A long time I read a story where a young boy accidentally hits a bird (with a stone I think). He runs over to find it and nurses it back to health. It flies away and eventually brings him back some sort of gift (a bag of gold maybe?). A man sees this happen and decides to try the same thing. He hits the bird on purpose and nurses it back to health. However, the bird knew his intentions and did not bring him a gift but instead punished him in some way. I’m not sure where I read this story but I want to know how it ends and I would very much like to find it. Is anybody familiar with it or may have some resource that could help me find it?

  • I haven't heard this one, but it reminds me of a related (Russian?) fable with three morals.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 6 '19 at 9:40
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    Was it a picture book or a story in collection? And approximately when did you red it? There seem to be many variations of that tale: "Just Rewards, Or, Who is That Man in the Moon and What's He Doing Up There Anyway?" by Steve Sanfield; "Older Brother, Younger Brother" by Nina Jaffe, "Two Brothers, Two Rewards", "The Sparrow’s Gifts", "The Man Who Cuts the Cinnamon Tree" in Folktales of China - Lee Wyndham, "The Pumpkin Seeds" in the Story Bag by Kim So-Un, "The Hurt Sparrow" in Fairy Tales of the Orient by Pearl S. Buck, "The Man in the Moon" in Folktales of China by Eberhard Wolfram
    – Ayshe
    Oct 9 '19 at 8:00
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    I read it about 10-12 years ago. I looked up those stories and it’s “Just Rewards, Who Is That Man in the Moon and What’s He Doing Up There Anyway?” Thank you so much for your help!
    – Curious
    Oct 10 '19 at 11:04
  • Great! You're welcome! I'll post it as answer.
    – Ayshe
    Oct 10 '19 at 18:39

Just Rewards: Or Who Is That Man in the Moon & Whats He Doing Up There Anyway? by Steve Sanfield

From the School Library Journal review found on amazon:

Based on versions found in Wolfram Eberhard's Folktales of China (Univ. of Chicago, 1965; o.p.) and Louise and Yuan Hsi Kuo's Chinese Folk Tales (Celestial Arts, 1976), Sanfield's retelling is one that he developed through years of storytelling. The tale is yet another interpretation of good deeds receiving just rewards while wrongdoings are punished. Here, the good neighbor nurses an injured bird back to health. The bird, in return, provides the man with a seed that grows into a vine yielding watermelons filled with silver, gold, and precious jewels. The evil neighbor, who injures a bird in order to heal it, is rewarded with a seed whose vine grows straight up to the moon.

The ending:

The man, thinking that the riches of the moon are to be his, climbs to the top only to see the vine wither and die. And there he is to this day, if you look very hard.

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