He tugged at the thing in the ground, his feet firmly planted in the dirt, his intention firmly planted in his grip. He pulled, and when that didn’t work, he heaved. With a satisfying ripping sound, the thing was coming to the surface.
He fell on his ass, sitting hard on a rock. But the thing was in his hands and it was brilliant. It shone in the sun with all its orange splendor. He grinned, and then took a bite out of it. What a savory crunch it beheld.
“Jokhsan!” was the cry of his parent. He spat the crunchy stuff out and swooped the thing behind his back.
“Jokhsan. What is that?”
“I don’t know, ” he said.
“Let me see it.”
He brought it into the daylight.
“A carrot,” his parent said. “We don’t eat carrots, Jokhsan.”
“Why not? It’s good! Try it!”
“Who told you to eat that, Jokhsan?”
“Why can’t I eat it?”
“Because the earth did not want you to have it.”
Jokhsan remembered the pulling, the heaving. And he laughed.
“The fruit,” his parent went on, “falls. And if we open our hands, we will catch it and be fed. The rain falls and if we catch it we are quenched. But the carrot hides underground. We have to do much work to get to it. By the end of it, we are only eating to make up for the work it took to get to it.”
Jokhsan placed the carrot between his teeth and, making eye contact with his parent, sunk his teeth into it slowly so it did not crunch until the middle of it snapped. He chewed it with a rebellious grin on his face.
The parent smiled. “Eat it, then, since you put so much work into it. But, be mindful that you do not catch yourself in the circle of useless work again.”