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Being modest!

To think about the gifts that we have been given, and to realize the importance of being grateful for them, without becoming vain.

by Jenny Tuxford

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To think about the gifts that we have been given, and to realize the importance of being grateful for them, without becoming vain.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.


  1. You might like to explain to the children that Aesop lived in Greece, over 2000 years ago. He is famous for the stories, or fables, that he told. Through them, he showed the wise and the foolish behaviour of men, and taught a lesson in the form of a moral. Many of his fables are extremely relevant today.
  2. Ask the children if they are familiar with any of Aesop’s fables.
  3. Read the fable of the Fox and the Crow – probably one of the most famous ones.

    What do they think is the lesson, or moral, of this fable?
  4. Do the children know what flattery is?

    Has anyone ever tried to use flattery on them?

    Do they ever use flattery themselves for any reason?
  5. Dramatize the following poem, using children as the characters – or puppets (if available).

    Cupboard love: the fox and the crow
    Once, in a wood, there lived a fox
    Who was crafty – and hungry as well.
    He had pointed ears and a small, black nose
    That twitched at the faintest smell.

    Now, the fox smelled a wonderful smell one day
    As he stood beneath a tree.
    Better than chicken; better than goose.
    He wondered just what it could be.

    Where did it come from?
    The fox didn’t know,
    But then he looked up
    And spotted a crow.

    ‘I spy in your beak,
    Something yellow,’ the hungry fox said.
    ‘Something yellow and tasty, yummy, yum, yum,
    That goes nicely with pickle and bread.’

    Oh, the smell made the
    Crafty fox weak at the knees.
    He would do anything
    For that smelly piece of cheese.

    But how could he get it?
    He had to try.
    If he only had wings
    So he could fly!

    ‘Well, I mean to get it,
    If I can.’
    And into his head
    Came a cunning plan.

    Said the fox, very slyly,
    ‘Oh you beautiful bird,
    I’ll bet your voice
    Is the best ever heard.

    ‘It would be brilliant –
    A wonderful thing –
    If a good-looking bird,
    Like you, could sing.

    ‘Lift up your beak.

    Sing to me, PLEASE!

    Make me go wild,

    Make me weak at the knees!

    ‘I can’t wait any longer.
    Come on – please be quick,
    Hit me – crow baby –
    With your rhythm stick!’

    The crow fell for the flattery
    And started to sing,
    But, oh, what a racket!
    Oh! What a din!

    A gate needing oiling?
    A bad-tempered cat?
    Chalk scraping on slate?
    It was far worse than that.

    But when she opened her beak
    The cheese headed south –
    And fell straight on down
    To the fox’s mouth.

    ‘Well,’ said the fox,
    ‘You really are vain,
    Your voice is all rusty
    And so is your brain.’

    Moral: Never trust a flatterer!

  6. Everyone likes to receive a compliment now and then, and it’s important to accept one gracefully if and when it comes. Try saying something like, ‘Thank you very much,’ or, ‘That’s a nice thing for you to say.’ However, you need to be a little bit careful when someone pays you a compliment and then, straight away, asks to borrow something!

    If you pay someone a compliment, make sure you really mean it! After all, everyone has some wonderful characteristic or other.

    If you’re doing jobs around the house
    And know you look a mess,
    (You forgot to hang your clothes up
    And they badly need a press!)
    And someone says, ‘You look terrific,
    I love you in that dress,’
    And you’re not sure what their motive is,
    (But think that you can guess!)

    If you’ve had a game of football
    And you’re feeling very hot,
    And your hair and skin are sweaty
    And on your nose you have a spot,
    And someone tells you, ‘You look cool,’
    And you know that you do not –

    When you’ve washed your hair and dried it
    And you’re feeling very cross
    Because even though you’ve gelled it
    It sticks out like candy floss,
    And someone says, ‘Your hair looks neat,’
    And you’re really at a loss –

    But really good friends are sincere
    And want to see what they can do
    To make you smile and cheer you up
    When they see you’re feeling blue.
    So when they say, ‘You’re lovely
    And I wish I was like you,’
    Smile and say, ‘Well, thanks a lot
    And I think you’re smashing too.’

Time for reflection

Dear Father,
Thank you for the many wonderful gifts you have given us.
It is very easy, all too often, to see faults in other people.
Help us to recognize, and celebrate sincerely, the wonderful gifts that other people have been given.


‘Lord of the dance’ (Come and Praise, 22)

Publication date: January 2011   (Vol.13 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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