Tapestry of Faith: Gather the Spirit: A Multigenerational Program about Stewardship

Activity 2: Story - The Dog at the Well

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Familiarize yourself with the story.

Description of Activity

Say that now you will share a story called "The Dog at the Well" which comes from the Muslim religion. Begin by introducing the Muslim faith.

Islam is a religion that many people follow, in many different places in the world. People who follow Islam are called Muslims. Many Muslims live in the United States . The Muslim holy book is called the Qur'an and the Qur'an has many of the same stories found in the Hebrew and Christian holy books. The stories in the Qur'an are primarily from the prophet Muhammad, who taught Muslims how to live. This is a story with a message about gratitude and generosity.

Read or tell the story. Help the group process the story with questions and ideas like these, adapting to fit the age and maturity level of participants:

  • Why do you think the man helped the dog?
  • What do Unitarian Universalists say about animals? (Affirm that we respect and care for animals because they are part of the interconnected web.)
  • Are there animals you don't like? Which ones? Why not?
  • Would you take care of an animal that needed help (provided it was safe to help the animal)? Even if it was a kind of animal you do not like? (For example, a participant who does not like cats finds a stray kitten.)
  • What about insects? Some people will not step on a spider or an ant because it is a living creature. Do you feel differently about insects lives than other animals' lives? Why or why not?

Affirm the group's answers and say:

In Islamic culture, a dog is considered a very low creature. That makes the lesson in this story more meaningful. Muhammad is conveying God's calling to care for everyone, including even the lowliest of creatures. As Unitarian Universalists, we are also called to care for all of Earth's people, animals, and all living things. That means sharing.