Skip to main content

Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Tales of bravery

First suggested by 1st Crownhill Scouts, Plymouth
Explore stories from different faiths, themed around bravery - from a knight taking on a dragon, to a fire-fighting parrot.

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Printouts of each of the stories of courage
  • Colouring pens/pencils
  • Paper

Before you begin 

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Take a look at our guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples.  
  • Make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers. 

St George is the Patron Saint of England, who legend tells us slayed a dragon in ancient times, and lots of people choose to celebrate it with parades, dancing and other activities. The 23 April is St George’s Day.

As well as being the Patron Saint of England, St George was chosen as the patron saint of Scouts. It was felt the qualities of the legendary Roman soldier were the same qualities that reflect a good Scout.

Therefore, traditionally, St George’s Day has become a very special day for Scouts when everyone can come together, make or renew their Promise and celebrate. Find out more about the Scouts Promise and getting ready for St George’s Day.

Back in the 14th Century, King Edward III was so inspired by tales of King Arthur and his knights that he founded something called the Order of the Garter. It was created in around 1348 and still exists today.

The Order of the Garter was a special group of knights and King Edward III made St George the patron of this Order.

The Order of the Garter’s badge depicts George slaying the dragon, so St George remains an important symbol of knighthood in this country.

To this day St George’s cross still appears on the Garter badge and his image is the pendant of the Garter chain. 

St George's Chapel was built at Windsor Castle by Edward IV and Henry VII, It was made the official chapel for the Order of the Garter. English soldiers also used to wear the cross of St George on their fronts and backs. 

From the 14th Century, Saint George came to be regarded as a special protector of the English and therefore our Patron Saint.  

In 1940, King George VI created a new award for acts of the greatest heroism or courage in circumstance of extreme danger. The George Cross, named after the king, bears the image of St George vanquishing the dragon.

The image of St George also adorns many of the memorials built to honour those killed during World War One. 

George came to a city called Silene, in a country called Libya, where there was a dragon.  

The people in the city were feeding sheep to the dragon every day to stop it from attacking them. However, they ran out of sheep!  

They then had to nominate people from the town to be sacrificed to the animal. When the king's daughter was selected, he tried to protect her - but the people of the town refused. They argued that if they were expected to sacrifice their loved ones to the dragon, why shouldn't he? 

George came across the princess waiting to be sacrificed to the dragon, and she told him what was happening in the town. The dragon turned up and George is said to have fought with the dragon and captured it, putting a collar round its neck. The princess led the defeated dragon into the city, and people were terrified when they saw it! George told them not to worry and put their faith in God. The town converted to Christianity and eventually the dragon was killed. 


Planning and setting up this activity

  • You may wish to have printed copies of each of the stories, including large print copies.

Running this activity 

  1. Gather everyone in a circle and tell everyone that today they’re going to get a chance to find out stories and legends of brave people.  
  2. Ask if anyone knows who St George is and what his story of bravery is. St George is the patron saint for England.
  3. Explain that very little is known about George. Therefore, there are a lot of stories about him that are full of myth and legend. It’s sometime hard to separate fact from fiction. One story lots of people think of when St George's name is mentioned, is that of him slaying a dragon. Ask if anyone has heard the story of St George slaying a dragon. This story became popular when it was printed in a book called ‘The Golden Legend’ in 1483.
  4. You may want to read out the ‘Legend of St George’, which is featured on this page.
  5. Now you know about the legend of St George and the dragon, it’s time to find out the facts. Ask if anyone knows any facts about St George that they’d like to share. 
  6. Explain that you’re going to read out a fact and people have to decide if it’s true or false by doing an action. This could be moving to the left of the space for true and the right of the space for false. It may also be holding up your left or right hand. 
  1. Statement: He lived during the 3rd Century. 
    • Answer: True. 
  2. Statement: St George is just the patron saint of England
    • Answer: False. He also is the patron Saint for Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Moscow, Istanbul and Genoa.   
  3. Statement: The flag of Saint George is England's national flag, which is a red cross on a white background.
    • Answer: True. It’s incorporated into the Union Flag (the UK's flag), too.
  4. Statement: George believed he was born in a place called Cappadocia, which is now known as Turkey.
    • Answer: True. His parents were Christians and, after his father died, his mother took George to live in the Middle East, where she was originally from. 
  5. Statement: St George visited England twice.
    • Answer: False. One thing that we do know about St George is that he may never have stepped foot in the country. Although St George never visited England, his reputation for virtue and holiness spread across Europe and his feast day, the 23 April, was celebrated in England from the 9th century onwards. The 23 April is now known as St George’s Day.
  6. Statement: Tell everyone that George became a Roman soldier, but protested about how Rome treated Christian people badly.
    • Answer: True. He was put in prison and tortured because of this, but he refused to turn away from his religious beliefs. He was eventually executed. It’s said that the Roman Emperor's wife was so impressed by how George did not give up his faith that she became a Christian too. It’s believed that she was executed in the same way George had been.  


Stories of bravery and courage

  1. Like many saints, St George was described as a martyr after he died for his Christian faith. St George has since become linked to Christianity, but many faiths, beliefs and cultures have stories about brave and courageous people too.  
  2. Ask if anyone knows any similar stories or legends and let them tell the group.
  3. Tell everyone they’ll be learning about four stories of bravery and courage. They are St George and the Dragon, the story of Rama and Sita, the story of Hanukkah, and the story of the Brave Parrot.
  4. Everyone should get into four groups. Each group should then take a copy of one of the stories. We’ve shared a version of each of the following stories, though you may choose different ones to use for your group. 
  5. If you’ve a large group, you could split into eight groups, and use each story twice. There are often lots of different versions of stories or legends, so people may have heard them before, but they might know them a bit differently. 
  6. Groups should now read through their story. Adult volunteers or young leaders can help with reading the story if needed. 
  7. The group should then decide how they want to share their story with the rest of the group. They could act it out as a play, create drawings, make up a poem or create a sensational song.  
  8. Everyone can come back together and share their group’s work.  
  9. Alternatively, the whole group could read through all four stories together and people should then create a piece of artwork based on their favourite story. It could be a poem, comic book, collage, painting or something else. Everyone can come back together and share their work to create an inspiring gallery of brave and courageous stories. 
  10. After each group has shared their work, everyone should share their thoughts on the stories. What was their favourite story and why?  
  11. Ask everyone what figure they’d choose to celebrate in Scouts, and why.  

Suggested Stories

  • St George and the Dragon: The legend of a brave knight and adventurer called George, who saved a community, by fighting and killing the dragon that was attacking them.   
  • The story of Rama and Sita:  A story from Hinduism, of a warrior prince called Rama. His wife, Sita, was kidnapped by an evil king, who had ten heads and twenty arms. Rama and the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman, bravely set off on a long expedition to find and rescue her.  
  • The story of Hanukkah: During the Jewish festival, people remember a time over 2,000 years ago in Israel. There was a king who wouldn’t let Jewish people worship. A small family of Jews bravely fought against the king’s army. 
  • The Brave Parrot: A story from Buddhism, which brings us the tale of a determined parrot. The parrot tries to save her forest home from fire. A God, in the form of an eagle, is so inspired by the parrot’s bravery and selflessness that they start to cry. Their tears put out the fire. 

There was a brave knight called St George, who had lots of adventures, travelling around the world on his horse. On his travels, he found a village which was being terrorised by a cruel dragon, who lived in a nearby lake. The villagers gave things to the dragon to try and appease him, and feed his hunger, to stop the dragon from eating them.   

When St George learnt that the King’s daughter, the princess, was going to be eaten by the dragon, he bravely set off to save her. When the dragon heard St George coming, he roared with a sound louder than thunder. St George fought the dragon. The dragon was huge and had scales so hard that they broke George’s spear into pieces. But St George didn’t give up. He kept trying and finally killed the dragon with his sword. The village was free. The villagers were so grateful, they put on a big feast in St George’s honour. 

A long time ago, Rama, a great warrior prince, was married to a beautiful princess called Sita. Rama and Sita lived near an evil king, who was called Ravana. He had ten heads and twenty arms. 

Ravana wanted to marry Sita, so he tricked her and kidnapped her, and flew off with her in his chariot. Rama realised that Sita had been kidnapped. He went looking for her, and he met Hanuman, the monkey god, in the forest. 

Hanuman agreed to look for Sita. After a long, long search, he eventually found her on the island of Lanka. She was imprisoned in a beautiful garden. Hanuman gathered his monkey army and they prepared to battle Ravana. 

Rama and Hanuman began to battle Ravana. It was a massive battle and it seemed like Ravana would win. However, Rama produced a magical golden arrow and fired it at Ravana. It hit him in the chest. With Ravana defeated, Rama and Sita were reunited. Rama and Sita returned home. They found that everyone had lit lamps to guide them home, which is why people now light lamps on Diwali. 

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights, and it celebrates a miracle that happened in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.  

Around 2,200 years ago, there was a Greek king was called Antiochus. His army marched into the Jewish people’s promised land, where Jewish people lived, to take over the land and its people. One of. Antiochus decided that all Jewish people should worship Greek gods. Jewish worship and reading the Jewish holy book, The Torah, was banned.  

After invading, Antiochus and his army attacked the temple in Jerusalem, which was a very important place for Jewish people. They killed lots of people and stole many holy objects, including the holy lamp, which had burned brightly every day and every night. Antiochus’ army threw out all the special oil that was used to keep the lamp burning, too. The Jewish people were really upset and angry about this but didn’t know what to do. 

A small, brave family of Jews called the Maccabees fought back against the king’s army. They wanted freedom to worship how they always had done. However, Antiochus and his army had more soldiers and even rode on elephants, but this didn’t stop the Maccabees. Amazingly, they beat Antiochus and his army and marched back into Jerusalem.  

When the Jews went back to their temple, they saw that it had nearly been destroyed. They cleaned and repaired the temple. When they were finished, they rededicated it to God. They did this by lighting a new sacred lamp on the altar. However, they found they only had one small jar of oil, which was only enough for one day. Miraculously, the lamp stayed alight for eight days!  

Every year since then, Jewish people have celebrated their festival of lights – Hanukkah. 

Long ago, Buddha was born as a tiny parrot, living happily in the forest. One day, lightning struck a tree, setting the forest on fire.  

The parrot cried out, telling everyone to escape. But, as she was leaving herself, she saw animals trapped, surrounded by the fire.  

Then, she had an idea of how to save them. She flew to the river and soaked her feathers in the water. Then she flew back over the fire, shaking the water off her wings to try to put out the fire.  

Some of the gods were floating overhead in their cloud palaces of ivory and gold. They happened to look down and see the little parrot flying among the flames. Some of the gods laughed and thought the parrot was foolish.  

But one of those gods, was impressed, and changed into a golden eagle and flew down towards the little parrot's fiery path. The god told her the parrot was hopeless, and she should save herself, but the parrot didn’t listen.   

The parrot flew bravely on through the smoke, going back and forth from the river. Her feathers became damaged, and her eyes sore and red.   

The god looked up and saw the other gods laughing and talking, while many animals cried out in pain and fear from the fire below. He became ashamed. Now, he just wanted to be like that brave little parrot and help.

So inspired by the parrot’s bravery and selflessness, the god began to cry. Streams of sparkling tears poured from his eyes and they washed down like rain. 

The eagle's tears put out the fire in the forest, on the animals and on the parrot. New trees began to grow—fresh shoots, stems, and leaves. Green grass grew on the burned ground. 

Where the teardrops sparkled on the parrot's wings, new feathers now grew, too. Red feathers, green feathers, yellow feathers, so many bright colours!  

All the animals looked at one another in amazement. They were safe and well. Not one had been harmed. Up above in the clear blue sky they could see their brave friend, the little parrot, looping and soaring in delight. When all hope was gone, somehow, he had saved them.  

‘Hurray!’ they cried, ‘Hurray for the brave little parrot and for the miraculous rain!’


This activity involved communication skills and was a fun way to explore diversity. It showed us that there are similar values across different faiths. 

Which story was everyone’s favourite and why? What characteristics or values did the people in the stories have?  How do the stories actions fit with Scout values and the Promise? 

These stories all involve acts of physical courage. Can you think of any other types of courage? What are other ways people can show courage? Can you think of a time you’ve shown courage? How are all the stories similar to each other? How are they different? 

How did you create your performance? What did you like about or someone else’s? 

Here are some more questions you could use or adapt as needed for St George’s Day: 

  • What characteristics or values did St George show in the story?   
  • How does St George’s actions fit with Scout values and the Promise? 
  • What do you think about St Georges Day being celebrated in Scouts?  
  • What do you think people outside of Scouts might think about us celebrating St Georges Day? 
  • How can we make sure everyone feels welcome and included in Scouts? How can we make sure everyone feels that Scouts is for them?   
  • These stories all involve acts of physical courage. Can you think of any other types of courage?  
  • What are other ways people can show courage? 
  • Can you think of a time you’ve shown courage? 
  • How are all the stories similar to each other? How are they different? 


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe. Take a look at our online safety or bullying guidance. The NSPCC offers more advice and guidance, too. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection CommandAs always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare, including their online experiences, follow the Yellow Card to make a report.

Electrical equipment

Inspect cables for any damage before each use. A responsible adult should supervise people using equipment, and people should follow instructions on how to use them correctly and safely. They should be properly maintained and stored. Be extra cautious of trailing cables and water when using electric equipment.

To make it easier, people could create a piece of artwork based on their favourite story, after listening to them all being read, rather than groups being given a story.  

To shorten this activity for St George’s Day, you could focus purely on the story of St George and the Dragon, with everyone making a creative piece, performance or artwork on this alone. 

Make it accessible

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

People can get creative and come up with their own story of bravery/courage. They could read out their story, tell everyone about it, share drawings, or plan a performance.  

Make sure everyone has chance to share their ideas. Some people might feel more able to share their thoughts in smaller groups.   

Groups can choose how they want to share their story.  

If young people know a different version of one of these stories, or have a different story they want to share, you can use that instead.