Short Stories for Children for Spoken English Program

Spoken English: Short Stories

Short Stories for Children
LEVEL 1: STORIES FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN.............................................................................. 5 THE WIND AND THE SUN .................................................................................................................... 5 THE VILLAGER AND THE SPECTACLES ................................................................................................. 5 AS YOU SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAP ..................................................................................................... 6 THE FARMER AND HIS SONS ............................................................................................................... 6 BIRBAL THE WISE ................................................................................................................................ 7 THE WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING ....................................................................................................... 7 HARE AND THE TORTOISE ................................................................................................................... 7 NOBODY BELIEVES A LIAR ................................................................................................................... 8 WORK IS WORSHIP.............................................................................................................................. 9 NEVER BE UNGRATEFUL...................................................................................................................... 9 KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN...................................................................................................................... 10 LIVE AND LET LIVE ............................................................................................................................. 10 TIME IS VALUABLE............................................................................................................................. 11 HAVE FAITH IN GOD .......................................................................................................................... 11 BLIND IMITATION IS BAD .................................................................................................................. 11 A FOX AND A CRANE ......................................................................................................................... 12 LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE .................................................................................................... 13 THE STORY OF LORD GANESHA......................................................................................................... 13 EAGLES IN A STORM.......................................................................................................................... 14 2

Spoken English: Short Stories
THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER .................................................................................................... 14 MOTHER’S DAY ................................................................................................................................. 15 MOUNTAIN ....................................................................................................................................... 15 THE MISER ......................................................................................................................................... 16 TWO FROGS ...................................................................................................................................... 16 SAND AND STONE ............................................................................................................................. 17 LEVEL 2: STORIES FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDREN....................................................................... 18 A BOX FULL OF KISSES ....................................................................................................................... 18 THE PRAYING HANDS ........................................................................................................................ 18 THE FOUR WIVES .............................................................................................................................. 20 WAIT FOR THE BRICK ........................................................................................................................ 21 PUPPIES FOR SALE ............................................................................................................................. 22 THE MAN, THE BOY AND THE DONKEY ............................................................................................. 23 THE WOODEN BOWL ........................................................................................................................ 24 TREES THAT WOOD ........................................................................................................................... 25 PENCIL ............................................................................................................................................... 27 DAD’S BLESSINGS .............................................................................................................................. 28 THE GREEDY CLOUD .......................................................................................................................... 29 A MAD MAN IN THE CITY .................................................................................................................. 29 NEVER MAKE FUN OF A RHINO ......................................................................................................... 31 THE MATH DUNCE ............................................................................................................................ 32 THE WHITE ROSE ............................................................................................................................... 33 THE RUBY THIEF ................................................................................................................................ 34 3

Spoken English: Short Stories
THE DRAWING THAT TALKED ............................................................................................................ 35 THE SINGING HIPPO .......................................................................................................................... 37 THE INCREDIBLE BLACK RAIN ............................................................................................................ 38 MY LITTLE WORLD HAS BROKEN....................................................................................................... 39 THE UNFRIENDLY RIVER .................................................................................................................... 40 THE TICKLING SCALES........................................................................................................................ 41 A DAY WITH PIGS .............................................................................................................................. 41 THE WARM WHALE ........................................................................................................................... 42 THE MAGIC WINDOW ....................................................................................................................... 43

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hotter and hotter.. First of all you must learn to read and write.Spoken English: Short Stories LEVEL 1: STORIES FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN THE WIND AND THE SUN Once the Wind and the Sun had an argument. you are not. They only help you to see better. But I can’t read with any of these spectacles. 5 . The Wind took the first turn.” Moral: Ignorance is blindness. Soon he let the shawl fall open. He was wrapped in a shawl.” The shopkeeper controlled his laughter with great difficulty when he learnt the real problem of his illiterate customer. The struggle went on till the Wind’s turn was over.” So one day he went to a town. I want to buy spectacles so that I can read like others.” said the Wind. He explained to the villager. you are very ignorant. Just at that moment they saw a traveler walking across the road. Now the traveller no longer needed his shawl. The villager tried all the spectacles one by one. THE VILLAGER AND THE SPECTACLES There was a villager.. “If I have spectacles. He took it off and dropped it on the ground. “No. He was illiterate. Moral: Brute force can’t achieve what a gentle smile can. Spectacles don’t help to read or write. But he could not read anything. The Sun smiled warmly. The shopkeeper gave him various pairs of spectacles and a book. Then he looked at the book. He told the shopkeeper that all those spectacles were useless for him. But the harder he blew. I can also read like these people. “Perhaps you don’t know how to read. He thought. The Sun’s smile grew warmer and wa rmer. the tighter the traveller gripped the shawl to his body. He did not know how to read and write. “I am stronger than you.” said the Sun. “No. He blew with all his might to tear the traveller’s shawl from his shoulders. The Sun was declared stronger than the Wind. The traveller felt the warmth of the smiling Sun. I must go to town and buy a pair of spectacles for myself. Now it was the Sun’s turn.” The villager said. He often saw people wearing spectacles for reading books or papers. I don’t. The Sun and the Wind agreed that whoever could separate the traveller from his shawl was stronger. He entered a spectacles shop He asked the shopkeeper for a pair of spectacles for reading. The shopkeeper gave him a doubtful look. It was upside down! The shopkeeper said. “My dear friend.

The farmer wanted his sons to stop quarrelling and fighting. So. He ate his food at a hotel. They were strong and hardworking. But they always quarrelled with one another. They broke the sticks easily. Then I will get all the money for myself. three thieves stole a lot of money from a rich man’s house. He showed them a bundle of sticks and said. The farmer said. The farmer always thought what to do to keep his sons united.” Moral: United we stand. the two wicked men in the forest decided to kill their mate on return. Then the old man separated the sticks and gave each of them just a single stick to break. All the three wicked men carried out their cruel plans. The thief who wanted all the money for himself came to the forest with the poisoned food. One day he found an answer to the problem. they even fought. “I want any of you to break these sticks without separating them from the bundle. He wanted them to live in peace. Then they ate the poisoned food and died. He thought. you will be strong if you are united. Likewise. They used their full strength and skill. But none of them could break the sticks. Thus. They put the money in a bag and went to the forest. The other two remained in the forest to take care of the bag of money. SO SHALL YOU REAP One night.Spoken English: Short Stories AS YOU SOW.” Each of the five sons tried one by one. They thought that they would divide the money between the two of them. So he called all his sons together. one of them went to a nearby village to buy food. Sometimes.” Meanwhile. He mixed a strong poison with the food. 6 . Moral: Evil begets evil THE FARMER AND HIS SONS A farmer had five sons. The two men in the forest hit him and killed him. The thief that went for food had an evil idea. Then he bought food for his two mates in the forest. Plain words of advice or scolding did not have much effect on these young people. It is strong as long as it is tied up in a bundle. these evil people met with an evil end. They felt very hungry. “A single stick by itself is weak. You will be weak if you are divided . Divided we fall. “Those two will eat this poisoned food and die.

HARE AND THE TORTOISE Once a hare was roaming near a lake in a forest. he passed by the sleeping hare. "I am already half -way through. In a short time. the servant picked up the wolf dressed in the sheepskin. The next day Birbal collected the sticks from the servants. He gave a stick to each one of them. He returned the bag of pearls.” The servant who had stolen the bag of pearls was scared. I won’t be caught. He was sent to jail."Hurry up. He thought.” So he cut the stick and made it shorter by one inch. Then he said. Just now all these sticks are equal in length. He found that one servant’s stick was short by an inch. Suddenly he saw a tortoise and mocked at him saying . If there is a thief in the house. his stick will grow an inch longer by tomorrow. The race was to be through the wood to a fixed goal. “These are magic sticks. He covered himself with the sheepskin and got into a flock of sheep grazing in a field. Birbal pointed his finger at him and said. As luck would have it. At night I will run away with a fat sheep and eat it. His master had sent him to bring a fat sheep for supper. “Here is the thief. He said to Birbal.” So Birbal went to the rich man’s house. He called all the seven servants in a room. But then an unexpected thing happened. The wolf waited patiently for the night to advance and grow darker. One of the servants of the shepherd entered the pen. a rich merchant came to Birbal. Please find out the thief. “I have seven servants in my house. But it is tootoo cold. He thought. why not have a nap in the warm sunshine?" The tortoise walked steadily on and on. "What a funny race it is!" he said to himself . One of them has stolen my bag of precious pearls.” The servant confessed to his crime. THE WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING One day a wolf found a sheepskin. All went well till the shepherd shut the sheep in the pen and left. 7 . “If I cut a piece of one inch from my stick. That night the shepherd and his guests had the wolf for supper." The tortoise felt teased and dared the hare to a race. The hare agreed laughingly. you slow coach! Don't you find life very dull taking so long to cover a few yards? I could have run to the other side of the lake by now. Moral: An evil design has an evil end. “The shepherd will shut the sheep in the pen after sunset.Spoken English: Short Stories BIRBAL THE WISE One day. In a few minutes he was away and out of sight. Keep them with you and return tomorrow.

So. Again the villagers went to his rescue but were duped again. Standing on a high rock. Unfortunately. he looked around in surprise and said to himself. save me. He was amazed to see all the animals cheering the tortoise who had arrived just a minute earlier. But nobody came to help him out. always a liar." The villagers got highly annoyed and came back with an air of anger. "Lion! Lion! as loud as he could". The boy struggled hard to save himself but within few minutes. Few days later the boy repeated the whole act. But when they reached there. I did it only for fun. Now they decided not to be fooled by him anymore. once a liar. "Lion! Lion! Come.When he woke up at last. The lion attacked the boy. the lion really came there." The villagers heard the shout and ran to help him. one day. The boy laughed at the villagers saying." Not even a sigh of the poor tortoise anywhere so far.Spoken English: Short Stories The hare slept far longer then he had intended. the beast killed him. he shouted at the top of his voice. I had better trot along and finish the race. 8 . they could see no lion and the boy was perfectly all right. how ashamed he felt indeed! Moral: Slow and steady wins the race NOBODY BELIEVES A LIAR Once a mischievous boy lived in a village that stood in the feet of a hill. One day he thought of having fun at the cost of his fellow-villagers. Now the boy shouted." The hare ran to the goal. "No Lion .

"Then dance the winter away. he looked about to find something to soothe his hunger. He went up to the ants and asked humbly. After taking some rest. a grasshopper was basking in the warm sun." The grasshopper pulled a long face and walked away. Get up and leave the place immediately to be scorched again. "Can you. Two travelers were going along a dusty road that had no trees along its sides. spare few grains for me. as he had not eaten anything since last night. They placed their belongings on the ground and sat in the cool thick shade of the tree. "Truly speaking. he saw few ants carrying grains into their hole. Looking for some shelter from the hot sun. they saw a tree with big leaves and branches spread like an umbrella. So. "You ungrateful soul! On one hand.Spoken English: Short Stories WORK IS WORSHIP One fine sunny day in winter. you are calling me useless. I haven't eaten anything since yesterday." One of the ants asked the grasshopper." 9 . NEVER BE UNGRATEFUL It was high summer. I am almost starving to death. So." The ant chucked out a smile and remarked. the tree felt pinched and burst out. please." Hearing this. "What a useless tree it is! It bears no fruits at all. I spent all the summer singing songs and that's why I couldn't store anything. one traveler said to the other. Suddenly. So we say "Work is real worship". But he was very hungry. you are taking shelter in my cool shade from the burning heat of the sun and on the other hand. The sun was extremely hot. "What were you doing the whole summer? Why didn't you store up the food for the winter season?" The grasshopper replied.

The old lion put his wicked plan into practice and it started working. Many of his well-wishers got killed. His sixth sense worked and he came to know the reality. he tied a long string to a small stone. But the fisherman didn't listen to him and went on beating the water and making it dirty. So. As foxes are clever by nature." Saying so. will become his prey.Spoken English: Short Stories KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN Once upon a time there was a lion that grew so old that he was unable to kill any prey for his food. So. sir?" The lion replied. he called out to the lion from outside and said. He cast his net into the pool and sat down. the villagers brought some companions armed with weapons. he said to himself. "How are you. Once a fisherman went fishing to the pool. So. So. the fox went to alert the other animals. sir! But on seeing. the fisherman got scared. One day. The villagers used the water of the pool for drinking and for other purposes also. He decided to lie down in the cave pretending to be ill and then who-so-ever will come to enquire about his health. A villager saw him do so and asked him not to make the water muddy. Then putting it into the pool. LIVE AND LET LIVE Once there was a big pool near a village. Seeing them. "I must do something to stay my stomach else I will die of starvation. all foot prints going to your cave and none coming out. But he was very impatient. The pool was abounded with fish. "I am not feeling well at all." 10 . a fox came to visit the ailing lion. He drew out his stone and apologized. I would be foolish enough to come in. "I would love to come in. he began to stir the water to drive more fish into his net. But evil is short lived. But why don't you come inside?" Then the fox replied." He kept thinking and thinking and at last an idea clicked him. the fox stood at the mouth of the cave and looked about.

Anthony promised his father that he would never postpone things. Then they reached another pond. The teacher got drowned. on the way. "You should have faith in god. the teacher had to go on the same route. which was held the previous day. Next day. But the prize became useless for him. The disciples followed their guru. He was asked to collect the prize the same day. He hadn't gone too far when suddenly it started raining cats and dogs. He stopped there and started filling his mouth with fish. BLIND IMITATION IS BAD One day. When he reached a deep drain. HAVE FAITH IN GOD Once a teacher had a disciple who used to live in a hermitage. He will save you from all problems. he doubted whether god would save him or not. doubt drowns you and faith saves you. One day his father called him and made him understand the value of time that one should always do things on time. Anthony learnt a lesson from this incident. One day. the disciple was going somewhere. The saint said nothing to them and after some time moved ahead. Thus. He didn't care and went to collect the prize the next day. The teacher said. as it was a ticket to a circus show. where there were no fishes. One day." The disciple obeyed and resumed his journey. The saint stood at its shore and started taking out the fishes he had swallowed. He returned and told this problem to his teacher. He kept reciting the name of god and cleared all the hurdles. he came to know that he had won the first prize in a singing competition that was held the previous month. a saint while going somewhere with his disciples saw a pond full of fishes. they were 11 .Spoken English: Short Stories TIME IS VALUABLE Anthony was a very lazy boy and always used to postpone things. When the disciples saw this.

"Fools. the crane invited the fox to dine in with him. But the crane could not enjoy it at all with his long beak and had to get back home hungry. So. when you didn't know how to keep the fishes alive in the stomach.Spoken English: Short Stories amazed and also tried to vomit out the fishes. The shrewd fox felt extremely amused. A FOX AND A CRANE Once a fox and a crane became friends. the fox invited the crane to dinner. he himself lapped the crane's share with his tongue enjoying its relish a lot. So. The fox's mouth couldn't reach the soup through the narrow neck of the jug. the saint said. he served the soup in flat dishes. After few days. The crane gave him a warm welcome and served the soup in a jug with a long and narrow neck. But as we all know that foxes are cunning by nature. The fox reached his place well in time. The crane accepted the invitation and reached the fox's place at sunset. So. then why did you imitate me?" Its truly said that never imitate anyone. The fox had prepared soup for his mate. He had to return home hungry. the crane enjoyed the soup with great relish using his long beak. At this. 12 . Now he realized that he had been repaid for his behaviour with the crane. but after many attempts. they could only take out some dead fishes.

13 . Then the boy started the play. Later.Spoken English: Short Stories LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE Once there lived a grumpy king. While she was away. I have the right to enter my wife’s chamber. Seeing this Lord Shiva sent his soldiers to fetch the head of the first beast that they saw. Not used to be disobeyed he cut off the boy’s head. Lord Shiva returned and was surprised to find a little boy standing at the entrance to his wife’s chamber. scared of the punishment. “Who are you and why are you blocking my path?” demanded Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvathi. When he tried to enter. Lord Shiva who was quick to anger grew enraged. All people present in the court were amazed. Lord Shiva replied. the wife of Lord Shiva. “No one enters my mother’s chamber”.” But the young and courageous boy did not move but stood his ground. was getting ready for her bath and needed someone to guard her chamber. She gave him life by sprinkling the Holy Ganges water on him and entrusted him with guarding the door. who quickly attached it onto the body of the slain boy and gave him life once again. a small boy couldn't control his laughter. Taken aback. He wrote a funny story and converted it into a drama. "May I present my drama to you?" the king let him do it. Goddess Parvathi on returning from her bath saw her son lying dead and was overcome with grief. “Step away. THE STORY OF LORD GANESHA One day. he came to the funniest part of the story which made the king laugh. Not knowing that this was his own son. One day. The king then allowed everybody to laugh. They immediately took the head to Lord Shiva. Then he went to the palace and asked the king. Everyone then lived happily thereafter. the boy blocked his path. he thought of a plan. He never used to laugh nor allow anyone in the kingdom to laugh. In the end. The men rushed and finally came upon an elephant. declared the boy boldly. She was filled with both anger and sorrow. Therefore she made a beautiful. young boy from the sandalwood from her body.

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER One summer's day. While the storm rages below. Even today at the entrance of all temples one would find the idol of the elephant-headed God. When the winter came. failure and disappointment in our lives. before all other Gods. said the Grasshopper. When the storm hits.” and he closed the door. laughing at him. It is best to prepare for the days of necessity. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm.” “Don’t worry about winter. tragedy. said the Grasshopper “Let’s have fun together. We can allow God’s power to lift us above them. “Come and sing with me instead of working so hard”. “and I advise you to do the same. We can soar above the storm.The eagle does not escape the storm.” said the Ant.When the storms of life come upon us – and all of us will experience them – we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. “I’m afraid you will have to go supperless to bed. But the Ant wouldn’t listen and continued his toil. bearing along with great toil a wheatear to store for the winter. Lord Ganesha. 14 . “If you had listened to my advice in the summer you would not now be in need.” “I must store food for the winter”. a merry Grasshopper was dancing.Spoken English: Short Stories To further appease his grief-stricken wife he promised that her son would be worshipped first. said the Ant. It rises on the winds that bring the storm. the eagle is soaring above it.God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness. He saw an Ant passing by. the starving Grasshopper went to the Ant’s house and humbly begged for something to eat. it’s still very far away”. The storms do not have to overcome us. EAGLES IN A STORM Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. singing and playing his violin with all his heart.

Then the father explains: "People call this ECHO. “Yes. where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.She said.The man returned to the flower shop. but does not understand. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.”The man smiled and said. and a rose costs two dollars. pay attention. somewhere in the mountain: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!" Curious.”She directed him to a cemetery. in all aspects of life. please! You can take me to my mother. IT'S A REFLECTION OF YOU!" 15 . he hears the voice repeating. “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. This relationship applies to everything. MOUNTAIN "A son and his father were walking on the mountains. create more love in your heart. he yells: "Who are you?" He receives the answer: "Who are you?" And then he screams to the mountain: "I admire you!" The voice answers: "I admire you!" Angered at the response. “Come on in with me. his son falls. I’ll buy you a rose. but really this is LIFE. hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!" To his surprise. If you want more love in the world.But I only have seventy-five cents.”He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. It gives you back everything you say or do.As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing. Life will give you back everything you have given to it." Again the man screams: "You are a champion!" The voice answers: "You are a champion!" The boy is surprised." YOUR LIFE IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. If you want more competence in your team. canceled the wire order.Spoken English: Short Stories MOTHER’S DAY A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. Suddenly. picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house.He asked her what was wrong and she replied. improve your competence. he screams: "Coward!" He receives the answer: "Coward!" He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?" The father smiles and says: "My son.

came to the lump of gold. and digging down. for when the gold was there. Speak life to those who cross your path. the other frogs said. He soon discovered the secret of the hidden treasure. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. but go and take a stone. they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. and stole it. that they were as good as dead. you had it not. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time. as you did not make the slightest use of it. and fancy that the gold is still lying there. seeing him overcome with grief and learning the cause. A neighbor. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another. on his next visit. This story teaches two lessons: 1. The power of words… it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He fell down and died. one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. One of his workmen observed his frequent visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements. Once again. The other frogs kept telling them to stop.The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. 2. and two of them fell into a deep pit. Be careful of what you say. found the hole empty and began to tear his hair and to make loud lamentations.Spoken English: Short Stories THE MISER A miser sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold. It will do you quite the same service. Finally. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them." TWO FROGS A group of frogs were traveling through the woods. and place it in the hole. When he got out. There is power of life and death in the tongue. 16 . "Pray do not grieve so. said. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an old wall and went to look at daily. “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. The Miser.

where they decided to take a bath. The one. but the friend saved him. wrote in the sand: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE. After the friend recovered from the near drowning. got stuck in the mire and started drowning. we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. During some point of the journey they had an argument. and one friend slapped the other one in the face. but without saying anything. you write on a stone. you wrote in the sand and now. why?” The other friend replied: “When someone hurts us. “After I hurt you. he wrote on a stone: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.Spoken English: Short Stories SAND AND STONE A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. who had been slapped. The one who got slapped was hurt.”The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him.”They kept on walking until they found an oasis. AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE 17 . But. we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it. when someone does something good for us.” LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND.

There is simply no other possession. whenever he was discouraged. “Oh. They’re all for you. each one of us. Daddy. stating. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art. when that brother who won the toss completed his studies. the father and head of the household. in a tiny village near Nuremberg.Spoken English: Short Stories LEVEL 2: STORIES FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDREN A BOX FULL OF KISSES The story goes that some time ago. THE PRAYING HANDS Back in the fifteenth century. he would support the other 18 . with his earnings. it’s not empty at all. anyone could hold. Daddy. support his brother while he attended the academy. He put his arms around his little girl. more precious than this. a goldsmith by profession. worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood. an accident took the life of the child. Daddy. the two boys finally worked out a pact. two of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s children had a dream. He yelled at her. there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried. when you give someone a present.”The man w as embarrassed by his earlier overreaction. in four years.Only a short time later. Then. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition. “This is for you. “Don’t you know. he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.In a very real sense.After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed. and he begged for her forgiveness. lived a family with eighteen children. They would toss a coin. and God. friends. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and.”The father was crushed. as humans beings have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses… from our children. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob. a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said. family members. Nevertheless. I blew kisses into the box. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

“And now. brother … for me it is too late. “No …no …no …no. I cannot go to Nuremberg. tears streaming down his pale face. holding his hands close to his right cheek. over and over. “No.”All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat. Look … looks what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once. Albrecht Durer’s hundreds of masterful portraits. pen and silver-point sketches. Albert. and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast. much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands. either with sales of his artwork or. he said softly. but the odds are great that you. punctuated with music and laughter. By now. to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed. Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. also by laboring in the mines. Albrecht’s etchings. No. he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.” but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands. his woodcuts. More than merely being familiar with it. for the next four years. charcoals. now it is your turn. Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were. It is too late for me.Spoken English: Short Stories brother at the academy. and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors.They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. and I will take care of you. whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. One day. financed his brother. and then. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream.” 19 . are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. blessed brother of mine. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. like most people. After a long and memorable meal. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved.” More than 450 years have passed. woodcuts. if necessary. you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office. brother.When the young artist returned to his village. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and.” Finally. the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. and by the time he graduated. watercolors. and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world.

will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word. take a second look. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!” replied the 3rd wife. Now. “Life is so good over here! I’m going to remarry when you die!” The merchant’s heart sank and turned cold. endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. He also loved the 3rd wife very much. Before long. it is how we handle them. he asked the 4th wife. “I loved you most. THE FOUR WIVES There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives. He’s very proud of her and always wanted to show off her to his friends.Spoken English: Short Stories The next time you see a copy of that touching creation.ever makes it alone! Remember. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself. he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times. The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant’s heart. it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down. Let it be your reminder. I’ll be alone. Now that I’m dying. He too. always patient and in fact is the merchant’s confidante. he knew that he was going to die soon. the merchant fell ill. the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply. he hardly took notice of her. How lonely I’ll be!” Thus. The sad merchant then asked the 3rd wife. if you still need one. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best. loved his 2nd wife. However. “I have loved you so much for all my life. She is a very considerate person. But when I die. Now that I’m dying. Whenever the merchant faced some problems. the merchant is always in great fear that she might run away with some other men. the merchant’s 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However. that no one – no one – . 20 . “Now I have 4 wives with me. One day.

d. almost like she suffered from malnutrition. status and wealth. will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry. going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. Perhaps it’s a good idea to cultivate and strengthen it now rather than to wait until we’re on our deathbed to lament WAIT FOR THE BRICK A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street. no children appeared. a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door! He slammed on the brakes and drove the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. they all go to others. The 1st wife is in fact our soul. “I always turned to you for help and you’ve always helped me out.Spoken English: Short Stories He then asked the 2nd wife. The angry driver then jumped out of the car. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. “What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? 21 . the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave. Now I need your help again. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good. She was so skinny. When I die.” The answer came like a bolt of thunder and the merchant was devastated.” The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. “I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!” Actually. The 4th wife is our body. Guess what? It is actually the only thing that follows us wherever we go. c. Instead. I’ll follow you no matter where you go. often neglected in our pursuit of material. As his car passed. Greatly grieved. When we die. the merchant said. b. I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. I can only send you to your grave. we all have 4 wives in our lives a. “At the very most. it’ll leave us when we die. grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car. shouting. The 2nd wife is our family and friends. Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you. wealth and sensual pleasure. Our 3rd wife? Our possessions. No matter how close they had been there for us when we’re alive.

the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. “Please mister … please. I’m sorry… I didn’t know what else to do. It’s our choice: Listen to the whisper … or wait for the brick! PUPPIES FOR SALE A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. slow walk back to the Jaguar. It was a long.” The boy dropped his head for a 22 .” the grateful child told the stranger. “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me. Why did you do it?” The young boy was apologetic. but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door.” said the farmer.” he said. then took out his fancy handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. The damage was very noticeable. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair. “Thank you and may God bless you. the boy asked the stunned executive. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop…” With tears dripping down his face and off his chin. He looked down into the Eyes of a little boy.” Now sobbing. the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.” he said. as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck.” “Well. As he was driving the last nail into the post. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention! God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. “I want to buy one of your puppies. Too shook up for words. He has to throw a brick at us. Mister.” Mo ved beyond words. “It’s my brother. Sometimes when we don’t have time to listen. he felt a tug on his overalls. “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.” he pleaded.Spoken English: Short Stories That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. the man simply watched the little boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.

" 23 . Slowly another little ball appeared. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe. I don’t run too well myself. The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said. one of whom said: "See that lazy youngster. and got on himself. one of whom said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.Spoken English: Short Stories moment. Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. THE MAN. Looking back up at the farmer. Then reaching deep into his pocket. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women. THE BOY AND THE DONKEY A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would. “You see sir. Is that enough to take a look?” “Sure.” With that the little boy stepped back from the fence.” said the farmer. the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. “Son. doing its best to catch up…. this One noticeably smaller. what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?" So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. As the dogs made their way to the fence. and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. and he will need someone who understands. “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. But soon they passed a group of men. “Here. “I want that one.” The world is full of people who need someone who understands. His eyes danced with delight. he said.” the little boy said. he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. reached down. Down the ramp it slid. pointing to the runt." So the Man ordered his Boy to get off. Then in a somewhat awkward manner the little pup began hobbling toward the others. he lets his father walk while he rides. Dolly!” he called. And with that he let out a whistle. you don’t want that puppy. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You fools.

"What are you making?" Just as sweetly. and you will please none THE WOODEN BOWL A frail old man went to live with his son. 24 . the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. and food on the floor. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. They thought and they thought. and his forefeet being tied together he was drowned. He asked the child sweetly. and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. the Man didn't know what to do. One evening before supper. the boy responded. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess." said the son. his food was served in a wooden bowl. "That will teach you. getting one of his feet loose. but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two. when the Donkey. There. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult. both knew what must be done. "We must do something about grandfather." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?" The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. The four-year-old watched it all in silence. tied the donkey's feet to it. The family ate together nightly at the dinner table. Sometimes when the family glanced in grandfather's direction. and his step faltered. Still. By this time they had come to the town. daughter-in-law. and a four-year old grandson. he had a tear in his eye as he ate alone. his eyesight was blurred. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge. "Oh. noisy eating. When he grasped the glass often milk spilled on the tablecloth." said an old man who had followed them: Please all. Though no word was spoken. grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dinner table. the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. I've had enough of his spilled milk. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge. The old man's hands trembled.Spoken English: Short Stories Well. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. till at last they cut down a pole.

They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said. At the second tree a woodsman said. because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty. and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching..." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship. I could be filled with gold. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches. Their eyes ever observe. and everyday! TREES THAT WOOD Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. 25 . "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. or the tablecloth soiled. their ears ever listen." Finally the third tree said. I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true. The wise parent realizes that every day that building blocks are being laid for the child's future. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull. I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter" . and those you love.Spoken English: Short Stories For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. The tree was happy. And for some reason. silver and precious gems. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Take care of yourself. Let us all be wise builders and role models.. they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives. "This looks like a strong tree. When one came to the first tree he said. and he began cutting it down. . If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members. Children are remarkably perceptive. today. milk spilled. and their minds ever process the messages they absorb." Then the second tree said.. "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. .. "Someday I will be a mighty ship. neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped. "This looks like a strong tree..

Years later. but this manger would have to do. One of the woodsmen said. This was not at all what he had prayed for. someone came and got the third tree. a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of them was tired and went to sleep. a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. When they came to a stop. and the trees forgot about their dreams. Each of the trees got what they wanted. At this time. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way. the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. he was made into a feed box for animals.Spoken English: Short Stories When the woodsmen came upon the third tree. and he stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time. We just know that His ways are not our ways. always know that God has a plan for you. While they were out on the water. a man and woman came to the barn. but His ways are always best. The years went by. the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat. and he cut it down. The men woke the sleeping man. 26 . The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. He will give you great gifts. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. because Jesus had been crucified on it. If you place your trust in Him. just not in the way they had imagined. the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible. "I don't need anything special from my tree so I'll take this one". Finally. Then one day. When the first tree arrived at the carpenters. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. When Sunday came. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

but you'll need it to become a better pencil. and you will become the best pencil you can be. but only if you allow yourself to be held in God's hand. and went into the box with purpose in its heart. Always remember them and never forget." "Four: The most important part of you will always be what's inside. And Five: On every surface you walk through. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess. Always remember them and never forget. just before putting him into the box. No matter what the situation. but you'll need it to become a stronger person. but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone's hand. you must continue to write. "Before I send you out into the world. by going through various problems in life. Now replacing the place of the pencil with you. 27 ." "And Five: On every surface you are used on. you must leave your mark. you must leave your mark. Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make. Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time." "Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time.Spoken English: Short Stories PENCIL The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside. No matter what the condition." "One: You will be able to do many great things. "There are 5 things you need to know." he told the pencil." "Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make. Four: The most important part of you will always be what's on the inside. and you will become the best person you can be. One: You will be able to do many great things. you must continue to do your duties." The pencil understood and promised to remember.

the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom. How many times do we miss Spirit's blessings and answers to our prayers because they do not arrive exactly as we have expected? 28 . but somewhat disappointed. Before he could make arrangements. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible. Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot make a change. and thought perhaps he should go to him. On the tag was the date of his graduation. with the young man's name embossed in gold.Spoken English: Short Stories Allow this parable on the pencil to encourage you to know that you are a special person and only you can fulfill the purpose to which you were born to accomplish. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things. and knowing his father could well afford it. With tears. he raised his voice to his father and said "With all your money. leather-bound Bible. the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. And as he did. Angry. the young man opened the box and found a lovely. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. just as he had left it years ago. on the morning of his graduation. sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached. Curious. but realized his father was very old. and willed all of his possessions to his son. Finally. he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away. When he arrived at his father's house. DAD’S BLESSINGS A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. He had not seen him since that graduation day. his father called him into his private study. Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. It had a tag with the dealer's name. you give me a Bible?" and stormed out of the house. and the words PAID IN FULL. and told him how much he loved him. leaving the Bible.

plants. The cloud then realized her mistake. Indeed. So he packed a knapsack with a few clothes. The cloud was so small and weighed so little that the wind took her far away. the whole country became a desert. there started blowing a gentle breeze. and was unable to do anything to stop it . but she also did not realize that by being over a desert there was no place where she could obtain new water to keep growing. rivers dried up. A MAD MAN IN THE CITY Julian finally left his village when there was no one left living there. but she became so generous when raining. put on his best smile. that her new country became even greener. giving away to all people there the most beautiful rainbow in the world. He had never left his beloved village before. and will never start raining again. It turned out that Julian had seemed 'suspiciously happy' for someone with hardly any possessions. he decided to go and see for himself what wonderful things those cities had. while his country was getting dried. he was given a most unexpected welcome. where once again she recovered her original size. Having learned this lesson. A couple of policemen stopped Julian and questioned him in great detail. to a faraway beautiful country. On reaching the city. but just before evaporating. the cloud grew up. First.Spoken English: Short Stories THE GREEDY CLOUD Once upon a time lived on a cloud that was grown up over a very beautiful country. but intrigued by the fact that everyone had gone to the city. the police had to let him go. and off he went to the city. In the end. than the cloud decided that in order to get bigger and grow more. her water would never abandon her. The cloud did not care much. but they were still suspicious about this apparently simple and good-natured fellow. and that her greed and selfishness were the cause of her vanishing. One day. she saw another much bigger cloud and she felt so much envy. animals. 29 . when she was just a sigh of cotton. the cloud began to lose size. So slowly. then people. our cloud remained small and modest. and finally.

That night Julian slept in a park. stamped on it. trying to understand what was going on. and making all kinds of faces and angry gestures. that when one of the other children came over to invite him to play with them. Julian carried on walking through the city streets. they certainly did seem happy. paying for them. Julian started regretting having left his village. He decided to help the boy. Curious as to what it was. chasing each other. But then he saw that people were picking these things up. As the bins were completely empty. on entering. Now. 30 . and looked at the boy with great satisfaction. Then he saw a few kids playing. just to come to this place where no one seemed happy. Once again. "This must be the best museum in the world. the man arrived at a small flat and went inside. after seeing a woman very contentedly leaving with the most modern of watches on her wrist. He had done or seen nothing of interest that whole day. He saw her joy turn into disappointment when her friends gave her new watch a look of disapproval. took the console. which no one wanted to miss. and none of them well. when a man came by and dropped his chocolate wrapper. when he arrived at a group of big warehouses. Everyone was in such a hurry that he thought that there must be something special happening that day. "Why would anyone want a watch which doesn't show the minutes?" he wondered to himself. However. he decided to follow the lady with the watch. He was hitting it so hard with his fingers. Except for one child. The park was strewn with bits of paper and plastic. Julian started following a man who looked like he was hurrying to see whatever it was that was happening. which many people were entering." he thought. He thought pretty much the same when seeing a pair of shoes with impossibly high heels. the boy with the console just rudely walked away. and taking them away. Julian thought that the boy was trying to destroy that little machine because it was making him so unhappy. and then some electronic device which did a thousand things. after several hours following him. and seeing all the uselesslooking things they had inside. running about. Julian went over. Julian thought how cool it was that the city had seemingly invented plants with petals made of paper and plastic. threw it on the ground. He only believed this until the following morning. playing. who seemed troubled by a little machine they were calling a console.Spoken English: Short Stories The first thing Julian noticed about the city was all the rushing around.

and shot the giant turtle. on the African plains. The turtle was frightened and withdrew into its shell. They pursued Julian so relentlessly that he had to run away. When the rhino demanded that the turtle get out of his territory. He didn't stop running until he reached the road leading back to his village. took a run up. nor the turtle . it looked a bit like a solitary game of football. Quite an amusing spectacle. that it seemed like he was using the monkeys as skittles. there lived a moody rhino who was very easily angered. He whacked it with his horn. No success.Spoken English: Short Stories At this the boy flew into a rage. enjoyed the fact that a gang of monkeys was mocking them. This time the rhino very quietly retreated a few steps. and his blows got increasingly violent. who were making fun of him in every way you can imagine. with the intention of getting rid of it. One day. a giant turtle entered the rhino's territory unaware. with the turtle as the ball. On he went. he thought the turtle was fooling him. So. The rhino quickly ran over to the turtle. as did all the other children there. and the turtle went back inside his shell. The rhino was so furious that he didn't even notice that they were there. with such a good aim. they exchanged a knowing look. Neither the rhino. They laughed non-stop at the angry rhino and his struggle with the turtle. until he had to stop for a second to get his breath. NEVER MAKE FUN OF A RHINO Once. As he was making his way home he couldn't help wondering whether the whole world had gone mad. looked at the turtle. The rhino was incredibly annoyed. and nearly all the adults. Now that he wasn't bashing the shell. sending the poor turtle flying in all directions. and a load of monkeys soon gathered close by to enjoy it. 31 . So he started banging the shell to make the turtle come out.who had appeared from his shell -. looked at the monkeys. nodded. From a distance. there was no discernible movement. it was. he could hear the laughing and joking of the monkeys.

One of the new kids was the stupidest child anyone had ever seen. They all wanted to be the first to find his mistakes. and there he waited for a while. Lewis could hear they were talking about Math. hand in hand. So.. However.Spoken English: Short Stories The 'strike' against the monkeys turned that place into something of a casualty ward for baboons. Meanwhile.. smiling like old friends. seven times three was twenty-seven.. their chief realised it was about time they found a better way to amuse themselves than making fun of others. oranges. there was a new Math teacher. Before this boy arrived. much more than anyone in the class! 32 . To do this they used all kinds of stuff: sweets. as well as some new pupils. the children would listen to the pieces of nonsense spouted by the new kid. It made no difference how quickly or how slowly they tried explaining numbers to him. It was the new teacher! The teacher gave the new kid a hug. off went the rhino and the turtle. he would always end up saying something enormously dumb. And that stupid new kid knew everything about it. paper planes.. playing cards. and off they went.. he decided to follow the new kid home after school. Encouraged by the new teacher. Now they were great fun. covered in cuts and bruises. It didn't seem like any of this bothered the new kid. and then think up the most original ways to explain them.. and not even a smirk crossed their lips. There they all lay. or a triangle had thirty corners. the new kid walked a few minutes to a local park. and they would have to correct his mistakes. Like two plus two was five. Lewis was sure he would see him crying. until someone came along to meet him. Following from a distance. On leaving school.. THE MATH DUNCE That year. in the local school. little Lewis was sure that it was bound to make him feel sad inside. and while the monkeys were putting on their sticking plasters. Maths lessons had been the most boring of all. one day..

the softness of her petals. And so it was that she spent the few days of her life." she thought. -"so the flower can get some sun. once again stretching up towards the sun. The rose was beginning to fade and wilt. so she had no idea how pretty she was. and. gradually. a girl was strolling through the garden. without knowing that all around her were amazed by her and her perfection: her perfume. the rose got to see herself and what she looked like. out from between a load of grass and weeds. When she was 33 . the rose recovered her former appearance. It was as white as driven snow. One hot. her elegance. thinking about how many lovely things Mother Nature has given us. inside a lovely colourful glass vase. its petals looked like velvet. and placed it by the window. as if from nowhere. The flower couldn’t see herself. sunny day." What the young girl didn’t realise was that the reflection from the window meant that. a white rose. -"I'll put it here. Little by little her drooping leaves began to rise. for the first time. there appeared.” And so she did. The weeds that surrounded her were fascinated by her beauty. until wilting set on. and lived in a state of enchantment at her aroma and appearance. when she suddenly saw a white rose in a forgotten part of the garden.Spoken English: Short Stories THE WHITE ROSE In a garden filled with bushes. With all her love she put the wilting white rose in water.” she thought. -“It’s days since it rained. -“Is that me?” thought the rose. -“if the rose stays here till tomorrow it'll be totally withered. I’ll take it home and put it in the lovely vase I got as a present. and the morning dew shone from its leaves like resplendent crystals. She didn’t realise that everyone who saw her spoke well of her.

one by one. and that he expected that only the thief would be able to save his life. and the only antidote for this poison was hidden inside the ruby that had been stolen the previous night. and during lunch. unable to see herself. the dwarf started asking them all. and he asked for help from a wise dwarf who was famed for his intelligence. forget everything that’s around you. THE RUBY THIEF In the palace of Rubyland there was a ruby thief. since the poison was particularly quick working… The coughs and groans spread around the room. some days earlier. No one knew who it was. But then. and the thief had everyone so fooled that the only thing known about him was that he lived in the palace.Spoken English: Short Stories totally back to her best she looked at her reflection and saw that she was indeed a beautiful flower. The following morning the wise dwarf made all the palace inhabitants meet up together in the same room. And he explained how. Fortunately he would be able to open it and drink the strange liquid inside. suddenly. from where he took the final ruby. writhing and moaning. what they knew about the stolen jewels. and just look into your heart. Once again. and finally he fell to the floor. If you really want to know who you are. and terror took hold of all present. unable to know who she really was. with a cheeky smile. After inspecting them for the whole morning. 34 . All except one person. thus saving his life. and that when you were in the palace you should always hide your jewels. She thought -"Wow! Till now I hadn’t realised who I was. The dwarf. one of the gardeners began coughing. The dwarf spent some days there. without saying a word. it seemed that no one had been the thief. watching and listening. explained that the food they had just eaten was poisoned. until their was another theft. A footman didn’t take long to run over to where he had hidden the jewels. The King decided to find out who it was. how could I have been so blind?” The rose came to realise she had spent her days without appreciating her beauty. he himself had swapped some false rubies for the genuine ones.

the least you can do is draw me a pair of eyes!’ said the drawing. your majesty.’ the drawing interrupted him. rub me out!’ So Pinty erased the circle and drew another one. Pinty was understandably shocked. As ever. but he managed to draw two little spots inside the circle. because the gardener was. it was not very round. and he would just give up in disgust. grateful. it did not go well. no problem.” -“And who knew it? If the thief had deceived everyone… -“No. Anyone can deceive everyone. in fact. generously rewarded his wise adviser. and the poison was nothing more than a potion prepared by the little investigator to cause a few strong pains for a short while. and he was about to throw the pencil away when his drawing began to speak to him. looking around at itself… ‘Arghh! But what have you done to me?!’ ‘I don’t draw very well. so his works of art did not end happily.” THE DRAWING THAT TALKED Pinty Tailor was a little boy who enjoyed going to school and doing all sorts of things. The King.Spoken English: Short Stories Or so he believed. are you? Come on. but nothing more than that. ‘Psst! You aren’t going to leave me like this. was arrested by the guards and taken immediately to court. and when he asked the dwarf what his secret was. now I can see myself. not everyone. And the footman. now found out. Lik e the first one.’ said the circle. but no one can deceive themselves.’ said Pinty. Go on. ‘Much better. and he tried drawing a circle. the dwarf smiled and said: -“I only try to get the person knowing the truth to reveal that truth. ‘I’m sure that if you try again you’ll do better. ‘OK. But one day Pinty found a pencil of such lovely colours that he could not resist. except for art and writing. 35 . Using brushes and pencils did not come easy to Pinty. trying to make excuses. one of the dwarf’s assistants.

’ ‘Hmmm. he took a pencil and some paper and tried to draw a little man. ‘Don’t you see that you’ve been practicing a lot. and enjoying it all the while? I bet that’s the first time you’ve done that!’ Pinty stopped to think. Pinty began to worry. Pinty gave his new instructor a hearty thank you for having taught him how to draw so well.’ or ‘draw me some hair. and he did not know if he had really spent the previous afternoon talking with the little man or whether he had dreamt the whole thing. in its usual quick manner. you’re right. To Pinty. And the sheet of paper on which he had drawn the little figure. this did not seem like a bad idea. who remained almost paralysed with shock. and he had always done it angrily and grudgingly. what the little drawing had said was correct. I think I’m going to have to teach you how to draw until you can do me well. After spending nearly the whole afternoon together. I look like a lollipop!’ and other funny remarks. was completely blank. but thank you anyway. silly!’ answered the little drawing. although still full of rubbing out marks. Without doubt. The truth was that previously. He was enjoying it so much that he did not want to stop drawing with this crazy new teacher of his. ‘But I didn’t do anything.’ said the circle with its quick.’ said Pinty. but carefully. The next morning Pinty jumped out of bed and went running to find his pencil. He searched everywhere. but there was no sign of it. squeaky little voice. quickly. 36 . The circle would not stop saying ‘rub this out. Before going to bed that night. it hurts. to try to settle the matter. So. and he immediately found himself drawing and erasing circles. Pinty could already draw the little figure much better than most of his classmates could have. and before he went to bed he carefully placed the pencil in his school bag. but it was not there.Spoken English: Short Stories ‘Hey! You forgot the eyes again!’ ‘Oh. ‘OK. he had drawn so badly because he had never practiced more than ten minutes at a time. yeah.

Spoken English: Short Stories It turned out not bad at all. Then. you only needed to keep trying and to enjoy doing so. or do anything else. and start singing. go out to perch on a branch. and began singing. He used all his strength to raise the tree back up again. my friend. he always had fun imagining the result of his work protesting to him and saying ‘Come on. a bird came and nested in the tree. a hippopotamus lived in a river next to a big and solitary tree. Finally. hippos can't sing either. when he tried to climb the tree it was all too clear that the hippo didn't have wings. One day. climb the tree. trying to sing like a bird. However. to manage to do things. despite the many times the bird told the hippo he was so lucky to be so big and such a good swimmer. and neither could he hop. The songs and the flight of the bird caused such envy in the hippo that he couldn't think of anything else. he angrily rammed his whole weight against the tree until it came crashing to the ground. nor claws to climb with. and that it looked like he was trying to give him spots. except for a couple of jagged lines. he stepped onto the leaves of the fallen tree. Pinty gladly rubbed out those bits and redrew them. He was so embarrassed by this that he decided to never again regret being a hippo. do me a bit better than that! I can’t go to the party looking like this!’ THE SINGING HIPPO Once upon a time. All that came from his mouth were horrible noises. the hippo made his mind up that he would come out of the river. Realising that he would never manage it. and when the other animals heard this they all gathered round to make fun of the hippo standing on the branch of a fallen tree. whenever Pinty tried to draw or paint. Every day he would lament the fact that he had been born a hippo. triumphantly. He realised that the crazy little teacher had been right: it made no difference whether you had the magic pencil or not. and look after it until it had completely recovered. 37 . replant it. Unfortunately. This. He imagined his bossy little teacher telling him to round out those edges. He also felt bad about having knocked the tree over. From that day on.

He was even angrier after he realised that the cloud was following him. and parents who loved him dearly. Chuckles was drifting past. What caught Gus unawares was Chuckles the prankster cloud. One day. Gladys took him to the swimming pool. she said to him: "Cheer up! What you should realise is that you're the only one of us who has his very own cloud. with funny looks on their 38 . Well. and he got more and more infuriated. this carried on for almost a week. Gus had to admit it had been a lot of fun. and run off at top speed. That was Chuckles' favourite trick to play on grumpy little kids. Then she went and got other kids. and even better. a happy and generous girl called Gladys. The water being black meant they could play hide and seek! Grudgingly. rainy days. One day. Gus couldn't get away from the cloud. Gus wasn't at all impressed by this new development. he started dropping heavy black rain on him. but what was even more fun was playing Wet the Cat. If he went to the zoo.Spoken English: Short Stories THE INCREDIBLE BLACK RAIN Gus Grumplings was never happy with anything. saying there were too many of them for just one ball. If he played football with his friends. it just made him complain even more. When the cloud was right above Gus. he would complain. When the cats felt themselves getting wet they would jump about in the craziest way. its rain is black! We could play some fun games with a cloud like this. but all Gus could think about was what he didn't have. All the other children had run off to avoid getting soaked and ending up completely black. Gus reluctantly agreed. he'd come back disappointed because they hadn't let him feed the lions. or things he did have which he was unhappy with. and left him there until all the pool water was black. They came and played in the pool. Gladys was the only one who had been willing to hang around with Gus during all those black. If someone gave him a car.. Gus had a little friend. and heard all of Gus's complaining.. and he didn't want her to leave as the others had. He had lots of friends. it would be too big or too slow. don't you reckon?" As Gladys was his only company these days. when Gus was at the end of his tether. Gus would find cats and run alongside them. Chuckles wafted over to see.

the prankster cloud. crystal waters of the river. During the journey. For the first time ever. the rich green rocks of the riverbed. and cursing his bad luck. even things which. When the river current lost its force. and the spring could see that things had calmed down a bit. However. had seemed so bad. What the spring saw was the pure. thought that he could now leave. Swept away by the water. before leaving. there was an accident. at first. and then moved on to a field of flowers. Although he heard many noises coming from outside. until he ended up in a river. Chuckles. he stopped crying and listened all around him. The flower 39 . There he heard weeping. he lived believing that outside his world inside the pen. Gus didn't complain. he gave Gus two days of multicoloured rain. and all kinds of fish of many colours. his work had been done. whose skin seemed to dance under the sunlight. Now he could go and do dry things. waiting to be enjoyed. and the good thing about Chuckles' departure was that no longer was Gus soaking wet all day. Terrified. all the children in town had gathered around Gus. But. which took him to a lovely flower that had been flattened by a rabbit. Gus started to see the positive side of things. well out of sight. He followed the sound. so he offered to be his support. with which the children invented the most fun games ever. and that's exactly what he did. and that there had always been many things outside. The spring realised that he could help the flower. Before long.Spoken English: Short Stories faces. he felt encouraged to finally open his eyes. Even just to think about leaving his pen made him so scared that he was quite content to spend his life compacting and stretching himself again and again inside that tiny space. and could no longer stand up straight. he did not dare open his eyes out of pure fear. he went over to the riverbank. Now he knew to focus on the good in life. and when the pen's owner was busy changing it. the spring was flushed through pipe after pipe. each time thinking it might be his end. When Chuckles finally left. Hearing birdsong and wind in the trees. Nor did he every stop crying. Now he understood that the world was much greater than the space inside the pen. he travelled on and on and on. After spending a while playing with the fish. thinking up new games they could play using the cloud. one day. MY LITTLE WORLD HAS BROKEN Once upon a time there was a spring who lived happily and safely inside a pen. there was nothing good. the ink ran out. The spring was flung through the air and landed in the toilet drain.

her favourite little fish. The girl was about to move to another country. Scamp tried talking to the river. The next morning. refusing to share his water with any fish. this put the river in such a good mood that he started talking to Scamp. He asked himself why he had never had them. feeling all the jumping and splashing. And they would always laugh when remembering how the spring used to think that all there was to life was being a sad and fearful spring. and that he wouldn't have been able to stand it! Now he remembered perfectly how he had told everyone to scoot. He lived alone. The river spent that night thinking about how much fun it was to have friends. but the river told Scamp to go away. Now. One day. he immediately felt the river's loneliness. by the end of that day. swam and swam. sadly and filled with loneliness. Scamp was a very happy little fish.. Scamp woke the river with a few playful splashes. There they lived happily together. The river. and finally he started jumping in and out of the water. and she wouldn't be able to take Scamp with her. When Scamp fell into the river. started to laugh.. that he wasn't going to put up with all that tickling.Spoken English: Short Stories accepted. and that was when the river remembered why he had decided to be such an unfriendly river: He remembered that he was very ticklish. And so his life went on. Almost without knowing it. Scamp and the river had become very good friends. He asked and asked. The river could not remember how long ago he had decided that he no longer wanted to put up with anything or anyone. This river was rather unfriendly and lonesome. a little girl with a goldfish bowl came to the bank of this river. 40 . and how much he had missed by not having them. It tickled! After a while. So she had decided to give Scamp his freedom. In the bowl lived Scamp. for many centuries. but he couldn't remember. THE UNFRIENDLY RIVER Once upon a time there was a river. and he wasn't going to give up so easily. plant or animal. and slipped through the middle of the spring.

As the months and the years passed. it was always better to have friends and to try to be happy. nor would he put on what they wanted him to after his bath. The same happened to whoever went to weigh themselves that day.. but above all. Soon everyone happily discovered that this was a much better indicator of beauty and a person’s value.. Rather. THE TICKLING SCALES One day. The animals played with it for quite some time until a parrot who had escaped from the zoo explained to them how it worked. the animals always weighed the same. they all commented on how much fun the scales and its tickling were. weigh themselves. At first this was a big game. This was so much fun for the zebra that from that day on it no longer worried about its weight. the river realised that although it may sometimes be a bit inconvenient or uncomfortable. Finally. and 41 . or given poisonous looks. as soon as it stepped onto the scales. One day. many animals began to obsess about their weight. every day each animal would see how much weight they had gained or lost. the first to run to weigh itself was the zebra. remembering how sad and lonely he had felt for so many years. A DAY WITH PIGS There was once a boy who would never get dressed when his parents told him to. before long. As the months passed. before long. the scales began tickling the zebra’s hooves. and the zebra couldn’t stop giggling. a set of bathroom scales appeared. in other words: "more than they wanted to". All the animals took turns to weigh themselves. in the jungle. in the jungle everyon e forgot about that antiquated and old-fashioned measurement known as the kilo. T he scales were regularly kicked. the scales stopped reading weight and began reading good humour and optimism instead. The first thing they would do each day would be to run to the scales. His parents were always in a rush. and spend the rest of the day with a grumpy expression on their faces. the scales began to suffer the animals’ disapproval. so that. no one was worried any longer about their weight. he liked to take his time. and off it went to happily eat its breakfast for the first time in ages. Soon the scales found just the right spot. the scales decided that from the following morning things would have to change. This because. He preferred to dress in a much stranger manner. no matter what the scales said. However.Spoken English: Short Stories But. That morning. However.

and look perfectly neat and tidy. The boy didn't mind this in the least. used to such an ideal existence. So out they went. Everyone told her that she was overreacting.Spoken English: Short Stories wanted him to be a lot quicker. But. the farmer managed to get the boy safely back to a pigsty. his parents found him. Not only that. told Gail that humans used fans to cool themselves down in summer. and that the hot weather would soon pass. and he would slow down even more. In fact. with a bit of shouting. living amongst the pigs. his complaints didn't help him. but he'd also forgotten to put his glasses on that day. thought to be a pig. just like those children in the clothes catalogues THE WARM WHALE Gail the Whale lived in a small salty lake. From then on. and sharing their food and home. The boy protested the whole way there. but Gail got to work. which had spent some time in a child's goldfish bowl. constructing her enormous fan. The boy had had such a regrettable day that never again did he want to be mistaken for anything other than a human being. she started fanning away at herself. and she led a very comfortable life. Finally. Gail. When he saw the little boy's pink skin. prodding. but the boy didn't like this. A little fish. And there he was for the whole day. waiting for his parents to bring the car. along came the local pig farmer. could hardly stand the hot water. this easy life made her a bit fussy. 42 . Gail the Whale couldn't think of anything else apart from how to build her very own fan. his parents were in their usual hurry. there was such an incredibly hot summer that the lake's water really warmed up. and pushing. he thought it was one of his pigs. though. One day. When it was finally finished. She was the only whale in that territory. While the boy was standing naked outside his house. but as the farmer was almost deaf. and they got so angry when he refused to dress. that they told him that he would have to go out naked. The pig farmer was hard of hearing and had poor eyesight. And. one year. Nowadays he's the first to get dressed.

She assured them all that if she were to live again she would be stronger and learn to put up with life's discomforts. and Gail stranded in only a few inches of water. leaving the lake half empty. The waves crashed onto the lakeshore. an elephant jumping on a trampoline. There wasn't much he could do except look out of the window. The little boy didn't tell anyone about this because who would have believed him? Even so. Until one day he saw a strange shape in the window. the lake filled up again. and spent his days feeling sad and blue. although. Time passed. of course. and his feeling of despair just grew. as more and more crazy-looking characters appeared out the window. It was a penguin eating a sausage sandwich. He had to spend all day in bed. the heat was becoming unbearable. said "good afternoon" to the boy. unable to move. and they asked for her forgiveness. Gail the Whale was overreacting." some unhappy-looking fish berated her. or a dog wearing a pair of glasses and talking about nothing except politics. and the weather improved. those strange characters ended up putting joy back 43 . Anyone wanting to stop laughing would never be helped by seeing a pig playing a tambourine. but after a while. Yet. when outside his window he saw a monkey in a nappy. You had to empty the lake. so impatient. THE MAGIC WINDOW Once upon a time there was a little boy who became very ill. but the fact that with so little water around her.Spoken English: Short Stories Unlucky for the fish! The giant fan beat the little lake's waters so strongly that huge waves rolled right across it. Because other children weren't allowed to come near him. Gail had to keep her promise. he burst out laughing and found it hard to stop. Naturally. he suffered greatly. she suffered. The penguin squeezed in through the open window. and left again. But the worst of it for Gail was not the insults. She managed to survive those hot days without dying. and show everyone that she had learned not to be so dependent on comfort. "You couldn't just hang on for while. once again. At first the boy asked himself what that could possibly be. she said her goodbyes to all her friends. the boy was very surprised. Of course. When the next rains arrived. busy blowing up a balloon. and so fussy. Preparing herself to die of heatstroke. "So impatient! So selfish!" others shouted. turned around. He was still trying to work out what had happened.

While he was talking to his best friend he saw something sticking out of his friend's school bag. and tell them all the strange things he had seen. Before long. inside. There he got to talk to his friends. and he was so insistent that finally his friend had to show him what was in the bag: There.Spoken English: Short Stories in his heart. 44 . were all the fancy-dress suits and disguises that his best friend had been using to try to cheer the little boy up! And from that day on. The boy asked his friend what it was. the little boy always did his best to make sure that no one felt sad and alone. his health had improved so much that he was able to go back to school again. and in his body.

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