STORIES FOR B1 +
1. How the shiny fall Read the whole story >>>
2. Lazy Jack Read the whole story >>>
3. One young man Read the whole story >>>
4. Scheherazade Read the whole story >>>
5. Survival Read the whole story >>>
6. The blind men and the Elephant Read the whole story >>>
7. The boy who was thirsty for knowledge Read the whole story >>>
8. The Cunning Fox and the Clever Stork Read the whole story >>>
9. The Little Jackals and the Lions Read the whole story >>>
10. The Most Beautiful Heart Read the whole story >>>
11. The open window Read the whole story >>>
12. The selfish giant Read the whole story >>>
13. The Story of Yes & No Read the whole story >>>
14. The two brothers Read the whole story >>>
15. Three Questions Read the whole story >>>
16. What is for Dinner Read the whole story >>>
1. How the shiny fall
When I was new, I was the darling of the whole shop. I sat on the shelf in the window, surrounded by cute gems and elegant necklaces. My deep blue sapphire stone caught every girl’s attention and the shape of my rose gold band impressed jewelers and customers alike. Young couples regularly came and admired me in the shop –you could practically hear their hearts beating. When I was new, I cost as much as a motorbike.
I was bought on a Tuesday in spring by Oliver, a nervous young accountant from the town. He came in only once. He saw me and just new that I was the right thing to win his girl’s heart! Wanting to make sure that his plans for a fairy tale proposal were destined for success, he carried me to his parents in a cushioned wooden box and asked for their blessings. The parents examined me thoroughly. I think I did my job extremely well because the next thing I know the box opened and my new owner looked down on me. She cried and laughed and shouted. “Yes!” I started my proud life on her finger and I meant the world to her and Oliver.
For the first few years, I shared my place with the wedding ring. She took us off at night and carefully placed us next to her bed. I often saw Oliver smile down on me. They were so happy together then.
Once, I fell into a crack in the floorboards. I had to wait there for a whole week before she finally freed me and returned to my rightful place, the center of her jewelry box. All I said was, “When I was new, I was the darling of the whole shop!” Finally I got some rest and she did not wear me around her finger anymore. Time passed, as new bracelets were added to my space in the box and other rings were taken out on day trips. She never touched me. She just left me in the box. I thought that was only right. I’m too precious to be worn like an old pair of jeans. In all that time, I relaxed so much that I never thought that my meaning could be lost.
One day, I realized I’d been betrayed. She opened the box to take out a bracelet and I spotted it on her finger – a new band, a huge diamond, a symbol of deceit ! The wedding band was gone and in its place sparkled the flashy new ring. And I thought, “That’s not Oliver’s!” Nothing about it felt like a modest man like him could have chosen.
Shortly after, she took me back to the shop. She was with a man called Fred, who was just as arrogant and braggy as the stupid piece of jewelry he had bought to replace me. The shopkeeper named a price and I was no longer a token of love but just a commodity, a piece of business as usual. The shame! I mean, I was the darling of the whole shop and now I had to return to the jeweler’s window in an ugly green box, and talking of embarrassment, they put a price on me that I dare not mention. Second hand, second choice, second best. That’s me now, costing as much as a bicycle, and in the back row of the window. Oliver never set foot in that shop again, but just a few days ago I caught a young man’s eye. Maybe he’ll come in?
2. Lazy Jack
Once upon a time there was a boy whose name was Jack, and he lived with his mother in a cottage. They were very poor, and the old woman got money by spinning, but Jack was so lazy that he would do nothing but lie in the sun in the summer or sit by the fireplace in the winter-time. So they called him Lazy Jack.
One day his mum says, “You boy, if you don’t get a job, you can’t live here!”
So the next day Lazy Jack gets a job with a neighbouring farmer. The farmer gives him a penny at the end of his work. He takes the penny and walks home. But as he walks home he crosses a river and "Bloom!" drops the penny in.
And so his mum says: “You stupid boy, you should have put it in your pocket."
“I’ll do so another time,” replies Jack.
The next day Jack gets a job with a cow keeper. The cow keeper gives him milk for his home. He takes the bottle of milk and puts it into the large pocket of his jacket. On the way the milk spills all around, long before he gets home. It just leaves a mess on his clothes.
“Dear me!” says the old woman; “you should have carried it on your head.”
“I’ll do so another time,” says Jack.
The next day he gets a job with a cheese maker near his house. The cheese maker gives him cream cheese for his home. So he takes the cream cheese, remembers what his mum said and puts it on his head and walks home. But as he is walking home, all the cream cheese gets melted on his hair. Yuk!!!
So his mum says, “You boy, you should have put it carefully in your hands.”
So Jack replies: “I’ll do so next time.”
The next time he gets a job with a baker. The baker gives him nothing but a wild cat to take home. He takes the wild cat remembers what his mum said and walks home holding it in his hands. But as he is walking home the cat scratches him so much that he lets it go.
So mum says: “You should have tied it with a rope and dragged it along!”
So Jack replies: “I’ll do so next time.”
The next day he gets a job with a butcher. The butcher gives him meat for his home. He takes the meat, remembers what his mum says and ties it with a rope and walks home. But as he is walking home, all the dogs eat the meat and it is all gone!
So his mum says: “You boy, you should have put it carefully on your shoulder!”
So Jack replies: “I’ll do so next time.”
So the next day he gets a job with a cattle keeper. The cattle keeper gives him a donkey for his home. He takes the donkey, remembers what his mum said and puts it on his shoulder. It is not easy to do but in the end he manages. And so he walks home with the donkey on his shoulder. Now it happens that he passes by an area where a rich man lives. He has an only daughter, a beautiful girl, who is deaf and dumb. Now she had never laughed in her life, and the doctors said she would never speak till somebody made her laugh.
This young lady happens to be looking out of the window when Jack passes with the donkey on his shoulders, with the legs sticking up in the air. The sight is so funny and strange that she bursts out into a great laughter "HA HA HA HAAAAAAH!!!", and immediately got back her speech and hearing.
"I CAN SPEAK!!!" "FATHER I CAN HEAR!!!" Her father was so happy that he married her to Lazy Jack. So Lazy Jack became a rich gentleman. They lived in a large house, and Jack’s mother lived with them happily ever after.
3. One young man
A young man went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the initial interview, and now would meet the director for the final interview....
The director discovered from his CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent. He asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?" the youth answered "No".
" Was it your father who paid for your school fees?"
"My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.” he replied.
" Where did your mother work?"
"My mother worked as a clothes cleaner.”
The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.
" Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?"
"Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.”
The director said, "I have a request. When you go home today, go and clean your mother's hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”
When he went back home, he asked his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to her son.
He cleaned his mother's hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother's hands were so wrinkled and brushed.
This was the first time the young man realized that it was this pair of hands paid the school fees. After cleaning his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother. That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.
Next morning, the youth went to the director's office.
The Director noticed the tears in the man’s eyes, when he asked: "Can you tell me what have you done?
The man answered," I cleaned my mother's hands, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes.”
“I now know what appreciation is. Without my mother, I would not be who I am today. By helping my mother, I realized how difficult and tough it is to get things done on your own. I have come to appreciate, my family.
The director said, "This is what I am looking for in a manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life.”
“You are hired.”
This young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and worked as a team. The company's performance improved tremendously.
There was once a very powerful but cruel Arabian king called Sultan, who had several wives. When the Sultan got tired of them, he decided to have them beheaded.
He said, “I’m going to kill one wife each day, but I can’t do it myself. I’ll have my assistant, the Grand Vizier, do it for me.”
The Grand Vizier’s daughter, Scheherazade, was horrified at the news. But the Vizier knew that if he refused, the Sultan would kill him, too. So Scheherazade said, “I’ll give myself to the Sultan as his next bride, and I’ll put an end to all of this nonsense!”
The Sultan was delighted to take Scheherazade as wife, but he assured the Grand Vizier that there would be no exceptions. The morning after the wedding, this wife would die, too.
Scheherazade and the Sultan were married, and that night she started to tell him a wonderful story. By the Sultan’s bedtime, the story had not ended, so he said he would let Scheherazade live an extra day, until she finished the tale. The next night she told more of her fabulous story, but once again, the Sultan’s bedtime came before the story’s end.
At this point, the Sultan was completely enchanted with the story, and was beginning to be enchanted by the clever girl, as well. Scheherazade managed to make her story last for 1001 night. By then, the Sultan realized that he loved Scheherazade, and a vow to love is greater than a vow to kill. So she really became his wife, once and for all, which put an end to his wife-killing – but not to her storytelling!
Narrator 1: Once upon a time there was an old lion name Lino. Lino had been king of a small community of lions for some time. He had had a very good time as a king. He had never taken part in any hunting mission. Why should he? There were others to do the job. His job was to be the first to eat from the prey.
Narrator 2: As he hadn’t hunted for ages, Lino became fatter and lost his hunting skills. He lost the loyalty of the members of his animal community. They though he could not protect them anymore and he just ate the prey and spent the whole day napping. Besides, the young lion, Boldin, had become mature enough to challenge him.
Narrator 1: Lino also noticed Boldin’s strength and began to worry about his chances of survival in the community. “I guess I have no chance with Boldin,” said Lino to himself. “I am too old to fight. I have a better chance of survival outside than get involved in a fight in which I will certainly end up dead.”
Narrator 2: The following day Lino sneaked out early in the morning. He walked and walked till he was exhausted. He lay under a tree to enjoy the shade while having a nap. It seemed he slept for ages. When he woke up, he felt hungry.
Lino: ‘What to do now? I am not sure if I can catch a small animal on which to dine. It’s getting darker and darker. Oh my God! I am really lost.”
Narrator 1: Suddenly, he heard a noise. He stepped back and hid between the bushes. Soon he saw a hare. He jumped but the hare’s jump was much longer and faster. In a moment, the hare was many steps away from the old lion. The lion took a breath, wanted to speak but couldn’t. The hare was watching him trying to anticipate his tricky movements. The lion didn’t move but smiled instead.
Lino: “You look lost.
Hare: You are wrong, old villain. Have you lost your way to your kingdom or have they kicked you out?”
Narrator 2: The lion felt embarrassed and tried to smile but couldn’t. He nodded
Lino: You are right my dear hare. I am an outsider now. I am so lonely that I long for a new friendship. Can you become my friend?
Hare: Are you kidding me old villain? I have never heard of such a friendship. I bet you are dying of hunger and want me to be your dinner. Besides I don’t like to be called ‘my dear’.”
Lino: “Why are you so angry? We are just talking.”
Hare: “Why should I talk to you?”
Lino: “You are as lonely as I am.”
Hare: “I am always lonely. Why should I change my habits?”
Lino: Don’t you feel pity for an old lion?”
Hare: “No, I don’t. I just feel afraid.”
Lino: You don’t need to. I am too old for hunting.”
Hare: “That’s right, you look too old and unable to hunt me but you are full of experience and so villainous that you are thinking of tricking me into becoming you dinner.
Narrator 1: Suddenly they froze as they heard two gunshots. After a while the hare came a bit neared and whispered, “Would you ask the Hunter to be your friend?”
Those were the last words that Lino ever heard from the hare !!!.
6. The blind men and the Elephant
There were once six blind men who stood by the roadside every day and begged from the people who passed. They had often heard of elephants, but they had never seen one. How could they; they were blind?
It so happened one morning that an elephant was driven down the road where they stood. When they were told that the great beast was before them, they asked the driver to let him stop so that they might see him.
Of course they could not see him with their eyes, but they thought that by touching him they could learn just what kind of animal he was.
The first one happened to put his hand on the elephant's side. "Well, well!" he said, "now I know all about this beast. He is exactly like a wall."
The second felt only of the elephant's tusk. "My brother," he said, "you are mistaken. He is not at all like a wall. He is round and smooth and sharp. He is more like a spear than anything else."
The third happened to take hold of the elephant's trunk. "Both of you are wrong," he said. "Anybody who knows anything can see that this elephant is like a snake."
The fourth reached out his arms and grasped one of the elephant's legs. "Oh, how blind you are," he said. "It is very plain to me that he is round and tall like a tree."
The fifth was a very tall man, and he chanced to take hold of the elephant's ear. "The blindest man ought to know that this beast is not like any of the things that you name," he said. "He is exactly like a huge fan."
The sixth was very blind indeed, and it was some time before he could find the elephant at all. At last he seized the animal's tail.
"Oh foolish fellows," he cried, "you surely have lost your senses. This elephant is not like a wall or a spear or a snake or a tree, nor is he like a fan. But any man with a particle of sense can see that he is exactly like a rope."
Then the elephant moved on, and the six blind men sat by the roadside all day and quarreled about him. Each believed that he knew just how the animal looked, and each called the others unkind names because they did not agree with him.
People who have eyes sometimes act as foolishly.
7. The boy who was thirsty for knowledge
On that sunny day, everyone in the railway station was waiting for the train to arrive. Among the crowd, there was a group of youngsters, all friends, who were to go on vacation.
The train station was a busy place and it had just about everything. It had a juice shop, eating places, coffee and tea stalls, a newspaper shop and a toy shop among other things. The announcement regarding the arrival of the train was made and everyone prepared to get onto the train to find their seats. The group of friends gave a clapping to welcome the train as it entered the station. They ran to get their reserved seats before anyone could get into the train.
The empty seats were filled and the train whistled to move. A middle aged man and a boy of around 15 years came running to catch the train. They entered the train and the train started to move. Their seats were next to the friends’ group.
The boy was surprised at everything.
Boy: Dad, the train is moving and the things are moving backwards.
His father smiled and nodded his head. As the train started moving fast, the young boy again screamed,
Boy: Dad the trees are green and run backward very fast.’
His father said, ‘Yes dear’ and smiled. Just like a kid, he was watching everything with great enthusiasm and happiness loaded with tons of surprises. His father took out an apple and gave it to his son. The boy looked at it and took a bite. He was enjoying it and then he said
Boy: Oh this apple looks sweet and it is sweet. I love its colour.
Meanwhile all 5 friends ,the ones who were going on holiday, were watching all the activities of this boy. At one point one of them asked the boy’s father
Is your son having any problem? Why is he behaving like, like a five year old?
Yea is he normal? I mean he does not act normal.
The father of the young boy, with patience, replied to the friend-group.
‘My son was born blind. A few days ago, he was operated and got his vision. He is seeing various things in his life for the first time.’
The young friends became very quiet and apologized to his father and son. I guess they understood the meaning of the phrase
Think Before You Speak
8. The Cunning Fox and the Clever Stork
At one time the Fox and the Stork were friends. I mean not real friends but at least they said good morning and how are you and what is happening?
One day the fox invited the stork over and the invitation said, “Dear friend I am expecting you to dinner”. So, the Stork happily accepted to visit the Fox and have dinner with him. When the Stork sat at the table he saw a very shallow dish and nothing else. He thought this was a joke and that soon the food would be served. The fox lapped and lapped the soup and said that it was yummy and tasty and delicious and the poor. Stork who had a lot of appetite could not really eat. All he could do was to wet the end of her long bill in the shallow dish. So the fox ate and ate, lapped and lapped until it ate all the soup and the Stork was left hungry and miserable. But because it was a polite animal he did not complain about the hospitality even when the fox said, “I am sorry that the soup is not to your liking.”
At that moment the stork said “Please do not apologize. It is not a serious matter. I hope you will return this visit, and come and dine with me soon. So the stork suggested a day when the Fox would visit him at his home;
So, on that particular day the fox, all made up, full of energy and appetite knocked on the Stork’s door and the stork welcomed the fox and led him to the table. When the fox sat at the table, all he could see was soup in a very long-necked jar with a narrow mouth. He thought that soon the rest of the food would appear. But the Stork wished the fox good appetite and started eating from the Long-necked jar. The fox kept looking without being able to eat anything because she could not put her snout in the jar. All she could do was to lick the outside of the jar. The Stork ate and ate and soon emptied the whole jar.
“I will have to apologize for the dinner, said the Stork because you do not seem to like what I have prepared”
That is fine my friend said the fox. I was not feeling very hungry. And this soup is not much to my liking.” But inside him he knew that this was his punishment’
9. The Little Jackals and the Lions
Narrator: Once there was a great big jungle. In the jungle, there was a great big Lion; and the Lion was king of the jungle. Whenever he wanted something to eat, all he had to do was to come up out of his cave in the stones and earth and roar. When he had roared a few times all the little people of the jungle were so frightened that they came out of their holes and hiding-places and ran, this way and that way, to get away. Then, of course, the Lion could see where they were. And he pounced on them, killed them, and gobbled them up.
He did this so often that there was not a single thing left alive in the jungle besides the Lion, except two little Jackals, a little father Jackal and a little mother Jackal.
They had run away so many times that they were quite thin and very tired, and they could not run so fast any more. And one day the Lion was so near that the little mother Jackal grew frightened; she said,
Little mother Jackal: “Oh, Father Jackal, Father Jackal! I believe our time has come! The Lion will surely catch us this time!''
Little father Jackal: “Pooh! Nonsense, mother! Come, we'll run on a bit!”
Narrator: And they ran, ran, ran very fast, and the Lion did not catch them that time.
But a day came when the Lion was even nearer and the little mother Jackal was frightened about dying.
Little mother Jackal: “Oh, Father Jackal, Father Jackal! I'm sure our time has come! The Lion's going to eat us this time!”
Little father Jackal: “Now, mother, don't you fear, you do just as I tell you, and it will be all right.”
Narrator: Then what did those cunning little Jackals do but take hold of hands and run up towards the Lion, as if they had meant to come all the time. When he saw them coming he stood up, and roared in a terrible voice,
Lion: “You miserable little wretches, come here and be eaten, at once! Why didn't you come before?”
Narrator: The father Jackal bowed very low.
Father Jackal: “Indeed, Father Lion, we meant to come before; we knew we ought to come before; and we wanted to come before; but every time we started to come, a dreadful great lion came out of the woods and roared at us, and frightened us so that we ran away.''
Lion: “What do you mean? There's no other lion in this jungle, and you know it!''
Little Jackal: “Indeed, indeed, Father Lion, I know that is what everybody thinks; but indeed there is another lion! And he is much bigger than you! His face is much more terrible, and his roar far, far more dreadful. Oh, he is far more fearful than you!''
Narrator: At that point, the Lion stood up and roared so that the jungle shook.
Lion: “Take me to this lion, I'll eat him up and then I'll eat you up.''
Narrator: The little Jackals led the way, and the Lion stalked behind. They took him to a place where there was a round, deep well of clear water. They went round on one side of it, and the Lion stalked up to the other.
Little Jackal: “He lives down there, Father Lion! He lives down there!”
Narrator: The Lion came close and looked down into the water, and a lion's face looked back at him out of the water!
When he saw that, the Lion roared and shook his mane and showed his teeth. And the lion in the water shook his mane and showed his teeth. The Lion above shook his mane again and growled again, and made a terrible face. But the lion in the water made just as terrible a one, back. The Lion above couldn't stand that. He leaped down into the well after the other lion. But, of course, as you know very well, there wasn't any other lion! It was only his reflection in the water!
So the poor old Lion floundered about and floundered about but couldn't get up and he was drowned dead. The little Jackals took hold of hands and danced round the well, and sang,
The little jackals: “The Lion is dead! The Lion is dead! We have killed the great Lion! The Lion is dead! The Lion is dead! Hip, Hip Hurray!”
10. The Most Beautiful Heart
One day, in a heavily crowded place, a young man began shouting. He, like many other people in his town had had their heart scanned by a special machine which showed what it looked like.
“People, look at me. I have the most beautiful heart in the world.”
Many people looked at him and were stunned to see his beautiful heart in a perfect shape, without any flaw. It looked quite amazing. Most of the people who saw his heart were mesmerized by the beauty of his heart, and praised him.
However, there came an old man who challenged the young man, “No my son, I have got the most beautiful heart in the world!”
The young man asked him, “Show me your heart, then!”
The old man showed his heart to him. It was very rough, uneven, and had scars all over. In addition, the heart was not in shape; it appeared like bits and pieces joined in various colours. There were some rough edges; some parts were removed and fitted with other pieces.
The young man started laughing, and said, “My dear old man, are you mad? See, my heart! How beautiful and flawless it is. You cannot find even a bit of imperfection in my heart. See, yours? It is full of scars, wounds, and blemishes. How can you say your heart is beautiful?”
“Dear boy, my heart is just as beautiful as your heart is. Did you see the scars? Each scar represents the love I shared with a person. I share a piece of my heart with others when I share love, and in return I get a piece of heart, which I fix at the place from where I have torn a piece!” said the old man.
The young man was shocked.
The old man continued, “Since the pieces of heart I shared were neither equal nor in the same shape or size, my heart is full of uneven edges and bits and pieces. My heart is not in shape because sometimes I do not get love in return from those to whom I gave it. Your heart that looks fresh and full with no scars shows that you never shared love with anybody. Isn’t that true?”
The young man stood still and did not speak a word. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He walked to the old man, tore a piece of his heart and gave the piece to the old man.
Many give importance and respect to physical beauty. Yet, real beauty is not physical
11. The open window
NARRATOR: Framton Nuttel was very tired and the doctors told him he needed a rest and he should go somewhere peaceful. So Framton went to the country and visited Mrs Sappleton, a friend of his sister. He knocked on the door and a young girl opened it. It was Vera, Mrs Sappleton’s niece. She was a cheerful young girl who liked to be surrounded by people who were, if not always, at least half of the times in high spirits. She was also quite sharp-minded and could tell a lot even at first glance. She did not like the looks of Nuttel when she saw him coming through the widow. She definitely did not want a depressed, sad, tired man around to spoil the fun of the atmosphere. Her fears were confirmed when she opened the door and saw him standing at the doorstep. Of course he welcomed him and made smalltalk. After the first introductions here is how the conversation went and what happened with Mr Nuttel .
Vera: My aunt will be down in a minute.
Mr Nuttel : That isn’t a problem. I’ll wait my dear.
Vera : Do you know anyone here?
Mr. Nuttel : I am afraid I don’t!
Vera: Then you know nothing about my uncle.
Mr. Nuttel : Your Uncle ????
Vera: His tragedy happened 3 years ago. My uncle and his two brothers went out through that window. They went hunting. They never came back. They fell into a trap they say but their bodies were never found. My poor aunt thinks that her husband will return some day and that is why we always have this window open. We are expectant. Personally I am not but my aunt is.
Narrator: Mrs. Sappleton entered the room.
Mrs. Sappleton: I hope you do not mind the open window. My husband is about to come from hunting.
Mr. Nuttel : ’No problem’ replied Mr. Nuttel terrified.
Mrs. Sappleton: Would you care for some tea?
Mr. Nuttel : Tea. Not for now , thank you.
Narrator : Suddenly both women looked at the open window.
Mrs. Sappleton : Here he is!!!!!!!!
Narrator : Mr. Nuttel shivered and looked at Vera. Vera was also looking out the window. He turned around and actually show a man coming towards the house! Framton jumped up from his chair. He picked up his coat and run out of the house.
Mrs. Sappleton : What happened to him? Did he see a ghost?
Vera : I think he ran away because he saw the dog. He told me that he was very afraid of dogs. When he was in India many years ago, he was attacked by a pack of wild dogs and he had to spend a night in the cemetery……… Oh well let it be. Who cares anyway?
Narrator : Inventing stories was Vera’s specialty……………
12. The selfish giant by Oscar Wild. An adaptation.
Every afternoon, coming home from school, the children would play in the Giant’s garden.
It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games to listen to them. “How happy we are here!” they cried to each other.
One day the Giant came back from visiting his friend and saw the children playing in the garden.
“What are you doing here?” he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.
“My own garden is my own garden,” said the Giant; “anyone can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself.”
So he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice-board. The poor children now had nowhere to play.
Then the Spring came. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still winter. The birds did not sing and the flowers did not bloom. Only the Snow and the Frost were pleased. “Spring has forgotten this garden,” they cried, “so we will live here all the year round.” Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them. “This is a delightful spot,” he said, “we must ask the Hail on a visit.” So the Hail came. Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates. He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice.
“I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming,” said the Selfish Giant, as he looked out at his cold white garden; “I hope there will be a change in the weather.”
But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant’s garden she gave none.
“He is too selfish,” she said. So it was always Winter there.
One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It was only a little bird singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world. “I believe the Spring has come,” said the Giant; and he jumped out of bed and looked out.
What did he see?
He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. The trees covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children’s heads.
It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still winter. In it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was, crying bitterly.
The poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. “Climb up! little boy,” said the Tree; but the boy was too tiny to reach.
The Giant’s heart melted as he looked out. “How selfish I have been!” he said; “now I know why the
Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall.
So he crept downstairs and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him they all ran away, and the garden became winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he did not see the Giant coming. The Giant took him gently in his hand, and lifted him into the tree. The tree blossomed, and the birds came and sing. The little boy flung his arms round the Giant’s neck, and kissed him. When the other children saw that the Giant was not wicked they, came running, and with them came the Spring. “It is your garden now, little children,” said the Giant, and he took a great axe and knocked down the wall. All day long they played, and in the evening they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye.
“But where is your little companion?” he said: “the boy I put into the tree.”
“We don’t know,” answered the children; “he has gone away.”
“You must tell him to be sure and come here tomorrow,” said the Giant. But the children said that they did not know where he lived.
Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again.
Years went by, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not play anymore, so he sat in a huge armchair, and watched the children play. I have many beautiful flowers,” he said; “but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all.”
One winter morning he looked out of his window and in the farthest corner of the garden was a tree covered with lovely white blossoms. Underneath it stood the little boy he had loved.
The Giant ran out into the garden. But as he came closer to the child his face grew red with anger, and he said, “Who has hurt you?” For on the palms of the child’s hands and on his face were the prints of two nails.
“Who has dared to hurt you?” cried the Giant; “tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him.”
Nay!” answered the child; “but these are the wounds of Love.”
“Who are you?” said the Giant.
The child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, “You let me play once in your garden, today you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.”
When the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.
“…you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise”
13. The Story of Yes & No
Before words were words, a boy named Yes lived in a small village in a small kingdom. Yes, was good at everything. Yes had a brother, and his name was No. No was jealous of his brother and he was not good at anything himself. Whenever the villagers asked No for help, he refused. He didn’t like people very much. Whenever people asked Yes for a favor, he gladly helped. Yes and No had a father and his name was Okay.
One day Okay went on a long journey and he left his two sons to take care of the animals. Yes took good care of the donkey, the ducks and the goat. No didn’t want to be bothered with the care of the animals. So instead of helping his brother, No went down to the lake and threw rocks into the water.
A few days after his father left, Yes asked his brother to watch the goat while he went to find some food to eat. But No lay down, shut his eyes, and forgot about the goat.
It just so happened, that the king had a personal road nearby, and he travelled on it often. On that day the King’s carriage was passing by and lost balance. The King was thrown from the carriage and fell to the ground and hurt himself.
The King demanded to know why there was a goat on his road and asked all the villagers for an explanation. Yes was always honest, so he told the King the whole story.
The King thought for a moment, and then he came up with an idea that he was quite happy with. Yes and No would work in the castle as his servants to get punishment for letting their goat walk down the king’s road.
The King needed help with many things around the castle. Soon the King realized that only Yes would be of any use to him as a servant. Whenever the King asked No to bring him anything, the food was thrown or it was messy. The things No would bring him were broken. The King was quite sure that No was the worst servant in the whole world.
The brothers’ most important task was to help pick the food for a grand party that the King was throwing later that night. Cooks from all over the Kingdom lined up at the castle’s gate to offer the King their food for the party. The King asked Yes and No to bring this food to him.
The first cook came up the gate and yelled to the Gatekeeper, “Bring my delicious blueberry pie for the King’s banquet!”
The King wanted the pie and asked “Yes!” to go and bring it.
The next cook stepped up to the gate. “I offer the King veggie soup!” he said.
The King didn’t like veggie soup so he asked “No!” to go and get the soup. No dropped the soup before the King could even smell it.
This went on for hours. If the King liked a dish, he would ask “Yes!” and it would be brought in and If he did not want it he would call “NO!” and the dish would be destroyed moments later.
Soon this became known to the rest of the Kingdom. So If people didn’t want for example a second scoop of potatoes, they would say “No.” And if they liked what someone was offering, they would say, “Yes.” And ever since that day in a small village in a small kingdom, YES means Yes, and NO means No. And in this land live Yes and No’s cousins. Yes and No’s cousins are Please and Thanks but this is another story for another time…
14. The two brothers
Narrator : Two brothers set out on a journey together. At noon they lay down in a forest to rest. When they woke up they saw a stone lying next to them. There was something written on the stone, and they tried to make out what it was.
Older Brother: Whoever finds this stone, let him go straight into the forest at sunrise. In the forest he will find a river; let him swim across the river to the other side. There he will find a she-bear and her cubs. Let him take the cubs from her and run up the mountain with them, without once looking back. On the top of the mountain he will see a house, and in that house he will find happiness." (this could be recorded)
Narrator : When they had read what was written on the stone, the younger brother said:
Younger Brother: Let us go together. We can swim across the river, carry off the bear cubs, take them to the house on the mountain, and together find happiness.
Older Brother: I am not going into the forest after bear cubs and I advise you not to go. In the first place, no one can know whether what is written on this stone is the truth. In the second place, even if what is written here is the truth -- suppose we go into the forest and night comes, and we cannot find the river. We shall be lost. And if we do find the river, how are we going to swim across it? In the third place, even if we swim across the river, do you think it is an easy thing to take the cubs away from the she-bear? She will eat us. And, most important of all, the stone does not tell us what kind of happiness we should find in that house. It may be that the happiness awaiting us there is not at all the sort of happiness we would want.
Younger Brother: In my opinion, brother, you are wrong. What is written on the stone could not have been put there without reason.
Older Brother: The proverb says: 'In seeking great happiness small pleasures may be lost.’ And also: ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’"
Younger Brother: I have heard: ‘He who is afraid of the leaves must not go into the forest.’ And also: ‘Beneath a stone no water flows.
Narrator : The younger brother set off, and the elder remained behind. When the younger brother went into the forest, he found the river, swam across it, and there on the other side was the she-bear, fast asleep. He took her cubs, and ran up the mountain without looking back. When he reached the top of the mountain the people came out to meet him with a carriage to take him into the city, where they made him their king. They believed that whoever came to their place with two cubs should be made a king and so they made him a king. The younger brother ruled for five years. In the sixth year, another king, who was stronger than he, started war against him. The city was conquered, and he was driven out. The younger brother became a wanderer, and he tried to find his way back to his old home. One day he arrived at the house of the elder brother. The elder brother was living in a village. He never became rich but he was not poor either. The two brothers rejoiced at seeing each other, and immediately began telling of all that had happened to them.
Older Brother: You see, I was right. Here I have lived quietly and well, while you, though you may have been a king, have seen a great deal of trouble.
Younger Brother: "I do not regret having gone into the forest and up the mountain. I may have nothing now, but I shall always have something to remember, while you have no memories at all.
15. Three Questions
It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what the most important thing to do was, he would never fail in anything he might undertake. And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to anyone who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.
And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently. All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom. The hermit lived in a wood which he never quitted, and he received none but common folk. So the King put on simple clothes, and before reaching the hermit's cell dismounted from his horse, and, leaving his body-guard behind, went on alone.
When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily.
"You are tired," said the King, "let me take the spade and help you."
"Thanks!" said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground.
One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said: "I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home."
"Here comes someone running," said the hermit, "let us see who it is."
The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep--so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.
"Forgive me!" said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him. "You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!"
The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he forgave him, and promised to restore his property. Then the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before. The King approached him, and said: "For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man."
"You have already been answered!" said the hermit, still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him. "If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important-- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with anyone else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!"
16. What is for Dinner
Sammy always worried about his wife Dolly. They were married for almost 15 years. While, Dolly was a village girl, Sammy was raised in a city. Although, they had a lot of cultural differences in life, Dolly managed everything to perfection. The latest worry about Dolly was that she was losing her hearing and Sammy was worried that it was happening because of aging.
It happened one day, when Sammy was in the living room and asked for a cup of tea from Dolly. Dolly did not reply. He increased his voice and once again asked her for some tea. Still, he heard nothing from Dolly. He got up and slowly walked to the kitchen and asked Dolly for some tea. Dolly was a bit surprised and said that she would bring it in 10 minutes.
A few days after that incident, Sammy had to leave town for a week. After his return, he decided to find out the extent of his wife’s hearing loss. He discussed this matter with a doctor, before taking Dolly to the doctor. The doctor told him an easy way to find the extent of her hearing loss.
Sammy reached home and called for his wife, Dolly as he entered. Dolly was in Kitchen, preparing dinner. He heard nothing from her. Then he asked her from the entrance door.
Dolly what’s for dinner?’ Surprise! No response! All was silent.
He went to his room and asked her, ‘I am here, what’s for dinner Dolly?’
He sat on the sofa and asked her again, ‘Dolly what’s for dinner?’ Again, it was silent...
He asked, her, ‘What’s for dinner’ as he washed his face.
He then moved a few steps ahead towards kitchen and asked the same question.
He tried with the question, ‘What’s for dinner’ standing at different places at home to find out how deaf his wife had got.
He heard nothing from her. He then moved to kitchen and asked her, ‘Dolly, what’s for dinner?’
Dolly became furious at him and said, “I am saying it for the eight time. It is chicken, can’t you hear it?’
Sammy went speechless. Sammy realized that one should not get into conclusions or blame others without knowing the truth.