When Adversity Knocks

This is a story that explains how adversity is met differently by different people. There was a girl named Asha who lived with her mother and father in a village. One day, her father assigned her a simple task. He took three vessels filled with boiling water. He placed an egg in one vessel, a potato in the second vessel, and some tea leaves in the third vessel. He asked Asha to keep an eye on the vessels for about ten to fifteen minutes while the three ingredients in three separate vessels boiled. After the said time, he asked Asha to peel the potato and egg, and strain the tea leaves. Asha was left puzzled – she understood her father was trying to explain her something, but she didn’t know what it was.
Her father explained, “All three items were put in the same circumstances. See how they’ve responded differently.” He said that the potato turned soft, the egg turned hard, and the tea leaves changed the colour and taste of the water. He further said, “We are all like one of these items. When adversity calls, we respond exactly the way they do. Now, are you a potato, an egg, or tea leaves?”

Moral of the Story

We can choose how to respond to a difficult situation.

Word Power:

a. Adversity (noun) – a difficult or unpleasant situation
b. Assigned (verb) – give or allocate a job or duty
c. Ingredients (noun) – any of the foods or substances that are combined to make a particular dish
d. Circumstances (noun) – a condition connected with or relevant to an event or action
e. Respond (verb) – say something in reply
f. Keep an eye (verb) – To watch closely or carefully


1. Where did Asha live and with whom?
Ans: Asha lived in a village with her mother and father.

2. What did the father place in the 3 vessels with boiling water?
Ans: Her father placed an egg, a potato and some tea leaves in the 3 vessels with boiling water.

3. What did Asha’s father ask her to do once he put the items in the vessels?
Ans: Her father asked her to keep an eye on the vessels for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. What changed the color and taste of the water?
Ans: Tea leaves changed the color and taste of the water.