An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To look at the question, 'If you wish came true, would you be grateful?'
Preparation and materials
- You will need some children who are good at miming to mime the actions of the characters in the two stories in the assembly as you read them.
- Familiarize yourself with the passage Luke 17:11–19, on which the second story in the assembly is based.
- This assembly can be adjusted to form two consecutive assemblies if you wish.
- What would you do if, one day, a fairy gave you a magic wish? What would you ask for? Your very own toy shop? A palace to live in? It would be quite a hard decision to make!
- Here's a story about someone who got not just one, but three wishes.
The woodcutter and the three wishes
Once a woodcutter was working in the forest when he heard the sound of hunting. Suddenly, a hare ran into the clearing and, without thinking, the woodcutter picked it up and hid it under his coat. When the hunters had gone, he let the hare go.
That evening, as he was sitting down with his wife to eat, a fairy suddenly appeared in the room. She explained that, during the day, she took on the form of a hare, but at night she turned back into her true shape. That afternoon, the woodcutter had rescued her from the hunters and, as a reward, she was giving him three wishes. She then disappeared.
As soon as she had gone, the man and his wife started to argue. She thought the first wish should be used to ask for a coach pulled by six white horses, but he thought white horses would get muddy too easily and it would be more sensible to have six black horses.
They argued and argued and argued. At last, the woodcutter, hearing his tummy rumble, said, ‘I'm so hungry, I wish I had a black pudding to eat!’ It was too late to take his words back and, suddenly, there on the plate in front of them was a long black sausage thing.
It wasn't too much of a disaster, they thought, as they still had two wishes left. They started arguing about whether to wish for a golden palace or a strong castle. Which do you think would be the best place to live in?
They argued and argued and argued until, at last, the woodcutter got so cross he shouted ‘You silly old woman! I wish that black pudding was stuck on your nose!’ As soon as he said this, the greasy black sausage flew into the air and – splat! – stuck itself in the middle of her face. She wasn't very pleased!
What could they do? He tried to pull it off, but it was stuck fast. He tried to cut it off with a knife and fork. He promised her a cloth made out of gold to drape over it.
In the end, the woodcutter had no choice. He had to use his last wish to ask for his wife to have her ordinary nose back. The black pudding dropped on to the plate and they ate it for their supper – and that's all they got for their three magic wishes.
- What do you think the moral of this story is?
- Here's another story. It comes from the Bible.
The ten lepers
Once there were ten lepers. Nine of them were Jews and one was a Samaritan.
In those days, there was no cure for leprosy. It was a terrible disease that caused people's fingers and toes to rub away. It was such a frightening disease that anyone who had the slightest trace of a skin infection had to report to be checked and, if it was confirmed that it was leprosy, then that person immediately had to cut him- or herself off from home and family, never to return. Groups of lepers therefore lived together and survived by begging.
One day, this particular group of lepers heard that Jesus was coming. They weren't allowed to get too close, of course, so they shouted out, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ Jesus heard them and told them that they should go and report their illness.
As they were going back, they suddenly found that they no longer had leprosy. One of them – the Samaritan – came back to Jesus. He shouted his thanks to God in a loud voice and then threw himself at Jesus' feet and said, 'Thank you' to Jesus for healing him.
- What do you think the point of this story is?
- Both of the stories are about making wishes. Probably if the people who first heard them could see the way we live today, they would be amazed. It would seem as if the world had changed into a magical place and all their wishes had come true. Most people in Britain today live in the kinds of homes that our ancestors wouldn't have believed possible – light and heat come on at the flick of a switch, water not having to be hauled from a well but pouring out of taps, already heated as well! Also, they are packed with unbelievable machines – televisions, telephones, fridges, microwaves . . .
What would the woodcutter and his wife make of it all? They would probably think that all the wishes they could possibly think of had been made real! Human beings can even fly, which our ancestors thought could only be done by birds, fairies and angels! Also, we can now cure illnesses such as leprosy.
Some things, though, haven't changed. Like the woodcutter, human beings still make many stupid decisions. They are also not very grateful, even when their wishes are granted. Only one of the lepers came back to say, ‘Thank you’ to Jesus, who had done a wonderful, miraculous thing for them! The rest don't seem to have bothered. Would it be any different today?
Time for reflection
Let's just take a moment to think about all the things in our own lives that are, when we think about them, miraculous. So often we take these things for granted . . .
– our houses
– the way we can travel to far-off places by train or on a plane
– the food we eat
– our health.
We thank you for all of these wonderful things.
Help us always to remember that, in the end, these things are gifts and without you we would have nothing.