Friday, June 21, 2013

Collection of six interesting stories for kids..:D

1. How the Hermit Thrush Got His Song-I

In the deep forests of Canada, where once, before the white man came to his land, the Red Indian lived and hunted, there is a little bird called the hermit thrush.
This name must have been given to it because of its habit of nesting and singing alien in the depths of the forest where it is seldom seen. Its song is a very beautiful one; and those Indians who are still left in Canada tell to their children even to-day, the story of how the hermit thrush got its song.
Long, long ago, says the story, all the birds, from the smallest to the greatest, met beneath the Council Tree. As they talked-there, they decided that a new song was needed upon earth to strengthen and refresh the tired hearts of men.
This song, they were told, could only be heard in the home of the Great Spirit beyond the long, long sky trail. Some bird would have to bring it from there, but who would set out on that far and lonely journey so high above the earth?
The birds all looked at one another yet for some time none spoke. Each felt that his wings would never be strong enough to bear him along that trail.
A little thrush who had come to the meeting with the others, longed with all his heart to hear the song in the Great Spirit's home. 'If I could only hear it once,' he thought to him­self, ' I know that I should never forget it and I could bring it back to earth to delight the hearts of men.
How great an honor that would be for me! But, alas! My wings are small and weak. I can fly only a short way and the great sky trail is so long, so very long.'
Now the eagle, the mighty king of all the birds, spoke to the company. 'I am your leader,' he said, ' and you know that I am the largest and strongest of you all.
Therefore, I am the fittest one to fly along the great sky trail to the home of the Great Spirit and to carry the song back to earth.' And he prepared to fly.
'But he cannot sing a note,' thought the little thrush. 'He can never bring back the song.'
As the eagle spread his wide, strong wings for flight, the thrush sprang forward. The next moment, before anyone saw him, he was nestling deep in the neck-feathers of the mighty bird.
Up and up the eagle rose, above the forest, above the homes of man and beast, until the earth was left far beneath him. He had struck the great sky trail and he flew strongly upwards, but he did not know that the thrush rested between his feathers.
1. Upon what journey did the eagle set out? Why did he go?
2. How did the thrush do the journey? Why did he go?

2. How the Hermit Thrush Got His Song-II

Up, up and up the eagle went, straight for the gate of the Great Spirit's home, straight in the eye of the sun. The sun dazzled him so that even his bold, fierce eyes could not bear to look upon it, and yet he could not see the end of the trail.
How weary his wings were growing now! How slowly and painfully he was mounting! He felt that his strength was going fast and that in a moment or two he would drop earthwards.
Yes, now he was sinking. At that instant the little thrush sprang aloft from the eagle's feathers and began to mount on fresh, untried wings along the sky trail.
Up and up he went as the eagle had done. The way he had to go was not so very long and even now he caught a glimpse of the end of the trail. At last he reached the gate of the Great Spirit's home.
Now he could hear the song. It poured forth, so sweet and glorious that the thrush's little heart throbbed with joy and wonder as he listened.
He felt that he could remember every note and when it ended, he let himself drop gently earthwards. His heart was filled with pride. What a gift he had to bring for the sons of men!
He sank lower, nearer and nearer to the earth, until he reached the forest and the Council Tree. He saw the birds gathered there and in their midst was their king, the eagle, with downcast looks and drooping head.
'I have failed,' he was saying sorrowfully. 'I did not reach the Great Spirit's home. I have not brought back the song.'
The thrush, proud of the new song, was about to alight in the midst of the company and was even beginning to sing, when all at once he remembered something. He had succeeded; it was true, but not by himself.
If it had not been for the eagle's strong wings, which had borne him the greater part of the journey, he knew that he would never have reached the Great Spirit's home. The praise and honor for which he had longed were not all due to nil alone; and now he felt no longer proud, but very humble.
So he fluttered down until he was hidden in the thick bushes of the forest and there he sang the song. Its sweetness charmed the birds and beasts and soothed the hearts of men, but the little songster was not seen.
And that, says the old Indian story, is why the hermit thrush always hides him in the forest.
1. How did the hermit thrush finish the journey?
2. What did the thrush do when he came back to earth? Why did he do that?

3. A Strange Battle-II

From the hillock the two flocks of sheep which Don Quixote mistook for armies might easily have been seen, if the clouds of dust which they raised had not blinded the sight.
Don Quixote, however, saw in his fancy the two great armies and began to describe all tar warriors to Sancho. He spoke of each one's arms, colors and weapons just as if they had really been there.
Sancho Panza stood without speaking a word, only now and then he looked from side to side to see whether he could discover the knights and giants of whom his master spoke. At last he said, ' Sir, not a single man, or giant or knight of all those you have named, appears anywhere; at least, I do not see one.'
'What, Sancho,' replied Don Quixote, ' do you not hear the neighing of the steeds, the sound of the trumpets and the rattling of the drums?'
I hear nothing,' answered Sancho, ' but the bleating of sheep and lambs.' And so it was for now the two flocks had come very near them.
You are so much afraid, Sancho?' said his master, ' that you can neither she nor hear properly. Yet since you fear so, stand aside and leave me alone. For I am able, with my single arm, to give the victory to the side which I shall favor with my help.'
As he spoke he set his lance, drove his spurs into his old horse's sides and darted down the hillock like lightning.
Sancho cried aloud after him, ' Stop, stop, sir! Oh master, come back at once, come back! They are nothing but lambs and sheep. Oh, woe upon us both! What madness is this? What is it you are doing? '
Don Quixote, however, rushed onward with­out a look behind him, crying out, ' Ho, knights! You that fight under the banner of the brave King Pentapolin follow me all and you shall see how easily I will overcome his enemy, Ali- fanfaron.'
So calling, he rushed into the midst of the sheep and began to attack them with his lance as boldly as if he were indeed fighting his greatest enemies.
The shepherds who were with the flocks called out to him to stop; then, seeing that he did not heed them, they pulled out their slings and shot a volley of large stones at him.
Don Quixote did not heed the stones but running hither and thither, he cried out, Where art thou, proud Alifanfaron ? Show thyself to me and I will punish thee.'
At that instant a great stone struck him a blow in the side. It was followed at once by another which struck him in the face and knocked out three or four of his teeth. The blows were so heavy that the poor knight was stunned and fell from his horse to the ground.
The shepherds ran to him and seeing him lying there, believed that they had killed him. They hastily gathered their flocks together and marched off without waiting for anything more.
All this time Sancho stood upon the hillock, crying aloud, tearing his beard and wishing with all his heart that he had never met the foolish Don. At last, seeing him lying upon the road and the shepherds gone, he ran to him. Don Quixote was much hurt but he had not quite lost the use of his senses.
'Oh, oh, sir! 'Cried Sancho. 'Did I not call to you to come back, seeing that those you went to attack were a flock of sheep and not an army of men? '
'It is the work of that enchanter, my enemy, of whom I have so often spoken to you,' replied Don Quixote when at last he found his voice. 'He can make things seem what they are not and he was so afraid lest I should win this battle that he changed the two armies into flocks of .sheep.' Sancho, however, was not at all ready to believe such a story.
Presently Don Quixote arose, and tenderly nursing his hurt face, slowly mounted his horse and followed his squire from the scene of that strange battle.
1. What did bon Quixote do when the ' armies ' came near?
2. What was his fate?

4. The Honorable Tiger-I

It was noon time, when people in India prepare to eat their dinner. A grass-cutter, who had been busy since sunrise cutting grass for the cows of his master, was carrying on his head his load of grass bound together in a coarse rope net.
Trudging along through a very thick part of the jungle, he was alarmed by a tiger which suddenly crashed out of the bushes and glared at him. The great beast stood in the middle of the track, lashing his tail. The grass-cutter turned to run away.
He was a long way from his home and he knew that escape was almost hopeless, for the tiger, with his mighty power of springing, could catch him in one bound.
So when the king of the jungle ceased lashing his tail and looked gently at the man as a sheep might look at her lamb, the grass-cutter saw that his only chance of safety was to listen when the tiger spoke.
'Oh, grass-cutter, why are you frightened? Why would you run away? 'Asked the animal.
'Because you will kill and eat me,' replied the trembling man.
'Not so,' answered the tiger. 'Stay, I com­mand you! I have something important to say to you. Listen! I am an honorable tiger. If you will hide me in your load of grass, I will treat you as I would treat my father and my mother.'
To this strange request the grass-cutter was willing to agree; indeed, he felt in such danger of his life that he had no other choice. He had no weapon with which to defend himself except his reaping-hook and no man can fight a tiger with a reaping-hook.
'You are very big,' said the grass-cutter: ' and you are very heavy. I am a poor and weak man. How can I lift you on my head? '
'There is only one thing for me to do then,' snarled the huge animal, looking fierce. 'I must kill you and eat you. It is noon and I am hungry.'
'No, no! 'Pleaded the grass-cutter in despair. 'I have a wife and children to support. Spare my life, my lord.'
The man lowered his bundle of grass and untied the rope that bound it. At once the tiger crept in and curled himself in the middle of the grass as a cat might do. The grass-cutter covered him over and tied the rope very care­fully so that not a bit of the creature's body could be seen.
With a great effort he managed to get the load on his head and, as he staggered on his way he was bent nearly double under the weight.
The man had not gone far when he met a huntsman with a gun. 'Have you seen a tiger pass this way? 'The huntsman asked.
'No. sir,' answered the grass-cutter. 'I have seen no tiger.'
'He is a man-eater, a very dangerous animal,' said the huntsman. 'He has killed several men, women and children, so I have come out to shoot him.' With these words he passed on his way.
1. What did the tiger ask the grass-cutter to do?
2. How did the grass-cutter save the tiger?
3. Who was searching for the tiger and why?]

5. The Honorable Tiger-II

No sooner had the huntsman gone than the tiger began to struggle to be free. You have tied me too tight; let me out,' he growled. So the grass-cutter lifted the load from his head and placed it under a tree. When he had untied the rope, the tiger sprang out.
'You are a wicked man,' said the tiger. 'You lied to the huntsman. Lies are always punished. As I am an honorable tiger, and never lie, I must punish you.'
'I lied to save your life,' cried the unhappy man. 'The huntsman had come out to shoot you and I protected you.'
The tiger paid no heed to what the grass- cutter said. 'You are a fine fat man. I shall kill you and eat you,' he snarled.
'But you promised to treat me as you would treat your father and your mother,' said the grass-cutter.
'I care not for promises,' answered the tiger. 'That is the way of the jungle.' 'But it is not the way of the world,' replied the grass-cutter. 'With us it is good for evil.
'It is not so in the jungle,' snapped the tiger. With us it is evil for good. Ask this tree.'
'Alas, alas! 'Sighed the tree, ' the tiger is right and you are wrong. See what a pleasant shade I cast around me; how cool it is for tired travelers to rest and eat their bread. And yet, when they have rested and are re­freshed, they look up and say, " If this tree were cut down it would make fine boxes and strong beds." '
'Ah! Now that you have heard what the tree has said, you see that I am right,' growled the tiger. I am an honorable tiger, and I must keep to the ways of the jungle folk.'
The grass-cutter was not going to give in, so he said calmly, ' What can a tree know? His head is of wood. Let us first ask advice of yonder herd of buffaloes.'
The tiger agreed, so he and the man made their way towards the buffaloes. They spoke to an old cow buffalo that was grazing apart.
She looked up and listened when they began their story, which told how the man had hidden the tiger in his load of grass, and how he had lied to save the tiger's life, and how the tiger had promised to treat the grass-cutter as he would treat his own father and mother.
The old cow buffalo shook her head. 'All those buffaloes you see grazing around me are my children and my grandchildren. They drank of my milk when they were young.
I protected them. Now that they are strong and I am old and weak, they thrust their horns into my sides and push me away angrily; they will not even allow me to graze near them. The tiger is right; it is always evil for good.'
'Surely you see now that I speak the truth, my brother,' said the tiger. Come, I am hungry.'
'Wait, wait! 'Cried the grass-cutter, who was now sorry that he had not left the tiger to the huntsman, who would have shot him. 'Let us seek the advice of yet a third judge.' Again the tiger agreed, feeling certain that the advice would be the same.
At this moment a jackal peeped out of the jungle.
'Oh, jackal! 'They both cried. 'Give judg­ment between us.'
The tiger explained the case. 'On what you say depends my dinner and this man's life,' he added.
When the jackal heard of the quarrel, he pretended to look very wise and, as is the manner of his tribe, he decided on a cunning trick.
'How can I believe this story? 'He asked. He turned to the tiger and said, ' Unless I see you hidden in the load of grass, so that I may be sure that you are speaking the truth, it is impossible for me to give judgment.'
The tiger, who was hungry and anxious for his meal, ordered the grass-cutter to show the jackal exactly how he had been hidden. He told the grass-cutter to open the load of grass again and the tiger crept in as before and was tied up inside.
Then said the judge, ' I see now that you have spoken the truth. And as evil for good is the way of the jungle, I command this man to throw you into the deepest part of the river so that you may be drowned.'
This the grass-cutter did joyfully and that was the end of the honorable tiger.
1. How did the tiger repay the grass-cutter for saving him?
2. How was the grass-cutter saved from the tiger in the end?
3. The tiger said that he was an ' honorable ' tiger. What name would you give him?

6. Napoleon and the English Sailor

Once Napoleon, the famous Emperor of France, was at a port on the French coast waiting for a chance to bring his army across to England.
He had his fleet ready and a number of his warships sailed about in the waters outside the harbor, hoping to capture, if they could, any ships that belonged to the English.
One day a French ship took prisoner a young British seaman. He was a humble sailor, a poor English lad of no great importance.
So, though they had captured him, the French did not trouble to guard him very carefully but let him wander about every day on the sea-shore beyond the harbor.
They knew that he was safe enough, for he could not go back to England without a ship and no ship would carry him away from France.
Day after day the poor prisoner used to roam about the shore. Often, as he sat in some cave, he would watch the birds that left the land and flew over the sea towards the white cliffs of Dover.
'They are going home to my home,' he thought sadly. 'I wonder whether my mother will see them and whether I shall ever see her again. How I long to be afloat once more, even if it were in the tiniest cockle-shell of a boat in the midst of a storm, so long as the storm would carry me nearer to England ! '
One morning in the early dawn as he wandered on the shore, too heavy-hearted to sleep, he saw something large and dark bobbing on the waves. He waited a little while until the tide brought it nearer and then he waded into the sea and dragged it ashore. It was a big cask of wood, empty but quite sound.
The young man rolled it to the cave where he hid it carefully. There he began to work upon it with such poor tools as could find or make, until at last he had formed it into a tiny boat.
Such a poor little boat it was surely the weakest that ever ventured on a pond! Yet the sailor meant to try to get across the Channel in it, though he had neither tar for it's $ides, nor keel, nor sail nor rudder. Still, he thought, it would float; perhaps it might carry him home.
He kept his find a great secret, for no one must know what he was doing or what he meant to do. At dusk he stole into the woods that lay near the shore and there he cut stout branches of willow which he wove into bands to bind the planks of his boat.
At last, one calm night, all was ready. There was no moon, but it was not quite dark and the waves lapped quietly upon the shore as he dragged his boat softly out of the cave and down to the water's edge. It was already afloat and he was just about to step into it, when a rough voice called ' Halt! '
He looked behind him. There stood a French sergeant who ordered his men to surround the prisoner and to take his boat. They did so, with many a laugh and jeer at the poor little vessel. 'So you meant to cross to England in that, did you? 'Cried the sergeant and joined in his men's laughter.
The sailor was led away; but soon afterwards the story came to the ears of the Emperor. He saw the boat that the young ' Surely,' he said to him, ' since you were so rash as to trust yourself to a poor little shell like that to get across the Channel, there must be upon the other side someone whom you wish very much to see.'
Yes,' replied the young man simply. 'There is someone. My mother and I have not met for many years and I have a great longing to see her.'
'And so you shall,' said Napoleon at once. 'It must be a noble mother who has so braved a son as you. Take this.' With these words he put a piece of gold into the lad's hand.
A day or so later, by the Emperor's commands, the sailor was shipped to England under a flag of truce; and so he reached his native land and his mother safely.
Many a time after that, in his wanderings up and down the world, this sailor had to face a hard life and often he had to go without a meal. Yet he never parted with the gold coin which he had received from the great Napoleon.
1. What great wish did the English sailor have?
2. How did he plan to escape? What happened when he tried?
3. What is the surprise ending of this story?

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