As Wise As....
by Laurence Chilcott
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To show, by means of an illustrative story, how wisdom can help solve a problem.
Preparation and materials
- You may have heard the saying ‘as wise as Solomon’. When you listen to today’s assembly, you will be given a chance to show if you are as wise as the man in the story!
- There was once a flower-maker who made the most beautiful artificial flowers. So skilled was he that, without touching or smelling the flowers, no one could tell them from real ones. He claimed that not even the wisest man in his town would be able tell the difference between a vase of his artificial flowers and a vase of real ones. He certainly was good, very good, but his constant boasting irritated people so much that one day they decided that they would put his claim to the test. They would place two vases in the Town Hall; one would be filled with real flowers and one with artificial flowers; both arrangements were to be selected and prepared by the flower-maker himself. The wisest man in the town was to try to discover which vase contained the real flowers without touching or smelling them.
- All the townspeople agreed that Old Adam was the wisest man. Old Adam lived alone in a little cottage just on the edge of town, and had lived there as long as anyone could remember. People went to him when they needed advice or help and they had never left disappointed. He knew about nature and could name every animal and bird in the forest; he knew the names of flowers and herbs and could tell you how they could be used to cure all sorts of ailments. He was a quiet, rather shy individual but agreed to take part in the challenge, if rather reluctantly.
- On entering the Town Hall, Old Adam was met by a crowd of onlookers, all eager to see what would happen. They stood back while Old Adam approached, as close as he was allowed, to examine the flowers. He looked and looked, walking around each of the vases in turn and he had to concede that he could not tell which the real flowers were. He went towards the window and opened it, then continued staring at the flowers. He must be feeling hot and bothered, thought the onlookers, this challenge appears to have beaten him. After several more minutes staring at the flowers, Old Adam pointed at a vase and said, ‘These are the artificial flowers, I am certain of it. Those are the real ones.’ And he was right. Can you guess why he was so certain? (Pause to allow some suggestions from pupils.)
- Old Adam did not open the window because he was hot. He remembered that there were beehives in the garden next to the Town Hall. He knew that a bee would not be fooled by artificial flowers and was sure it would not be long before one would enter through the open window. Sure enough, one did, and it alighted on the vase containing the real flowers. Old Adam couldn’t differentiate between them – but the bee could.
Time for reflection
Old Adam’s wisdom was seen in the fact that he was able to use his knowledge to solve a problem in an original way. In school we add to our knowledge in all sorts of ways, but it is how we apply and use this knowledge that will determine whether we are wise or not.
help us today to try to be wise in the way we act and speak;
to listen well to what we are taught,
to think before we speak and show kindness and thought in all we do.
It might be appropriate to discuss some well-known proverbs and sayings that illustrate truths in a simple but meaningful way.
‘The wise may bring their learning’ (Come and Praise, 64)