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The Ant and the Dove

To think about how we can behave more selflessly. To consider that even the smallest of good deeds deserves one in return.

by Jude Scrutton

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To think about how we can behave more selflessly. To consider that even the smallest of good deeds deserves one in return.

Preparation and materials

  • Cast:
    Narrator (big part - can be a teacher)
    The Ant (small speaking part)
    The Dove (small speaking part)
    Birdcatcher (non-speaking part)
  • Time will be needed to brief children on the script and to enable them to rehearse in advance. In addition to the words, they should practise miming to the narrated sections.
  • For notes on drama in assemblies, please refer to our Resources section.


  1. Welcome the children and introduce the theme for the assembly - fables: stories that give you something to think about. Explain that we will be retelling a well-known fable by Aesop.

  2. Discuss the features of fables: stories that are mostly told using animals (with human characteristics). They all have a moral or meaning.

  3. Perform the play:

    The Ant and the Dove

    Narrator: One day an ant was enjoying a mid-afternoon walk. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. It was a beautiful day.

    Ant: All this sun is making me very thirsty.

    Narrator: So the ant went off in search of some water. Soon he came to a river. He stood on the bank and started to drink. As his thirst began to subside, a gust of wind blew him into the river. The ant, who could not swim, began to panic. He was close to drowning.

    Ant: Help! Help!

    Narrator: A dove was flying by and saw the ant struggling in the water. She flew down onto a nearby tree. She used her beak to break a leaf from a branch and dropped it near the ant.

    Dove: Here, get onto this leaf and float to safety!

    Narrator: So the ant struggled onto the leaf and sure enough, he floated to safety. The ant was very relieved to still be alive and was very thankful for the dove's help. However, the dove was nowhere to be seen.

    Later that day, the dove was minding her own business, looking for some food to take back home for her children. Little did she know that a birdcatcher was lurking. He had set his trap for the dove and was ready to pounce, when …

    (The ant creeps up and bites the man on the foot.)

    The birdcatcher shouted in pain. The dove, realizing what had happened, flew away to safety. She looked down at the ant and waved. She was free.

  4. After the play, ask the children what the moral (meaning) of the story was. Discuss how the ant returned the good deed by saving the dove.

  5. Discuss with the children times where they have been helped by others. Do they remember these occasions, and have they helped them back?

  6. Ask the children to think about times where they have been selfish. Ask how they think they might stop themselves being spiteful or selfish another time.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Please help us to be kind to others.
Help us to help others when we can.
Help us to be grateful and always say thank you
and help us not to be selfish or unkind.


'If I had a hammer' (Come and Praise, 71)

Publication date: May 2002   (Vol.4 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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