The school in the garden

Photo Boudewijn Huysmans, Unsplash!

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Our young, wonderful high school student from Afghanistan, Mashal, loves to read stories.  Here, with the help of his English teacher, they wrote a story together. The teacher writes a short prompt and the student continues the story. The teacher corrects any mistakes and sends along another prompt, keeping the story going. The fun is the inevitable surprise twists and turns the story takes for both teacher and student. Mashal’s English level is now sufficient, his teacher tells us, that he can write the bulk of the story himself.  Good work, Mashal!


ONCE there was a boy who wanted to go to school, but he couldn’t.  His parents could not pay the school fees.  The boy was very sad.  “How can I learn?” he said.  

     He went outside to the garden and sat down. He saw a little ant working very hard to build a house. “I will keep watching her,” said the boy. Suddenly he thought, “I can learn a very good lesson from this ant. I must try to help myself! I must find my school fees.”   

     He watched how hard the ant worked. Everything she needed to build her house she found all around her. “But how did she learn to build her house?” thought the boy. 

     Then the boy saw a caterpillar. The caterpillar was walking very slowly over the ground. So the boy watched the caterpillar and thought, “I can learn something important from ant and this caterpillar, too. Maybe it’s not important that find my school fees. I can learn myself.” 

      Suddenly, a bird flew to the tree where the boy was sitting.  “What can I learn from this bird?  How did she learn to fly? Who taught her?”  But the boy didn’t know. 

     Next the boy saw a dog sleeping.  The dog was very lazy.  The dog was also thin and dirty.  “You also have something important to teach me!” said the boy.  “From you I learn maybe the most important lesson! I can be lazy and sleeping always, and then I will be thin and dirty like you. I learn this from you, that I must never be like you.” 

      Finally, the boy saw a man across the road repairing a bicycle.  He went to the man and said, “I cannot go to school, but I want to learn.  Will you teach me how to repair a bicycle?”   The man answered, “Sure! I can teach you how to repair a bicycle, but it is not enough for you to learn.  You must learn many things.” 

     The boy answered, “Yes, I must learn many things but, like the caterpillar, I can only take one step at a time.  First I will learn how to repair a bicycle, then I will learn more things.”   

     The man smiled and said, “I can see you are a very good boy. I have an idea.  You can help me repair bicycles for people.  I will pay you for your help and then you will have the fees to go to school!”   

     Of course, the boy was very happy and said, “Yes! I will gladly work for you.”   

     So that day the boy learned a wonderful lesson.  He learned when it’s not possible to have success fast, we can be successful slowly, walking each step. —Mashal

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com