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English pages for Kids and Children.

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English pages for Kids and Children.

Babs Bell (Bishop) Hajdusiewicz and her books

Bestselling author Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

Bestselling author Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, Ms.Ed. is the author of more than 100 books and 350 poems for children, including: Dont Go Out in Your Underwear!; Phonics through Poetry: Teaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry; MORE Phonics through Poetry: Teaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry; Rhythm & Rhyme Reader Series; Questions and Answers Series; Jacks and More Jacks, Words! Words! Words!; Words and More Words. She is also author of Steppingstone Stories Series; Peaceful Me and Sometimes I Feel Happy, Sometimes I Feel Sad; three Poetry Works! collections for early childhood through intermediate grades; middle-grades biography Mary Carter Smith: African-American Storyteller; and the Dainty Dinosaur Series.

Hajdusiewicz stars in the Wright Group staff-development video Developing Oral Language and Phonemic Awareness through Rhythm and Rhyme. She has written numerous children's stories, articles for teachers and parents, and has contributed to and edited many elementary textbooks.

An educator for 40 years, Hajdusiewicz taught early childhood, elementary, and special education at all levels, served school districts in Indiana and Michigan as director of special education, and taught graduate and undergraduate education courses at Eastern Michigan and Cleveland State Universities. She founded Booking the Future: Reader to Reader, a community-involvement literacy program that placed books in the hands and homes of more than 16,000 four, five, and six year olds, and Pee Wee Poetry, a language development program for children aged two through nine. Hajdusiewicz is a frequent conference keynoter for educators and parents and a popular visiting author in schools across the country and abroad.

Specialties: Poetry for kids; humor; parenting for literacy; school staff development; author of numerous classroom materials; emphasis on phonemic awareness before phonics instruction; building love of learning from infancy onward

(Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz , . 100 350 . , , , . . .)


Nursery rhymes
For early learning counting fun
Describe 2D shapes
http://s3.uploads.ru/t/XPfDo.gif Learn English for free
Nursery rhymes & Education
Children songs

Picture Comprehension

Reading Comprehension for Kids

Reading Comprehension is suitable for Kindergarten students or beginning readers.
This product is helping children to sharpen reading and comprehension.


Gather around and listen well, for we have a fabled story to tell. Today is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day and a great opportunity to read to your kids. We are encouraged to explore myths, fantasy and fables, old, new or imagined by you on the spot. A fairy tale is a fictional story that may feature fairies, trolls, giants and talking animals. These stories often include enchantments and far-fetched events.




My Financial Career

after Stephen Leacock

My salary had been raised to fifty dollars a month and I felt that the bank was the only place for it. So I walked in and looked round at the clerks. I had an idea that a person who was about to open an account must necessarily speak to the manager.
Can I see the manager? I asked the clerk and added alone. I dont know why I said alone.
Certainly, said the clerk, and brought him.
The manager was a calm, serious man. While talking to him I held my fifty-six dollars in my pocket.
Are you the manager? I said. God knows I didnt doubt it.
Yes, he said.
Can I see you, I asked, alone? I didnt want to say alone again, but without this word the question seemed useless.
Come in here, he said, and led the way to a private room.
Were safe from interruption here, he said. Sit down.
We both sat down and looked at each other. I found no voice to speak.
Youre one of Pinkertons detectives, I suppose, he said.
The expression in my eyes had made him think that I was a detective, and he looked worried.
To speak the truth, I began. Im not a detective at all. Ive come to open an account. I intend to keep all my money in this bank.
The manager looked serious, he felt sure now that I was a very rich man, probably a son of Baron Rothschild.
A large account, I suppose, he said. Rather a large one, I whispered. I intend to place in this bank the sum of fifty-six dollars now, and fifty dollars a month regularly.
The manager got up and opened the door. He called out to the clerk.
Mr Montgomery, he said loudly, this gentleman is opening an account. He will place fifty-six dollars in it. Good morning.
Good morning, I said, standing up, and walked through a big door into a safe.
Come out, said the manager coldly and showed me the other way.
I went up to the clerk and pushed the money to him. My face was terribly pale.
Here, I said, put it on my account. The sound of my voice seemed to mean, Lets do this painful thing while we feel that we want to do it.
When the operation had been performed, I remembered that I hadnt left any money for present use. My idea was to draw out six dollars. Someone gave me a chequebook and someone else began telling me how to write it out. The people in the bank seemed to think that I was a man who owned millions of dollars, but was not feeling very well. I wrote something on the cheque and pushed it towards the clerk. He looked at it.
What, are you drawing it all out again? he asked in surprise.
Then I realized that I had written fifty-six dollars instead of six. I was too upset to think clearly now. I had a feeling that it was impossible to explain the thing. All the clerks stopped writing to look at me. One of them prepared to pay the money.
How will you have it? he said.
How will you have it?
Oh, I caught his meaning and answered without even trying to think, in fifty-dollar notes. He gave me a fifty-dollar note.
And the six? he asked coldly.
In six-dollar notes, I said.
He gave me six dollars, and I ran out. As the big door closed behind me, I heard a sound of laughter that went up to the roof of the bank. Since then I use a bank no more. I keep my money in my pocket and my savings in silver dollars in a sock.



Mr. Smiths New Nose

by Chris Rose

Well, Mr. Smith, if you prefer a different type of nose, we have a large selection available.
I think this nose is a bit too small.
Small noses are very fashionable this year, Mr. Smith, very fashionable.
Do you think it suits me? asked Mr. Smith.
I think it looks very nice, said the shop assistant.
OK, Ill take it!
On the airbus home, Mr. Smith called his wife on his wristphone.
Hello dear! Do you like my new nose? Mrs. Smith looked at her husbands new nose on the videophone monitor on the wall in the kitchen.
I think its a bit too small, dear, she said.
Small noses are very fashionable this year, replied Mr. Smith, very fashionable.
Its all so easy now, thought Mr. Smith. A hundred years ago, it was impossible to change your body. Or almost impossible there was the old-fashioned plastic surgery, but it was expensive, painful and dangerous. Ugh! Now, thanks to our 22nd century genetic engineering, we can change our bodies when we want!
He looked at his new small nose in the mirror, and thought about how fashionable he was. He was very happy with his new nose. The only problem now, he thought, was that he needed some new hair to go with his new nose.
He looked on the Internet for some new hair, but the Internet was so slow. Eventually he decided to go to Bodyco in person.
Good morning, Mr. Smith, said the Bodyco shop assistant. How can I help you today?
Mr. Smith remembered the robot shop assistant in the Bodyco shop a few years ago. The robot was friendlier and more efficient, but too many robots made too much unemployment, and the robot was replaced by a human.
Id like some new hair, please.
Certainly, Mr. Smith. What type of hair would you like? Short, blond hair goes well with a small nose. How about short, blond hair?
Mr. Smith looked at his hair. It was old and grey. Yes, he thought, short and blond. When he was young he had short, blond hair. He wanted to look young again.
Yes, Ill have short blond hair please. Could it be a bit curly as well?
Curly? asked the shop assistant.
Yes, you know, curly not straight!
Yes, Mr. Smith, I know what curly means, but curly hair isnt very fashionable this year.
Isnt it?
No, it isnt.
But I like curly hair!
Very well, Mr. Smith short, blond, curly hair. Would you like anything else? We have a special offer on ears this week.
Yes, Mr. Smith, the things you hear with.
I know what ears are! What type of ears are on offer?
Mr. Smith went out of the shop with new short, blond, curly hair, and two new ears.
After this, his interest in his new body started to grow. In the next few weeks he bought new eyes (green, unusual but fashionable), new hands, new arms, new knees and new feet. Mrs. Smith was happy because Mr. Smiths new feet didnt smell as bad as his old feet.
His body was now completely different.
Am I the same man I was a few weeks ago? thought Mr. Smith. I have a new nose, new hair, new ears, new eyes, hands, arms, knees and feet. But I have the same brain so I think Im the same man. He thought he was the same man, but he wasnt sure.
One morning, he woke up and his new nose didnt work.
Whats the matter? asked Mrs. Smith
My new nose doesnt work its blocked.
Maybe youve got a cold, suggested Mrs. Smith.
Thats impossible! This is a genetically engineered Bodyco nose! It doesnt get colds!
But it was true the new nose did not work. It was blocked and Mr. Smith couldnt smell anything.
He went back to the Bodyco shop.
Good morning, Mr. Smith, said the assistant. What would you like today?
I want a new nose, said Mr. Smith.
You already want a new nose! said the surprised shop assistant. But youve only had this one for a month! Dont worry, small noses are still fashionable!
No, you dont understand, said Mr. Smith. I want a new nose because this one doesnt work!
Thats impossible, said the shop assistant. You have a genetically engineered Bodyco nose. It cant go wrong!
But it has gone wrong, replied Mr. Smith. Its blocked and I cant smell anything.
What have you used your nose to do, Mr. Smith? asked the shop assistant.
What have I done with my nose? Thats a stupid question! I havent done anything unusual with my nose. Ive used it to breathe and to smell, as usual!
If you have not used your nose correctly, Mr. Smith, it is possible that it will not work correctly.
Thats absurd! shouted Mr. Smith. I want my money back! I want a refund!
Im afraid that we do not give refunds, Mr. Smith. There was no guarantee with this nose.
Mr. Smith was so angry that he didnt know what to say. He walked out of the shop, and didnt say anything.
But now he had a big problem: a useless nose. Fashionable, yes. Useful, no.
Unfortunately, his problem started to grow. The next morning he woke up and found he couldnt hear anything. Then his new blond hair went grey. Then his new knees didnt move. Then he couldnt see a thing with his unusual green eyes. His fingers fell off, one by one.
Eventually, Mrs. Smith put him in their aircar and flew to the Bodyco shop. She carried her husband into the shop, because now he couldnt walk.
Good morning Mr. Smith, said the shop assistant. What can I do for you today?
Mr. Smith wouldnt like anything new at all today, thank you, replied Mrs. Smith. But he would like his old body back!
Im afraid we dont give refunds, Mrs. Smith.
I dont want a refund, explained Mrs. Smith. I want my husbands original body again! I liked it more than this new one!
Im afraid thats very difficult, Mrs. Smith, said the shop assistant. We are an environmentally-friendly company. All our old bodies are recycled.
But the new body parts that you sold him dont work! What can he do now?
He could buy a reconditioned body.
Whats a reconditioned body?
Its an old body that has been modified.
Can I have a look at one?
Certainly. The shop assistant spoke to his computer, and a reconditioned body appeared. It was a very familiar body. Mrs. Smith recognised the big nose and the grey hair.
But thats my husband! shouted Mrs. Smith. Thats the original Mr. Smith!
Yes, thats right, said the shop assistant. We reconditioned Mr. Smiths old body.
Can he have his old body back then, please?
Certainly, Mrs. Smith. Thatll be 100,000 euros please
100,000 euros! shouted Mrs. Smith. Thats very expensive, isnt it?
Mr. Smith has been reconditioned!
Mr. Smith got his own body back, and Mrs. Smith flew him back home in the aircar.
Im myself again! he shouted.
Not exactly, said Mrs. Smith. You have been reconditioned.
What does reconditioned mean?
Well, said Mrs. Smith. I think it means that you have a new brain!
I think that will be very useful, said Mr. Smith.
I think so too, dear said Mrs. Smith.




The Pack of Biscuits

One night there was a woman at the airport who had to wait for several hours before catching her next flight. While she waited she bought a book and a pack of biscuits to spend the time. She looked for a place to sit and waited. She was deep into her book, when suddenly she realized that there was a young man sitting next to her who was stretching his hand, with no concern whatsoever, and grabbing the pack of cookies lying between them. He started to eat them one by one. Not wanting to make a fuss about it she decided to ignore him.

The woman, slightly bothered, ate the cookies and watched the clock, while the young and shameless thief of biscuits was also finishing them. The woman started to get really angry at this point and thought, If I wasnt such a good and educated person, I would have given this daring man a black eye by now. Every time she ate a biscuit, he had one too. The dialogue between their eyes continued and when only one biscuit was left, she wondered what was he going to do. Softly and with a nervous smile, the young man grabbed the last biscuit and broke it in two. He offered one half to the woman while he ate the other half. Briskly she took the biscuit and thought, What an insolent man! How uneducated! He didnt even thank me!

She had never met anybody so fresh and sighed relieved to hear her flight announced. She grabbed her bags and went towards the boarding gate refusing to look back to where that insolent thief was seated. After boarding the plane and nicely seated, she looked for her book which was nearly finished by now. While looking into her bag she was totally surprised to find her pack of biscuits nearly intact. If my biscuits are here, she thought feeling terribly, those others were his and he tried to share them with me. Too late to apologize to the young man, she realized with pain, that it was her who had been insolent, uneducated and a thief, and not him!



A Walk in Amnesia

by OHenry

That morning my wife and I said our usual goodbyes. She left her second cup of tea, and she followed me to the front door. She did this every day. She took from my coat a hair which was not there, and she told me to be careful. She always did this. I closed the door, and she went back to her tea.

I am a lawyer and I work very hard. My friend, Doctor Volney, told me not to work so hard. Youll be ill, he said. A lot of people who work too hard get very tired, and suddenly they forget who they are. They cant remember anything. Its called amnesia. You need a change and a rest.

But I do rest, I replied. On Thursday nights my wife and I play a game of cards, and on Sundays she reads me her weekly letter from her mother.

That morning, when I was walking to work, I thought about Doctor Volneys words. I was feeling very well, and pleased with life.

When I woke up, I was on a train and feeling very uncomfortable after a long sleep. I sat back in my seat and I tried to think. After a long time, I said to myself, I must have a name! 1 looked in my pockets. No letter. No papers. Nothing with my name on. But I found three thousand dollars. I must be someone, I thought.

The train was crowded with men who were all very friendly. One of them came and sat next to me. Hi! My names R.P. Bolder Bolder and Son, from Missouri. Youre going to the meeting in New York, of course? Whats your name?

I had to reply to him, so I said quickly, Edward Pinkhammer from Cornopolis, Kansas.

He was reading a newspaper, but every few minutes he looked up from it, to talk to me. I understood from his conversation that he was a druggist, and he thought that I was a druggist, too.

Are all these men druggists? I asked.

Yes, they are, he answered. Like us, theyre all going to the yearly meeting in New York.

After a time, he held out his newspaper to me. Look at that, he said. Heres another of those men who run away and then say that they have forgotten who they are. A man gets tired of his business and his family, and he wants to have a good time. He goes away somewhere and when they find him, he says that he doesnt know who he is, and that he cant remember anything.

I took the paper and read this:

Denver, June 12th

Elwyn C. Bellford, an important lawyer in the town,

left home three days ago and has not come back. Just

before he left, he took out a lot of money from his

bank. Nobody has seen him since that day. He is a

quiet man who enjoys his work and is happily

married. But Mr Bellford works very hard, and it is
possible that he has amnesia.

But sometimes people do forget who they are, Mr Bolder, I said.

Oh, come on! Mr Bolder answered. Its not true, you know! These men just want something more exciting in their lives another woman, perhaps. Something different.

We arrived in New York at about ten oclock at night. I took a taxi to a hotel, and I wrote the name, Edward Pinkhammer, in the hotel book. Suddenly I felt wild and happy I was free. A man without a name can do anything.

The young man behind the desk at the hotel looked at me a little strangely. 1 had no suitcase.

Im here for the Druggists Meeting, I said. My suitcase is lost. I took out some money and gave it to him.

The next day I bought a suitcase and some clothes and I began to live the life of Edward Pinkhammer. I didnt try to remember who or what I was.

The next few days in Manhattan were wonderful the theatres, the gardens, the music, the restaurants,

the night life, the beautiful girls. And during this time I learned something very important if you want to be happy, you must be free.

Sometimes I went to quiet, expensive restaurants with soft music. Sometimes I went on the river in boats full of noisy young men and their girlfriends. And then there was Broadway, with its theatres and bright lights.

One afternoon I was going back into my hotel when a fat man came and stood in front of me.

Hello, Bellford! he cried loudly. What are you doing in New York? Is Mrs B. with you?

Im sorry, but youre making a mistake, sir, I said coldly. My name is Pinkhammer. Please excuse me.

The man moved away, in surprise, and I walked over to the desk. Behind me, the man said something about a telephone.

Give me my bill, I said to the man behind the desk, and bring down my suitcase in half an hour.

That afternoon I moved to a quiet little hotel on Fifth Avenue.

One afternoon, in one of my favourite restaurants on Broadway, I was going to my table when somebody pulled my arm.

Mr Bellford, a sweet voice cried.

I turned quickly and saw a woman who was sitting alone. She was about thirty and she had very beautiful eyes.

How can you walk past me like that? she said. Didnt you know me?

I sat down at her table. Her hair was a beautiful red-gold colour.

Are you sure you know me? I asked.

No. She smiled. I never really knew you.

Well, my name is Edward Pinkhammer, I said, and Im from Kansas.

So, you havent brought Mrs Bellford with you, then, she said, and she laughed. You havent changed much in fifteen years, Elwyn.

Her wonderful eyes looked carefully at my face.

No, she said quietly, you havent forgotten. I told you that you could never forget.

Im sorry, I answered, but thats the trouble. I have forgotten. Ive forgotten everything.

She laughed. Did you know that I married six months after you did? It was in all the newspapers.

She was silent for a minute. Then she looked up at me again. Tell me one thing, Elwyn, she said softly. Since that night fifteen years ago, can you touch, smell, or look at white roses and not think of me?

I can only say that I dont remember any of this, I said carefully. Im very sorry. I tried to look away from her.

She smiled and stood up to leave. Then she held out her hand to me, and I took it for a second. Oh yes, you remember, she said, with a sweet, unhappy smile.

Goodbye, Elwyn Bellford.

That night I went to the theatre and when I returned to my hotel, a quiet man in dark clothes was waiting for me.

Mr Pinkhammer, he said, can I speak with you for a minute? Theres a room here.

I followed him into a small room. A man and a woman were there. The woman was still beautiful, but her face was unhappy and tired. I liked everything about her. The man, who was about forty, came to meet me.

Bellford, he said, Im happy to see you again. I told you that you were working too hard. Now you can come home with us. Youll soon be all right.

My name, I said, is Edward Pinkhammer. Ive never seen you before in my life.

The woman cried out, Oh, Elwyn! Elwyn! Im your wife! She put her arms round me, but I pushed them away.

Oh, Doctor Volney! What is the matter with him? the woman cried.

Go to your room, the doctor said to her. Hell soon be well again.

The woman left, and so did the man in the dark clothes. The man who was a doctor turned to me and said quietly, Listen. Your name is not Edward Pinkhammer.

I know that, I replied, but a man must have a name. Why not Pinkhammer?

Your name, the doctor said, is Elwyn Bellford. You are one of the best lawyers in Denver and that woman is your wife.

Shes a very fine woman, I said, after a minute. I love the colour of her hair.

Shes a very good wife, the doctor replied. When you left two weeks ago, she was very unhappy. Then we had a telephone call from a man who saw you in a hotel here.

I think I remember him, I said. He called me Bellford. Excuse me, but who are you?

Im Bobby Volney. Ive been your friend for twenty years, and your doctor for fifteen years. Elwyn, try to remember.

You say youre a doctor, I said. How can I get better? Does amnesia go slowly or suddenly?

Sometimes slowly. Sometimes suddenly.

Will you help me, Doctor Volney? I asked.

Old friend, he said, Ill do everything possible.

Very well. And if youre my doctor, you cant tell anybody what I say.

Of course not, Doctor Volney answered.

I stood up. There were some white roses on the table. I went over to the table, picked up the roses and threw them far out of the window. Then I sat down again.

I think it will be best, Bobby, I said, to get better suddenly. Im a little tired of it all now. Go and bring my wife Marian in now. But, oh, Doctor, I said with a happy smile. Oh, my good old friend it was wonderful!



The Memento

by OHenry

The window of Miss DArmandes room looked out onto Broadway and its theatres. But Lynette DArmande turned her chair round and sat with her back to Broadway. She was an actress, and needed the Broadway theatres, but Broadway did not need her.

She was staying in the Hotel Thalia. Actors go there to rest for the summer and then try to get work for the autumn when the little theatres open again. Miss DArmandes room in this hotel was a small one, but in it there were many mementoes of her days in the theatre, and there were also pictures of some of her best friends. She looked at one of these pictures now, and smiled at it.

Id like to know where Lee is now, she said to herself.

She was looking at a picture of Miss Rosalie Ray, a very beautiful young woman. In the picture, Miss Ray was wearing a very short skirt and she was sitting on a swing. Every night in the theatre she went high in the air on her swing, over the heads of all the people.

When she did this, all the men in the theatre got very excited and stood up. This was because, when her long beautiful legs were high in the air, her yellow garter flew off and fell down to the men below. She did this every evening, and every evening a hundred hands went up to catch the garter. She did other things. She sang, she danced, but when she got onto her swing, all the men stood up. Miss Ray did not have to try very hard to find work in the theatre.

After two years of this, Miss DArmande remembered, Miss Ray suddenly left the theatre and went to live in the country.

And seventeen minutes after Miss DArmande said, Id like to know where Lee is now, somebody knocked on the door.

It was, of course, Rosalie Ray.

Come in, Miss DArmande called, and Miss Ray came in. Yes, it was Rosalie. She took off her hat, and Miss DArmande could see that she looked very tired and unhappy.

Ive got the room above you, Rosalie said. They told me at the desk downstairs that you were here.

Ive been here since the end of April, Lynnette replied. I begin work again next week, out in a small town. But you left the theatre three months ago, Lee. Why are you here?

Ill tell you, Lynn, but give me a drink first. Miss DArmande passed a bottle to her friend.

Ah, thats good! said Rosalie. My first drink for three months. Yes, Lynn, I left the theatre because I was tired of the life, and because I was tired of men well, the men who come to the theatre. You know we have to fight them off all the time. Theyre animals! They ask you to go out with them, they buy you a drink or two and then they think that they can do what they want! Its terrible! And we work hard, we get very little money for it, we wait to get to the top and it never happens. But most of all, I left because of the men.

Well, I saved two hundred dollars and when summer came, I left the theatre and went to a little village by the sea on Long Island. I planned to stay there for the summer, and then learn how to be a better actress.

But there was another person who was staying in the same house the Reverend Arthur Lyle. Yes, Lynn, a man of the church! When I saw him for the first time, I fell in love with him at once. He was a fine man and he had a wonderful voice!

Well, its only a short story, Lynn. A month later we decided to marry. We planned to live in a little house near the church, with lots of flowers and animals.

No, I didnt tell him that I was an actress. I wanted to forget it and to put that life behind me.

Oh, I was happy! I went to church, I helped the women in the village. Arthur and I went for long walks and that little village was the best place in the world. I wanted to live there for ever . . .

But one morning, the old woman who worked in the house began to talk about Arthur. She thought that he was wonderful, too. But then she told me that Arthur was in love once before, and that it ended unhappily. She said that, in his desk, he kept a memento something which belonged to the girl. Sometimes he took it out and looked at it. But she didnt know what it was and his desk was locked.

That afternoon I asked him about it.

Ida, he said, (of course, I used my real name there) it was before I knew you, and I never met her. It was different from my love for you.

Was she beautiful? I asked.

She was very beautiful, replied Arthur.

Did you see her often?

About ten times, he said.

And this memento did she send it to you?

It came to me from her, he said.

Why did you never meet her? I asked.

She was far above me, he answered. But, Ida, its finished. Youre not angry, are you?

Why, no. I love you ten times more than before.

And I did, Lynn. Can you understand that? What a beautiful love that was! He never met her, never spoke to her, but he loved her, and wanted nothing from her. He was different from other men, I thought a really good man!

About four oclock that afternoon, Arthur had to go out. The door of his room was open, his desk was unlocked, and I decided to look at this memento. I opened the desk and slowly I took out the box and opened it.

I took one look at that memento, and then I went to my room and packed my suitcase. My wonderful Arthur, this really good man, was no different from all the other men!

But, Lee, what was in the box? Miss DArmande asked.

It was one of my yellow garters! cried Miss Ray.



Lost Love

by Jan Carew

These things happened to me nearly ten years ago. I lived in a city, but the city was hot in summer. I wanted to see the country. I wanted to walk in the woods and see green trees.

I had a little red car and I had a map, too. I drove all night out into the country. I was happy in my car. We had a very good summer that year. The country was very pretty in the early morning. The sun was hot, and the sky was blue. I heard the birds in the trees.

And then my car stopped suddenly.

Whats wrong? I thought. Oh dear, I havent got any petrol. Now Ill have to walk. Ill have to find a town and buy some petrol. But where am I?

I looked at the map. I wasnt near a town. I was lost in the country.

And then I saw the girl. She walked down the road, with flowers in her hand. She wore a long dress, and her hair was long, too. It was long and black, and it shone in the sun. She was very pretty. I wanted to speak to her, so I got out of the car.

Hello, I said. Im lost. Where am I?

She looked afraid, so I spoke quietly.

I havent got any petrol, I said. Where can I find some?

Her blue eyes looked at me, and she smiled.

Shes a very pretty girl! I thought.

I do not know, she said. Come with me to the village. Perhaps we can help you.

I went with her happily, and we walked a long way.

There isnt a village on the map, I thought. Perhaps its a very small village.

There was a village, and it was old and pretty. The houses were black and white and very small. There were a lot of animals. The girl stopped at a house and smiled at me. Come in, please, she said.

I went in. The house was very clean, but it was strange, too. There was a fire and some food above it. I felt hungry then.

Thats strange, I thought. They cook their food over a wood fire! Perhaps they have no money.

I met her father and mother, and I liked them. They were nice people, but their clothes were strange.

Sit down, said the old man. Are you thirsty after your walk?

He gave me a drink, and I said, Thank you. But the drink was strange, too. It was dark brown and very strong. I didnt understand. But I was happy there.

I asked about petrol, but the old man didnt understand.

Petrol? he asked. What is that?

This is strange, I thought. Then I asked, Do you walk everywhere?

The old man smiled. Oh, no, we use horses, he said.

Horses! I thought. Horses are very slow. Why dont they have cars?

But I didnt say that to the old man.

I felt happy there. I stayed all day, and I ate dinner with them that evening. Then the girl and I went out into the garden. The girls name was Mary.

This is nice, she said. We like having visitors. We do not see many people here.

We spoke happily. She was very beautiful. But after a time, she began to talk quietly, and her face was sad.

I cannot tell you, she said. You are only a visitor here. We have to say goodbye tonight. You have to go now.

I didnt understand. I loved her. I knew that. And I wanted to help her. Why did 1 have to go? But Mary said again in a sad voice, You have to go. It is dangerous here.

So I said, Ill go to the next town and find some petrol. Then Ill come back.

She didnt speak.

I love you, Mary, I said. And Ill come back to you. You wont stop me.

She said goodbye to me at the door. Her face was very sad, and I was sad, too. I didnt want to go.

It was midnight. The night was very dark, but I walked and walked. I was very tired when I saw the lights of a town. I found some petrol, and then I asked the name of the village. But the man at the garage gave me a strange look.

What village? he asked.

I told him about the village. I told him about the old houses and the people with strange clothes.

Again he gave me a strange look. He thought, and then he said, There was a village there, but it isnt there now. There are stories about it strange stories.

What do people say about it? I asked.

He didnt want to tell me, but then he said, There was a big fire in the village. Everybody died. There arent any people or houses there now.

How did it happen? I asked. And why?

Oliver Cromwell killed them; he said. He was angry with the villagers because they helped the king in the war.

This isnt right, I thought. That war happened 350 years ago!

Then I remembered the strange clothes, the long hair, the food over the fire, and the old houses. And I remembered, too, about the horses.

But I dont understand, I cried. I saw the people and the village. I spoke to some people there!

The man looked quickly at me, and then he spoke.

Theres an interesting story about the village. For one day every ten years, it lives again but only for one day. Then it goes away again for another ten years. On that one day, you can find the village. But you have to leave before morning, or you will never leave.

Can this be right? I thought. Perhaps it was. Mary said, You have to go. She loved me, but she said, We have to say goodbye. She was afraid for me. Now I understand, I thought.

I went back to the village, but it wasnt there. I looked again and again, but I couldnt find it. I saw only flowers and trees. I heard only the sound of the birds and the wind. I was very sad. I sat down on the ground and cried.

I will never forget that day. I remember Mary, and I will always love her.

Now, I only have to wait two months. The village will come back again. On the right day, I will go back. I will find her again, my love with the long, black hair. And this time, I will not leave before morning. I will stay with her.



Tildys Moment

by OHenry

Bogles Family Restaurant on Eighth Avenue is not a famous place, but if you need a large cheap meal, then Bogles is the place for you. There are twelve tables in the room, six on each side. Bogle himself sits at the desk by the door and takes the money. There are also two waitresses and a Voice. The Voice comes from the kitchen.

At the time of my story, one of the waitresses was called Aileen. She was tall, beautiful and full of life. The name of the other waitress was Tildy. She was small, fat and was not beautiful.

Most of the people who came to eat at Bogles were men, and they loved the beautiful Aileen. They were happy to wait a long time for their meals because they could look at her. Aileen knew how to hold a conversation with twelve people and work hard at the same time. And all the men wanted to take Aileen dancing or give her presents. One gave her a gold ring and one gave her a little dog.

And poor Tildy?

In the busy, noisy restaurant mens eyes did not follow Tildy. Nobody laughed and talked with her. Nobody asked her to go dancing, and nobody gave her presents. She was a good waitress, but when she stood by the tables, the men looked round her to see Aileen.

But Tildy was happy to work with no thanks, she was happy to see the men with Aileen, she was happy to know that the men loved Aileen. She was Aileens friend. But deep inside, she, too, wanted a man to love her.

Tildy listened to all Aileens stories. One day Aileen came in with a black eye. A man hit her because she did not want to kiss him. How wonderful to have a black eye for love! Tildy thought.

One of the men who came to Bogles was a young man called Mr Seeders. He was a small, thin man, and he worked in an office. He knew that Aileen was not interested in him, so he sat at one of Tildys tables, said nothing, and ate his fish.

One day when Mr Seeders came in for his meal, he drank too much beer. He finished his fish, got up, put his arm round Tildy, kissed her loudly, and walked out of the restaurant.

For a few seconds Tildy just stood there. Then Aileen said to her, Why, Tildy! You bad girl! I must watch you. I dont want to lose my men to you!

Suddenly Tildys world changed. She understood now that men could like her and want her as much as Aileen. She, Tildy, could have a love-life, too. Her eyes were bright, and her face was pink. She wanted to tell everybody her secret. When the restaurant was quiet, she went and stood by Bogles desk.

Do you know what a man in the restaurant did to me today? she said. He put his arm round me and he kissed me!

Really! Bogle answered. This was good for business. Next week youll get a dollar a week more.

And when, in the evening, the restaurant was busy again, Tildy put down the food on the tables and said quietly, Do you know what a man in the restaurant did to me today? He put his arm round me and kissed me!

Some of the men in the restaurant were surprised; some of them said, Well done! Men began to smile and say nice things to her. Tildy was very happy. Love was now possible in her grey life.

For two days Mr Seeders did not come again, and in that time Tildy was a different woman. She wore bright clothes, did her hair differently, and she looked taller and thinner. Now she was a real woman because someone loved her. She felt excited, and a little afraid. What would Mr Seeders do the next time he came in?

At four oclock in the afternoon of the third day, Mr Seeders came in. There were no people at the tables, and Aileen and Tildy were working at the back of the restaurant. Mr Seeders walked up to them.

Tildy looked at him, and she could not speak. Mr Seeders face was very red, and he looked uncomfortable.

Miss Tildy, he said, I want to say that Im sorry for what I did to you a few days ago. It was the drink, you see. I didnt know what I was doing. Im very sorry.

And Mr Seeders left.

But Tildy ran into the kitchen, and she began to cry. She could not stop crying. She was no longer beautiful. No man loved her. No man wanted her. The kiss meant nothing to Mr Seeders. Tildy did not like him very much, but the kiss was important to her and now there was nothing.

But she still had her friend, and Aileen put her arm round Tildy. Aileen did not really understand, but she said, Dont be unhappy, Tildy. That little Seeders has got a face like a dead potato! Hes nothing. A real man never says sorry!



A Dog and Three Dollars

by Mark Twain

I have always believed that a man must be honest. Never ask for money you have not earned, I always said.

Now I shall tell you a story which will show you how honest I have always been all my life.

A few days ago at my friends house I met General Miles. General Miles was a nice man and we became great friends very quickly.

Did you live in Washington in 1867? the general asked me.

Yes, I did, I answered.

How could it happen that we did not meet then? said General Miles.

General, said I. We could not meet then. You forget that you were already a great general then, and I was a poor young writer whom nobody knew and whose books nobody read. You do not remember me, I thought, but we met once in Washington at that time.

I remember it very well. I was poor then and very often I did not have money even for my bread. I had a friend. He was a poor writer too. We lived together. We did everything together: worked, read books, went for walks together. And when we were hungry, we were both hungry. Once we were in need of three dollars. I dont remember why we needed these three dollars so much, but I remember well that we had to have the money by the evening.

We must get these three dollars, said my friend. I shall try to get the money, but you must also try.

I went out of the house, but I did not know where to go and how to get the three dollars. For an hour I was walking along the streets of Washington and was very tired. At last I came to a big hotel. I shall go in and have a rest, I thought.

I went into the hall of the hotel and sat down on a sofa. I was sitting there when a beautiful small dog ran into the hall. It was looking for somebody. The dog was nice and I had nothing to do, so I called it and began to play with it.

I was playing with the dog, when a man came into the hall. He wore a beautiful uniform and I knew at once that he was General Miles. I knew him by his pictures in the newspapers. What a beautiful dog! said he. Is it your dog?

I did not have time to answer him when he said, Do you want to sell it?

Three dollars, I answered at once.

Three dollars? he asked. But that is very little. I can give you fifty dollars for it.

No, no. I only want three dollars.

Well, it is your dog. If you want three dollars for it, I shall be glad to buy your dog.

General Miles paid me three dollars, took the dog and went up to his room.

Ten minutes later an old man came into the hall. He looked round the hall. I could see that he was looking for something.

Are you looking for a dog, sir? I asked.

Oh, yes! Have you seen it? said the man.

Your dog was here a few minutes ago and I saw how it went away with a man, I said. If you want, I shall try to find it for you.

The man was very happy and asked me to help him.

I shall be glad to help you, but it will take some of my time and

I am ready to pay you for your time, cried the man. How much do you want for it?

Three dollars, answered I.

Three dollars? said the man. But it is a very good dog. I shall pay you ten dollars if you find it for me.

No sir, I want three dollars and not a dollar more, said I.

Then I went up to General Miless room. The General was playing with his new dog. I came here to take the dog back, said I.

But it is not your dog now I have bought it. I have paid you three dollars for it, said the General.

I shall give you back your three dollars, but I must take the dog back, answered I. But you have sold it to me, it is my dog now.

I could not sell it to you, sir, because it was not my dog.

Still you have sold it to me for three dollars. How could I sell it to you when it was not my dog? You asked me how much I wanted for the dog, and I said that I wanted three dollars. But I never told you that it was my dog.

General Miles was very angry now.

Give me back my three dollars and take the dog, he shouted. When I brought the dog back to its master, he was very happy and paid me three dollars with joy. I was happy too because I had the money, and I felt I earned it.

Now you can see why I say that honesty is the best policy and that a man must never take anything that he has not earned.



A Good Lesson

Once a rich Englishwoman called Mrs Johnson decided to have a birthday party. She invited a lot of guests and a singer. The singer was poor, but he had a very good voice.
The singer got to Mrs Johnsons house at exactly six oclock as he had been asked to do, but when he went in, he saw through a door that the dining-room was already full of guests, who were sitting round a big table in the middle of the room. The guests were eating, joking, laughing, and talking loudly. Mrs Johnson came out to him, and he thought she was going to ask him to join them, when she said, Were glad, sir, that you have come. You will be singing after dinner, Ill call you as soon as were ready to listen to you. Now will you go into the kitchen and have dinner, too, please?
The singer was very angry, but said nothing. At first he wanted to leave Mrs Johnsons house at once, but then he changed his mind and decided to stay and teach her and her rich guests a good lesson. When the singer went into the kitchen, the servants were having dinner, too. He joined them. After dinner, the singer thanked everybody and said, Well, now Im going to sing to you, my good friends. And he sang them some beautiful songs.
Soon Mrs Johnson called the singer.
Well, sir, were ready.
Ready? asked the singer. What are you ready for?
To listen to you, said Mrs Johnson in an angry voice.
Listen to me? But I have already sung, and Im afraid I shant be able to sing any more tonight.
Where did you sing?
In the kitchen. I always sing for those I have dinner with.



The Shoebox

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little: old woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoebox and took it to his wifes bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two knitted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents.

When we were to be married, she said, my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and knit a doll.

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

Honey, he said, that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money?

Where did it come from?

Oh, she said, thats the money I made from selling the dolls.



A Serious Case

I have a friend who is afraid of spiders. This isnt very unusual; a lot of people are afraid of spiders. I dont really like spiders much myself. I dont mind them if you see them outside, in the garden, as long as theyre not too big. But if one comes in the house, especially if its one of those really big spiders with furry legs and little red eyes, then I go yeeucch and I try to get rid of it. Usually Ill use a brush to get rid of the spider, but if I feel brave then Ill put a glass over the top of it, slide a piece of paper under the glass and then take it outside.

This is quite normal, I think. But my friend isnt afraid of spiders in any normal way. She isnt just afraid of spiders, she is totally, completely and utterly terrified of them. When my friend sees a spider she doesnt just go uurgghh! or run away, or ask someone else to get rid of the horrible creepy crawly. No: she screams as loud as she possibly can. She screams so loud that her neighbours worry about her, and think about calling the police. When she sees a spider, she shivers all over, and sometimes she freezes completely she cant move at all because she is so terrified. Sometimes she even faints.

But my friend had a surprise for me when we met for coffee last week.
Guess what? she asked me.
What? I said.
Ive got a new pet!
Great, I said. What is it? A dog? A cat?
A budgie?
A rabbit?
What then?
Ive got a pet spider.
I dont believe you!
Its true! I decided that it was time I did something about my phobia so I went to visit a doctor, a special doctor. A psychiatrist. This psychiatrist specialised in phobias helping people who had irrational fears to get better, and live normally. He told me I suffered from arachnophobia.

Its an irrational fear of spiders, he said. About one in fifty people suffer from a severe form of arachnophobia. Its not very uncommon.
Thanks said my friend. But that doesnt help me much
There are lots of different ways we can try to cure your phobia, said the psychiatrist. First, there is traditional analysis.
What does that mean? asked my friend.
This means lots of talking. We try to find out exactly why you have such a terrible fear of spiders. Perhaps its linked to something that happened to you when you were a child.
Oh dear, said my friend. That sounds quite worrying.
It can take a long time, said the psychiatrist. Years, sometimes, and you can never be certain that it will be successful.
Are there any other methods?
Yes some psychiatrists use hypnosis along with traditional analysis. My friend didnt like the idea of being hypnotised. Im worried about what things will come out of my subconscious mind! she said.
Are there any other methods? asked my friend,
Well, said the psychiatrist, There is what we call the behavioural approach.
Whats the behavioural approach? asked my friend.
Well, said the psychiatrist, Its like this

The psychiatrist got out a small spider from his desk. It wasnt a real spider. It was made of plastic. Even though it was only a plastic spider, my friend screamed when she saw it.

Dont worry, said the psychiatrist. Its not a real spider.
I know, said my friend. But Im afraid of it just the same.
Hmmmm, said the psychiatrist. A serious case He put the rubber spider on the desk. When my friend stopped screaming, the psychiatrist told her to touch it. When she stopped screaming again the idea of touching the plastic spider was enough to make her scream she touched it. At first she touched it for just one second. She shivered all over, but at least she managed to touch it.

OK, said the psychiatrist. Thats all for today. Thanks. You can go home now.
Thats it? asked my friend.
Thats all?
Yes, for today. This is the behavioural approach. Come back tomorrow.

My friend went back the next day, and this time the plastic spider was already on the doctors desk. This time she touched it and held it for five minutes. Then the doctor told her to go home and come back the next day. The next day she went back and the plastic spider was on her chair. She had to move the spider so she could sit down. The next day she held the spider in her hand while she sat in her chair. The next day, the doctor gave her the plastic spider and told her to take it home with her.

Where do spiders appear in your house? asked the psychiatrist.
In the bath, usually, said my friend.
Put the spider in the bath, he told her.

My friend was terrified of the spider in the bath, but she managed not to scream when she saw it there.
Its only a plastic spider, she told herself.

The next day the psychiatrist told her to put the spider in her living room. My friend put it on top of the television. At first she thought the spider was watching her, and she felt afraid. Then she told herself that it was only a plastic spider.

The next day the psychiatrist told her to put the spider in her bed.
No way! she said. Absolutely not!
Why not? asked the psychiatrist.
Its a spider! replied my friend.
No its not, said the psychiatrist, Its a plastic spider. Its not a real one. My friend realised that her doctor was right. She put the plastic spider in her bed, and she slept there all night with it in her bed. She only felt a little bit afraid.

The next day, she went back to the psychiatrist. This time, she had a shock, a big shock. Sitting in the middle of the doctors desk there was a spider. And this time it was a real spider.

My friend was about to scream and run away, but she didnt. She sat on the other side of the room, as far away as possible from the spider, for about five minutes, then she got up and left the room.
See you tomorrow! shouted the psychiatrist to her as she left.

The next day she went back and this time the psychiatrist let the spider run around on his desk. Again, my friend stayed about five minutes, then left. The next day she stayed for ten minutes, and the day after that, fifteen. Eventually, the psychiatrist held the spider, the real spider with long furry legs and little eyes, in his hand. He asked my friend to come and touch it. At first she refused, but the doctor insisted. Eventually she touched the spider, just for a second. The next day she touched it for a few seconds, then for a few minutes, and after that she held the spider in her own hand.

Then she took the spider home, and let it run around in her house. She didnt feel afraid. Well, OK, she did feel afraid, but only a tiny bit.
So now Ive got a pet spider! she told me again.
Well done! I said.
Theres only one problem, she said, and as she spoke I noticed that she was shivering all over. Then she screamed and climbed up on the chair. She was pointing to something on the floor.
Over there! she screamed. Look! Its a beetle!!




Mistaken Identity

by Mark Twain

Years ago I arrived one day at Salamanca, New York, where I was to change trains and take the sleeper. There were crowds of people on the platform, and they were all trying to get into the long sleeper train which was already packed. I asked the young man in the booking-office if I could have a sleeping-berth and he answered: No. I went off and asked another local official if I could have some poor little corner somewhere in a sleeping-car, but he interrupted me angrily saying, No, you cant, every corner is full. Now, dont bother me any more, and he turned his back and walked off. I felt so hurt that I said to my companion, If these people knew who I was, they1 But my companion stopped me there, Dont talk such nonsense, well have to put up with this, he said, If they knew who you were, do you think it would help you to get a vacant seat1 in a train which has no vacant seats in it?
This did not improve my condition at all, but just then I noticed that the porter of a sleeping-car had his eye on me. I saw the expression of his face suddenly change. He whispered to the uniformed conductor, pointing to me, and I realized I was being talked about. Then the conductor came forward, his face all politeness.
Can I be of any service to you? he asked. Do you want a place in a sleeping-car?
Yes, I said, Ill be grateful to you if you can give me a place, anything will do.
We have nothing left except the big family compartment, he continued, with two berths and a couple of armchairs in it, but it is entirely at your disposal. Here, Tom, take these suitcases aboard!
Then he touched his hat, and we moved along.3 I was eager to say a few words to my companion, but I changed my mind. The porter made us comfortable in the compartment, and then said, with many bows and smiles:
Now, is there anything you want, sir? Because you can have just anything you want.
Can I have some hot water? I asked.
Yes, sir, Ill get it myself.
Good! Now, that lamp is hung too high above the berth. Can I have a better lamp fixed just at the head of my bed below the luggage rack, so that I can read comfortably?
Yes, sir. The lamp you want is just being fixed in the next compartment. Ill get it from there and fix it here. Itll burn all night. Yes, sir, you can ask for anything you want, the whole railroad will be turned inside out to please you. And he disappeared.
I smiled at my companion, and said:
Well, what do you say now? Didnt their attitude change the moment they understood I was Mark Twain? You see the result, dont you? My companion did not answer. So I added, Dont you like the way you are being served? And all for the same fare.
As I was saying this, the porters smiling face appeared in the doorway and this speech followed:
Oh, sir, I recognized you the minute I set my eyes on you. I told the conductor so.
Is that so, my boy? I said handing him a good tip. Who am I?
Mr McCleilan, Mayor of New York, he said and disappeared again.



The Interesting Most Boring Man in the World

People often said that Thierry Boyle was the most boring man in the world. Thierry didnt know why people thought he was so boring. Thierry thought he was quite interesting. After all, he collected stamps. What could be more interesting than stamps? It was true that he didnt have any other hobbies or interests, but that didnt matter for Thierry. He had his job, after all. He had a very interesting job. At least Thierry thought it was interesting. Everybody else said that his job was boring. But he was an accountant! Why do people think that accountants are boring? thought Thierry. Thierry thought his job was fascinating. Everyday, he went to his office, switched on his computer and spent seven and a half hours looking at spreadsheets, and moving numbers around on them. What could be more interesting than that?

But Thierry was unhappy. He was unhappy because people thought he was boring. He didnt want to be boring. He wanted people to think that he was a very interesting person. He tried to talk to people about his stamp collection. But every time he talked about his stamp collection he saw that people were bored. Because people were bored when he talked about his stamp collection, he talked about his job instead. He thought people would be very interested when he talked about his job, but no. People thought his job was even more boring than his stamp collection. Sometimes, people even went to sleep when he talked to them.

Thierry thought about how to make himself more interesting. He decided that he needed to be famous for something. He thought about his stamp collection, and decided that perhaps his stamp collection could make him famous. Perhaps he had the biggest stamp collection in the world, or perhaps he had a very valuable stamp. Yes, this was it, he decided.

He wrote a letter to a local newspaper, and asked them if they wanted to come and write an article about a local man with the biggest stamp collection in the world. The local newspaper wrote a letter back to Thierry telling him that actually the Queen of England had the biggest stamp collection in the world. Thierry was very sad to learn this, but wrote back to the newspaper telling them that he thought he had the most valuable stamp in the world. The newspaper wrote back to him telling him that the most valuable stamp in the world cost 2, 240, 000 dollars, and asking him if he was sure that he had it. Thierry wasnt sure that he had it. In fact, he was sure that he didnt have it. Perhaps his whole collection was very valuable though
Is it worth 10 million dollars? asked the man from the newspaper on the telephone when Thierry called him.
Erm, no, I dont think so
Forget it then said the man from the newspaper.

Thierry thought about other things to make himself famous. Perhaps he could be the best accountant in the world! Yes, this was it, he decided. He told a friend that he was the best accountant in the world.
How do you know? asked his friend.
Well thought Thierry, I have a good job, I like it its very interesting spreadsheets numbers taxes finance He saw his friend going to sleep. Hmmm he thought.  Perhaps Im not the best or the most interesting accountant in the world.

Listen Thierry said his friend when he woke up again. Perhaps you dont have the biggest or the most valuable stamp collection in the world. Perhaps you arent the best or the most interesting accountant in the world. But there is one thing Thierry, you are probably the most boring man in the world.

Yes!  Of course! This was it. Thierry could be famous because he was the most boring man in the world. Now he saw that his friends were right. He phoned the newspaper again.
Hello! he said. Would you like to do an interview with the most boring man in the world?
The most boring man in the world? said the man from the newspaper. Now thats interesting!

Next week there was a big article in the newspaper. The Most Boring Man in the World! There was a picture of Thierry in his office. There was a picture of Thierry with his stamp collection. There was an interview with Thierry, and interviews with his friends. His friends said they went to sleep when Thierry talked about his job or his stamp collection.

The next day the BBC and CNN called Thierry. They wanted stories about the most boring man in the world. The most boring man in the world! they said. Thats so interesting!

And so, finally, Thierry Boyle, became the official Most Boring Man in the World. You wont find his name in the Guinness Book of Records, because they said that it was impossible to decide exactly how boring somebody is, but it was no problem for Thierry. Now he was famous, now he was so boring that he was interesting.



The Doll

by Jan Carew

Mr Brown lived near the centre of town, but his small house had a garden. Mr Brown liked his garden very much. It had a lot of flowers and they were pretty in summer red, blue and yellow. Mr Brown liked sitting there in the evenings and at weekends.

But he had to work, too. Mr Brown worked in an office. It wasnt near his house, so he often went to work on the bus. He came home on the bus, too.

Mr Brown was a lonely man. He didnt have many friends, and he didnt talk to many people. And so he was sad and often bored.

One very hot day, Mr Brown walked home. He didnt want to go on the bus that day. He wanted a walk in the warm sun. In one street there was a small shop. Mr Brown looked in the window.

There were very old things in the window, and Mr Brown liked old things. He went into the shop.

Good afternoon, said the man in the shop.

Good afternoon, said Mr Brown. Can I look round the shop?

Please do.

Mr Brown looked at the things in the shop. He saw an old doll with a sad face. It wasnt a pretty face, but Mr Brown liked it. The doll was a little old man with white hair and black clothes.

Mr Brown thought, Perhaps the doll is lonely, too.

He asked, How much do you want for this old doll?

The man thought. Oh, that. Three pounds, he said.

Mr Brown wanted the doll. Why? He didnt know. But he wanted it. Three pounds was a lot of money for an old doll, but Mr Brown paid it. He went out with the doll in his hand.

He looked at its face. Is it smiling? he wondered. No, he thought. Its only a doll. He said to it, Im going to take you home,

The doll didnt answer it was only a doll. So why did Mr Brown speak to it? Because he was lonely. He put it in his case with his papers from the office.

Mr Brown was tired now, so he got on the bus. The man came for Mr Browns money and Mr Brown bought a ticket.

Suddenly, somebody on the bus spoke. Go away! said the person. You stupid man. Go away!

Everybody on the bus looked at Mr Brown. Did he say that? they wondered.

The ticket man was angry with Mr Brown. Why did he say that? he wondered. He gave Mr Brown a ticket and went away. He didnt like Mr Brown.

When Mr Brown got home, he was very tired. Who spoke on the bus? he wondered. He didnt know. He took the doll out of his case and looked at it.

It was only a doll. It wasnt very pretty. It was quite ugly but it had a smile on its face. Thats strange, thought Mr Brown. He put the doll on the table and had his dinner.

Mr Brown wasnt very hungry, so he only ate some bread and butter. Then he went to bed and slept. He forgot the doll. It was on the table.

Morning came, and the sun shone into the room. Mr Brown opened his eyes. There was something on his bed. What is it? he wondered.

He looked, and he saw the doll. But I left it on the table. It cant walk its only a doll, Mr Brown didnt understand it. It was very strange.

Mr Brown went to the front door. Are there any letters for me? he wondered.

Yes, there were three with his name and address. But what was this? The letters were open! Who opened them? Mr Brown didnt know.

Mr Brown ate his breakfast. Then he went to the bus stop and waited. His bus came and stopped for him. Mr Brown got on with his case and sat down.

There were a lot of people on the bus, and one old woman couldnt sit down. Her face was tired, and Mr Brown was a kind man. He stood up for her, and she sat down.

Then suddenly, somebody spoke. You stupid old thing!

The woman turned and looked at Mr Brown. She was very angry. Mr Browns face went red. Then he remembered the doll.

He got off the bus. He couldnt understand it. That dolls at home, he thought. Or is it?

Mr Brown opened his case and looked inside. The doll was there, with a big smile on its ugly face!

He put the doll down on the street and left it there. Then he went to work. Thats the end of that doll, he thought. Good!

Mr Brown worked well all day. After work, he walked to the bus stop. But what was that? The doll was at the bus stop! Mr Brown saw the white hair and the black clothes, and he saw the smile, too. Whats happening? he wondered. Its waiting for me! It isnt only a doll. But what is it?

He turned and ran away from the bus stop. Then he walked home. He had to walk three kilometres to his house. He was very tired.

Mr Brown sat down in a chair and went to sleep. He slept for an hour.

Suddenly, there was a big noise in another room CRASH! SMASH! Mr Brown opened his eyes. Whats wrong? he wondered. He went into the other room.

The doll was there again. It sat on the table and looked at him. Mr Browns cups and plates were all on the floor.

It isnt only a doll, Mr Brown thought. And it isnt a friend. This is difficult. What can I do?

He took the doll into the garden and buried it in the ground.

That really is the end of you, said Mr Brown. Youre under the ground now. You wont get out of there.

Next day, Mr Brown went to work on the bus. He didnt have the doll now and nobody spoke. He worked hard, and he was happy.

Mr Brown came home again that night. He watched television. This is good, he thought.

At eleven oclock he went to bed. The house was dark and quiet.

But an hour later, there was a sudden noise in the night. Mr Brown sat up in bed. He was cold and afraid. What was that noise? he wondered.

The noise was at the back door. Mr Brown was afraid, but he opened the door. It was the doll again!

It was dirty from the ground, but it looked at Mr Brown and smiled. It was a cold smile, and Mr Brown was very afraid.

He looked at the doll and said, Go away! Please! Go away!

The doll didnt speak it only smiled again. Mr Brown was very angry now. He took the doll into the garden again. He found some wood, and he made a big fire. He lit the fire. Then he put the doll on the top.

Now die! said Mr Brown. Its different this time. This will be the end of you. And Mr Brown smiled. The fire was hot and red.

The fire got bigger and bigger. Suddenly there was a loud cry, and people ran out of their houses. Whats wrong? they shouted.

Theres a big fire in Mr Browns garden, somebody said. Look!

And there was a big fire.

The people looked round the house and garden. They couldnt find Mr Brown. But on the ground near the fire, there was a doll with white hair and black clothes. It wasnt a pretty doll. And there was a smile on its face.



The Other Man

by Jan Carew

I was a writer. I wrote books. I write now, but nobody knows. Nobody can see me now. Something strange has happened to me. I will tell you about it.

In January I wanted to write a very long book. So I left my home and I found a little room.

This is a good room for a writer, I thought. Ill write my book here.

It was a little room, but I liked it. It was very quiet. I began to work on my book and I was happy.

Then things began to happen strange things.

One day I was at my desk with my pen in my hand. Suddenly I thought, I want a coffee and I havent got any. Ill have to go to the shop.

I put my pen on the table and went out.

When I came back, I looked for the pen. It wasnt on the table. I looked on the floor, on my chair and then on the table again. It wasnt there!

I dont understand it, I thought.

That night another strange thing happened. I was in bed and the room was very quiet. Suddenly, I opened my eyes,

What was that? I wondered.

Then I heard a voice a mans voice.

Whos there? I cried.

There was no answer and there was nobody in the room! I couldnt understand it, and I was afraid.

What can I do? I thought. What was that?

After that, strange things happened every day. But I had to finish my book, so I stayed there.

The room was very small. There were not many things in it; only a bed, a table and a chair. And there was a mirror on the wall. It was a very old mirror and I liked it. And then, one day, I looked in the mirror and I saw him! The other man! It wasnt me. This man had a beard, but I didnt!

I shut my eyes and looked again. This time, I saw my face in the mirror.

That didnt happen, I thought, I was wrong. There wasnt another man.

I went for a walk that day, and I didnt work on my book. I didnt want to be in the room. I didnt want to see or hear strange things.

At night, I went home again. The room was very quiet. I looked in the mirror and saw my face. But I wasnt happy. I went to bed, but I couldnt sleep.

Ill leave here tomorrow, I thought. And after that, I slept.

But then another strange thing happened. The other man stood by my bed and spoke to me.

You will never leave here, he said. You will stay with me.

And then I opened my eyes. I was very cold and afraid. Ill leave now, I thought. I cant stay here for one more minute.

Quickly, I put my things in a case. I wanted to go now. I couldnt forget the man, so I was afraid. But afraid of what? I didnt know.

When my clothes were in the case, I thought, Ill leave the room now.

I looked round the room, and I also looked in the mirror again. And then I suddenly felt colder and more afraid. I couldnt see the other man in the mirror. Why? Because he wasnt there. But I couldnt see my face in the mirror! There was no face. Why not?

I tried to shout, but no sound came. I had no voice.

And then I saw him. I saw the other man the man with the beard. But he wasnt in the mirror. He was at the table, with my pen in his hand. He wrote my book with my pen! I was angry and I tried to speak. But I couldnt, because I had no voice.

The other man didnt speak. He smiled and wrote.

Suddenly, there was a sound at the door, and I heard a friends voice.

Are you there? my friend called. I want to see you.

I was very happy then. My friend will help me, I thought. But I couldnt move. The other man went to the door and opened it.

Come in, he said to my friend. Come and see my room. Im writing my book.

My friend came into the room, but he didnt see me. He smiled at the other man.

My friend said, Oh, you have a beard now!

Again and again, I tried to speak but I couldnt. My friend couldnt see me; he couldnt hear me. He only saw the other man.

That is my story. The other man has my room. And he also has my face and my voice. He will finish my book, too.

But the other man doesnt know one thing. I can write I can tell my story. And Im telling it to you!



The Charm

by Jan Carew

Hes a brave man, people say about me. Hes never afraid.

They are wrong. I wasnt always a brave man, and at times I was afraid very afraid.

I am an important man now. I have an important job. People know me and like me. They dont know that I wasnt always brave. I will tell you the story.

I was a very shy young man. I didnt like talking to other young men; I was afraid. Theyll laugh at me, I thought.

Women were worse. I never spoke to them; I was always afraid of them.

I try to help shy people now. I never laugh at them, because I remember that time. I was very unhappy then.

Then there was a war between my country and another country. I had to be a soldier. Me! I was always afraid, but I had to be a soldier! And it was very dangerous.

I was afraid. The other soldiers didnt talk about it, but they knew. Theyre laughing at me, I thought. They arent afraid. I was wrong, but I didnt know that. I felt very bad.

One day, I was in the town. I had two days holiday, away from the other soldiers. I wasnt with friends; I didnt have any friends. I was very unhappy. I walked slowly past some shops.

An old man stood by the road. There werent many cars on it.

Why doesnt he walk across the road? I thought. Is he afraid?

I went near him, and then I saw his eyes. Oh, I thought. Now I know. He cant see! He wants to go across, but he cant go without help.

Other people walked quickly past him. They had to go to work, or to their homes. They didnt help him; they didnt have time.

But I had time a lot of time. Im not doing anything, I thought. Why cant I help him? I wont be afraid of him.

I took the old mans arm, and I helped him across the road.

Thank you! he said. His hand felt my coat. This is a soldiers coat, he said. Are you a soldier?


Perhaps I said it in a sad voice. The old man put a hand in his jacket. He took something out and gave it to me.

Take this, he said. It will help you. Wear it, and youll be all right. Nothing bad will happen to you.

He walked away, and I looked at the thing in my hand. It was a small charm pretty, but strange.

Its a girls thing, I thought, and I put it in my coat.

The next day we went to war. I was afraid very afraid but I remembered the charm in my coat. Perhaps the charm will help me, I thought, so I took it with me.

Suddenly I wasnt afraid. Why? I didnt know. Was it the charm?

It was bad that day. Men died all round me. Perhaps Ill die next, I thought. But I wasnt afraid!

Our leader was a brave man. He was in front of us, and we followed him. Suddenly he was down. He fell to the ground and didnt move. The other soldiers stopped. They were afraid.

I thought, Perhaps our leader isnt dead. Ill go and see.

I went to him. The fighting was worse now, but I wasnt afraid. Ive got the charm with me, I thought. Ill be all right.

I brought our leader back to a better place, and then I looked at him. He was very white and ill, but he wasnt dead. His eyes opened, and he smiled at me.

He spoke not easily, but I heard him. Go in front! he said. The men will follow you.

The men followed me, and we fought well that day.

After that, I was fine. Later, I was a leader, too. The men were happy and followed me. People didnt laugh at me then.

But is it right? I thought, Im not very brave. Its only the charm.

I didnt tell people about the charm. I had friends for the first time, and I was happy.

One day we had to take an important bridge. There were a lot of soldiers on it, and they had big guns. The country was open, without any trees. It was very dangerous, and my men were afraid.

Were going to die, they said.

Listen, I told them.Ill go first, and well run very quickly to the bridge. Dont be afraid. They cant kill us all. Follow me, and well take that bridge.

I put my hand in my coat. But the charm wasnt there!

What am I going to do? I thought.I cant be brave without the charm.

I looked at the faces of my men. They werent afraid now.

I thought, My words have helped them. They arent afraid now. Theyre waiting for me. Theyll follow me everywhere. Im their leader, and I cant be afraid.

I shouted: Lets go!

We ran. We got to the bridge. We lost some men, but we got there! And we took the bridge!

I will never forget that day. I learnt something then about brave men. Brave men are afraid, too. But that doesnt stop them.

I will also remember that old man with the charm. It will help you, he said.

He was right. I learnt to be brave without it.

I was a young man then, and now I am old.

I am a brave man, people think.

And, yes they are right. I am.



Journeys End
by Jan Carew

Tom Smith was a nice young man. He wanted a job, but he couldnt find one. Many people wanted to work, and there werent many jobs. Tom felt sad because he never had money for clothes or the cinema.
When he was younger, Tom wanted to be a footballer. He was good at football, and at tennis, too. He was good at every sport. But there were other, better players.
Now Tom had a new idea. He thought, Perhaps I can find a job in a sports shop. Ill be happy then and Ill have money. But it was only an idea. It never happened.
He tried hard to find a job. He looked in the newspapers every day and he wrote letters for jobs a lot of letters. But he never found a job.
One day he saw something in the newspaper about a fair in the park near his house.
That will be interesting, he thought. Its next Saturday. I think Ill go. Yes, Ill go. Im not doing anything this weekend, and it wont cost much.
On Saturday Tom walked to the park and bought a ticket for the fair. It was a warm summer day. The sky was blue, and the park was very pretty. There were a lot of flowers blue, yellow and red. Tom felt happy when he saw them.
The fair was good, too. There were a lot of people there, and many different games. Tom played some games. He won a box of fruit and a book about sport. Then he bought an ice-cream because he was hot and thirsty,
Im having a good day! he thought. He sat down and ate his ice-cream. Now, what shall I do next?
Suddenly he saw, in large letters:

Tom Smith thought very hard. Shall I go in? he thought.Why not? Im not afraid of the future. Perhaps it will be interesting. Yes, Ill go in and have a conversation with Madame Zelda.
So he went in. It was very dark inside. An old woman with grey hair and a kind face smiled at Tom.
Hello, young man! she said. Sit down and I will tell you about your future.
Tom sat down. The old woman looked at some cards on the table.
Take three cards, she said.
Tom took the cards and gave them to her. The woman looked at the cards for a long time. Then she spoke. She didnt smile now.
Listen! she said. I have to tell you something VERY important.
Do not go anywhere next Friday. Make a journey next Friday, and you will never arrive! Something will happen on the way. Dont forget now. I can tell you nothing more. Be careful, young man.
Tom left. The sun was very hot on his face. He had no more money, and he wanted to go home. Im not afraid, he thought. I dont go on journeys. I wont go anywhere next Friday. Every day is the same to me. I havent got a job, so I dont go anywhere.
But on Thursday Tom had a letter. It was an answer to one of his letters! There was a job in a town thirty kilometres away. It was in a sports shop. The boss wanted to meet Tom the next day.
Tom felt very happy. Ill have to take a train there, he thought. I cant walk thirty kilometres.
Suddenly he remembered the old woman at the fair, and he felt afraid. Do not go anywhere next Friday, she told him.
But what can I do? Tom thought sadly.I cant lose this job. Its too important to me. Ill have to take the train tomorrow. And what can an old woman know about the future? Nothing!
But he wasnt very happy about it. And he didnt sleep well that night.
The next day was Friday, and Tom went to the station. He bought a ticket at the ticket office. The train arrived, and he climbed on it.
An old man sat down next to Tom. His face was intelligent under his white hair. He had a bad leg, and Tom felt sorry for him.
The train left the station and went through the country. A waiter came round with some food and the old man bought a sandwich. Then he smiled at Tom and said,Are you thirsty? Ive got some tea with me. Would you like some?
He took out a cup and gave Tom some tea, Hes a kind man! Tom thought. I really like him.
He smiled at the old man and said, Thank you. Im Tom Smith. Are you going a long way?
But the old man couldnt answer. Suddenly there was a very loud noise and the train stopped. What was wrong? The people on the train were afraid. They all looked out of the windows, but they couldnt see anything.
Dont be afraid, Tom told his new friend. Ill go and see. Perhaps its an accident. Stay here and youll be OK.
The old man smiled. Thank you, my young friend, he said. I will stay here. My old legs are very weak.
Tom found the guard. Whats wrong? he asked him. Why did we stop?
The guard looked at Tom unhappily. Theres a large tree in front of the train, he said. Well have to move it, but we cant do it quickly. So this is the end of the journey for you. Youll have to get off the train and walk.
Walk where? Tom asked.
The guard looked at a map.Theres a village near here. You can go there and perhaps find a restaurant or a cafe. I have to stay here with the train. Im very sorry about your journey. But youll get your money back.
Tom thought, The money isnt important. I really wanted that job! And he felt very sad.
Tom didnt say anything about the job to the old man. He helped his friend off the train and carried his case to the village.
Thank you very much, the old man said to Tom. I know that my case is heavy. Theres a computer in it, and there are a lot of papers.
Tom smiled. Its all right, he said. But inside he was very sad. I was stupid, he thought. I didnt listen to the old woman, but she was right. I wont get that job now.
The old man saw Toms sad face and asked him, Whats wrong, my young friend?
So Tom told him the story about the job in the sports shop.
Then a strange thing happened. The old man smiled, and then he laughed! Why did he laugh? Tom didnt know and he felt a little angry. The old man was his friend, but this was a bad day for Tom. It wasnt funny!
Tom couldnt speak or smile. The old man saw this and he stopped laughing. Then he said, Listen to me, Tom, and dont be sad. Im a rich man. Ive got a lot of shops in different towns, and theyre all sports shops. I want an intelligent young man to work in my new shop. Its also my biggest shop! Will you work for me? I think I know you now. You were very kind to me on the train. Youre the right person for the job. Whats your answer?
This is wonderful, Tom said with a happy smile. This is the best day of my life, not the worst!



A Magic Ring

Once upon a time there lived a young farmer. He worked very hard but was very poor. One day when he was far from home in the forest, an old woman looking like a peasant came up to him and said, I know you work very hard, and all for nothing. I will give you a magic ring! It will make you rich, and your work wont be in vain. When you turn the ring on your finger and say what you wish to have, youll have it at once! But there is only one wish in the ring, so think carefully before you wish.
The astonished farmer took the ring given to him by the peasant woman, and went home. In evening he came to a big city. There he went to a merchant and showed him the magic ring. When the merchant heard the astonishing story, he thought of a plan. He invited the farmer to stay in his house for the night. At night he came up to the sleeping peasant, carefully took the ring off the mans finger, and put on another ring, which looked exactly like the one he had taken off.
In the morning when the farmer had gone away, the merchant ran into his shop, shut the door, and said while turning the ring on his finger, I wish to have a hundred thousand pieces of gold. And down they came, on his head, shoulders, and arms, like a rain of gold! The frightened merchant tried to get out of the shop, but in vain. In a few minutes he was dead.
When the farmer returned home, he showed the ring to his wife. Take a look at this ring, he said. Its a magic ring! It will make us happy.
The astonished woman could hardly say a word Lets try. Maybe the ring will bring us more land, she said at last.
We must be careful about our wish. Dont forget theres only one thing that we may ask for, he explained. Lets better work hard for another year, and well have more land.
So they worked as hard as they could and got enough money to buy the land they wished to have. What happy people we are! said the farmer.
I dont understand you, answered his wife angrily. Theres nothing in the world that we cant have, and still we spend days and nights working as hard as before, because you dont want to use your magic ring!
Thirty, then forty years had gone by. The farmer and his wife had grown old. Their hair became as white as snow. They were happy and had everything they wanted. Their ring was still there. Although it was not a magic ring, it had made them happy. For you see, my dear friends, a poor thing in good hands is better than a fine thing in bad hands.



Room for One More

by Alvin Schwartz

A man named Joseph Blackwell came to Philadelphia on a business trip. He stayed with friends in the big house they owned outside the city. That night they had a good time visiting. But when Blackwell went to bed, he tossed and turned and couldnt sleep. Sometime during the night he heard a car turn into the driveway. He went to the window to see who was arriving at such a late hour. In the moonlight, he saw a long black hearse filled with people.
The driver of the hearse looked up at him. When Blackwell saw his weird, hideous face, he shuddered. The driver called to him, There is room for one more. Then he waited for a minute or two, and then he drove off.
In the morning Blackwell told his friends what had happened. You were dreaming,  they said.
I must have been, he said, but it didnt seem like a dream.
After breakfast, he went into Philadelphia. He spent the day high above the city in one of the new office buildings there.
Late in the afternoon he was waiting for an elevator to take him back down to the street. But when it arrived, it was very crowded. One of the passengers looked out and called to him. There is room for one more, he said. It was the driver of the hearse.
No thanks, Blackwell said. Ill get the next one.
The doors closed, and the elevator started down. There was a shrieking and screaming, then the sound of a crash. The elevator had fallen to the bottom of the shaft. Everyone aboard was killed.



The Stonecutter

Once upon a time there was a stone cutter. The stone cutter lived in a land where a life of privilege meant being powerful. Looking at his life he decided that he was unsatisfied with the way things were and so he set out to become the most powerful thing in the land.

Looking around his land he wondered to himself what is it to be powerful. Looking up he saw the Sun shining down on all the land. The Sun must be the most powerful thing that there is, for it shines down on all things, and all things grow from its touch. So he became the Sun.

Days later, as he shone his power down on the inhabitants of the land, there came a cloud which passed beneath him obstructing his brilliance. Frustrated he realized that the Sun was not the most powerful thing in the land, if a simple cloud could interrupt his greatness. So he became a cloud, in fact, he became the most powerful storm that the world had ever seen.

And so he blew his rain and lightning, and resounded with thunder all over the land, demonstrating that he was the most powerful. Until one day he came across a boulder.

Down and down he poured and his thunder roared, lightning flashed and filled the sky, striking the ground near the boulder. His winds blew and blew and blew, and yet, despite all his efforts, he could not budge the boulder.

Frustrated again, he realized that the storm was not the most powerful thing in the land, rather it must be the boulder. So he became the boulder.

For days he sat, unmovable, and impassive, demonstrating his power, until one day, a stone cutter came and chiseled him to bits.

The moral of the story is: sometimes the most important thing to remember is that you have everything you need already, right inside of you. Power is an illusion.


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