The following is a paraphrase of "The Empty Pot" by Demi.
A Chinese Emperor is dying and needs to pick his successor. Since he loved gardening (this is the outdoor angle), he decides to let the seeds choose. He calls all the children to the palace and gives them each a seed to grow. They are to return in the Spring with their plant; whoever has tended their plant the best will be named Emperor.
One little boy, known among the children as an excellent gardener, cannot get his seed to grow. He tries repotting several times, no luck. At the end of the year, he has nothing but an empty pot to present to the Emperor, while all of the other children bring huge, beautiful plants of varying kind.
However, the Emperor had baked all of the seeds so that they wouldn't grow. Only one child was honest and brought forth the empty pot. He was rewarded with being named Emperor. --Thanks to a contribution to the GirlScout-List