In ancient times there was a king who wished to own a fast horse. He sent many men to inquire about such horse and offered to pay up to a thousand gold pieces for the horse. Three years passed, and the men who were sent out to buy those horses came back. But there was no horse bought. The king was worried and didn't know what to do. This time the king's lesser official said, "Let me go and search for one of these fleet footed horses."
When he finally found one, it had just died. The lesser official still paid five hundred gold pieces for the head of the horse. He took it back to the king. The king was furious. "I wanted a live one! What is the use of the head of a dead horse? You waste my five hundred gold pieces." The official calmly answered, "Dead or alive even though it cost five hundred gold pieces. Now the whole world knows that you sincerely are looking for a horse of this quality." So before long a real fleet footed horse was brought to the palace and offered for sale and then after less than one year, three more had been reached to the palace.
The wisdom behind this tale is if you want to reach or find or gain something that you need help from others to achieve it, sometimes it's not enough just to let others know about our desires. We need to make them feel that we really really want that thing, if they can feel in their hearts that we sincerely and earnestly pursuit those things, they'll be moved by our sincerity and persistence and begin to sincerely help us. Sometimes we want to help someone but when we see that he doesn't show a strong will to help himself that's very discouraging. This wisdom is very applicable in many areas of our lives.
Source: Chiu, C. H. (2005) A Collection of Ancient Chinese Stories. Xlibris.