On one occasion, when a woman confessed to St Philip Neri her love of gossip and spreading slander and scandal; and asked him how she could cure herself of the habit, he replied:
"Go to the nearest market-place, buy a chicken just killed, and pluck its feathers all the way as you come back to me. Place one feather on each doorstep of a person you have slandered. "
Greatly astonished, she did what he asked, and returned to him with the plucked chicken. "Now go back," he said, "and bring me all the feathers you have scattered."
"But I cannot," she replied,
"that is impossible. The wind has carried them away. How can I recover them?"
He answered: "You cannot. And that is exactly like your words of scandal. They have been carried about in every direction. You cannot recall them. Go and slander no more."