THE BOOK ON VIRTUES
"ABOUT FRIENDSHIP, LOVE AND WISDOM"
LESSON 52 FROM EDUCATIONAL BOOK ON VIRTUES
Questions and task for discussion:
• Ask the children to describe some things that they especially
treasure, and think about what they should do so that those things
last for a long time.
• Read the story:
Ka-chink! went the coin, as it popped out of the backpack and went
bouncing along the sidewalk.
«Good-bye, then, quarter!» the pack called after it, and heaved a sigh.
«Another day, and something else gone. Pretty soon my owner’s
going to start chewing me out. And it’s not my fault! How can you hold
everything in when you’re always being bashed around and thrown in
any old place? One day it’s an old nail sticking out of a fence, and - rr-
r-ri p! And the next day your corner gets burned by the campfire.»
Jack threw open the door and shouted, «Hi, Mom! What’s to eat? I’m
starving!» He dropped his pack on the floor and gave it a dirty look.
«My dumb pack lost the quarter and I couldn’t get anything at school.»
His mother picked up the pack and looked at it carefully.
«It’s looking pretty worn, all right - full of holes and stains all over.
You know, I don’t think it could be doing a worse job. Yesterday it lost
your pen, and the day before your pen-knife, and now your last quarter.
Definitely it’s not up to snuff.»
Turning to the pack she added severely, «You’re fired!»
«Right, mom,» Jack agreed, happily going along with the joke and
relieved that his mother wasn’t scolding him for the lost coin. «Why
don’t we fire my notebook, too. It got something smeared all over its page
and got me a bad mark.»
«You’re right, a notebook like that is no good,» his mother nodded.
«And the textbook too, all scratched and covered in mud. We’ll have to
fire it too. And just look at your jacket: one torn pocket, and a rusty
thread hanging off the other one. Can a jacket like that really be good
enough for my son?»
«No way,» said Jack, and then suggested, «Why don’t we throw it away
and buy me another one?»
Jack grinned and dashed off to his room, where he heaved the pack into
the corner. Sweeping assorted toys, pencils and books aside with his foot,
he said sternly, «And we’ll get rid of you too, if you do a lousy job, or start
lying around all over the place.» Suddenly Jack’s head started to spin,
and with a lurch he felt himself falling faster and faster. Things went
black. When he woke up he found himself lying on the floor. Beside him
stood a gray-haired old man with a box containing every possible kind
«Who are you?» Jack wanted to ask, but he couldn’t get the words out.
But the old man answered just as if he’d heard.
«Jack, I’m the master craftsmen of broken things. Usually I come to see
broken and tossed-out things that don’t have an owner, and help them put
their life back in order. But I’m here with you because your things just
couldn’t take it anymore, and they called me in, even though they’ve got an
owner: you. Nothing like this has ever happened before, let me tell you.»
«He’s no owner! He rips us and throws us around and gets us filthy, and
then tells us off on top of that!»
The cry went up from all sides with a deafening roar.
«Quiet, now, you, I’m trying to help out,» said the master craftsman, and then
added, «You see, Jack, all your things have finally lost their patience. And things
are usually awfully patient! To be honest, I don’t know what to do.»
«Master, make Jack and I trade places,» Jack heard a voice call out from
the corner were he’d flung his pack. «Let him work at being a backpack,
and I’ll be the boy and take care of all his things.»
«All right, then,» the master craftsman nodded. «You’ve got three days.
Hopefully that’ll be enough time for Jack to change his ways and understand
how hard it is to be a backpack when your owner doesn’t take care of you.»
The master had no sooner spoken the words than he disappeared, and Jack,
before he know what was happening, suddenly found himself lying filthy and
ripped in the corner, while another boy who looked just like him was lying on
the bed. Just then his mother came into the room with a great big box.
«Well, so Jack’s asleep,» she said to herself. «I guess I’ll pick up all this
junk and throw it away. I’m afraid none of it is good for much of anything
now. Too bad Jack takes such poor care of his things.»
Jack’s mother picked up torn books and broken toys from floor, and
put the backpack on top. Of course Jack couldn’t say a thing to stop his
mother from throwing him away, and he had a horrible vision of lying
in a great bin of garbage.
Just then the boy on the bed opened his eyes and said, «It’s OK, mom,
don’t throw anything away. I’ll clean them all up, and fix them.»
Right then and there he set to work. Jack’s mother couldn’t believe her
eyes as she watched the boy toiling away, and the real Jack, soon cleaned
and sewed up by a new owner, decided there was nothing to do but wait
patiently for the three days to go by so he would turn back into a boy again.
The worst day was the last, when Jack’s «owner» was taking his turn
working in the school cafeteria. Jack was dozing on the windowsill when
another boy suddenly grabbed him and shouted to his friend, «Hey, look,
Jack’s pack! Let’s kick it around for a bit.»
«But it’s clean,» the other boy objected. «We’ll get it all mucked up.»
«So what? Last week Jack was playing football with it himself. It was a riot!»
The boys ran outside and started kicking the backpack around, laughing.
Jack almost lost consciousness from the pain. His zipper broke when he
was slammed into a rock, and then one of the straps was ripped away.
Fortunately just then a teacher appeared on the steps, and the boys tossed
the backpack in the bushes and disappeared. A hungry kitten that had been
lying in the bushes smelled the cheese sandwich Jack’s mother had made
for his lunch, and started tearing at the fabric with its little claws. A little
boy from the house next door saw the kitten working away busily, and pulled
out the sandwich for it. Then he dumped out all the notebooks and other
school things, and put the kitten inside.
«Now don’t scratch,» the little boy said sternly. «I’ll take you home, and
you can live in this backpack.»
Fortunately for Jack, his real «owner» came looking for the pack and spotted the little boy with it in his hands.
«What are you doing with my backpack?» he shouted as he came running
up. «What did you tear it for?»
«I didn’t tear anything. And anyway, this pack isn’t anybody’s pack.
It was lying in the bushes,» the little boy said, and pouted.
Jack’s «owner» didn’t say anything. Without a word he put all his
books back into the backpack and set off for home. The whole evening
he spent cleaning the backpack and sewing up rips, but he couldn’t fix
the zipper because they didn’t have the right tools. The next day was
Sunday. Jack woke up and was overjoyed to find that he was back to
being a boy again. The door to his room opened, and his mother came in.
«Time to get up, now, Jacko,» she said gently. «After breakfast we’ll
go and get you a new backpack. I know you fixed the old one up, but
without a zipper it’s no good.»
«No, mom,» Jack said firmly, sitting up. «Let’s buy the stuff to fix
the zipper. Then this old backpack will be good for a long time.»
The master craftsman of broken things never came to visit Jack again,
but then, he was busy enough with all the things that had no owners.
Questions and tasks on the story:
• Imagine that you were one of Jack’s things: backpack, notebook,
book, or something else. What would you do to help Jack change?
• Name all the tools that Jack used to fix up his things, and draw them.
• Do you have any things at home that might be waiting for the
master of broken things? Why? What can you do so he wouldn’t have
Divide the children into several groups. Some of the groups are «things»
that people take good care of, and others are «things» whose owners don’t take
good care of them. Each group has to talk about its life. Then ask the children
to act out how the master craftsman came to see them and gave them some
good advice about how to take care of their things. The children should talk
about how the master helped the things whose owners don’t take care of them,
and taught their owners to be more careful. If the children don’t know how
to take care of certain things, they can call on the «real» master craftsman
(the teacher) to help them with advice. V Written work
Read the saying: «Take care of your things and they’ll take care of you.»
Think about and write down different times in your life when things that you,
your parents or your friends had carefully saved helped you out. Think up and
write down some of the most important rules for taking care of things.
Ask the children to draw some things that they especially treasure, and
think about what they should do so that those things last for a long time.
Creative group work and Homework
Divine the children into groups and give them various broken, torn or
worn out things. The children should consult together and decide how
they can help out these things, and what they would need to do it. Then,
with the teacher’s help, the children carry out the repair work. Ask the
children to give the fixed-up things to someone who needs them.
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