Once there was a king who wanted to know what would make every one of his subjects wise and happy. So, he organised an exhibition and invited all the wise men in his kingdom to keep therein the articles which could bring happiness into everyone’s life. The king himself came to see the exhibition. There he saw rows and rows of good things like flowers, fruits, beautiful plants, sweets, clothes, books, musical instruments, gold ornaments; things of art, and so on. But none of these things appeared to him to be things which would make every man happy. At last he came to a coloured model of clay. It was the mouth of a man showing the tongue while talking to a poor, lean, and hungry old man on the road. At the bottom of the model were written two words: “GOOD TONGUE.”

The sculptor of the model was sent for, as the king wanted to know more about it. “My Lord,” said the sculptor, “All other things in this exhibition make man happy only for some time. But a good tongue, by speaking a few words of sympathy and love makes others happy for years and years. It gives hope and cheer to the suffering, strength and confidence to the weak, and sympathy and love to the orphaned. Only a good tongue can make all men happy for all time.”

The king who was immensely pleased to hear these words gave the sculptor a gold casket full of gold coins as a prize.

After some days the king was very keen to know what could make every man unhappy. So he organised another exhibition asking the wise men of his land to keep articles, which could fill everyone’s life with misery. This time the exhibition hall was filled with objects like sticks and whips, knives and swords, thorny plants and bitter fruits, liquor and poison, barking dogs and cawing crows. But in none of them did the king see a satisfactory answer to his question. At last, he came to a clay-model just like the one he had seen in the earlier exhibition. But this time, it showed big, red eyes and a blackish tongue abusing a poor, lean, hungry old man. At the bottom were written two words: “BAD TONGUE.” The sculptor was sent for. He came and explained to the king, “My Lord, a bad tongue can kill others’ happiness and joy, destroy their hope and courage and push them into a pool of misery. It can cause to others’ hearts wounds which may not heal for years and years. ”A bad tongue is the worst enemy of man.”

The king gave the sculptor a good casket full of gems and diamonds. “Indeed, your clay-models teach us a lesson more precious than these gold caskets, gems, and diamonds all put together,” said the king to him. “A good tongue is the best friend of every man and the simplest way to the happiness of all.”


  1. Describe a man with a good tongue. How can he make everyone happy?
  2. Describe a man with a bad tongue. How can he make everyone miserable?
  3. Give one example of a good tongue making another person happy and one example of a bad tongue making another person miserable.
  4. Do you always have a good tongue? If not, why?
  5. What do you think you should do to have a good tongue always?
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