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.

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yogastories:

Now Dotty the Dalmation has a picture. Awww

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.

Story by Tessa Hiilman republished  in  Oct 2013 as a result of the cyclone in Indian this week Educational Stories, Stories for primary school children | Tags: , , , , ,

The Flood

In my village in India we live very close to the sea. We live in fear of tidal waves, hurricanes, cyclones and even extra high tides. If the people in my village could have found somewhere else to live, they would have. But most people are too poor to move away, so they stay and pray that the sea will not take them before their time.

When I was about ten years old, we had a terrible flood. I remember it so clearly. The weather had been bad for several days, raining heavily, turning everything into mud. Then we heard there were storms at sea. The tide was very high the night before it happened. My father said we could not risk staying at home for even one more day. He made us pack our belongings and put them into our handcart. My Mother readily agreed to go. She was afraid for our lives, the lives of her children, especially the new baby, only three months old. She felt he would be her last child and so he was especially precious to her. There were six of us children, four girls and two boys. Two of my sisters were older than I was and the others had come much later, they were twins and were about three years old.

For me it was quite exciting to pack up all our important things. We did not have very much, but my mother made sure we took our little cooking stove and a large bag of rice along with clothing and bedding and tools for working in the fields. We also took our oil lamp trying very hard not to break the glass. I wrapped my blanket carefully around it to make sure it was safe.

Many other people had the same idea as us; some had already had water in their homes from the previous night’s high tide.

The wind blew and the rain fell and we trudged along the road as soon as it was light enough to see. My father said we must walk at least eight miles to get onto higher ground before the next high tide. This was going to be difficult but father thought that even if we didn’t manage the eight miles at least we would be further inland. Maybe the land would soak up the sea behind us, so that it would not reach us, even if we were still on the low lying ground.

My elder sisters and I took it in turns to carry the twins. They were very small and could not keep up the pace. Mother carried the baby on her back and helped father to push the cart when he became tired.

After we had been walking about three hours a terrible thing happened. The wheel fell off our cart. People were streaming past us with their children, animals and all their worldly goods. Everybody’s cart was full up to the brim. There was no space for our stuff. Mother began to cry as she looked at her little cooker that she loved so much. Would she have to leave it behind?

Time was pressing on. The day was becoming hot and humid and there was still a long way to go. Mother noticed a signpost at the edge of the road. It indicated the way to the next village.

“This is a good marker,” she said, and she walked over to a rough brick house. It was open and there were signs that the inhabitants had left hurriedly, leaving little of importance behind them. Mother and Father dragged the cart into the house and draped an old sari she found lying in a corner over it to hide the contents.

“With any luck when we return we may find this house again and reclaim what is ours.” She said.

We continued our journey with no food and no water but with our lives intact. We reached the higher ground two hours before the next high tide and storm. The land was devastated. Thousands of houses were washed away and hundreds of lives were lost. Those too old or too ill to make the journey were drowned. Our family was still together, wet, homeless but together. After five days the local people who had fed us with bowls of rice said we must return to our homelands. There was no room for us in their villages. The water had subsided, so return we did. It was difficult to recognise the route we had taken. Dead animals lay strewn everywhere and every so often there was a human corpse. I noticed that several of the dead were people who had a leg or a foot missing, they had not been able to walk fast or far enough.

Father found an old wheel abandoned in the road and was hoping to be able to fix it on to the cart, should we ever find our cart again. My mother suddenly became excited as she saw in the distance the sign near the brick house where our belongings had been left.

.

Mother and I ran towards the house. There were some people standing round the door looking tired and dirty. Mother approached them cautiously. She spoke to a man leaning in the doorway. She explained how the cart had broken and she had left it in the hut. She wondered if it was still there.

“Ah, Madam, “ replied the tired looking man, “When we returned home all we found was mud, mud, mud. We have not started to clear it away yet. It seems to have half filled our house. Please look for yourself.”

Mother looked inside the hut. To her joy she found the leg of the cooking stove poking out through a piece of filthy slime.

“Yes, yes, “ she exclaimed, “It’s there! May we take it?”

“Indeed, Madam, since it is yours. Please feel free to release it from its tomb.”

“But what about you? You seem to have nothing left in your house. Are you sure you don’t want to keep it? That was the risk we took in leaving it here.”

“Madam, I have very little, and neither, I perceive, do you; but what is yours, is yours. Please take it. The Lord will provide for us, unless it is his will that we also should die.”

With that the man began to scrape away at the mud. Beneath our cart lay a pile of beautiful cooking pots.

 

flood-pic

“And these, madam, are these yours too?”

“No,” said Mother, “I have never seen these, you must keep them and use them for yourself.”

“I will indeed, until their rightful owner returns, I will consider them to be my own.”

He smiled a big smile and his wife looked in wonder at the pots.

On returning to our village we cleared away the mud and resumed our lives. That was ten years ago. I have always remembered that man’s understanding of what is mine is mine, what is yours is yours. It is a good way to look at property, and then one will never be tempted to steal it.

QUESTIONS: Support answers to questions 2 to 7 with evidence from the text.
1. What name would you give this story?
2. Why was the village unsafe?
3. Why did the people remain living there?
4. What were the family’s most important possessions?
5. How do you know the narrator had a positive attitude to life?
6. What help did they receive from the villagers on the higher ground?
7. What was the old man’s attitude who owned the house?
8. How did you feel when you heard the story?
9. Did it remind you of anything in your own life?

A Story from Alan about Rights and Responsibilities

Helping on the farm

When I was a lad I was a bit like you. I didn’t want to be reading and writing. I liked to be outdoors.

My mum and dad had seven children, some of us were twins. I had a twin sister.

We lived on a farm. My dad had sheep, pigs and cows. My mum had chickens and ducks.

I loved helping dad on the farm. Dad used to give us jobs to do. I had to feed the pigs, greedy beggars they were! We fed them on Tottenham pudding. It came in big bins. It was the waste food from schools and hotels all boiled up together. I remember finding a teaspoon in it one day. My brothers all had jobs too. Dad said it was their responsibility to help him on the farm. Without their help he could not have done all the work he said.

The girls helped mum with the cooking and cleaning and the chickens. That was their responsibility.

One day my twin sister said she didn’t want to do the chickens. She said they were too noisy. Mum was cross.

“All right, if you don’t want to do the chickens, then you have no right to be eating their eggs.”

“I don’t care!” said my sister.

That day my mother made a lovely big sponge cake with cream and jam. My sister held out her plate for a piece.

“Oh, there’s none for you. You don’t eat eggs. Now do you?”

My sister went red and ran out of the room in tears. That night, just before dark, she said

“Mum I’m just going to put the chickens to bed. Okay?”

Mum smiled. “I think we’ve got some cake left,” she said.

Questions

What responsibilities did the boys in the family have?

What responsibilities did the girls in the family have?

Can you tell us about any responsibilities that you have?

Alan’s mum said his sister had no right to eat eggs if she didn’t help with the chickens,

That was a right that was agreed in the family.  Can you think of any rights like that? 

There are also human rights – like everyone has a right to food, shelter and clean water. Can you think of any more rights that you think everyone should have?

What rights do we have at college?

What responsibilities do we have at college?

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