This is a story of when I used to teach children at Sunday school.
One of the children, called Chikako, who usually was a cheerful and lively girl, seemed to be feeling low that morning. She seemed to be depressed within her heart. She was avoiding friends.
Being worried about her, I began the class with a prayer and started telling a story as usual.
“Today I am going to tell you a story of a sparrow. It was written by one of the greatest Russian novelists, Turgenyev, and was based on his experience. Turgenyev did not believe in God. As an atheist and a materialist, God had not existed for him.
One day, as he walked his dog as usual, he came close to a big tree. Very suddenly, his dog dashed towards the foot of the tree, with such force, that the leash was pulled from his hand.
As he approached, he was startled to see a baby sparrow with its little eyes open wide with fright. Just as his dog made to bite it, a small ball of feathers streaked towards the dog's head from the top of the tree like an arrow.
It was the baby sparrow's mother. Both Turgenyev and his dog were very much surprised. The mother sparrow desperately attacked the big dog at the risk of her life to save her little baby. Again and again she rushed at the dog with all her might. At last she exhausted her strength and died with her wings wide open over her baby.
The whole scene affected him very deeply. “Even a little sparrow has such amazingly strong love! How profound it is!” he thought. He learnt that in each and every creature there lives God’s love. He confidently recognized the existence of God.
From that day on, his works were conceived with a profound sense of love, and he became known as 'a writer of soul'.”