mention new vegetables to venture on. There is no need to waste time over ruined mung bean sprouts, and because of this her family can move on and live a life without mung beans.

A month or two has passed over the two households. The first housewife has completely ignored the mung bean sprouts. Eventually, the mung bean sprouts withered and died. The sack of mung beans that once had potential now lay in waste, and was later thrown out to rot on the streets.

For the second housewife, the mung beans were still given attention. Now and then she would wash the sprouts, and use some of them for cooking. One day, while tending the mung bean sprouts, she was in for a surprise. The older and bigger sprouts bore seeds. "Oh my!" the second housewife exclaimed, "Who would've thought that the mung beans didn't leave me after all?"

And she harvested the mung beans from the sprouts and was able to cook the mung bean dishes she wanted to cook, ever since she first bought the sack of mung beans from the market.


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