A story is told of the peasant with a troubled conscience who sought the advise of a monk. He told the monk he had circulated a vile story about his friend, only to find out the story was not true. The monk told the peasant, "to make peace with your conscience, you must fill a bag with chicken down, go to every dooryard of the village and leave them each a fluffy feather to find. The peasant did as was advised and then returned to the monk and told him his penance was completed for his erred ways. "Not yet," exclaimed the monk. "Take your bag and retrieve each of those feathers you have dropped." The peasant replied, "but the wind surely has blown them all away." "Yes my son," said the monk, "and so it is with gossip. Words are easily dropped, but no matter how hard you try, you can never get them back again."
And so is told the parable of the gossip. We too must remember the power our words hold, and how difficult it is to undo what has been said. Filter your thoughts and save yourself the difficult task of penance for a quick tongue....
(Story borrowed from "Resolved" 13 Resolutions for Life-Orrin Woodward)