“Sharing Time: Live the Golden Rule,” Tambuli, Oct. 1989, 6
A fable is a story meant to teach a moral lesson. The characters are often animals. And although the story could not have happened the lesson is valuable. “The New Animal” is a fable with a very important lesson.
By Diane Bohn
A new animal was coming to live in the zoo, and the other animals were excited. One morning a big truck backed up to an empty cage, and out stepped the new animal.
The other animals stared in amazement. The new animal did not look like any animal that they had ever seen before. He had a long neck and a long tail, and when he opened his mouth, he barked. One by one the other animals turned away from the cage. Because the new animal was so different, they were not sure how to treat him.
The new animal was very lonely. The other animals ignored him, so he had no one to talk to. He was so sad that he could not eat. The zookeeper began to worry. People stopped visiting the zoo because the new animal was sad and the other animals hid in the backs of their cages.
One day the elephant heard the new animal barking to himself. “The new animal does have a good trunk,” he told the giraffe. “It’s not as long as mine but is really quite nice.”
The giraffe stretched her neck to take a closer look. “Look at his strong neck. He can reach as high as I can.”
The lion was looking quietly at the new animal’s mane. “My goodness! He has an excellent mane—almost as thick as mine.”
Just then the zebra trotted by the cage. “His coat has a very nice pattern,” she said.
“And his horns are curved just right,” the mountain goat said, “just like mine.”
When the monkey came swinging from the trees, he said, “Look at that handsome tail. I wonder if the new animal would like to play tag?”
Finally the duck waddled by the cage.
“What fine feet you have. You probably can swim faster than I can,” she said.
The new animal stopped crying and thanked the duck for the compliment. Soon all the animals were talking together. They felt much happier. Even though the new animal looked different, the other animals had all found something about the new animal that they liked.
1. Mount animal parts on heavy paper, then color and cut out.
2. While telling story, put parts together as each animal discovers how he is like the New Animal.
3. Tell what you think the moral of the story is.
Make copy of new animal parts for each child to color and cut out. Or put together for younger children, then make copies for them to color.
As you tell story have children hold large pictures of other animal.
Involve the children as you carefully lead the discussion into differences among people as well as among animals. For example: “All children with blue eyes raise their hands.” “Those with freckles stand.” “Those who can whistle, hold hands.” Be sensitive to situations in class in which you can give support to children. Lead to the conclusion that we can find something that we like about everybody.
Discuss the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12). Who taught us this? Challenge children to apply the Golden Rule during the week and report their experiences.