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The dog, the goose and a jar

To question whether having more leads to increased happiness.

by Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To question whether having more leads to increased happiness.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need:
    –  pictures of two beautiful houses (maybe pictures of very grand houses that your pupils might have seen);
    –  a jar containing chocolates that you can put your hand in, but not take out when you are holding a chocolate; 
    –  a bone, or a picture of a dog;
    –  an egg (painted gold) or a picture of a goose.
  • You could use pupils to tell the stories.
  • The Bible verse in section 6 is Philippians 4.11.


  1. Introduce your assembly by saying that today we are talking about a house, a bone, an egg and a jar.
  2. Show the pictures of two beautiful houses. Take a hand count as to which house the pupils would like to live in. Ask: The thing is, if you were able to live in this house, would that be enough to make you happy?
  3. Tell the story of the dog who found a bone and held it tightly in his mouth. He would threaten anyone who tried to take it from him. One day, he went into the woods to bury his prize.

    He came to a stream, and started to cross a footbridge. As he was crossing, he looked down into the water. There he saw another dog with a bone in its mouth. It looked as though it had a bigger bone than his! He growled and snarled at it. The reflection growled and snarled back.

    ‘I want that bone, too,’ thought the greedy dog, and he opened his mouth and barked at the dog in the water.

    Of course, his own big bone fell from his mouth into the water, and was carried away.
  4. That is the story of the dog. But do you know the story of the goose?

    One day a farmer went to check on the eggs in his goose’s nest. When he got there, he couldn’t believe his eyes. For there in the straw was a glittering golden egg! He picked it up and realized it was made of pure gold.

    Every morning the same thing happened. The farmer and his wife were delighted, and soon grew rich selling the golden eggs. But one day the farmer said to himself, ‘This goose must be full of gold.’ So he got a knife, killed the goose and opened it up to find . . . nothing. And from that day there were no more golden eggs.
  5. If only the dog and the farmer could have realized what they had. But because they wanted more and more, they couldn’t enjoy what God had given them.

    Notice the chocolate in the jar. (Greedily put your hand in and close your hand over the chocolate. Hold it tight. Fail to get your fist out.)

    What do I need to do to free my hand?

    Sometimes, it’s better to let go of wanting things that other people have, so that you can be free, so that you can enjoy what you have.
  6. A man in the Bible called Paul said, ‘I have learned to be content with whatever I have.’ Which means that he didn’t compare himself with others, he didn’t always want more, but he thanked God and was happy with what he had.

Time for reflection

Let’s take a moment to think about the things you might have on a list in your head called, ‘I want one of those’.

Will these things really make you happier?

What really makes you happy? Can you buy that?

Dear Lord,
help me not to be like the dog
or the farmer
but to realize how many gifts you have given.
Help me to be happy with what I have.
Help me to trust that you provide what I need.


‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: October 2012   (Vol.14 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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