Suggestion for a talk for collective worship in a primary school

You might tell young children the following story:
In a rich and comfortable part of the world there was, and still is, a king who was very fond of his royal gardens.
He liked living in a big palace, and he enjoyed good food and fine clothes and holidays abroad. But it was the royal gardens that gave him the greatest delight.
He loved wandering around them, admiring the many varieties of colourful flowers growing in beds of soil, gazing at apples and pears and plums growing on fruit trees, and seeing the lush green of the immaculately kept grass.
Then, one day, after an early morning sharp downpour of rain, he discovered slimy, pink, wriggling earthworms slithering all over his lovely lawns. Some of the earthworms were well over three feet in length!

He was shocked!
He was angry!
He promptly ordered that all earthworms in his gardens were to be killed and any living within five miles of the royal palace were to be destroyed so that they could not creep into the royal gardens.
Over the next few weeks the gardens looked splendid, and the king was assured that any earthworms that were seen were killed immediately.
The king was pleased!
Then slowly, bit by bit, the royal gardens began to look weary and bedraggled.
The flowers were tired and drooping.
The fruit on the trees seemed to be not as ripe and not as big as they had been the previous year.
The lawns were losing their lush green colour, and bare brown patches were beginning to appear.
The king was troubled!
He was even more troubled when he received news that outside the royal palace the pasture land was becoming bare, and the cows were looking ill, and the cows were giving less milk than usual.
Everyone was getting worried!

The king called in an agricultural expert who knew a lot about soil and plants. He soon discovered the cause of the troubles and reported to the king.
"Your Majesty, there is an acute shortage of earthworms in your gardens, and in the surrounding land."
"Yes," said the king. "I had them killed because the slimy, pink, wriggling creatures were spoiling the look of my lawns."
"Your Majesty," explained the soil expert, "it is the earthworms burrowing in the soil, making air tunnels and drainage systems and eating the soil, that keeps the soil healthy.
If the soil is not healthy, the grasses and flowers and trees suffer, and when they suffer the animals become ill, and if the animals become ill we ourselves have less food, and then we begin to suffer.
You must bring back the earthworms into the royal gardens."
The king did so.
Today he still finds delight in his beautiful gardens, he and his people live well, but he and they know that their good life is dependent on many creatures, including the slimy, pink, wriggling earthworms.
(copyright Reverend Derek Smith and the Inquirer)

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