The Cleverest Thief is a timeless folktale from India, retold by T. V. Padma, which takes place in a Buddhist monastery. In the story, the head of the monastery falls ill and must choose a successor. To do so, he sends out the young monks and instructs them to steal something, but they must steal it in such a way that no one will know that they have stolen it. The young monks don’t question their leader. In the end, only one monk learns the truth of the saying, “To thine own self be true.”
Interest Level: Ages 4-8
Guided Reading Level: L
Lexile Measure: 740L
This clever story illustrates a number of valuable life lessons, such as taking responsibility for our actions and how to be resourceful in order to meet an overwhelming challenge while earning the trust of those around us. The Buddhist monks learn the value of taking responsibility and earning trust.