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A children's short story with a moral: A Bag of Feathers

Updated on October 2, 2010

Long ago and far away, in another land there lived a young man called WyMi who was very, very rich. He lived in a beautiful mansion in the country and his land stretched as far as the eye could see. He owned so much gold and silver that it could not even be counted. Unfortunately, not only was he extremely wealthy, he was also extremely foolish and what was worse he was mean and unkind.

One by one he lost all his friends who could not tolerate his selfishness and his miserly ways. Soon he had no friends left at all and he came to realise that there are some things that money just cannot buy.

“I am so lonely,” he thought miserably one day. “Where have all my friends gone?”

A little voice from deep inside his heart answered him sternly. “You have driven all your friends away with your rude and thoughtless ways.”

“Have I?” said WyMi in surprise. “How did I do that?”

“What about your best friend, MeToo?” demanded the voice. “When his wife almost died and he asked you for help, what did you do? Did you help him?”

“Well – no,” replied the young man doubtfully. “But I can explain. You see I was rather busy at the time.”

“What about your own cousin?” the voice continued. “He is as poor as a church mouse and sometimes has nothing more to eat than a crust of bread. But when he asked you for one piece of silver so that he could buy food for his starving family, did you give it to him? No! You shouted at him and called him horrid names and then you turned him off your land.”

“NoWin is lazy,” insisted WyMi stubbornly. “He should work harder for his money.”

“And what about MySing?” asked the voice softly. “What did you do to her? She told you a secret, a very special secret and she trusted you not to tell anyone else. Can you remember what happened next?”

“Yes,” said WyMi beginning to look ashamed. “She refused to marry me because I laughed at her and I told other people. She felt that she couldn’t trust me any more. Perhaps I have behaved rather badly but what can I do about it now?”

“Think long and hard about your behaviour,” said the voice. I am sure your conscience will direct you to do the right thing”.

“Can’t you tell me what to do?” begged WyMi. “I - I’m afraid that perhaps I don’t have a conscience.”

“Oh yes you do,” the voice assured him. “That is why you are listening to me now.”

“Are you my conscience?”

But there was no reply

“Where have you gone?” he asked in alarm. “Please don’t leave me. I need you to talk to me. No one else will. They all turn their backs when they see me. Oh I do so badly want to have friends again. I will do anything if only I can win back my friends.

The voice was silent.

“I know what I’ll do,” thought the young man suddenly. “I’ll go and speak to the wise old man in the next village over the hill. He will tell me what to do.”

WyMi set off for the next village immediately and approached the wise old man, who did not seem in the least surprised to see him.

WyMi bowed low before the old man and spoke more humbly than he had ever spoken before. Quickly he told him all that the voice had said. The old man said nothing for a while and then he looked at WyMi. “Are you really sorry for everything you have said and done to hurt the people in the town?”

WyMi nodded his head earnestly. “Yes, I am. I really am. Tell me what I can do to make everything right again.”

“It will not be easy,” said the old man. “Are you sure you want to do this”

“Oh yes, quite sure.”

“Then what you must do,” said the old man slowly, “Is to take the biggest sack you can find and fill it with feathers. You will need 1 feather for every person that you have hurt or wronged in your lifetime.”

“Yes? Yes?” said WyMi eagerly. “Then what shall I do?”

“Then, at the dead of night when all in the world are asleep, you must place one feather on the doorstep of every person that you have ever hurt.”

“I’ll do it!” said WyMi with determination. “I’ll do it this very night.”

So, that night, long after all the townspeople had taken to their beds, a lonely figure, carrying a big sack over his shoulder trudged through the town, placing a feather on every single doorstep. It took him a very long time and he was very tired but at last, just before the sun peeped over the horizon, he placed the last feather.

Happily he made his way back to the old man.

“I’ve done what you told me. Now what must I do?

The old man looked at him with great compassion. “Now, you must go and pick every feather up.”

The young man stared at him aghast. “But, I can’t,” he said at last. “The wind will have taken some of them. Others will have been picked up and thrown away. I can’t get them all back again.”

The old man nodded his head sadly. “No, you can’t,” he said gently. “And, just as you cannot retrieve all the feathers, so can you also not retrieve all the unkind words that you have spoken or the hurts that you have caused other people. You may be truly sorry, and I do believe that you are. God will forgive you, but nevertheless, you will still suffer the consequences of your sin. Go now and show love and kindness to all people, even to those who dislike you and refuse to forgive you.”

The Bible tells us that we reap what we sow. If you sow bad seeds you will reap a bitter harvest. Do you want the consequences in your life to be good or bad? You see, only you can make that choice.

© Denise Pienaar 2010


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    • profile image

      Nobayeni 4 years ago

      I read the story and found it's moral very helpful and interesting . I shared the story with my school children and they really enjoyed to listen up to it's end. Thank you and keep up the good work.

    • profile image

      tapu 5 years ago

      wooow very cool

    • funmontrealgirl profile image

      funmontrealgirl 6 years ago from Montreal

      I like the morals of this story. Turned on the waterworks. It's all so true. But we can always choose to be good toward others after all.

    • wearing well profile image

      Deborah Waring 7 years ago from Lancashire U.K.

      Thank You delmia.I enjoyed reading your lovely story to my children.Excellent moral lesson.I have found that even though I've sown good seeds that some of the people I have helped and classed to be friends have often turned out to be sour,two faced and jealous individuals!;sometimes you just can't please everyone and life at times can be very disappointing:)

    • jamesmspacey profile image

      jamesmspacey 7 years ago from Hobart, Australia

      Nice story. You've got a lot of depth.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Very good story with a message. Congrats on your nomination, and good luck.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      What we do cannot be undone but we can indeed choose to do things in a new way and live better lives. Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. To see the Hubnuggets, this way please:

    • LonelyAstronaut profile image

      LonelyAstronaut 7 years ago

      Entertaining yet it has a moral nice work :)

    • Ipeoney profile image

      Ipeoney 7 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on the hubnugget nomination. Story with a moral lesson to all of us.

    • Alternative Prime profile image

      Alternative Prime 7 years ago from > California

      Well done & Congratulations on the Nomination

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      It has its good points :-) - Voted up :-)