A Jewish woman is accused of gossiping and is taken befor the Rabbi. She insists she has done no wrong. She just stated her opinion and it’s not her fault if others repeated it. But she supposes she will ask for forgiveness. The Rabbi says it isn’t that easy. Asks if she has a pillow.
Of course she does–she has the finest, softest pillow in village. Rabbi asks her to go get it. He sends her to the top of the hill. She is to throw the feathers on the wind. Woman stands on hill throwing feathers, repeating her excuses, watches where the feathers land. Back to Rabbi. “Now, am I forgiven?” “It is not quite that easy. Now go and gather up the feathers.”
She sputters but tries and comes back with very few feathers. “What have you learned?” “Well, I suppose my words are like the feathers. Once words are spoken, they are hard to gather up again.”
This story is also in Heather Forest’s Wisdom Tales from Around the World. In her notes she says, “this Hasidic tale, attributed to Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev