There is a huge difference between a little white lie and a huge untruth that has the capacity to hurt someone or negatively impact on their life. Honesty is so important to me, that it's something I think children need to be introduced to as a concept from a young age. With that in mind, I thought I would write a story about telling the truth - and what happens when you don't.
Click here to listen to this week's bedtime story as a podcast.
Jenna's birthday party was coming up,
But Lily didn't want to go.
And yet, each time Jenna mentioned it,
Lily hadn't the heart to say no.
She knew, deep down, she should tell the truth.
After all, isn't that what friends do?
But she couldn't bring herself to do it, and so,
She just let poor Jenna stew.
Eventually, Jenna could wait no more
And she asked Lily to put her straight.
Lily had been trying to think of an excuse,
But now it was clearly too late...
"I was going to come," Lily said,
"But then, I remembered I have stuff to do.
I'd have loved to have been at your party, Jenna,
But it's actually Dad's birthday, too!"
Now, Jenna's dad and Lily's dad,
Had been friends for many years.
So, Jenna knew that wasn't true,
And her eyes brimmed with tears.
"Don't you want to come, Lily?"
She quietly asked her friend.
"If you don't, please just tell me;
It doesn't have to mean the end!"
But Lily was now stuck in her lie
And felt she couldn't get out.
"No, really, Dad's like the Queen;
Two birthdays a year!" Came her shout.
Jenna frowned back at her friend.
"Lily, I know that's not true.
I'd rather you just told me the truth;
After all, I'd do the same for you!"
But Lily just twiddled her thumbs
And stuck her nose in the air.
"The truth is I would have come," she said,
"If I didn't have to cut my dog's hair."
She shrugged her shoulders as Jenna blinked:
"He's ever so fluffy, you see.
And he won't sit still for anyone else,
So the only one who can do it is me."
Jenna opened her mouth to reply,
But she was too stunned to form any words.
Lily's lie had started out silly,
But now it was getting absurd!
And yet, Lily carried on:
"I can't be at the party, I'm afraid.
Because it takes an hour to cut my dog's fur,
Then he has to go the vet's to be weighed."
Jenna's face turned pale and she frowned:
"Why don't you stop telling lies?!
If you'd just been honest, I'd have understood!
But these untruths were a nasty surprise."
"Look, I know parties aren't for everyone,
And if you don't want to come, it's okay.
But I'm really sad you didn't tell me the truth.
It shouldn't be that hard to say!"
By now, Lily felt guilty,
But a little bit angry, too.
She didn't like being told off by her friend,
And she wondered what she should do.
"Fine, I didn't want to go,
But now you're just being mean!
I'm surprised by your behaviour
And I'm going to tell the world what I've seen!"
And so, Lily marched off to school,
Shouting: "Jenna is picking on me!
Can you believe it? I did nothing wrong!
I'm as innocent as can be."
And as Lily's bad mood continued to grow,
So did the story, as well.
She added something different
To each person she chose to tell.
"Have you heard the story of Jenna's birthday?
I told her that I couldn't go.
And when she heard that I wouldn't be there,
She punched me, right in the nose!"
Lily would groan to all who'd listen:
"I've been treated so terribly badly.
If it wasn't for having to wash my mum's socks,
I'd have gone to that party, gladly!"
Lily was so keen to keep growing her story,
Rather than ever admit she was wrong,
That by end of the school day,
She had everyone singing the same song.
"Poor Lily, she tried to let her friend down
As gently as she possibly could,
But then Jenna smacked her and called her such names...
I'm shocked that a so-called friend would!"
And Jenna? Well, Jenna felt terribly sad.
She knew Lily's lies were not true.
And worse, she knew people believed some of them.
What was she going to do?!
Well, that's the thing about telling lies.
Eventually, those lies are seen through.
And it's ever so tiring to keep on pretending,
So being honest is the right thing to do.
In time, Lily's stories got so overblown
That only a few people believed them.
And Jenna just kept on telling the truth,
Knowing their friendship would never be even.
Eventually, Jenna had her party,
And it was ever so much fun.
And although she missed Lily a bit,
She knew those lies couldn't be undone.
But the presents and cake and happy faces
All served to Jenna as proof,
That lying can only cause heartache,
And real friends tell each other the truth.