Lesson 2 of 2
In Progress

Storyvalues – Words, Like Feathers

May 9, 2020

Words, Like Feathers

Step 1 - Storyteller's Corner with Cheryl Thornton

'Words, Like Feathers' is based on a Jewish folktale from Poland which is hundreds of years old.

In the story, three 'gossipy' ladies learn just how far the words they speak can travel. This story reminds us all about the power of our words. 

As you listen to the story, imagine yourself as the different characters. What do you see? What do you think? What do you feel?

Now, enjoy the story!

Step 2 - Play Story Video

Find a nice quiet place to listen to this story. Pay extra attention to how the music and sound effects work with the words to help you picture what is happening!

Step 3 - I Wonder What You Think?

I wonder what you thought of the story! Were you able to imagine being the different characters? What do you think the little boy felt when he learned that the villagers thought he was a thief? Misunderstood? Hurt? 

What do you think the three ladies felt when they realized that their words could not be easily taken back? Regretful? Guilty?

I wonder if you have ever experienced something like this story in your life? Has anyone gossiped about you? How did you feel? Have you ever gossiped about someone, then wished you could take your words back?

I really love listening to stories that teach such important lessons. I wonder what you think?

Step 4 - About This Story - Fact and Fiction

The story, ‘Words, Like Feathers’ is about how we use our words to communicate with one another. 

 The Arts (music, theatre, visual art, dance and film) are also forms of communication. 

Below are two paintings. Notice how different they are from each other, yet both are about communication.


The first painting is by Margaret Hofheinz-Doring, titled ‘Chatter in the Rain’. This is an abstract painting, which means the artist is painting an idea or feeling rather than showing the world as it appears. What do you think is happening in this painting? Use your imagination to come up with your own ideas for what this painting is about!

The second painting is by Eugene de Blaas, titled ‘The Friendly Gossips’. This style of this painting is realistic, which means it shows the world as it appears to our eyes. However, we can still use our imaginations to come to our own understanding of what the painting is about. What do you think they are talking about? Do you think the women in the painting know the man is in the doorway listening?

When the story, ‘Words, Like Feathers’ was first told hundreds of years ago, people used words that were either spoken or written to one another. Now we have many ways with which to communicate.

Play Video – ‘The Power of Words’

Communication and Technology

‘Words, Like Feathers’ demonstrates how our words affect the world around us.

Through the years we have developed powerful technology to communicate to one another more effectively. As in the story, the words we say while using these amazing inventions can have a powerful effect on those around us.

Here are a few examples of how some of these inventions have evolved over time.

Telephones 1896 - 2011

Many people are credited for inventing the telephone, but the first patent for the telephone was awarded to Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.

Radio 1915 - 2007

Many people are credited for inventing the radio, from 1878 to the first public broadcast by Reginald Fessenden in 1906.

Television 1939 - 2011

Many inventors contributed to the development of television, from 1873 to the first broadcast of moving images by John Logie Baird in 1925.

Computers 1975 - 2011

Charles Babbage developed the first programmable computer in the early 19th century. Personal computers became popular in the 1980’s.

Culture - Where is This Story From?

There are many variations of the story, ‘Words, Like Feathers’. This version is based on a traditional Jewish folktale from Poland.

Where is Poland?

Although there are many variations of this story, this version is based on a traditional Jewish folktale from Poland.

Poland is a country located in central Europe. Europe is a continent made up of about 50 independent countries. The history of the Jewish community in Poland dates back over 1,000 years.

The population of Poland is approximately 39 million, roughly the same as Canada. The capital city is Warsaw.

Where are you located? Use the map to see where you are, in relation to Poland.

A Village in Poland

This is the old market square in a town in Poland called, Poznan. Can you imagine Ida, Mira and Mae having their pillow shop here? Below is a map of Poznan from the 17th century, when this story was first told.

Step 5 - Matt's Music and Art Corner


This recording of ‘Words, Like Feathers’ features traditional Yiddish folk music called, ‘klezmer’. The instruments include drums, clarinet, guitar, bass, trumpet, saxophone and violin.

Traditionally, klezmer music is included in weddings, dances and other celebrations. It is a very expressive form of music with a history that can be traced back to biblical times.

Art Project

Stories are a great way to inspire the imagination. Listen to ‘Words, Like Feathers’ again, using your imagination to picture what is happening. Try to imagine the people of the story, as well as the places. What do you think the village looks like? How do you see Ida, Mira and Mae? What do you think it was like to be on the hill with the Rabbi when they released all the feathers?

Find a part of the story you particularly like and draw how it looks to you!

'Words, Like Feathers' Image Gallery