The Monkey Code, about kindness and consideration to newcomers. Story 1 for kids of 6 to 8 years old

   The Monkey Code

A story about kindness and consideration towards newcomers.

for children of 6 to 8 years old.    Story Number 1 of 2 stories

This story is ideal for children to turn into a play with some guidance from teachers or parents. Read the story to the children first and ask the questions posed at the end. Discuss with the children how they would like to act out the story and go ahead.

The monkeys were having a meeting, they were making a lot of noise and jumping up and down. There were monkey mothers and monkey children and some old grey monkeys too. Nobody could hear what anybody was saying.

monkey-playing001

An old grey backed monkey stood and reached his big hand up to a tree branch. He shook it hard. All the leaves rattled and made a swishing noise. The baby monkeys ran to their mothers and hid. The boy and girl monkeys stopped jumping about and looked at the old grey monkey. They knew he was the leader of the tribe and that what he had to say was important. Monkeys who had been swinging about the branches clambered down to the ground to listen. Monkeys who were grooming each other stopped looking for bits and pieces to pick off their friends’ coats. All eyes were turned to Grey Back.

‘We are all here today because there is some news. Now listen carefully. We’re going to have some new monkeys in our tribe. There are two young monkeys coming to join us. They have lost their families. There was a fire in their part of the forest and they lost their homes. I want to know how you will take care of them when they come. The monkeys looked round at each other. They were very quiet. They knew that this was important and they were thinking hard. They were just imagining how frightened and lonely their new visitors might be. Some of the monkey children replied:

‘I can be a good friend,’ said one.

‘I can show them our food trees,’ said another.

‘I can help them to build a nest to sleep on at night,’ said a third.

The monkey mothers nodded their heads in agreement. It seemed like the young monkeys had learned their lessons well. They had been taught to look after each other and to be helpful and kind.

‘Well done ,’ said Grey Back, ‘if you look after others then they will look after you, but if you are unkind, others will turn away from you, and your unkindness will turn to unhappiness. And that is against the Monkey Code. What do we want? Happy monkeys, helpful monkeys, that’s our code!’

Grey Back gave the branch one last shake then lumbered off into the trees.

‘Happy monkeys, helpful monkeys!’ chattered the youngsters as they went back to their clambering about.’

‘I’m off to find some fruit’ said a teenage monkey.

‘Fruit, fruit!’ whooped the youngsters as they all disappeared into the trees.

Questions

What name would you give to this story – what do you think it is about?

Why did the monkeys have a meeting?

Why were two young monkeys coming to join the tribe? 

How did the monkeys say they would take care of the visitors?

How would you look after new people in school?

Does the story remind you of anything in your life?

The refugee situation – a story to think about

A story of compassion and greed, for people concerned about the refugee situation 2016

refugee-story001The child looked around her. She knew no one at all. Her brother has disappeared the previous day. He said he was going to look for water but never came back. She lay curled up on some rags she had found. Her body was tightly wound into a ball to keep warm. Hunger gnawed at her belly. Her mind was confused, no single thought formed properly. Emotions flooded through her. Shaking and trembling with cold, hunger and fear, she hid her face from the world. No one seemed to be interested anyway. She heard shouts and cries, the sounds of rough men and frightened women and children.

She tried to reconstruct the past she knew, that past which had been shattered by bombs and blood and death. She tried to dream herself back into the life that she had so recently been living…

Her mother cooked at the stove. The kitchen was bright and cheerful, colourful cloth draped the walls. She sat on her father’s knee and stroked his beard. Her elder brother was in the courtyard, she could hear his laughter as he played with his friends. Then suddenly fear came to stay. Planes high above, the sounds of explosions and screams, people running and nowhere to go.

‘What shall we do, my husband?’ asked her mother.

‘We shall wait, there is no place any safer than here,’ said her father.

They gathered in the doorway and watched huge clouds of dust rising in the distance. Her brother flew indoors, aghast and horrified by the noise.

A few minutes later the child found herself on the floor. The air was so thick with dust she could not see across the room. She reached out and felt the body of her father lying beside her, lifeless. Her mother too lay beside the stove, the small flames still sputtered, lighting the dust which gathered on every surface and on the bodies of her parents. She crawled across the room thinking it might be safer to stay low. Under the table cowered her brother, speechless and in shock. She wrapped her arms around him and they remained under the table until after what seemed like a very long time, the bombings stopped.

Then shouts and cries filled the air, wails of sorrow and loss. Someone shouted their father’s name. The man pushed into the ruined kitchen, it was the neighbour, the girl gave a cry.

They were all shepherded out of the ruined houses. She held tightly to her brother’s hand. He couldn’t seem to be able to speak.

There on the rags, curled up, starving and thirsty she couldn’t recall the rest. She didn’t want to. She hoped to somehow get back in time and choose a better way forward, but young as she was she knew that it would not be possible.

refugee-story001

She felt a hand on her shoulder, it was gentle and kind like a mother’s hand. A young woman in clean clothing and with a badge in the shape of a Red Cross peered at her. She spoke words that were unfamiliar to her and offered her a bottle of water. Painfully the girl uncurled herself and taking the water drank deeply.

The Red Cross women held her hand and helped her to stand. She felt so weak she could hardly put one foot in front of the other. She was carried to a lorry where a number of other children waited. They all had a bottle of water and a small loaf of bread. Most were silent, quietly nibbling their bread, their eyes hollow. She pushed the loaf they gave her under her clothes. She couldn’t eat.

At a camp the children were put into tents, boys in boys tents, girls with girls. The older girls helped the younger ones to get what they needed – blankets, water and food.

After a second long journey in a lorry they found themselves in a place where houses were still standing, where people were very poor but friendly, although they spoke a different tongue. She was taken in by a family which already had four children. There was a heavy stone in her heart, which seemed to get heavier each time she thought of her parents and her brother. She could tell no one about how she was feeling as her words were not understood.

Meanwhile in the West people shook their heads in sorrow. A few signed cheques to help those in trouble. A few gathered up unwanted clothes and sent them off in lorries to Syria. A small number of brave, adventurous souls went to help in the camps, but most people did nothing.

Some recalled the two World Wars when refugees were accepted, accommodated and cared for. But somehow ‘War Time’ was different. Then everyone had a personal investment in it. Families had members who were soldiers; many knew people who had lost their lives. Sacrifices were made and expected of everyone. The whole of Europe and most of the rest of the world was involved. People could empathise with the loss and sacrifice.

Attitudes are different now. People have grown fat and rich and are afraid of giving up even a tiny bit of their wealth or their freedom to do exactly what they want to do for themselves. They think that they are not involved in this war in the Middle East. They think they can shut it out, shut the borders, close their eyes to it, refuse to recognise the suffering. Let other people in other countries, which happen to be closer but are not involved in the war, let them take the refugees. It doesn’t seem to matter to the West that many of these countries are very poor already, they are expected to share what little they do have with all the suffering and dispossessed peoples.

Many people in countries in the West seems to be losing the ability to be generous and compassionate and instead focus on keeping what they have, come what may. It seems that the more they have the less they want to give. Is this the equality that is spoken about so loudly? It is time for a rethink.

Questions:

How do you see refugees?  Are they guilty and need to be punished for being homeless? Looking back at your family history, or your friends’ families, how many of them have been persecuted for their race, religion, colour or nationality?  Who helped them to get through and become happy and productive citizens?

Does your heart go out to refugees when you hear about their suffering?

Do you feel you would like to do something but cannot think how you could make a difference?

How do your friends feel about the situation, are they selfish or generous?  

Does anyone express an opinion or do they just keep quiet and hope not to become involved?

Could you afford to give something to the Red Cross or similar organisation that you trust to help these people.

Could you raise some funds by holding an event, large or small, to show solidarity with those who are suffering?  Is anyone in your town involved in this?  How can you find out?

The Upside-down Cake, A story about kindness and empathy for children of 5 to 8 years

The Upside Down Cake

Upside-down cake painted

My name is Mark. I went to a small village school when I was a boy of your age. There were only 50 children in the whole school. Classes were small. We had the infants’ class, the middle-class and the top-class.

My teacher was called Miss Tweedy. She was very kind. She  noticed that every child was different. Some were  shy and quiet and some were loud and confident and there were others in between. Miss Tweedy used to joke about herself and make us laugh when she made a mistake. Sometimes I thought she made mistakes on purpose just to make us feel better about ourselves when we messed something up.

One day she came to school with an upside-down cake to share with the class who were the ‘winners of the month’. Every month one class was the winner. I did notice that we seemed to take it in turns to be the winner. It was called the ‘good behaviour prize’, and every month a different class won it, and shared out the cake between them. Sometimes it was chocolate cake and sometimes lemon cake. I used to like the cherry cake so if our class won I would always ask if we could have cherry cake for our prize.

‘Now let’s see, Mark, we could have a cherry cake, but only if everyone agrees. We could have some suggestions first and then count how many hands go up for each cake.’

We always voted like that and sometimes I was lucky, but not always. I didn’t mind because I like chocolate cake and lemon cake too.

I was telling you about the upside-down cake wasn’t I? Well, my class won the best behaviour prize, but we forgot to vote for what kind of cake to have. Miss Tweedy just got on and made one anyway.

She asked the class if they had ever heard of upside-down cake. One of the girls put her hand up and said her grandma made it sometimes.

‘Ah,’ said Miss Tweedy, ‘then I must tell you about my silly mistake. I thought I might get away without letting you know about it, but as Sarah knows what upside-down cake should be like, I can’t pretend can I?’

Miss Tweedy took the lid off the tin and showed us the cake.

 

Cherry cake 2Upside-down cake painted

I jumped up and down and clapped my hands.  Cherries were gathered at the top of the cake, so many that there was hardly any yellow cake to be seen! Everyone giggled and shouted, they all liked cherry cake too.

‘Can you guess what happened?’ asked Miss Tweedy looking embarrassed, hanging her head and sucking her finger; I thought she was play acting but Sarah went up to Miss Tweedy and patted her arm.

‘It’s all right Miss Tweedy,’ she said,’ don’t worry, we all make mistakes. I’m sure we will want to eat it even if all the cherries sank to the bottom and you turned it upside down.’

‘Yes that’s right Miss,’ we all chimed in, ‘don’t worry Miss, we’ll eat it!’

Delighted, we all sat round and had a piece of upside-down cherry cake. I turned mine the right way up to make sure it tasted as good as it usually did.

Later on that day Timmy, one of the youngest in the class was writing some of his letters upside down. He was a shy, quiet boy and when Miss Tweedy showed him how to change them round he hung his head and sucked his finger and tears started to fall on his work.

‘Never mind Timmy, your letter is a bit like my upside-down cake isn’t it? It’s the right shape, it’s just upside down. All we have to do is turn it over, look. We all make mistakes sometimes. It’s how we learn isn’t it? We do it wrong until we learn to do it right!’

Timmy smiled and we all smiled, thinking about the taste of the delicious cherry cake and of how kind Miss Tweedy was.

Questions  Answers in blue

  • Does this story remind you of anything in your life?
  • What did Mark think of his teacher, Miss Tweedy?   He thought she was very kind
  • Why did one class get a cake each month?  They got it for behaving well – the best behaviour prize
  • What sort of cake did Mark like best?  Mark liked Cherry cake best
  • Why did Miss Tweedy turn her cake upside down? The cherries all sank to the bottom of the cake, so it looked prettier upside down. 
  • How did Miss Tweedy show that she was upset about her cherry cake? She hung her head and put her finger in her mouth.
  • What did Sarah do to stop MissTweedy feeling upset?  She patted her arm and told her not to worry…
  • When little Timmy wrote his letters upside down, how did he feel about it? He was upset as he had made a mistake.
  • What did Miss Tweedy say to make him feel better? She told him that we learn by making mistakes, and it’s OK to make mistakes.

 

The Bamboo House, a story about respecting animals (children 6-10 years)

The Bamboo House:

cockeral-lit

Susie lived in Malasia. When she was six years old something happened in the family which she would never forget.

Susie’s house was made of bamboo. Long poles of wood were used to hold up the roof, the walls and the floor.The house was built above the ground so that people did not get wet and a higher house was not so easy for the  wild creatures to get into.

There were three children in the family: Susie, her brother Sam and her sister Tali.

Their mother and father used to grow fruit for the family and to sell in the market.

One day, Father loaded up the baskets on his bicycle and set off to market. Mother stayed at home to look after the family. She was not feeling very well and she was tired.Mum fell asleep on the mat in the bedroom.

Sam was the eldest and he said he wanted to go and play in the garden. Susie didn’t think he ought to do that while their mum was asleep, because he should stay in the house and look after Tali who was only three years old. Tali could be a bit naughty sometimes.Sam went out to play and Susie looked after Tali while Mum as asleep.They played with their dolls made of palm leaves. They were very quiet so as not to wake Mum up.

After a while they heard some shouting. It was Sam and someone else.

“Stop. Come here,” said the voice.

“Go away!,” said Sam.

Mum woke up.“Whatever if the matter?” she asked. “What is Sam up to now?”

Sam appeared up the ladder and climbed in to the house. He was looking guilty.

“Whatever have you been up to, Sam?”

“I didn’t mean to frighten Mr. D’s chickens,” cried Sam.

Then Mr. D appeared below us, shaking his fist at Sam.

“That boy of yours, Mrs! He’s been shooting peas at my hens. They have all flown off into the jungle.  Wild animals may catch them and eat them if they are too frightened to come home.”

“Oh dear, oh dear!” said Mum.“This is the last thing I need today. Come on, all of you. We have to go and bring back Mr. D’s chickens. Sam, I am very cross with you.”

The houses were in a clearing in the jungle. The chickens had run away to hide in the trees. 

Cockerel in bushes

A cockerel was hiding in a bush.

It took a long time to find them and shoo them back.

Mum and Susie were very tired and cross when at last the chickens were all in their pen.

Sam felt bad. He had frightened the chickens and because of him everyone felt cross and tired, especially mum.

“I’m sorry, Mum. I won’t do it again. I didn’t mean to hurt the chickens. I was just practising my shooting.”

His mother sighed a big sigh.  “All right, Sam, but why don’t you hang some big leaves on the washing line and get your sister to pull it up and down. Then you’ll have a target that won’t get hurt.”

Susie enjoyed helping Sam with his target practice and he used his pea shooter to frighten away snakes and any other animals which were careless enough to climb up to the house.

  • What name might you give to the story?
  • How did Susie try to help her Mum at the start of the story?
  • Sam did several things which were not helpful and not good.  Can you remember what he did?
  • What did Sam do with his peashooter?
  • What might have happened to the chickens in the jungle?
  • What do you think about hurting or frightening animals?
  • Do you think Sam’s mum was kind or unkind? Why?
  • How did Susie help Sam at the end of the story?

Popple the Pig and the Oinkment (fairy story about being brave and positive)

Oinkment

I’ll tell you a story, so you must sit quietly and listen. In the fairy realm we have many things which are much the same as the big people have and we have other things which are not. When I was little girl I had a pig that was called Popple. I loved Popple. He lived under the stairs in my house. He was my secret. Nobody else knew about Popple. When they were all asleep Popple and I would go out for an adventure. He was an unusual pig because he had a mane like a horse. I’d hold on to it and we’d fly off into the night until night turned to day, as it did very quickly in fairyland. We would go and visit Popple’s friends. They lived in an old manor house. There were lots of them. Some were fairies, some were elves and some were pigs with wings like Popple.

One day we were visiting Popple’s friends and a bad thing happened. Popple didn’t see the branch of a tree and he bumped into it as we were landing. I fell off and I was all right, but Popple had broken his wing. Oh dear. I did feel sorry for Popple. Whatever could I do to help? I felt like crying because I didn’t know how I was going to get back home, but I decided to be brave. Popple needed all the help he could get. I borrowed a pillowcase and made a sling for Popple’s wing, and we went to see the witch Tangeloola. . She would know how to heal Popple’s wing quickly if anyone did. She got out a big pot of oinkment and told me to rub it onto Popple’s broken wing three times. She said that by the third time the wing would be better. She told me he needed to have some nice lovage soup and a good rest. Then he would be as fit as a flea again. . Well, I looked at Popple and he looked at me.

“She knows what she’s talking about,” said Popple, ” Spread some of that gooey stuff on me would you, then I’ll have a snooze?”

I was a bit worried that it might not work, but I decided to give it a go and keep smiling, I thought if I looked happy Popple might start to feel better about his poorly wing. So I smiled and rubbed and tucked him up for a snooze. Then I went to find some nice green lovage for some soup. There was a lovely big plant in the back garden of the old manor, and Piggy Perkins said she’d make the soup for Popple. When he woke up I rubbed some more oinkment on his wing. It was feeling much better already. He had some soup and offered me some too. At that moment witch Tangeloola popped her head round the door to see how he was.

“Splendid, splendid,” she said, and she sprinkled something sparkly into the soup.

Now you should both drink the rest of this, then put on the last of the oinkment and go home. “

I was so pleased I jumped up and down for joy, and to my surprise I found I could fly. It must have been the soup!

Witch Tangeloola giggled and giggled and said, ” I put some flying dust in the soup so you can help Popple to get home safely and not strain his newly mended wing. He’s not strong enough to carry you yet. He needs a few more days to recover fully.”

Popple looked a bit sad, but I said “Come on Popple, be brave, at least you can fly again. Let’s go. Thanks Witch Tangeloola!” and off we flew. The funny thing was after that I could always fly at night, but never in the daytime when anyone else was watching me. Popple lived under the stairs until I got too big to have a pig friend living in my house. He flew off to another little girl in the next village, and I didn’t mind at all. After all, I could still fly at night, all by myself.

By the way, when I get a sore place I put ointment on it, but as pigs say ‘Oink oink’, I think that’s why Popple used oinkment…..

A yoga story about compassion and sympathy

Aunt Ushma Becomes Very Ill

Compassion and Sympathy

When I was a small child I had an aunt; she was my mother’s sister. She used to live with us and help my mother look after us children. She would wash us and rock us to sleep if we were unsettled. She was always available to help in any way and never asked for anything in return. She was one of the family, so she was treated as such and not as a servant. My mother used to say to us, “You must look after your Auntie Ushma as well as she looks after you!”

A time came when we did indeed have to carry out our mother’s wishes. Aunt Ushma became very ill. All she could do was to lie in bed and drink water and sometimes a little fruit juice. Every one was very worried about her. I used to like to go and visit her and stroke her hair as it lay on the pillow beside her. She would turn her head and smile a wan smile.

“Ah, Ramu,” she would say, “How nice it is to feel your cool hands on my forehead. No one has hands like yours. I am sure you will be a great healer one day.”

Well, I didn’t know what she was talking about. I just knew I wanted her to get well again quickly, so that we could enjoy our usual pursuits, our walks along the riverbank and playing hide-and-seek in the woods. She was ill for a long time it seemed to me. She grew so thin that her skin looked like paper drawn across the bones of her face. No one could help her. The priest visited her and so did the wise woman who sold the herbs in the market. The Guru who lived in the nearby mountain was summoned, but he refused to come. Instead he promised to pray for her each day until he had news of a change for the better. Aunt Ushma finally died after several months of illness. On her last day she asked to see the family all together. She addressed them saying:

“I am going home soon, do not weep for me. I will return as indeed we all do. I hope my next life will shine with a few more jewels than this one. However, in this life I have been blessed with a good number of jewels until recently. I would like to thank you, all of you, for your kindness to me during this tiresome illness. You could not have looked after me with more care or consideration than if I had been the goddess Shakti herself.” And with that she closed her eyes and fell asleep. She never uttered another word. She died during the night.

I always remembered what she said about my hands and if members of the family were ill, I made sure I was there to stroke their brows and hold their hands. They always appreciated it and in later years I indeed found that my healing gift was called upon by many.


Some questions to ask yourself:

  • What kind of effect does an understanding smile have on you?
  • Think of a time when you felt compassionate towards someone. How did you show it?
  • When someone is unsympathetic towards you, how do you feel about him?
  • A friend is looking for sympathy, but you think she is just being pathetic. How can you deal with it and show you are still a good friend?