Flossy (3)





This story has been especially prepared for classroom use with questions provided at the end to help students develop interpretive reading skills.



Photos courtesy Susan Stark.



Based on a true story from England

FLOSSY’s world was no bigger than the places she could walk to.  She walked to work each day and walked home again each evening. She never once visited Stowmarket or Clacton-on-the-sea to see the ocean.  She never visited Little Blankenham, even though it has such a nice name. It sounds like someone put a little blanket [bed cover] on a ham [pig].  All these villages are in England.  And in England, villages are like little islands in the middle of a big green ocean of land. 

     Flossy lived her whole life in one little village. The village is so small, I cannot tell you the name of it.  Flossy could not imagine [picture in her mind] a place like Egypt with huge [very big] pyramids and sand all around. She couldn’t imagine a place like Siberia with snow everywhere.  Flossy’s world was no bigger than where her feet could take her. Flossy fell in love with a boy from her village and married him. They lived down the road from where Flossy grew up and were very happy.  

     Every day but Sunday, Flossy walked to Chelsworth to a house called Lower Common Farmhouse. People in England give their houses names. It is a nice thing to do. And who knows? Maybe some day you’ll give your house a name too! There was nothing common [ordinary or simple] about Lower Common Farmhouse (as you can see in the picture above). But that was its name.  

     Flossy worked for a man called Michael. He lived all alone after his wife died.  Flossy cooked his meals, cleaned the house, did the laundry [washed clothes] and found many other ways to be helpful. Flossy cooked special meals when Michael had guests. Michael had many friends and they were very interesting. Flossy tried not to listen, but it is very hard not to hear when people talk about wonderful, far-away places.  You really want to know what they are going to say—even if they are not talking to you!  Michael and his friends talked about such places because they loved to travel. When Flossy went home each night she told her husband what she heard. And her husband always answered, “Flossy, there’s no good reason for people to travel! Don’t fill your head with silly ideas. You have a house, your family, and good friends. What more do you need?” But Flossy dreamed of far-away places in her dreams.

   The day came when Michael told Flossy he was going to marry again. Flossy looked very frightened [afraid], but Michael said, “You don’t need to be afraid. I will always need your help my faithful [true, hard working, honest] Flossy.” And it was so. Michael never let go of a good friend. Flossy stayed and worked in Michael’s house like before. One night, when Flossy was serving dinner, she heard Michael and his new wife talking about a place called Egypt. She did not know where Egypt was, but she heard them talking about pyramids and camels, and great kings and jewels [see photos]. “What a wonderful place that must be!” thought Flossy!  “What fun it would be to ride on a camel’s funny back!” 

     Michael knew that Flossy wanted to ask him questions about Egypt, because Flossy loved to learn new things.  But now Flossy stayed more in the kitchen and worked quietly there. And so, Michael left books around the house that Flossy was sure to see when she was cleaning. “Could such a place really be?” she thought when she saw the pictures.  Soon after this, Michael came into the kitchen one day and said, “Flossy we shall not [will not] need your help for the next two weeks because my wife and I are going to Egypt.” 

     Flossy was very happy for Michael because she loved him like a grandfather. But she was sorry not to have work for two whole weeks. Maybe she could find small jobs in her village while Michael was gone.  But before she could say, “Yes, sir, I understand,” Michael said to her, “And we will be needing your help on the trip. I’ve already talked to your husband.”  Flossy couldn’t even answer she was so happy.   

     Michael never told Flossy that they didn’t really need her help. Michael just loved to make people happy. Flossy rode down the great Nile River on a big boat; she rode on the back of a camel, and saw the great pyramids. Some years later, when Michael passed on [died], Flossy found work in her own village. She never again traveled any farther than she could walk—but a part of her heart was always free.



1. What does this sentence mean?:  Flossy’s world was no bigger than the places she could walk to.
    A.) The only places Flossy had been to, were the places she could walk to. 
    B.) Flossy did not know anything about the world except the villages around her. 
    C.) The 
“world” Flossy lived in was very small.
    D.) All of the above.

2. What do the words mean, “based a true story”?
    A.) It is a true story but some details in the story are different, like the names of people.
    B.) The most important points of the story are true.
    C.) Details are added to the story. The details could all be true, but they are made up.
    D.) All of the above.

3. Why didn’t Flossy travel?   
    A.)  She was poor.
    B.)  She worked all the time.
    C.)  Her husband did not want her to. 
    D.) All of the above.

4. Why did Flossy try not to listen to the conversations when Michael had guests?
    A.) It is not polite to listen to the conversations of others.
    B.) The guests were talking about her.
    C.) She could not hear very well.
    D.) All of the above.

5. Why did Flossy’s husband not want her to travel?
    A.) They were poor.
    B.) He was a simple man and believed that happiness can be found where you live.
    C.) His view of life was very small and he did not understand why it is necessary to see the world.
    D.) All of the above.

6. Why did Flossy love Michael like a grandfather?
    A.) Michael was her grandfather.
    B.) Michael was very kind and good to her.
    C.) Flossy did not have a grandfather and wished she did.
    D.) All of the above.

7. Why did Michael take Flossy to Egypt?
    A.) Michael and his wife needed Flossy
’s help.
    B.) Michael knew it would be the most special thing that happened in her life.
    C.) Michael wanted to teach 
Flossy's husband a lesson.
    D.) All of the above.



Answers: D, D, D, A, D, B, B

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - April 2022 §  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 photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com