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Book for children: Fairy of virtuesFairy of Virtues BOOKS ON VIRTUES

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Book for chidlren and educators on EcologyEcology for children. Trees decorate the Earth - Kind fairy-tales on Ecology ECOLOGY FOR KIDS
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Book for kids: creative gamesEducational games for children all ages 200 GAMES
Stories for kids on ProfessionsStories on professions and masters FUNNY ANIMALS
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Stories and Lessons from the book



A Story from the Life of an Aquarium - M. Skrebtsova
Questions and Exercises
Game: "What Can We be Proud of?"
Picture: "My Pride"


The Tale of a Mountain - M. Skrebtsova
Questions and Exercises
Game: "Mystery Friend"
Picture: "Our Strength is in Our Friends"


The Hedgehog Seamstress - A. Lopatina
Questions and Exercises
Game: "The Sacrifice Campfire"
Picture and written work: "What do Our Parents Sacrifice for Us?"





M. Skrebtsova

Once there was a boy who had a big aquarium in his room, and in the aquarium he had every kind of fish you can imagine. All the fish got along with one another just fine until one day the boy put a new fish into the aquarium. The new fish was very beautiful. Her silvery fins sparkled with many different colors, and her body was an amazing vivid scarlet. The very moment she splashed into the aquarium the new fish called out loudly:

"Hey, you, everyone who lives in this old box, come out and meet your queen!"

At first all the fish just peeked wide-eyed at the strange newcomer and did not come out from their hiding places among the water-plants. Finally, one little crab crawled out and asked timidly:

"Excuse me, why did you call yourself our queen? We've never had a queen before."

"Now that I have come everything must change, and there will be new rules. Call everyone to come out at once," the new fish ordered, and she lashed her silvery tail angrily.

Nobody had ever given such orders to the kind-hearted and inoffensive little crab, and he got very frightened. The queen-fish's behaviour frightened the other little fish too, but all the same they hurried out to surround the angry newcomer...

From that moment life in the aquarium changed. The little queen-fish was firmly in charge. She divided the aquarium into two parts. The biggest part, where the plants grew thickest and there were the most comfortable shells to rest on, the new fish assigned to herself. All the rest of the fish had to crowd into the smaller section of the aquarium, where there were almost no plants and there was nowhere for them to make themselves a home. And heaven forbid that one of the fish should accidentally swim into the queen's territory! She would get so terribly angry that even the old aquarium himself would shudder and quake. When the fish were fed, none of them dared to swim up to the food until the queen-fish had eaten her fill. The rest of them got what little she left behind.

For several days they lived like this, and eventually the boy noticed that his fish were not looking so well, and even seemed a bit thinner. He studied them very closely. Usually the aquarium was alive with happy fish darting to and fro, dancing in circles and playing hide-and-seek among the water-plants. Now none of the fish were swimming about, but instead for some reason they were huddled in one section of the aquarium, ignoring their food and glancing around with anxious eyes. The boy saw that only one fish seemed content – the most beautiful one, which he had put into the aquarium just a few days earlier. She was swimming and dancing freely, and her silvery fins sparkled delightfully in the clear water. The boy though to himself worriedly: "Probably my fish have got some kind of disease and the new fish hasn't caught it yet. I'd better take her out of the aquarium and per her in a jar." And so one day the queen of the fish found herself in a glass jar.

All the fish sighed with relief when their tormentor was taken away. The boy hurried off to the pet shop. He bought some new fish-food that was rich with vitamins and nutrients, and which the salesman said would help his fish fight off their terrible infection.

He put the jar with the new fish on the windowsill opposite the aquarium. The queen-fish could plainly see everything that was happening in the aquarium, but of course she turned her scarlet back on them, and proudly looked the other way.

One day, when nobody was at home, the family's pet cat crept up to the jar with the little scarlet fish. He had been watching her for a long time, every since the boy had first put her into the aquarium. Normally the cat didn't pay much attention to the fish in the aquarium – why should he, when the family gave him plenty of delicious cat-food? But that one fish was so attractive, so unusual, that the cat just couldn't put her out of his mind...

The queen-fish was sleeping, and the cat was just about to stick his paw into her jar when something astonishing happened.

All the fish in the aquarium had been watching the cat intently. Most of them were perfectly happy to look on as the awful punishment drew closer and closer to their one-time tormentor. Only the kindly little crab shed a tear. He was so afraid for her! Finally he couldn't stand it any longer and he cried out, "Why don't we help her? After all she's a fish too!"

The fish just laughed at the little crab and kept on calmly watching the cat with unblinking eyes. The little crab started to bang on the glass wall of the aquarium with his claw, hoping at least to warn the little fish about the danger she was in, but she was sound asleep. The terrible cat's paw was just inches away from her when the little crab threw himself against the glass with all his might. The old aquarium shook so hard and rang so loud from such a blow that for a moment none of the fish could hear a thing. The cat was so frightened by the noise that he took off at full tilt.

The ringing crash also woke the little scarlet fish. Hardly able to believe in her narrow escape, she shivered in horror as the cat fled away.

That evening when the boy was giving food to his fish he noticed that they were starting to look better. He decided to put the beautiful scarlet fish back in the aquarium so she wouldn't get bored in the jar all by herself. At first all the fish were horrified, and only the little crab was calm as he gave her a welcoming smile. Yet no sooner was the little fish in the aquarium again, than she whispered very softly, "I missed you so much, my fish-friends. Please let me live together with you in your wonderful aquarium – the very best home for fish in all the world."

And the old aquarium glowed with happiness when he heard such words of praise.



Questions and Exercises

How was the little crab different from the other fish? Do you think that the nasty little queen-fish would have changed if the crab had not felt sorry for her?

Do you think a person needs to have pride?

Write the word "Pride" on the board and ask the children to list all the things that a person can be proud of. The teacher writes all the answers on the board. Ask the children to choose the things that they are proud of, and explain why.

What kind of person do we call proud? What is the difference between pride and arrogance?

Do you every feel proud? Have you ever felt proud of someone else?

Should parents be proud of their children? What are your parents most proud of in you? What are you proud of in your parents?

What should you change in yourself so that your parents would be even more proud of you?


Game: "What Can We Be Proud Of?"

The teacher tosses a ball to various children in turn and asks each one a question about pride, for example: "Should we be proud of our abilities? Should we be proud if we are rich?" If the child thinks that we should be proud, he catches the ball. If he thinks that we should not be proud of our talents, he lets the ball go by. If anyone doesn't agree with the person who is "answering", the game stops and everyone discusses the question.



Picture: "My Pride"

Of all the things you are proud of, which one makes you feel the most proud? Draw it and then tell the others about it.




M. Skrebtsova

Once upon a time there lived a mountain, which was so high that it might have been the very tallest mountain in the whole world – and so he had very few friends. Only the big fluffy clouds could reach all the way to the peak. But what fun it was to poke his pointed summit into their fluffy, snowy whiteness! How it tickled! The clouds would burst into laughter, and sometimes they would even laugh so hard they would cry, and then it would rain on the earth below.

One hot summer the sun shone down so relentlessly that for several days there wasn't a single little cloud in the sky, and the mountain felt very sad. Finally, when he couldn't bear being lonely any longer, he asked the great wide sky, "Why won't you let the little ones run and play in your big bright blueness?"

The sky replied, "All my children have gone to the kingdom of winter, which is very far from here. They won't come back until the end of summer."

"But I miss them so much!" the mountain said with a sigh. "Maybe I should go to the winter kingdom too, and visit my friends?"

"You are a mountain, and mountains are heavy and can't fly like the clouds. Mountains always stay in the same place," the sky stated firmly.

From that day the mountain became even sadder. "Everyone else moves around and finds exciting new things and I have to sit still, nobody and nothing needs me," he wailed. Tears began to flow down the mountain face as, for the first time in his life, the mountain cried. Even as he cried, the dried and cracked soil in the plain below heaved a sigh of relief and started to thirstily drink in the long-awaited water. Even before the end of the day the plain was covered with fresh green growth.

The plain called out to the mountain, "O, kind mountain! Thank you for saving me from a terrible fate! Your water is so pure it has healed all my wounds. Look at how much it has changed me!”

The mountain was so surprised that he stopped crying. Until then nobody had even spoken to him from down below. He was, after all, so very high, and the plain so far below, that the mountain had forgotten that it even existed. The mountain looked down and gasped in surprise as he saw the flourishing green carpet, shining and fresh. The plain was so beautiful that the mountain felt like kissing it, and tingled with delight at the thought. At that the wise old sky whispered to him, "Now, mountain, you see that you can find friends anywhere. You just have to notice them!”



Questions and Exercises

How do you think the plain can help the mountain, and the mountain help the plain?

Imagine that beautiful flowers burst into life on the plain after the mountain watered it with its tears. Name the flowers.

Was there ever a time in your life when you were very lonely and you thought that nobody needed you, but then realized it wasn't true?

What would you tell a person who wants to make friends but can't find any?


Game: "Mystery Friend"

Write down the children's names ahead of time on slips of paper and get each child to take one slip. The child whose name is written on a piece of paper becomes the mystery friend of the one who chose that paper. Ask the children to act like a friend to that person until the next lesson, so each child can guess who his mystery friend is. Afterwards have a discussion with the children about how they were able to guess who their mystery friends were.


Picture: "Our Strength is in Our Friends"

Read the saying, "The strength of a tree is in its roots, and the strength of a person is in his friends." Ask each child to draw him- or herself in the form of a tree, with their friends as the roots.





A. Lopatina

Once in a forest there was a hedgehog seamstress. She never had a spare moment: if it wasn't the rabbits asking her to sew them new winter coats, then it was the squirrel with frozen ears wanting a hat to keep his head cozy and warm. Even the flowers, bushes and trees received her help. Whenever some bark was ripped or a leaf torn off, the trees and bushes called for the hedgehog. And just like that she would be there, would sew up the bark or leaf and right away everything would heal up nicely, for the hedgehog had magic needles and thread. The needles she took off her own back, which was, after all, very convenient: no need to rush off anywhere. Her thread was made of spider silk. Every morning she hurried about collecting fresh silk from the spiders and winding skeins onto her needles before heading off to help everyone who was expecting her.

One day the hedgehog had so many requests to answer that she was run off her feet. It was already getting dark when she came bustling down into the ravine where a doe and her fawn were waiting. A hunter had shot at them – he missed, fortunately, but still the bullet had grazed the fawn's side and torn his beautiful hide. The mama-doe was very worried about her son, and as soon as she caught sight of the hedgehog she burst out:

"Go away, go away, you strange creature, and don't bother us. My little son is lying here wounded, and his coat is torn. We're waiting for the hedgehog."

The hedgehog was so surprised she hardly knew what to say.

"Good heavens, doe, I am the hedgehog and I've come as quick as I might."

"Oh dear, I'm terribly sorry, hedgehog, that was foolish of me. But all the hedgehogs I have known were covered with spines, and you have only one single spine poking out of the middle of your back, with spider's web wrapped all around it!"

For the first time the hedgehog realized that she had used up all her spines, but there was no time to worry about that. The little fawn was lying down with his eyes closed, and moaning. The hedgehog plucked out her last spine, threaded it with the spider silk, and in a minute or so the fawn's hide was all sewn up. The mama-doe began licking the wound with her warm tongue, and the fawn opened his eyes.

"Mama, my side doesn't hurt anymore," he said, and then he stared at the hedgehog.

"O, mama, who is that? A hamster or a gopher?"

The doe hushed him angrily.

"That's the hedgehog. She sewed up your coat. Instead of asking silly questions you should tell her thank you."

"But mama, how should I know that there are bald hedgehogs? I thought they were all covered in spines."

The hedgehog didn't stay to hear any more. Feeling very sad, she made her way out of the ravine and hurried on her way home. On the path she met a little rabbit who she had sewn a new coat for not so long ago. When the rabbit saw her he let out a squeal of fright, and the poor hedgehog could bear it no longer. She took off running blindly, and eventually hid herself among the roots of a tall, bushy fir tree and began to quietly sob. The beautiful fir tree waved its needle-covered branches reassuringly and asked in a soothing voice:

"Has somebody hurt you, hedgehog?"

"No, I have done it to myself. I've used up all my spines on sewing and turned myself into some strange bald animal that nobody knows. And - how did you know that I'm a hedgehog?"

"We trees are very sensitive, so I could never mix you up with anyone else. And I can easily help you out of your difficulties. Needles don't just grow on hedgehogs, you know," he added gently, and then began to shake his branches vigorously.

The hedgehog felt little jabs all over her back, and – still feeling very confused – she reached up and felt with her paw. Imagine her surprise! The fir needles had covered her with a thick coat all round, and she looked even better than she had before. She thanked the fir tree and joyfully ran off home to prepare her dinner. On the way she again met the rabbit, who exclaimed, "O, hedgehog! What a beautiful new bristling coat you have, so thick and green!"

And the new needles were even better for sewing than the old ones.



Questions and Exercises

What was the hedgehog like? Draw on the board a hedgehog without any spines, and ask the children to imagine that all the virtues are hedgehog spines. For each one of the hedgehog's virtues that the children name, the teacher draws a spine on the hedgehog and labels it with the name of the virtue.

Write and illustrate a story about how the hedgehog gave away all of her virtue-needles to the plants and animals in the forest.

Imagine that one day you are walking in the woods and meet the kindly hedgehog. Think up a story about your friendship with the hedgehog.

What might have happened to the hedgehog if the fir tree had not shared its needles with her?

How should a person make a sacrifice? Can every person make a sacrifice?

Tell the others about how you sacrificed something that was very special to you.

Tell the others about how someone made a sacrifice for you. How do you feel about that person (those people)?

Is it important for the members of a family to make sacrifices for each other?


Game: "The Sacrifice Campfire"

Divide the children into groups and ask each group to write a definition of the word "sacrifice". One person from each group writes down all the children's answers. The teacher draws the Sacrifice Campfire on the board, and each flame stands for one aspect of sacrifice mentioned by the children.


Picture and written work: "What do Our Parents Sacrifice for Us?"

Try to remember for a whole week all the things your parents sacrifice for you. Then write down all the things you noticed and draw a picture of them.


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In order that the sun of kindness
may always give light to our children
we would like to offer
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