In the Dark
(After J. K. Jerome)
Many years ago two friends, Joe and Tom, came to a small town. It was very dark when they came to a little inn. They asked for a room with two beds. The owner of the inn showed them a room and gave them a candle because there was no lamp in the room.
When they were going to the room the candle fell out of Joe's hand. It became very dark. They found the door of the room and went in.
They took off their clothes and went to bed. The bed was very big and by mistake1 they got into the same bed: Tom from one side and Joe from the other.
After a few minutes Joe said, "You know, Tom, there's a man in my bed. Here are his feet near my face."
"Yes, Joe, there's a man in my bed too. His feet are near my face too. What shall we do?"
"Let's push them off our beds."
And they began to push each other. After some time the two men fell on the floor.
"Joe!" cried Tom. "My man is stronger than I. He has pushed me down to the floor."
"I'm on the floor too," answered Joe. "I think we must go to the owner of the inn and tell him about it."
Are You Angry, Sir?
One day Mark Twain was travelling in France by train. He was going to a small town near Paris. It was very late at night when he went to sleep. He asked the conductor to wake him up when they got to the town, and went to sleep.
It was early morning when he woke up. The train was already near Paris. Mark Twain was very angry. He ran up to the conductor and cried, "I asked you to wake me up! Why didn't you do it? I am very angry with you!"
The conductor looked at him for a moment and then said, "You may be angry, sir, but not so angry as the American whom I put off' the train instead of you."
In a Small Town
Toscanini was a great musician. He lived in America. One day he came to a very little town. He was walking along the street when he saw a piece of paper in one of the windows. He read:
"Mrs. Smith. Music Lessons. Two Dollars a Lesson"
Then Toscanini heard the music. Somebody was playing Tchaikovsky.
"Mrs Smith is playing," he thought, "she isn't a very good musician. She doesn't play Tchaikovsky well. I must show her how to play it."
He went up to the door of the house and rang. The music stopped and soon a woman opened the door.
"Are you Mrs Smith?" asked Toscanini. "My name is Toscanini and I want to show you how to play Tchaikovsky."
Mrs Smith was very glad to meet the great musician. She asked him to come in. Toscanini played Tchaikovsky for her and went away.
A year later Toscanini visited the same town again. When he went up to the house where he had played Tchaikovsky the year before he again saw a piece of paper. Now it read:
"Mrs. Smith (Toscanini's pupil). Music Lessons. Four Dollars a Lesson"
A Great Painter and a Great Doctor
Joseph Turner was a great English painter. He had a dog which he loved very much. One day he was playing with his dog. The dog fell and broke his leg. Turner sent for a doctor. But he did not want to send for a vet.1 He sent for the best doctor in London.
When the doctor came Turner said, "Doctor, I'm glad you have come. My dog has broken a leg. I know that you are too great for this work, but please, do it. It's so important to me."
The doctor was angry but he did not show it.
Next day the doctor asked Turner to come to his house. "The doctor wants to see me about my dog," Turner thought.
When Turner got to the doctor's house the doctor said, "Mr Turner, I'm glad to see you. I want to. ask you to paint my door. I know that you are too great for this work, but please, do it. It's so important to me."
The Policeman and the Thief
In a small town a man stole1 some money from a house. The police began to look for the thief. Soon they found him and brought him to the police station.
There was a new policeman at the police station and they wanted to give him some work.
"Take this thief to the city," said one of the policemen. "You must go there by train."
The policeman and the thief went to the station. On their way to the station they came to the shop where bread was sold
"We have no food and we must eat something in the train," said th° thief. "It's a long way to the city and it'll take us a long time to get there. I'll go into the shop and buy some bread. Then you and I can eat in the train. Wait for me here."
The policeman was glad to have some food in the train. "Be quick," he said to the thief, "we don't have much time."
The thief went into the shop and the policeman waited in the street for a long time. At last he went into the shop.
"Where is the man who came in here to buy some bread?" asked the policeman
"Oh, he went out the back door," said the owner of the shop.
The policeman ran out but he could not see the thief. So he went to the police station and told the others about it. They were very angry with him. All the police of the town began to look forthe thief again and soon they found him. They brought him back to the police station and called the same policeman.
"Now," said one of them, "take him to the city and do not lose him again."
The policeman and the thief went to the station and came up to the same shop.
"Wait here," said the thief. "I want to go into the shop and buy some bread there."
"Oh, no," said the policeman, "you did that once and ran away. Now I'll go into the shop and you'll wait for me here."
Not a Robber
A young man who lived in the suburbs' of a big English city was going home from the railway station. It was a dark night and there was nobody in the street. Suddenly he heard somebody walking behind him. The faster he went, the faster the man ran after him. At last he decided to turn into a small street to see what the man would do.2 After a few minutes he looked back and saw that the man was still running after him.
"He wants to rob me," the young man thought. He saw a high garden wall and jumped over it. The other man jumped over the wall too. Now the young man was sure that the man behind him was a robber. But he could not understand why the robber was not in a hurry2 to attack him.
The young man did not know what to do. Then he turned round and said, "What do you want? Why are you following me?"
"Do you always go home in this way? Or are you taking some exercise today?" answered the man. "I'm going to Mr White, but I don't know where he lives. A man at the railway station told me to follow you, because I could find his house very easily as Mr White lives next door to you. Will you go home or will you do some more gymnastics?"
The Mouse and the Corn
Many, many years ago there lived a king who said that anyone who could tell a story for two years would get1 a piece of land.
First one man tried but his story lasted only two weeks. Another man finished his story after five days. A third man began his story like this:
"Once a farmer planted some corn. When the corn grew the farmer gathered it and put it into a shed. Then the mouse came into the shed and began to eat the corn."
The man went on, "The mouse took a grain of corn, the mouse took a grain of corn, the mouse took a grain of corn..."
The King interrupted the story, "Well, what was after this?"
"I can't tell you," answered the man, "because the mouse hasn't finished eating the corn yet."
"All right," said the king, "you will get a piece of land."
For Those Who Like to Travel
One day a Paris newspaper gave an advertisement3 about a very cheap4 and pleasant way of travelling - for 25 centimes.5 Many people believed it and sent the money.
A few days later each of them got a letter. The letter read: "Sir, rest in bed and remember that the Earth turns. Paris stands at the 49th parallel. At the 49th parallel you travel more than 25,000 kilometres a, day. You may look out of the window and watch the beautiful sky."
A Clever Fisherman
A fisherman brought a very large fish to a rich man's house. The rich man asked the fisherman to name his price for the fish. "I don't want money," was the answer. "One hundred lashes on my back is the price of my fish. I won't take one lash less!"
The rich man was surprised and said, "Well, this fisherman is very strange, but we must have the fish. So let the price be paid."
After fifty lashes the fisherman cried, "Stop! Stop! I have a partner in my business and he must get his part, too." "Where can I find him?" asked the rich man.
"He's your own servant. He didn't want to let me come into your house till I promised to give him half of the price of the fish."
Once there were two brothers, Peter and Bernard. Both of them liked to ride horses. One day they both went to buy a horse. Bernard bought a horse and Peter bought a horse, too.
"Oh, dear!" said Bernard. "How are we going to tell our horses apart? How shall I know which is my horse and which is your horse?"
"It isn't difficult," said Peter, "you cut the tail of your horse shorter than that of mine."
So Bernard cut the tail of his horse and now they could see which horse was his. But then the tail of Bernard's horse grew and the brothers began to think again.
"I know!" said Bernard. "You cut the mane of your horse very short and so we'll see which horse is yours."
But soon the mane of his horse grew.
"Do you know what we must do?" asked Peter. "We must see whose horse is longer. Perhaps, one is longer than the other."
And at last they found that the black horse was three centimetres longer than the white horse.
One night a hotel caught fire1 and the people who were staying in it ran out in their night clothes.
Two men were standing near the hotel and looking at the fire. "Before I came out," said one of them, "I ran into some of the rooms and found a lot of money there. People don't think about money when they are in panic. When paper money gets into a fire, the fire burns it. So I took all the paper money that I could find. No one will be poorer because I took it."
"You don't know me," said the other man, "and you don't know what I am."
"And where do you work?"
"I'm a policeman."
"Oh!" cried the first man. He thought quickly and then he said, "And do you know what I am?"
"No," said the policeman.
"I'm a writer. I'm always telling stories about things that never took place."Наверх