Meercat Story- ‘knowing right from wrong’- respect for animals – for age 6-10 years

Brett and the Meercats

When I was a child I lived in Africa . We didn’t have a back garden. We just had the bush.  I was fascinated by all the animals running around, just outside my house. Of course you couldn’t see them all at once. Sometimes we could hear the lions roaring; sometimes the elephants would pass by, these were such large animals I kept well away from them. We didn’t see them very often. I was more used to the smaller animals. We had a family of meerkats who lived not very far away from my house. I used to spend a lot of time watching them.  They became quite used to me.  I would take a little blanket all folded up neatly and walk very quietly to the meerkat tunnels, I would park myself just a few yards away from them slightly hidden behind a bush. I got a very good view of them. They knew I was there, but I never harmed them, so they didn’t bother about me.

I could always tell which meerkat was the boss. At first I didn’t know whether it was a male or a female meerkat. It was just a meerkat. I didn’t know if it was a mum or a dad. Then one day I noticed that the boss meerkat was looking rather heavy and round and then she disappeared. It wondered if she’d been killed. A number of days later she reappeared. She looked different. She wasn’t so fat but I could see that underneath her she had a milky udder, that’s what my mother called it, then I knew that she was a she, and that she had had babies and these babies were suckling her , hidden away under the ground. I don’t know why but I called her Tam Tam, I think I might have given her the name before I knew she was a girl. I wondered how long it was going to be before I saw her babies coming out into the daylight. I took my blanket out every day to make sure I wouldn’t miss them. I could go early in the morning and in the afternoon when it was cooler. Meerkats didn’t come out in the middle of the day,  it was too hot for them and too hot for me.

I don’t remember how many days I had to wait before the first signs of baby meerkats appeared. I think I might have watched them during their first excursion into the world. I remember seeing little noses peeping out sniffing the air and  popping back in again, very shyly.

meerkat babies

Finally Tam Tam came out of the burrow and called to them and they came one by one, sniffing  and blinking  their eyes, not used to strong light having lived in the tunnel for quite a long time. I was so excited and wanted to tell my friends, but something stopped me. I knew that some people could be very cruel to wild animals. Some people looked on them as pests. They would say all sorts of nasty things about them and then they would go and dig them out, destroying their burrows. They would say things like ‘ the cattle put their feet in the holes they might break their legs’. Well, I didn’t think cattle were that stupid.  I’ve watched our cattle carefully stepping round the burrows.  None of them ever hurt their legs. At the first sign of cattle the meerkats would disappear down their holes. The cows weren’t very interested in them, but they would nibble at the grass around the tunnels before moving on.

One day, a cousin came to stay. I hadn’t met him before, he was older than me and seemed to be a nice boy. He said that life in the bush was boring and I wanted to show him that it certainly wasn’t. I decided to take the risk of showing him the meerkats. I gave him a blanket and told him to walk very quietly. We waited patiently by the tunnels. The meerkats wouldn’t come out. I had told him about the babies and how they would all sit up on their hind legs in a row and look about them. Often their heads would all turn at the same time, it was almost like a dance and I found it very comical. I had told my cousin, Brett about other funny things that they used to do. He really wanted to see them, but I think he was making too much noise. He was laughing and joking and although I kept saying ‘Shush’,I was giggling a bit. The meerkats weren’t used to noise. We had frightened them. Suddenly Brett stood up and ran over to a tree with dead branches on it. He broke one off .

‘I’ll get them out of there!’  he said.

Before I could stop him he had poked the stick down the tunnel.  Luckily it was a long tunnel and probably had a bend in it, so he couldn’t reach my favourite baby animals. I was very upset. I picked up my blanket and whopped him with it.

‘You mustn’t do that, you’ll hurt them!’ I said, ‘Come away at once’.

‘I’m going to get a spade and dig ‘em out,’  he said.

He ran off towards the house. Luckily I knew all the spades were locked away. I ran to find my mother. She knew how much I loved the meerkats, I knew that she would tell Brett not to dig them out.  She did, she made him feel very ashamed of himself. But she wasn’t unkind. She knew he was a city boy who might not have been taught to respect animals.  I kept away from the meerkats then.

On Brett’s last day he asked me if we could go once more to look at the little family. He promised me he would not hurt them. Quietly we crept along the path to the meerkat tunnels. We hid behind the bush on our blankets, Brett was very quiet. After a short time, the meerkats came out one by one, they stood in a row sniffing the air and looking this way and that, their little paws hanging down over their chests. I saw a big smile spread over Brett’s face. He didn’t move a muscle. The meerkats played some fighting games. Finally, Brett couldn’t resist it. He just had to wave at them.  All at once they disappeared into the tunnel. We crept away.

‘Why did you do that, Brett?’ I asked.

‘I just wanted to show them I meant no harm.’ he said.

‘Ah, OK.’  What more could I say? It looked like he had learnt his lesson!

Questions

  1.        What name would you give to the story?
  2.        Did it remind you of anything in your life?
  3.        Who showed forgiveness?
  4.        In what ways do you respect animals?
  5.        Do you know what being cruel means?
  6.        How can we be kind to animals?

Gopi the generous cow. A story for children of 6-10 years old

Gopi was a cow. She had a happy life. Every day her master allowed her to roam in the village to look for titbits.  In the evening she returned home, warm and dusty and looking for a drink of water. In the morning her master milked and fed her and, patting her backside, he sent her off into the world.

“Go and see what you can find, Gopika”, he would say. “Get some nice tasty leaves, but don’t steal anybody’s vegetables.”

Of course, Gopi did not understand what the master said to her, but she knew  he was kind and that he loved her.

One day, when Gopi was wandering the streets, a young boy stopped her. He stroked her.  He was very thin. Normally Gopi did not allow anyone else to touch her except her master.  Somehow she knew that her milk belonged to him and that if anyone else tried to take it, she would keep on walking. This day the young boy with the skinny body touched her heart.  He had a little cup in his hand.  He stroked her nose and held the cup out to her as if to ask, “Please, Mrs. Cow, can I have some of your milk?”

Gopi stood still and allowed the boy to fill his cup. When he stood up again, she looked back at him. He patted her rear and off she went. She made her way to the pile of vegetable leaves outside the market.  It was her lucky day! One of the stall holders saw her coming and threw her a lovely leafy stalk from a cabbage.  Gopi munched contentedly at the treat.

All day long Gopi wandered. A group of well-fed children ran after her. One had a bucket.  “Hey, nice cow, give us some of your milk,” one shouted.

Gopi kept on walking. Finally she returned home.

Her master patted her and stroked her udder which was filling up nicely with milk.  “Ah, Gopika, I see you have had a good day. Well done! You don’t seem to be at all hungry. Your hay will keep for another day.

Gopika looked lovingly at her master as she nibbled on a stalk of grass. If she had been able to speak, what do you think she might have said?

QUESTIONS:

  1. How did you feel when you heard the story?
  2. Did the story remind you of anything in your own life?
  3. How did Gopi and her master co-operate? What did they do for each other?
  4. What ways do other animals and people co-operate?
  5. How did Gopi’s master show respect for Gopi?
  6. How did the skinny boy show respect for Gopi?
  7. Why do you think Gopi gave milk to the skinny boy?
  8. Why do you think Gopi did not give milk to the children with the bucket?
  9. What name would you give this story?

A story about empathy. Keeping Betsy Dry. For children 5-10years

Keeping Betsy Dry

Simon lived in a terraced house with his Mum and Dad, two sisters and a dog called Betsy.  She was getting old, poor Betsy. She had seen better days. She hardly had any ‘woof’ left. Betsy didn’t like the rain, or the cold. It was difficult to get her to go outside in bad weather, but of course she had to go, like all dogs do. It was usually Simon’s job to take her outside. He didn’t like the cold and the wet much either.

Betsy had become a fat old dog

In the back garden there was a path next to the wall and it led down to the shed where the children had a den, Dad kept his tools and Mum kept the clothes line. Simon would sit in the shed while Betsy wandered round the garden, doing what she had to do.

It got harder and harder to get Betsy outdoors. She would put one paw on the ground and if it was wet she would turn round and refuse to go outside. She was quite a tubby dog and very heavy and Simon wasn’t strong enough to push her out. The problem was, if she wasn’t made to go out she would be whining at the door in the next five minutes, then Mum would get cross.

Simon sat in the den one dry day, thinking about how he could solve the problem. He knew old people didn’t like the wet, and they could choose to stay indoors, but Betsy couldn’t because she was a dog.  “What she needs is an outdoor dry place,” he thought.

Simon looked round the shed. There was an old stair carpet in a roll, tied up with a rope. Suddenly Simon had an idea. He removed the rope which was an old washing line and unrolled the carpet. He found some pieces of wood. He balanced the wood on the wall and using the rope and the old carpet, made a tunnel for Betsy to walk through from the kitchen door to the shed. There was an open lean-to for her to sit in to keep out of the rain beside the shed. Simon showed Betsy her new dry path. She seemed to understand. She plodded along on the inside, next to the wall, and wagged her tail gently when she reached the lean to.

 

Betsy Old dog. lesson 1.11

 

“Good dog,” said Simon.

The next day it rained. Betsy went straight into her tunnel from the kitchen door to the shed.  “Clever girl,” said Simon.

Betsy did not live very long after that. The family were sad when she went, but Simon’s Dad said Simon had really cared for her very well and had tried hard to understand how she was feeling and what she needed. He was so pleased with Simon that they went to choose a new dog from the Dogs’ Home – a dog whose owners were not well enough to look after it and who needed a loving new home.

Dad said he was sure Simon and the girls would do their best to make Toby the new dog happy, and they did!

Questions:

Did the story remind you of anything?

Why did Betsy not want to go outside?

What did Simon do to help Betsy feel OK about going out?

Have you ever helped your pet to make it happier? How?

Do you think pets notice when you do kind things for them?

Do you think people notice when you do kind things for them?

Do you notice when people do kind things for you?  Why do they do those things?

 

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?