The Geese, The Gardener, and a Lesson in Compassion

Medical missionary Albert Schweitzer once wrote a fable about a flock of wild geese who shamed a human with their ethical behavior. As the geese rested near a pond one day, a gardener captured one and clipped its wings. When the geese started to resume their flight, the wounded bird tried frantically to fly off with them, but couldn’t get off the ground. Instead of flying off without the bird, the flock settled back on the pond and waited.

Fortunately the gardener’s clipping hadn’t inflicted permanent damage and after several days, the damaged feathers had grown back well enough to allow the goose to take flight.

The flock’s loyalty to its wounded member touched the gardener’s heart and made him realize that he had been wrong to hurt a bird that had done him no harm.

In fact, as Schweitzer wrote, the gardener “gladly watched them as they finally rose together and all resumed their long flight.”


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