1. COMMA GETS A CURE
Well, here's a story for you: Sarah Perry was a veterinary nurse who had been working daily at an old zoo in a deserted district of the territory, so she was very happy to start a new job at a superb private practice in North Square near the Duke Street Tower. That area was much nearer for her and more to her liking. Even so, on her first morning, she felt stressed. She ate a bowl of porridge, checked herself in the mirror and washed her face in a hurry. Then she put on a plain yellow dress and a fleece jacket, picked up her kit and headed for work.
When she got there, there was a woman with a goose waiting for her. The woman gave Sarah an official letter from the vet. The letter implied that the animal could be suffering from a rare form of foot and mouth disease, which was surprising, because normally you would only expect to see it in a dog or a goat. Sarah was sentimental, and felt sorry for the beautiful bird.
Before long, that itchy goose began to strut around the office like a lunatic, which made an unsanitary mess. The goose's owner, Mary Harrison, kept calling, "Comma, Comma," which Sarah thought was an odd choice for a name. Comma was strong and huge, so it would take some force to trap her, but Sarah had a different idea. First she tried gently stroking the goose's lower back with her palm, then singing a tune to her. Finally, she administered ether. Her efforts were not futile. In no time, the goose began to tire, so Sarah was able to hold onto Comma and give her a relaxing bath.
Once Sarah had managed to bathe the goose, she wiped her off with a cloth and laid her on her right side. Then Sarah confirmed the vet’s diagnosis. Almost immediately, she remembered an effective treatment that required her to measure out a lot of medicine. Sarah warned that this course of treatment might be expensive—either five or six times the cost of penicillin.
I can’t imagine paying so much, but Mrs. Harrison—a millionaire lawyer—thought it was a fair price for a cure.
2. THE RAINBOW PASSAGE
When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Throughout the centuries people have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norsemen considered the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from earth to their home in the sky. Others have tried to explain the phenomenon physically. Aristotle thought that the rainbow was caused by reflection of the sun's rays by the rain. Since then physicists have found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops which causes the rainbows. Many complicated ideas about the rainbow have been formed. The difference in the rainbow depends considerably upon the size of the drops, and the width of the colored band increases as the size of the drops increases. The actual primary rainbow observed is said to be the effect of super-imposition of a number of bows. If the red of the second bow falls upon the green of the first, the result is to give a bow with an abnormally wide yellow band, since red and green light when mixed form yellow. This is a very common type of bow, one showing mainly red and yellow, with little or no green or blue.
3. THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN
The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak.
They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other.
Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveler fold his cloak around him;
and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt. Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak.
And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.
4. THE TIGER AND THE GIRL
There once was a tiger living in China. Each year he took a ship to an island. He loved visiting the sheep on the beach. One day, after he ate a little sheep, a girl saw him. She said, “What in the world are you doing?” He said, “Because all the sheep are white, they are like toothpaste to me. I usually eat just one sheep every day to keep my teeth clean.” At that time, he took a step and a beige thorn went into the flesh of his paw. He roared. The pain was like fire. The girl was so afraid that she could barely breathe. But she bravely said, “When I need help, I always ask my mother. Would you like my mother to help you? She’s not far away.” The tiger agreed and went with the girl to her hometown. The daughter found her mother, who was a doctor, prancing and singing near a big hedge. She asked her mother to help her new friend that very hour. The mother told the tiger to lie down and be quiet. She pulled the thorn out of his lowered paw. Her husband, who was a lawyer and basketball player, gave the tiger a toy wristwatch. The tiger said, “Thanks a million for everything you’ve done recently.” “It was our pleasure,” replied the couple. And the tiger and the girl went off to take a cab to the zoo.
5. "Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station."
There was once a poor shepherd boy who used to watch his flocks in the fields next to a dark forest near the foot of a mountain. One hot afternoon, he thought up a good plan to get some company for himself and also have a little fun. Raising his fist in the air, he ran down to the village shouting "Wolf, Wolf." As soon as they heard him, the villagers all rushed from their homes, full of concern for his safety, and two of his cousins even stayed with him for a short while. This gave the boy so much pleasure that a few days later he tried exactly the same trick again, and once more he was successful. However, not long after, a wolf that had just escaped from the zoo was looking for a change from its usual diet of chicken and duck. So, overcoming its fear of being shot, it actually did come out from the forest and began to threaten the sheep. Racing down to the village, the boy of course cried out even louder than before. Unfortunately, as all the villagers were convinced that he was trying to fool them a third time, they told him, "Go away and don抰 bother us again." And so the wolf had a feast.
7. THE TIGER AND THE MOUSE
A tiger and a mouse were walking in a field when they saw a big lump of cheese lying on the ground.
The mouse said: "Please, tiger, let me have it. You don't even like cheese. Be kind and find something else to eat." But the tiger put his paw on the cheese and said: "It's mine! And if you don't go I'll eat you too." The mouse was very sad and went away.
The tiger tried to swallow all of the cheese at once but it got stuck in his throat and whatever he tried to do he could not move it.
After a while, a dog came along and the tiger asked it for help. "There is nothing I can do." said the dog and continued on his way. Then, a frog hopped along and the tiger asked it for help. "There is nothing I can do." said the frog and hopped away.
Finally, the tiger went to where the mouse lived. She lay in her bed in a hole which she had dug in the ground. "Please help me," said the tiger. "The cheese is stuck in my throat and I cannot remove it."
"You are a very bad animal," said the mouse. "You wouldn't let me have the cheese, but I'll help you nonetheless. Open your mouth and let me jump in. I'll nibble at the cheese until it is small enough to fall down your throat."
The tiger opened his mouth, the mouse jumped in and began nibbling at the cheese. The tiger thought: "I really am very hungry.."
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