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Years ago I read a story that I have been trying to find to read to students
with behavior problems. I read it in Spanish, but if I am not mistaken, it
was part of a series of international tales similar to Virginia Haviland's
series (it might even be hers!)
A young oriental boy who is into mischief is taken to the town's elder by
his mother? She is concerned about his "bad deeds" and poor decision making.
The town's elder gives the boy a beautiful piece of wood, nails, and a
hammer. He tells the boy to put a nail in the wood every time he does
something wrong or evil. The kid is happy to get away with such light
punishment and goes away happily with his items. In no time he is back with
the piece of wood full of nails. Then the old man tells him that now her
must take off a nail for every good deed. It takes the boy a good deal of
time to finish this task. When he is done, he takes the wood, now scarred
and badly damaged,  back to the old man. The man shows the boy that good
deeds can not erase the scars his bad deeds caused. The boy learns the
lesson and becomes a better citizen.
What is the name of the story and is it available someplace in English?

Coral Antony
Media Specialist
Howard Bishop Middle School

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