“Go to the marketplace,” he said, “and purchase a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck its feathers and drop them one by one along the road.” Although surprised by this advice, the woman did what she was told.
The next day the wise man said, “Now, go and collect all those feathers you dropped yesterday and bring them back to me.”
The woman followed the same road, but to her dismay the wind had blown all the feathers away. After searching for hours, she returned with only three feathers in her hand.
“You see,” said the old sage, “It’s easy to drop them, but it is impossible to get them back. So it is with gossip. It doesn’t take much to spread a rumor, but once you do you can never completely undo the wrong.”