To show the importance of faith and trust.
by Jan Edmunds
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To show the importance of faith and trust.
Preparation and materials
- No preparation is needed apart from reading through the story in advance.
- Begin by telling the following story. Explain that it is a kind of parable – a made-up story with a message. Ask the children to listen carefully for what they think the story is all about.
Thousands of years ago life on earth was very different. Early people were very lonely. There were many animals around but humans had no contact with them. The animals kept together and would have nothing to do with people and stayed well away from them.
One day there was a terrible earthquake. First it went very dark and the animals crowded together in an open place; they sensed that something dreadful was about to happen. Then there was a strange rumbling sound. The animals began to shake and quiver because the ground beneath their feet was shaking. In fact the whole earth was trembling.
The people were also afraid, and went to the same open place where all the animals were crowded together. They needed company just as the animals did at this frightening time. The animals looked at the people in fear, as if they were to blame for what was happening. So the animals and people kept their distance from each other.
Then the earth shook violently again. Trees fell down and rocks crumbled. The animals cried out in fear. In all the commotion a voice cried out: ‘Be quiet!’ All became silent and the animals stared at the speaker – a man.
The earth once more gave a tremendous shake and a huge crack appeared. At first no more than a metre across then it grew wider and deeper. It felt as if the whole world was splitting in two. The man stepped back from the ever-widening gap. All the animals huddled together more closely in fear on the other side of the crack.
People began to think that they would be separated from the animals for ever and would always be alone. A woman called out to them: ‘Come on, some of you, come on this side.’ None of them would move because they were as frightened of the people as they were of the earthquake. Some of them could have easily jumped the gap which was now several metres wide. ‘Won’t one of you come and join us?’ she called. The lions, leopards and tigers snarled. The snake hissed. They would never be a friend to people. The gap was getting wider and wider.
Then the people looked across the gap again and saw one animal with bright eyes and quivering ears watching them anxiously. It was the dog. The woman looked at him and smiled. ‘Come on,’ she called and gave a loud whistle. The dog hesitated, then walked to the edge of the gap, which was now even wider, deeper and more frightening. He whined, barked and ran up and down. ‘Come on,’ called the woman. ‘Jump.’ All at once the dog crouched, paused, then jumped. He landed with his front paws on the ledge. He could feel himself slipping backwards into the deep chasm. The woman ran forward and caught him by the scruff of his neck and pulled him to safety.
The earth gave a final shake. The gap widened into an enormous valley and the animals were left on the other side. So people and dogs became friends for ever. The dog had learned to have faith and knew that he could trust people. This had saved them both from a lonely life.
- A short time could be spent in discussing the story with the children. What does the story ‘mean’? What does it say about trust and faith?
Do any of them have pet dogs? You could also run through suggestions for how to remain safe around dogs and other animals.
Time for reflection
We are often afraid and unsure when we do not know which way to ‘jump’. How can we know what is the best thing to do when we are unsure?
We can stop, step back in our minds and think through what might happen if we do a certain thing. We can also think about what might happen if we don’t do it.
We can ask older people that we trust. We can ask our friends for advice too.
We can pray or sit quietly and think.
Thank you for pets.
Thank you for the trust in us that our pets often show.
Help us to know what to do when we have difficult decisions to make.
‘My faith, it is an oaken staff’ (Come and Praise, 46)