The short fables make us reflect on the different situations and conflicts that occur in our day to day, so that we can draw morals and teachings from them. Do you know the fable of the black sheep? It is a short story written by the Italian writer Italo Calvino that presents us with a paradoxical reflection on balance or social justice and the honesty. Share this short fable with children over 8 years old and try to reflect on the values it exposes.
This story takes the circumstances of the story to the extreme so that the children (and ourselves) see everyday problems represented in a very graphic way. That is why these stories are such a necessary educational resource to make children reflect, in this case about justice and honesty.
Once upon a time there was a small town in which all its inhabitants were thieves.
Each and every family would sneak out of their home each night to stealing from the home of one of your neighbors. They forcefully opened one of the windows or doors, entered with their sack on their shoulders and took everything they found: both food and objects that they wanted to have.
After their work as thieves was finished, they returned home with their loot. But, also every night,They found that their houses had also been robbed! Another neighbor had snuck into their home, leaving it completely empty.
What a curious situation they had in this town! Despite the fact that all the neighbors were mugging each other, they had gotten used to living like this:stealing and allowing oneself to be stolen. So every night. They lived in a perfect balance, with which everyone agreed and everyone had what they needed to eat and live: just enough, not too much, not too little. No one was rich or poor.
This happened until an honest and kind man moved to the town of thieves. He did not want to participate in the robberies of his neighbors, so at night he stayed at home resting or practicing some of his hobbies, while the rest of his companions went out to steal. Without a doubt, he was the black sheep of the people!
What bad luck and what injustice for the villagers! As the honest man did not leave his house, they could not enter to rob him. And therefore, every night a family was unable to get food. This made the neighbors very angry with him. Who did this man think he was to break the balance that made them so happy?
Although the man was acting good-hearted, his decision not to steal meant that one of his neighbors could not eat that night. He was hurting his friends.
The man understood that, although he did not want to steal, he had to let his neighbors into his house. That way, no one would go hungry. That is why, from that day on, the good man left his home every night to take a walk so that they could rob him.
But another problem arose! As the good man did not want to rob his neighbors, every night there was a family that got rid of the robberies. This made them accumulate what they already had and what they had stolen. That was a lot! And over time, these families grew richer and more greedy ... until they decided they no longer wanted others to steal their things. Back to the problems!
But, in addition, the honest man was in trouble. As he did not want to steal, but every night they entered his house, there came a time when he ran out of belongings: I had absolutely nothing. This not only caused him to go hungry, but also the family that had to enter his home that night, left empty-handed and had nothing to eat.
What a mess the residents of this town had! The balance that made them happy before, by robbing each other. And with him, trouble had come. But what was the fairest and most appropriate situation? Keep stealing or be honest?
- Moral of the fable: Sometimes problems arise from where you least expect them, even when we are acting with the best of intentions to resolve a situation that seemed inappropriate.
As you may have already observed, this short fable proposes a convoluted story that is thought-provoking (and a lot!). For this reason, below we propose some educational activities that will help you to work more fully on the text with your children.
1. Reading comprehension and reflection questions
The following questions that we propose will help you to know if the children have understood the story well, as it is a complex story to which you must pay close attention. But they are also questions that invite children to reflect on the moral of the fable.
- What peculiarity did the residents of this town have?
- By stealing from each other, was there a fair and equal situation for all?
- What was it that made the townspeople angry?
- Why, if the good man behaved well (and did not steal), did he harm his neighbors?
- What do you think would be the most fair and appropriate? Let the neighbors keep stealing or stop stealing?
- Do you think it is fair that man, by behaving honestly, was harmed and with nothing to eat?
2. Look up all words in the dictionary
Another exercise that you have to do is to make sure that you understand well all the words that appear in the text. In case the children doubt any of the concepts, you can look up that word in the dictionary. You can even play to find synonyms for words that appear in the fable: thief, theft, greedy ...
3. Write your own fable
To exploit all your children's creativity and imagination, encourage them to write their own fable. A good method for this is to start by thinking of a moral that we want to defend. For example: 'bird in hand is better than a hundred flying' or 'after a lot of effort, you can get anything'. Once we are clear about the teaching, we just have to think of a plot and some characters that explain it.
And so that you can continue to have fun as a family, here are some other short fables, designed for children of different ages. All of them offer a moral that we have to think about, since it can teach us a lot.
You can read more articles similar to The black sheep. Short story for children about honesty and justice, in the category of Fables on site.