This blog is a collection of short stories which can be used to teach children aspects of social and moral education. You will also find therapeutic stories to help with life’s difficulties, for both adults and children. -Click on ‘select category’ on left of screen to find what you need, scroll down to find a suitable story, or look at the contents page (see above blue box, in blue letters) for links to every story.

I am aiming to improve this blog to make it more user friendly.  Can you find what you need?  Please feel free to make suggestions as to how I can improve it!

.A Family Separated by Distance and Mistaken Ideas.

About 40 years ago a member of the McTavish family left the shores of the United Kingdom and moved to Canada. Other members of the family felt somewhat rejected by this move. Fiona McTavish now took on the mantle of a Canadian person. She had moved in order to start a new life, which had not seemed possible in her home country as her husband was an immigrant and was not well accepted in the United Kingdom. They both knew that Canada would be more open and welcoming to them and that financially they could make that change. Life would be easier for them, her husband would find a job and she knew that she could find training as a nurse.

Fiona took her husband’s name which was Stanislaus, later to be changed to Stanley which was more acceptable and more easily spelt. The couple had children and for 20 years Fiona turned her attention to bringing up the children and was able to work part-time in the local hospital when all the children were at secondary school. Her family built up many friendships and relationships within the Canadian community, but they lacked family members, cousins, aunts and uncles with whom to share holiday times and celebrations.

Meanwhile the McTavish family feeling somewhat rejected by Fiona built up a picture of her as a person who had never liked them, had never appreciated their ways and had never valued them. Time passed by and some of the younger members of the family were making family trees in school. They began to ask about Fiona and why they never heard from her. ‘Oh she lives too far away to be interested in us,’ was the reply.

Fiona’s life was indeed busy and in truth, she knew that she did not have much time to be thinking about distant cousins, aunts and uncles. However she had an inkling of their sentiments towards her so that when she thought of them they seem to represent a small grey hole in her life. She would have preferred rather to picture a distant circle of light joined to her over the seas by a silver thread of positive connection. She was aware of that silver thread connecting her to those who had passed on and whom she knew and loved in her old life. She thought of them fondly though she had met them but a few times.

Fiona Canada  1

Fiona did not hope for regular connection nor frequent news, nor catching up on the 40 years lived apart, but she felt that it is better to emanate positive feelings towards all ones blood relations rather than to ponder over misunderstandings or to hang on to hurt feelings with a sense of lack of forgiveness.

 

Questions:

Does this story remind you of anything in your life?

Why do you think the McTavish family built up their feelings of rejection towards Fiona?

Can you think of examples of whole groups of people building up stories of resentment toward other groups of people over time and history?

What kind of effect might this have on whole populations of countries?

What can we do as individuals to start to improve this situation, as in truth it is happening all over the world?

 

 

The Unhappy Weeping Willow Tree

A young weeping willow lived on the edge of a riverbank. From her home she could see fields, hedges, a beautiful wood and a mountain.

People and animals passed by her on the riverside track and would notice how her delicate branches dipped and swayed. “How lovely!” they all thought. But the weeping willow was not happy. As she looked about her she was always finding fault with herself and comparing her shape with other trees.

“Oh,” she sighed “I wish I were taller and could reach high into the sky like that Poplar tree over there”, or “How I wish I had a good wide strong trunk like the Oak, I am so skinny and thin.” or “Ah, look at the interesting shape of the branches in the Scots Pine, my branches are so droopy.” And she went on feeling miserable about herself.

One day two girls came by and sat beside her on the riverbank.

“I like it here by the weeping willow,” said one, “You can hide from the world. It’s like a green cave, isn’t it a lovely tree, Sally?”

“Yes,” said the other, “and I can tell you my secret, Mary, which makes me sad. A weeping willow is a good place to feel sad beside.”

“What is your secret?” asked her friend.

The two girls sat beneath the willow tree 4

 

“ I am worried about how I will look when I grow up, and I’m worried about if the operations I will need will hurt or if they will cost a lot of money.”

“Sally what are you talking about? There’s nothing wrong with you is there? I mean you look fine to me! What operations do you think you will need?”

“Please don’t tell anyone, Mary, promise me! I think my nose is not straight enough and my ears are too big. My auntie has a flat chest and I don’t want to look like her, so I must get something done to make me bigger. And I hate my freckles.”

“Stop, stop!” said Mary. “Everyone is different from everyone else. You shouldn’t want to change yourself and try to be something you are not. That’s not good thinking. Some people do themselves a lot of harm trying to change themselves.  They are never happy with how they are even, when they have changed.”

Sally looked around at the lovely tree they were leaning on. “I wish I were like this tree,” she said. “Then I’d be happy just being me. It’s so lucky just staying put, looking at its reflection in the water. No one teases it about its freckles or its ears or nose. It must be so contented.”

“Oh you’ve been paying attention to those boys have you? You think that what they say matters? Don’t listen to them Sally, they just say anything to get attention.”

The girls stood up. Sally stroked the bark of the Willow. Suddenly she felt better. The girls wandered off along the riverbank.

The willow tree gently waved her branches, she felt better too. It made sense to be happy with what she was and to learn to appreciate her finer points instead of envying other trees for what they were. She decided she would be happy to admire others, but not to wish she could look like them, because everyone is made to be different and that’s how it is, and that’s how it should be.

 

Questions

How did you feel when you heard the story?

Did it remind you of anything in your life?

Why was the weeping willow unhappy?

What did it want to be like?

What was Sally’s secret?

Why did the tree change its ideas about wanting to be different?

 

 

 

 

yogastories:

Now ‘Dotty the Dalmation story’ has a picture. This story is useful for those working with children to be fostered or adopted.

Originally posted on Yoga Stories:

A story about “Changes” (SEAL topic) illustrating the value of LOVE (6mins)

Dotty the Dalmation has to leave her home

Everyone calls me Dotty, but actually I am ‘Miranda Saint Edmunds the Second’.  I am a Dalmatian.  I come from a long line of famous dogs.  I am sure you know my breed; we are white, spotted all over with black dots.  We are considered to be very pretty and a little stupid – hard to train – you know the sort of thing; we don’t like to ‘fetch’ or to ‘sit’.  We just like to do our own thing.

When I was born, my owners had plenty of money.  The husband worked in the city, in ‘The Bank’, and the wife had no job as such.  She bred us Dalmatians and spent of lot of time walking us on Hampstead Heath.  She had lots of friends who were all…

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 This story came to me in meditation.  It is about a time in the 1950s.  The attitudes in it are quite shocking to most of us these days, but bullying certainly does still go on, as we all know.  It is never acceptable, for any reason.  Most people are more broad minded and accepting of those who are not quite like themselves.  See what you think.  I nearly didn’t publish this story because of the political implications right now, July 2014, however it is not political in itself, but is an example of bigotry which can appear in many forms.

Bullying in the Workplace     

Morag was born in Glasgow. When she went to school everyone spoke in the same way, they used the same slang, they understood each other. She went on to college in Scotland and trained to work in the bank.

 

Morag found it hard to get a job in Scotland. She decided she would have to travel south of the border to get work. She found a bank teller’s post in Nottingham. Morag found it quite difficult to make friends there. Everyone spoke differently from her and they did not seem to understand what she was saying. She too found that she had to repeat herself a lot. People looked at her as if she was stupid when the words came out of her mouth. She felt it was hard to believe that she and they came from the same country.

 

She realised that something would have to change if she was to be understood. She started to copy what she heard – the local accent. She did not go as far as calling other people ‘ma dook’ meaning ‘my duck’, the normal friendly way of addressing others in Nottingham. Gradually she found she had tuned in with the locals. She understood them and now with her newly acquired Nottinghamshire accent they understood her. However there was one person whom she could never seem to please or understand. He was the manager of her line manager. Fortunately her line manager was pleasant enough, but Mr Sneyd was not. He took every opportunity to make horrible jibes about the Scots when ever she was in earshot. At the copying machine he would imitate her accent when he spoke to others. He never spoke to Morag but made reference to her in front of her to other people. He was a jokey sort of character, but his jokes were always at someone else’s expense. He was a social climber and endeavoured to impress those above him with his quick wit and self-declared talents.

 

One day Morag decided she had had enough. She had a choice – to leave the job or to face up to the bully. After all she had done nothing to offend him except to be herself. There were four people standing around the copier, Sneyd was among them, holding forth as usual, bragging about his golfing prowess. Morag approached.

‘Ah, here comes the Gorbals; no golf courses in that part of town, I’ll be bound ‘ said Sneyd.

‘Why?’ asked Morag. The other three staff looked embarrassed. Sneyd was surprised. ‘We weren’t addressing you,’ he said.

‘No,’ said Morag ‘You never do, you just talk about me, not to me and I’m at a loss as to understand why.’

‘Well I couldn’t expect a Scot to understand much, could I? `That thick Scottish accent, it’s a wonder you can understand yourself.’

The other staff looked sheepish, one sniggered. There were no laws against workplace bullying in those days. Morag was furious.

 

‘You are nothing more than a classroom bully. Don’t you think it’s time you grew out of it?’ she said. Morag decided at that moment that she wanted nothing more to do with her job in that place. She marched into the manager’s office and told him she was leaving because of Sneyd. She poured out her anger and frustration.

‘Miss Fife, why have you not complained before ? This kind of behaviour will never do.’

 

Morag knew it was an empty platitude as she had seen Sneyd talking to the manager in pally, boastful way about his golf. She guessed they probably discussed her foreign ways on the golf course.

 

I know all this because she was my mother and she told me the story of her first job in England. She told me she went to London where they were more accepting of people with all sorts of different accents, beliefs and ways of life.

 

It wouldn’t be tolerated these days – bullying in the workplace is illegal now. No one should get away with it and if it happens to you, you need to be brave and to report it because if someone is bullying you for some reason the chances are that they are bullying someone else too. Only reporting it and standing up for yourself will put a stop to it. You have to report it to a higher and higher level of management if those lower down are not prepared to deal with it. It must not be tolerated or we will be back to the laws of the jungle where might is right.

The Danger Of Telling Half-Truths.

A story requested by Anne, a teacher, concerned about her students’ dishonesty and lack of responsibility and how it will affect their future lives.

My name is Philip. I have a great deal of experience of telling half-truths. I used to avoid my responsibilities and duties by only saying part of what had happened. In the end, no one believed anything I said. I was not trusted any more, and was thought of as a joke. I wriggled out of things to avoid work, and eventually no one would give me any work. There was no unemployment benefit in those days and I ended up stealing things to stay alive. Finally, I found myself in behind bars. I hated prison, everyone was a liar there. You couldn’t trust a soul. In the outside world people told the truth and I knew what to expect from them. It was just me who was the liar. I thought it was all right to tell only half the story, what I spoke of was true, but by not telling the whole story, I was trying to make people believe something that was not real. That made me a liar, but I would not admit it, even to myself.

I will give you an example. I had three brothers, we all had our duties to do on my father’s farm. It was hard work but as my father said, ‘It puts food on the table. Do you want to eat? Then you have to work.’

We each had certain jobs to do around the farm. Mine was to feed the cows during their morning milking, amongst other things. I had to carry hay or silage to the milking parlour. It was cold, wet and dark in the winter. The best way of doing the job was in the evening before dark, then the feed would be ready for the cows in the morning. If you left it until morning you would be fumbling around in the dark or half light, falling over tools someone else had left around.

Last thing at night Father would ask me. ‘Did you fetch in the hay?’ I always said ‘Yes,’ whether I had not. I might have put the proper load in for the cows, or just a handful , thinking that I would do it next day. Come the morning I would finish the job.

Father hated that, seeing me stumbling around half awake with armfuls of hay, while he was trying to milk the cows.

‘You said you fed them last night. What are you doing now?’

‘I did feed them, but mother called me in for supper and you know how vexed she is when we eat the meal when it’s cold.’

I was full of excuses. I just wanted an easy life.

Father warned me that the cows would go dry if we did not did feed them enough and said that because I was such a liar, he never knew how much fodder they had eaten.

I just thought he was a bad tempered old man and continued with my half-truths and excuses. The cows did go dry, no milk came from two of them. I knew it was my fault. I was giving short rations because I would have to shift a mountain of hay from a distant barn when the supply close to the parlour ran out.

Father exploded. ‘You useless pile of cow dung! You can go and work for someone else. You are no use to me or your mother.’ He banned me from the farm. That’s when my life took a downward spiral. The little work I had soon came to an end because the employer quickly discovered I was not to be trusted, either for the truth, or because of my habit of taking things which were not mine to take. I was soon in prison.

Eventually I did learn that I needed people to trust me if they were going to employ me. The rewards of being trusted and  the satisfaction of doing a good job were far away better than the pleasure of skipping work and getting away with doing as little as possible.

Questions

When do you think this story took place?

Where did Phillip live and work?

Why did he tell only half the story – or ‘half truths’ as he called them.

What was the effect of telling half truths on him?

Why was his father so angry with him?

Does the story remind you of anything in your life?

Is it better to tell the truth and get into a bit of trouble, or to tell half truths and never be trusted as a result?

What is the problem if no one ever trusts you?

How does it feel when you know you are always honest and so does everyone else?

What are the benefits of being trustworthy?

 

 

 

 

The Fight Within.

A requested story for a friend of HT

 

Mary couldn’t sleep. It was still dark outside, no sounds came through her closed curtains ; the world had not yet stirred. Mary’s mind was in turmoil. Now she knew for sure what she had suspected for some weeks. It was cancer. The wait after the test over a weekend had felt like forever. She had thought over her entire life remembering all the good bits and the bad, wondering if something she had done could have created this lump in her body.

Mary’s family were not yet fully grown, they still needed their mother. They were learning to become independent, but she felt they still needed a lot of support. Her husband Robert would be all right. Always independent, doing his own thing, he wouldn’t suffer if she went , she thought. Her life had not been quite what she had hoped for so far. She was more of a reactor then an instigator. Life had happened to her rather then she had made it happen. She had not been ambitious and had not made demands on her family. Rather the opposite was true, they had made demands on her and she had complied. What should a mother do other than look after her kids? She fetched and carried them , she gathered up their dirty washing strewn on the floor and dealt with it. She cooked their favourite meals and often felt they might show more consideration and gratitude. She was tired of nagging them; it seemed easier just to do everything herself. She had not insisted that they thanked her for the meals she carefully prepared for them or for keeping the home nice. They were oblivious to her need for recognition and she wasn’t about to tell them how she felt.

Mary thought about how she would do things differently if she survived this. She told herself that the statistics were good these days. Doctors were much more on top of cancer. Most people survived it. Strangely, the idea of telling her family that she wanted more help and appreciation was more daunting to her than telling them that she had cancer. It almost felt like a weakness in her, yet she knew it was not. Her weakness had been in letting them all do exactly what they wanted, without insisting on some return, which would make her life easier and more pleasant. They were not bad kids, they were just selfish and oblivious to a different and better way to behave. It had been her duty and her husband’s to guide the children and they had not. Her husband had grown used to her saying ‘Oh, I don’t mind’, and it had suited him to believe her. He did not take his fair share of parental duties, but as she did not complain, he continued to ignore the situation.

The small knot of resentment had grown and now she had cancer. She had heard that stress can cause all sorts of ills, including cancer, and suddenly she wondered if her bitterness was showing up in her body. It was time to shake up her life. She needed new goals and she needed help to achieve them. The only person who could change things for her was herself. She saw it now. Taking the line of least resistance was not an option now. She made a list of things that would have to change, it was not a long list, but it was a very important one.

Mary stuck the list on the fridge door with a magnet and went back to bed and slept. The following day was a Sunday. Normally she would be the one to get up and make the breakfast. On this day she slept on. At 10 o’clock her husband appeared with tray, on it was a pot of tea and some toast with butter and marmalade. He looked sheepish and embarrassed.

‘Oh, thank you Robert. I thought you were off to golf this morning.’ she said.

Mary’s son and daughter appeared at the door. They looked upset and worried . ‘Hello Mum,’ was all they could say.

Robert reached into into his back pocket and took out Mary’s fridge list. He put it on the tray, Mary noticed ticks on all the items, they looked like marks of agreement. The family had at last come together and had seen what needed to be done for their mum.

‘I’m going to fight it,’ said Mary, ‘but I don’t want to have to fight you too. Thanks for the ticks. Promise me that you’ll remember to go along with it? It is fair enough, isn’t it? All I want to do is to be able to train as…. an astronaut. …That’s not too much to ask, is it? ‘

Her smile told them they were forgiven and she hoped that all their tears were a promise of the help and support she needed.

 

 

A Day in the Life of Sydney the Cat  

When we go out in the morning our cat always comes to the car. He winds round my legs and rubs his back on my knees.

Mum says ‘Off you go now Sydney, I don’t want to run over you.’

He walks slowly towards the back door, looking over his shoulder to see if we’re watching. I always like to see him pop back into the house through the cat flap. Then I know that the house is safe with him indoors.

Mum says ‘Good, Sydney is safe inside. Off we go.’

But I know he’s keeping the house safe. If any mice came in to steal the cheese we left out by mistake, he would catch them, I know he would. Or if a fly was playing on the window, leaving its dirty footprints everywhere, he would get it.

Mum doesn’t like it when Sydney eats flies .

‘Yuk,’ she says. ‘I wish you wouldn’t do that, Sydney. You don’t even look as if you like the taste!’

We know what Sydney does when we are away. He goes into every room and inspects it for flies, which he catches, and for bits of chocolate which he eats. We are a bit untidy sometimes, and we leave half eaten chocolates in their wrappers on my bed. Well, I do sometimes, if I don’t really like the chocolate. I leave them for someone else to finish and it’s usually Sydney. Mum says they aren’t good for his teeth, but I keep forgetting that and I don’t want to put them in the bin.

One day we were in a hurry to get away in the morning . Off we rushed and when we came back, we found the chocolate spread jar open and on the floor. There was a row of chocolate footprints on the table and on the floor in the kitchen.

‘Who didn’t put the chocolate spread away?’ said Mum.

Sydney was lying in his basket. He didn’t bother to come and say hello.

‘I don’t think he’s feeling very well,’ said Mum. ‘I think he may have got chocolate poisoning.’ I looked at Mum to see if she was joking ‘cos I never get chocolate poisoning.

‘Cats are different,’ said Mum. ‘I don’t think chocolate is good for them. I’ll phone the vet and ask.’ The vet said we had to keep an eye on Sydney and make sure we never give him chocolate again. I was very careful after that. If I ate a chocolate I didn’t like I put it down a special hole in the garden for the little creatures to eat. Mum said we have a chocolate mine in the garden now.

What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats?  reference:  cat-world.com.au

Symptoms vary on the age of the cat (kittens are more susceptible than adults), and the quantity consumed. If enough is ingested, death can occur. Clinical effects can occur within four hours of ingestion, but may take as long as 72 hours. The first signs of theobromine poisoning can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • HyperactivityAbdominal tenderness
  • Restlessness
  • Frequent urination and or urinary incontinence

These can progress to more severe symptoms including:

  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Muscle tremors
  • Ataxia (lack of muscular coordination)
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

 

 

 

 

The story of YY the Bear. April 16 2014  written for Reuben and the big bear he won at a raffle YY (a house)

 

YY was made in a bear factory in Oregon in America.They made small bears, large bears and many in between sized bears, YY was one of the largest, he was as big as a small child. Uncle Humphrey and Aunt Saskia fell in love with him almost as soon as they saw him. He seemed to follow them around the shop with his eyes saying : ‘Take me to your niece in the UK.’

‘I just love this one,’ said Aunt Saskia, ‘he’s really got soul.’

The shop assistant smiled back. ‘All are bears have something about them, but we aren’t allowed to say they’ve got ‘soul’, as it upset some people. But what we do is we give each bear a ‘goal’, not a soul, but a goal, you see? Look, it’s tied round his neck. This bear’s goal is to ‘Make a child happy every day’.

Aunt Saskia put on her glasses and peered at the label. ‘Ah, so it is. I like that. Come and see this one Humphrey!’

Obedient to his wife, Humphrey crossed the store, holding a small brown bear with a label tied round its neck. Saskia told him about YY and the ‘goal’.

‘Say, that’s real nice, but I like this one too and it would fit in a suitcase,’ said Humphrey.  Saskia’s brow ruffled. ‘Yes, it is kind of cute, but Rosie might already have a bear that size. It’s rather ordinary and what’s its ‘goal’, let’s have a look.

 

‘To be a very good bear,’ Aunt Saskia read out. ‘Oh no, that’s really boring. Oh, no, we can’t have a bear who just wants to be good and nothing else. You’ve got to put out to others in this life. You’ve got to make an effort!

‘But it’s only a bear,’ said Uncle Humphrey, ‘and it is rather large. They might not let it come on the ship! It takes up the space of a real person!’

‘Just to let them try and stop him coming!’ said Saskia, determined. ‘I want Rosie to get a present from us that she will never forget. This bear fills the bill.’

Uncle Humphrey did his famous shoulder lift and big sigh. ‘Humph’, he said, nothing more. Aunt Saskia got out her cheque-book and paid for the bear.

On the ship the bear sat next to Aunt Saskia. Children were forever coming over to stroke him, or even to hug him.

‘What’s his name?’ they would ask.

‘Oh, he doesn’t have a name yet,’ she would reply.

‘Why?’ each child would say.

And Aunt Saskia would explain all about her niece Rosie. Every child who came along wanted to know the bear’s name. Uncle Humphrey began to humph.

‘Why? Why? Why do children always ask ‘Why’, why?

Aunt Saskia sat up straight, as the idea hit her between the eyes.

‘I know we’ll just call him YY, until Rosie gets him then she can decide on his name!’

Uncle Humph humphed once more, but it was a smiling humph, not a bothered humph.

YY made many children happy on the journey over to England and that made Aunt Saskia happy as she loved children, but had none of her own.

When Rosie saw YY, she gave him a great big hug and asked what his name was. Aunt Saskia had planned what she was going to say, so that Rosie could choose a name for him, but Uncle Humphrey being a little absent-minded just said ‘He’s called YY and everyone loves him.’ and he made a sort of apologetic but happy humph, towards Aunt Saskia, and that was that.

He is YY and he makes children happy (and quite a lot of big people too!).

Chris sat with his back against the wall of the supermarket. His lurcher Rusty lay on a dirty folded car blanket. Last night with his mates was a time which would be hard to erase from his mind, confused as it was.  He reached back in thoughts, going over what had happened the previous night.

The weather had been atrocious. The lads were in the pub a little way up the hill from the sea. Chris noticed a message from his mum on his phone with another one below it from his mate, Darrell. He clicked on Darrell; a picture of him grinning drunkenly at him leered out.

‘You’ve been NEK NOMINATED, mate!’ read the text.

Chris showed Shane, who was sitting next to him. Shane’s eyes lit up.

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Chris asked.

‘Darrell has named you as the next person who has to drink whatever his mates give him, in one glass.’ said Shane. ‘Are you up for it?’

‘I dunno, I suppose so,’ said Chris, a sinking feeling building in his middle. All his friends’ eyes were on him.  He did not feel like he had much choice.  They were willing him to agree.  Anything for a laugh…and would it prove that he was more of a man than them??

‘Well, we’ll have to see what you can do then!’  All the lads cheered.

Chris nodded; a rope seemed to tighten around his stomach.

The lads ambled over to the bar discussing what cruel mixture they could get Chris to drink, to down all in one go. That was the challenge. Chris heard one shout ‘ barley wine’ and another ‘Jack Daniels’, then ‘gin and pickled egg vinegar’. More shouts followed. Dejectedly he flicked back to the text message from his mother.

‘Come and get Rusty.  The house is flooding. We are going to Grandmas right now. Love you, xx’

The rope tightened around Chris again. This time it’s squeezed his chest.

He saw the pint glass coming towards him on a tray, proudly carried by Shane. This was just not the right time to be getting smashed – if ever there was a right time – which he doubted.

His friends would never believe him if he cried off, if he told them about the flood, even though they could hear the sea crashing away just down the road. They were past the point of discrimination of fact from fiction, of truth from reality.

Chris thought he would just swallow the mix and go for the sake of a quiet life. They cheered as he swallowed. He stood up ‘Right, I’m off!’

Disappointed, they watched him go out into the wind and rain.

‘Gotta  be quick!’ he said out loud,  loping across the street and down the road towards the sound of the sea, down the alley round to the back of his house. The garden was terraced. Rusty was straining at his chain beside the kennel, which was floating in a foot of water.  The dog  was perched on the rockery barking and shivering. The kitchen would have been two feet deep in water and the lounge deeper. Chris couldn’t enter the house, he just had to take the dog and go.

He was beginning to get confused ‘Get Rusty,’ he said to himself. He unhooked the dog from the kennel and picked up Rusty’s blanket. All Chris could think about was to get away from the water. His thoughts were becoming more and more confused as the alcohol began to take effect. His legs would not do what he wanted them to and the road no longer seemed to be flat. It was undulating and coming up to meet his head in an alarming way.  A car horn blasted out loudly.  Someone shouted at him ‘Hell ain’t half full yet!’

Chris found some railings and use them to pull himself up the hill towards the town centre. Rusty stayed close by his side, the chain dragging on the ground behind the two of them. The lights became a much brighter. Chris just needed to rest. He found a corner between plate-glass windows that he could sink down into. He managed to get Rusty’s blanket onto the ground and collapsed onto it. He felt Rusty’s warm body and then nothing.

The next thing he was aware of was a group of lads shouting and laughing. He opened his eyes. One of them was approaching him, his arms outstretched, offering him a sandwich and a can of Coke.

‘Here, mate,’ he said, ‘you look as if you could use something to eat. I’ve just been ‘Nek Nominated’ but I’m not going to waste my time being sick all over the place. I bought this instead to give to someone else.  Seems like a better idea. Here, you have this. I’m staying sober!’

Chris realised he had not eaten for hours and neither had Rusty. ‘Yeah cool. Thanks.’ As he shared the sandwich with his dog. Chris thought about the damage he might have caused to his body by drinking all that alcohol and the hurt that it would have caused his parents if he had been run over.

‘Nek Nomination. It’s only for idiots,’ he decided.

Questions:  (Some ideas to think about)

Where were the boys at the start of the story?

What happened that made Chris feel worried ?

What did Chris think he should prove to his friends?

What does ‘his friends were past the point of discriminating fact from fiction’ mean in the story?

How did Chris feel when he read the text from his mum?

Why were his friends disappointed when he left the pub?

What did the man mean when he shouted ‘Hell ain’t half full yet?’

What did the boy with the sandwich do?  Why?

What did Chris think about Nek Nomination when it was all over?

What would you do if someone challenged you to do something very dangerous or damaging to your body?

If people harm themselves or even die doing things like this, how will they be remembered – as brave or as a fool?

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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