Patrick never did homework. “Too boring,” he said. He played football, basketball and videogames instead. His teachers told him, “Patrick! Do your homework or you won’t learn a thing.” And it was true, sometimes he didn’t feel quite smart.
But what could he do? He hated homework.
Then one day he saw his cat playing with a little doll. To his surprise, it wasn’t a doll at all, but a man of the tiniest size. He had a little woolen shirt with old-fashioned trousers and a tall hat much like a witch’s. He yelled, “Save me! Don’t give me back to that cat. I’ll grant you a wish, I promise you that.”
Patrick couldn’t believe how lucky he was! Here was the answer to all of his problems. So he said, “Only if you do all my homework throughout the year.”
And true to his word, that little elf began to do Patrick’s homework. Except, there was one problem. The elf didn’t always know what to do and he needed help. “Help me! Help me!” he would say. And Patrick would have to help – in whatever way.
“I don’t know this word,” the elf squeaked while reading Patrick’s homework. “Get me a dictionary. No, what’s even better? Look up the word and spell it, too.”
When it came to math, Patrick was out of luck. “What are multiplication tables?” the elf asked. “We elves never need addition, subtraction, division or fractions. Here, sit down beside me, you simply must guide me.”
Elves know nothing of human history. To them it’s a mystery. So the little elf kept shouting, “Go to the library, I need books. More and more books. And you can help me read them, too.”
Patrick was working harder than ever and it was tough! He was staying up nights and had never felt so tired. He was going to school with his eyes puffed.
Finally, the last day of school arrived and the elf was free to go. As for homework, there was no more. So the elf quietly slipped out the back door.
Patrick got good grades. His classmates were amazed and his teachers smiled with full of praise. And his parents wondered what had happened to Patrick. He was now a good boy.
You see, in the end, Patrick still thought he had made that tiny man do all his homework. But I’ll share a secret, just between you and me. It wasn’t the elf; Patrick had done it himself!
Long ago, the Sun and the Water lived together on Earth. They were great friends. Every day they danced and played together on the beach.
The Sun lived together with the Moon in a warm, cheery house. The house was painted yellow, pink and gold. Light danced all around it.
The Water’s house was much larger than the Sun’s. It was painted blue, green and violet. A gentle wind blew all around the house and it was very peaceful.
The Sun often went to the Water’s house, but the Water never visited the Sun. One day the Sun asked the Water why he never visited. The Water said, “I would like to visit you, but your house is not big enough for me and all my family. If you built a very large new house, my family and I will be very happy to visit you.”
The Sun thought this was a wonderful idea. He and the Moon immediately began to build a new house. After a week, the house was finally finished. It was so big that it stretched as far as the eyes could see. The next day, the Sun and the Moon invited the Water and his family to come for a party.
“May I come in?” the Water asked when he arrived.
“Of course, my dear friend,” answered the Sun and the Moon.
So the Water and all the members of his family began to come through the door. Tiny fish, crabs, snails and huge whales poured into the Sun’s house.
Soon, the water was knee-deep. “Shall we keep coming in?” the Water asked the Sun. “Of course!” the Sun answered. “The party is just beginning!” So more water entered the house. Now it poured through the windows as well as the doors.
Soon, the water was high enough to cover a person’s head. Again the Water asked the Sun if he and his family could keep coming in. “Of course!” the Sun said again.
Finally, there was so much water in the house that the Sun and the Moon had to sit on the roof. “Should we keep coming in?” the Water asked. The Sun and the Moon were having too much fun to say no. More water and more sea creatures poured into the house until it was completely full. The Sun and the Moon had to go up in the sky and that is where they have lived ever since.
(3) Trisha’s Biscuits
Trisha’s parents decided to go to the city to do some shopping, and Trisha wanted to go along with them. They wanted to get some festival presents and she needed to buy some books. They caught an early bus to the city. So by early afternoon, they had bought everything that they wanted.
Trisha was not particularly fond of the city. She hated the noise and the traffic. So she asked her parents to take a taxi to the bus stop because she wanted to go home early. The taxi got stuck in a traffic jam and by the time they got to the stop, the bus had just left. They had to wait for an hour to catch the next bus. So they all went over to the restaurant near the bus stop to have some tea and snacks.
The restaurant was crowded. Trisha had to sit on one empty table near a window away from her parents. She was hungry and couldn’t wait for her order to come. So she opened a packet of biscuits that she had bought earlier. She put the packet of biscuits on the table and started eating from it. There was a newspaper on the table, so she spread out the newspaper in front of her and began solving the crossword puzzle.
After a couple of minutes, a man sat down opposite her. He looked like a typical businessman. He was wearing a dark suit and was carrying a briefcase. He ordered for a cup of tea. Trisha didn’t say anything to the stranger and carried on with her crossword. Suddenly, Trisha realized that the man across the table took a biscuit from her packet and started eating. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She was too shock to say anything. She decided not to make a fuss and ignored it. Trisha always tried to avoid trouble. So she took a biscuit for herself and went back to her crossword in the newspaper.
When the man took a second biscuit, Trisha pretended to be very interested in the puzzle since she did not know what to say to the man. Some time passed and Trisha put her hand on the last biscuit. The man was looking at her as if the biscuit was his. He was staring at Trisha furiously. But Trisha nervously ate the biscuit and decided to leave.
As she was getting ready to go, the man suddenly pushed back his chair, stood up and walked away. Trisha was relieved and she decided to go to her parents to tell the story. So she folded the newspaper, put it aside and stood up. And there, on the table where the newspaper had been, was her own packet of biscuits!
(4) A Fisherman
Long ago, in a faraway village in Japan, there lived a young fisherman called Urashima Taro. He lived with his parents whom he loved very much. He went out fishing every day, even in bad weather.
One day, Taro went out fishing but he couldn’t catch a single fish. He was discouraged and decided to go home. On his way back, he saw some young boys trying to kill a small turtle on the beach. He chased the boys away and put the turtle back into the sea.
The next day, Urashima Taro went to the shore again. When he threw his net into the sea, Taro felt it become quite heavy. He thought he caught a big fish and he pulled the net out slowly. To his surprise, he saw a beautiful girl caught in the net.
“I’m the turtle you saved yesterday. My father, the king of the sea, wants to thank you for saving my life. Please come to my father’s Coral Palace.”
Taro was delighted with the invitation. Together, they swam into the deep water towards the palace.
It was the first time Taro had been so far under water. For a minute he just blinked his eyes, for he could not believe what he saw. Strange and pretty plants grew on the bottom of the sea. Glistening red, blue and yellow fish of all sizes and shpaes swam everywhere. Everything was like a dream.
The king welcomed Taro warmly and held a big feast. He asked Taro to marry his daughter and stay with them forever. Taro agreed because he found the idea of living in the sea very charming.
Taro lived happily for many years with his wife in the Coral Palace. One day, his wife took him to a room which had a window on each side. When he opened the first window, he saw spring. At the second window, he saw summer. The third window showed him autumn and the last window showed his village in winter. Taro longed to go back to his village and meet his parents.
“I want to go back to my village,” said Taro. The sea princess agreed to let him go and gave him a magic box. “Look after it well and we shall meet again. But you must never open it.”
When Taro reached his village, nothing was the same. Taro asked many people about his parents, but hardly anyone seemed to have heard of them. He asked them about himself but they said, “Urashima Taro drowned many years ago.”
He couldn’t believe what he heard. He did not know what to do, so forgetting what his wife had told him, he opened the box. As soon as the box was opened, he became an old man with hair as white as snow.