This 5 page story, adapted from a centuries-old tale, is a glimpse into the world view of Ancient Indian Buddhists. It leaves us with at least one profoundly important message: The power of even the smallest good deed is beyond anything we could imagine.
I have adapted the story, which was originally translated from Sanskrit, by simplifying sentence structure and vocabulary into something that can be read and comprehended by students as young as 4th grade.
Despite the accessibility of the writing, the culturally-informed subject matter will mean that students will have to make use of a sense of wonder, as well as teamwork and inferencing skills in order to come to a full understanding of the story.
Furthermore, two slightly different versions of the text have been included. The first version contains the original adapted text, the second version further simplifies the vocabulary and sentence structure--so students of different reading levels can still read and discuss the story alongside each other. Both versions look incredibly similar, so attention will not be draw to students who receive a simplified version.
Also included is a list of discussion questions which promote wonder and investigation into the different aspects of the story, as well as Buddhism and Ancient Indian culture in general.
Other Philosophical Discussion-Based Activities:
Elementary Philosophy: Discussing Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
Identity and Essence using LEGOs
Other materials for teaching about Buddhism:
Buddhism Graphic Study Guide