A gardener has two species of plants in his garden. Each plant, when given the proper care, will eventually bear a beautiful flower. Now, the gardener has read up extensively on each flower, and knows that while first is rare and can be sold for a great sum of money, the second has gouache-painted petals which he finds especially alluring.
Unfortunately, because each plant requires meticulous care before it can blossom, and because the gardener has only the time to care for one, he has to decide which flower he wants more. If he chooses the first, his pocket will be filled and he need not worry about the woes of poverty, but at the same time, will have nothing in his garden to appreciate. If he chooses the second, he will be able to enjoy the flower he truly thinks beautiful, but because others do not see as he does the beauty of it, none will pay a price however meagre for it.
The gardener deliberates for a long period of time, his imagination oscillating between the comforts of wealth and the pleasure of the senses. During this period of indecision, he desperately divides his time, keeping both plants alive but never raising them to the most florid of health.
The days passed, and still, he is without resolve.
Finally, he decides that he will grow the first and live without the worry of money.
Soon, he sees the bud. The bud soon blossoms, and from within the cocoon emerges the soft colored wings of a young flower. Yet, as he watched the petals unfold, he could not help but to feel a certain wistfulness at it not being the gouache-painted ones he had so longed to see.
The flower eventually forms fully and he takes it to the market to sell. But in dismay does he realize that it will sell for only half the price he thought it would. The problem, the customers told him, is that the plant had not been afforded the proper attention and the petals all drooped as if in a sort of sickness – no flower not in a state of good health can sell for the fortune promised.
Hurriedly, the gardener dashes home, and attempts to bring back to life the other plant. In the days following, he attends to the plant as would a doctor to a dying patient, fervently hoping that it could still breathe life and blossom. It never did. And, as it was, all the gardener could do was to regret.