Phoebe Spies for George Washington (includes downloadable story in Spanish)

 Children’s Story


  • Pictures to show during story.


  • Prepare any necessary materials.
  • Invite children up to steps of altar.
  • Reader of story sits in a chair with children sitting on floor in front of her.
  • Include children’s story, even if there are no children in your congregation, to welcome families who may come to the service.
  • Feel free to adjust the content to fit your time frame.  However, for the spiritual development of the child, we encourage keeping as much of the Ascended Master’s Teachings as possible.

 Time:  Approximately 10 minutes, depending on delivery and children’s responses.

Click here for a printable version of the story.

Click here for a printable Spanish version of the story.

Our story is about how important you are in fulfilling God’s plans.

Each of us has a unique mission that no one else can accomplish. It could be a lifetime of service or it might be one action that will make a difference. The act may seem small, but it could have large consequences.

Our story today is about a thirteen-year old girl whose act of courage made a difference in fighting the war for freedom. It is based on a true story. 


Phoebe the Spy

             In the spring of 1776, the year Phoebe Fraunces was thirteen years old, Phoebe was going to be a spy for the colonists in America who were fighting for their freedom from the British.

At that time when most black people in New York were slaves, Phoebe and her family were free. Phoebe’s father, Samuel, owned the Queen’s Head Tavern, a popular eating and meeting place among the patriots. They trusted Samuel and knew that they could talk freely without the British learning of their plans. (Show picture of Queen’s Head.)


One morning, Samuel sat down next to his daughter. He said, “Phoebe, I have something important to tell you.”

Phoebe saw a troubled look on his face. “Yes, Father?” she said.

“Phoebe, it’s a perilous time in our country and difficult to find someone that you can trust with a dangerous secret. I’m glad I can trust you. You’ve learned from me how to listen well, talk little and obey.”

Phoebe was pleased that her father was proud of her.

“Phoebe, General Washington is in danger. It is he who is keeping the colonies together. But there are those who don’t agree with what he is doing. New York is full of soldiers, some devoted to the cause of freedom and some not. These men would just as easily change sides if they were paid enough money.

“Phoebe, I need your help. General Washington will be coming to New York and staying at the Mortier House. It is there that someone is going to attempt to harm the general. I need you to go there as a housemaid to listen and watch.”

“But Father,” Phoebe responded, ‘if a whole army cannot keep him safe, how can I?”

“All I want you to do is listen and watch. You are to do nothing but to report to me each day. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Father. What should I look for?” she asked.

“Someone close to Washington, whose name begins with “T” plans to harm the general. You just report to me. Do not take any action that would put you in danger.”

Her father continued, “You will meet me each day at the market and report anything suspicious. You are not to do anything dangerous. AND Phoebe, this is the most important thing for you to know. TRUST NO ONE, no one!”

The next day Phoebe left for Mortier House. Over the next several days, she took care of the general and his family and listened closely to the guests coming in and out of the house. She met with her father each evening but had nothing to report. She made friends with the cook’s 8-year-old son, Pompey, and enjoyed the company and small gifts of a young bodyguard named Hickey.

After two months had passed, her father urgently approached her one evening. “Phoebe, the general will be leaving New York in a few days. If “T” is planning to act, he will do it soon.”

The next day Phoebe worked anxiously, convinced that someone was going to shoot the general. She was concerned with where the general sat at the dining room table, his back facing the open window.

That evening while preparing the dinner plates, the bodyguard Hickey visited her in the kitchen. For a slight second, Phoebe considered telling him about her concern. After all he was one of Washington’s bodyguards and his name did not begin with “T”. Just as she was about to say something, she remembered her father’s words, “TRUST NO ONE!” and she stopped.

That’s when she noticed something strange. Hickey was sprinkling something white on the general’s peas. However, when she looked more closely she did not see anything. Phoebe didn’t think anymore about it. She took the plate and the others into the dining room to serve General Washington and his guests.

Washington looked down at the plate and said, “June peas. How did you get them so early?”

“It wasn’t me, Sir. It was Mr. Hickey.”

General Gates, sitting next to Washington, said, “Tell Thomas Hickey thank you for this nice surprise.”

Phoebe stopped, Thomas, she thought. He’s the one. “Pompey, run, run to get my father at the Queen’s Head.” And then, not concerned about what General Washington might think of her, she picked up his plate and tossed its contents out the window.

“What’s the meaning of this?” asked Washington.

Phoebe replied, “Sir, look out the window.” And sure enough, a few chickens that had eaten the peas lay motionless. “Sir, the peas poisoned the chickens. I saw Hickey pour white powder on your peas.”

Much commotion followed with General Gates shouting orders to find Hickey and others scrambling around Washington. Within minutes Phoebe’s father arrived.

After all the upheaval had passed, Washington spoke to Phoebe. “I am grateful to know people whom I can trust. Thank you for your quick action and bravery, Phoebe.”

Hickey was captured and arrested. And you know the rest of the story.  General George Washington went on to win the war and as a result we have our freedom today. After the war, Washington chose to have his victory and farewell celebration at the Queen’s Head Tavern. It still exists today and is now called Fraunces Tavern.


The story was based on the story from the book Phoebe the Spy written by Judith Berry Griffin.



What might have happened if Phoebe hadn’t obeyed her Holy Christ Self and acted quickly by throwing out the peas? (Allow children to answer.) What if she had disobeyed her father and told Hickey what she knew about someone trying to kill Washington? (Pause.) She obeyed her father and her Christ Self. And her one action made a difference in what happened in our country. Her father obeyed his Holy Christ Self too and helped the cause of freedom.

Without Washington we probably wouldn’t have won the war and very likely would not have the same freedoms we have today.

What you do is important also. You may not save a general’s life, but you have an important mission that only you can do.  So, never doubt how important you are and how you can make a difference.

Thank you for sharing in our story. Have a wonderful day.

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Published by Montessori International. Copyright © 2014 Summit Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Children’s Spiritual Story Library

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