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Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

It was Christmas Eve.Ebenezer Scrooge was in his office, the office of Scrooge and Marley. His clerk, poor Bob Cratchit, was working. Suddenly, Scrooges young nephew came into the office.`Hello uncle. Merry Christmas!’ he said happily. ‘Do
you want to come and have Christmas dinner with us tomorrow?’ ‘Christmas?’ Scrooge replied. `Bah! Humbug!’ Scrooge hated Christmas and he refused his nephew’s invitation for dinner on Christmas Day. His nephew went away. Later two men came to the office, asking for money for the poor. `Bah! Are there no prisons for these people?’ Scrooge refused to give even a penny.
Tlıen, when it was time to close the office, Bııh Cratchit asked for the day off, because it was Christmas.
`All right,’ Scrooge said, `but he here early the next morning!’
That evening Scrooge was sitting in front of his fire at lıoıne when, suddenly, lie saw a ghost in front of lıinı. ‘Who are YOU?’ Scrooge asked nervously.
`In life, I was Jacob Marley, your partner. I am wearing these chains and I can never be in peace, because when I lived, I only thought about money. But I am here to help you. You
have a chance to escape my terrible destiny. Tonight three ghosts will visit you.’ Then the ghost of Marle}• disappeared.
Scrooge went to bed and fell asleep. But in the night lie woke tip. The figure of a strange old man appeared near his bed.
`I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. Of your past,’ it told Scrooge. The ghost took Scrooge to scenes of
Christmases from the past. In one scene Scrooge saw himself as a boy at school. l ie was reading a
book. All the other boys had gone home for Christmas. In another scene Scrooge saw himself as a young man.
He was talking to his girlfriend, who he didn’t marry because she didn’t have any money. Scrooge began to feel sadder and sadder. ‘Stop! Show me no more!’ he cried. Finally the ghost brought him home and Scrooge fell asleep again. Later that night, Scrooge woke up again. `I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. LAx)k at me!’ said the second ghost, laughing. He was a large man with a beard, wearing a green robe. He took Scrooge to the house of Bob Cratchit and his fiunily. It was cold in the house and &ıh and his family were sitting around a very small Christmas pudding.
`What a wonderful pudding. Merry Christmas everyone!’ cried Bob.

Scrooge felt sad, because he could see how poor the Cratchits »•ere: Bob’s smallest child, Tiny Tim, was weak and ill. The ghost finally took Scrooge to a very poor area of London. There were two poor children out in the street.

`Can’t »•e do something to help these children?’ he asked the ghost, who repeated what Scrooge had said before.

`Are there no prisons.’’ The ghost laughed and disappeared.

Then, the third ghost appeared. He was dressed in black and looked …

`Are you the Ghost of Christmas Future?’ Scrooge asked nervously. .

Tlıe ghost did not answer. It took Scrooge and showed lıiı» scenes of the future. In one, people were talking ahuııt Scrooge,.-, death, bur not one person was unhappy about it. The ghost also took him to the Cratchit family. The family was very sad. The little boy, Tiny Tıııı, had died.

The next morning, Scrooge opened his window and asked, What day is it today!

`Why sir, it’s Christmas Day,’ replied a Young boy in the street.

Scrooge was very happy. He gave money to the boy to buy an enormous turkey for the Cratchit family. Then he went out into the street.

`Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!’ He wished everybody he saw Merry Christmas. He met the man who had asked for money for the poor and gave him a large sum of money. Scrooge then went andvisited his nephew and had the best Christmas dinner in his life. The next day he went to his office early. He waited for Bob Cratchit.

‘You are late!’ said Scrooge in an angry voice.

`Yes, I’m very sorry …’ replied poor Bob.

`In that case, I’m afraid I’m going to … increase your salary! Merry Christmas, Bob!’

from that day, Scrooge was the happiest man in the world. He gave money to the poor. He helped &ıh Cratchit’s family.

and people always said of him: ‘He knew how to celebrate Christmas.’

 

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

It was New Year at the court of King Arthur. The King, Queen and all the knights of the Round Table were celebrating. Suddenly the door opened and everybody turned round. A knight rode into the room on a magnificent horse. The knight and his horse were completely green!
The strange green knight got off his horse and spoke. `I know that King Arthur and his knights are famous for their bravery. I have come to test their bravery with a little game. Here Is my axe. One of you brave knights must try to cut off my head. But, next year, on the same day, t will try to do the same to that knight:
A brave and honest knight, Sir Gawain, stood up and said: ‘I will do it: With no hesitation, he took the axe and cut off the Green Knight’s head. Then the strangest thing happened. The Green Knight picked up his head, got on his horse and left the room!
Ten months later, Sir Gawain went off to find the Green Knight. He came to a magnificent castle. The lord of the castle invited him to stay for the New Year. Sir Gawain and the lord made an agreement. They agreed to give each other anything they received.
The next day, the lord of the castle went out hunting. Sir Gawain stayed in bed. Suddenly, the lady of the castle, the lord’s wife, came into his room. She was beautiful. She kissed Sir Gawain
and then left. When the lord of the castle returned, he gave Sir Gawatn a deer he had caught. Sir Gawaln gave the lord a kiss.
The next day the same thing happened. On the third day, the lady of the castle kissed Sir Gawain and then gave him a special belt. She said it would save his life. Sir Gawain did not give the belt to the lord of the castle because he thought it might be useful when he went to see the Green Knight.
On New Year’s day, Sir Gawain went to meet the Green Knight. As they had agreed, the Green Knight took the axe. He was going to cut off Sir . Gawain’s head, when suddenly he stopped. He tried a second time, but again stopped. The third time, he cut Sir Gawain’s neck a little, but didn’t hurt him.
Sir Gawain was angry. He said: `Why did you try three times? We agreed only oncei’ The Green Knight told him that he was, in fact, the lord of the castle. `i didn’t cut you the first two times because you were honest for two daysl But on the third day, you didn’t tell me about the belt. So 1 had to cut you!’
Sir Gawain returned to King Arthur’s court. He was sad because he had not been honest. He decided to wear the belt around his neck for the rest of his life. He told King Arthur: `When i become arrogant, I can look at the belt and remember that I am not a perfect knight.`
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Hills like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

 

The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. Close against the side of the station there was the warm shadow of the building and a curtain, made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out flies. The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes. It stopped at this junction for two minutes and went to Madrid.

‘What should we drink?’ the girl asked. She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.

‘It’s pretty hot,’ the man said.

‘Let’s drink beer.’

‘Dos cervezas,’ the man said into the curtain.

‘Big ones?’ a woman asked from the doorway.

‘Yes. Two big ones.’

The woman brought two glasses of beer and two felt pads. She put the felt pads and the beer glass on the table and looked at the man and the girl. The girl was looking off at the line of hills. They were white in the sun and the country was brown and dry.

‘They look like white elephants,’ she said.

‘I’ve never seen one,’ the man drank his beer.

‘No, you wouldn’t have.’

‘I might have,’ the man said. ‘Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything.’

The girl looked at the bead curtain. ‘They’ve painted something on it,’ she said. ‘What does it say?’

‘Anis del Toro. It’s a drink.’

‘Could we try it?’

The man called ‘Listen’ through the curtain. The woman came out from the bar.

‘Four reales.’

‘We want two Anis del Toro.’

‘With water?’

‘Do you want it with water?’

‘I don’t know,’ the girl said. ‘Is it good with water?’

‘It’s all right.’

‘You want them with water?’ asked the woman.

‘Yes, with water.’

‘It tastes like liquorice,’ the girl said and put the glass down.

‘That’s the way with everything.’

‘Yes,’ said the girl. ‘Everything tastes of liquorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.’

‘Oh, cut it out.’

‘You started it,’ the girl said. ‘I was being amused. I was having a fine time.’

‘Well, let’s try and have a fine time.’

‘All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like white elephants. Wasn’t that bright?’

‘That was bright.’

‘I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things and try new drinks?’

‘I guess so.’

The girl looked across at the hills.

‘They’re lovely hills,’ she said. ‘They don’t really look like white elephants. I just meant the coloring of their skin through the trees.’

‘Should we have another drink?’

‘All right.’

The warm wind blew the bead curtain against the table.

‘The beer’s nice and cool,’ the man said.

‘It’s lovely,’ the girl said.

‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s not really an operation at all.’

The girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on.

‘I know you wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in.’

The girl did not say anything.

‘I’ll go with you and I’ll stay with you all the time. They just let the air in and then it’s all perfectly natural.’

‘Then what will we do afterwards?’

‘We’ll be fine afterwards. Just like we were before.’

‘What makes you think so?’

‘That’s the only thing that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy.’

The girl looked at the bead curtain, put her hand out and took hold of two of the strings of beads.

‘and you think then we’ll be all right and be happy.’

‘I know we will. Yon don’t have to be afraid. I’ve known lots of people that have done it.’

‘So have I,’ said the girl. ‘and afterwards they were all so happy.’

‘Well,’ the man said, ‘if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. But I know it’s perfectly simple.’

‘and you really want to?’

‘I think it’s the best thing to do. But I don’t want you to do it if you don’t really want to.’

‘and if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me?’

‘I love you now. You know I love you.’

‘I know. But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?’

‘I’ll love it. I love it now but I just can’t think about it. You know how I get when I worry.’

‘If I do it you won’t ever worry?’

‘I won’t worry about that because it’s perfectly simple.’

‘Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I don’t care about me.’

‘Well, I care about you.’

‘Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me. and I’ll do it and then everything will be fine.’

‘I don’t want you to do it if you feel that way.’

The girl stood up and walked to the end of the station. Across, on the other side, were fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro. Far away, beyond the river, were mountains. The shadow of a cloud moved across the field of grain and she saw the river through the trees.

‘and we could have all this,’ she said. ‘and we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.’

‘What did you say?’

‘I said we could have everything.’

‘We can have everything.’

‘No, we can’t.’

‘We can have the whole world.’

‘No, we can’t.’

‘We can go everywhere.’

‘No, we can’t. It isn’t ours any more.’

‘It’s ours.’

‘No, it isn’t. and once they take it away, you never get it back.’

‘But they haven’t taken it away.’

‘We’ll wait and see.’

‘Come on back in the shade,’ he said. ‘You mustn’t feel that way.’

‘I don’t feel any way,’ the girl said. ‘I just know things.’

‘I don’t want you to do anything that you don’t want to do -’

‘Nor that isn’t good for me,’ she said. ‘I know. Could we have another beer?’

‘All right. But you’ve got to realize – ‘

‘I realize,’ the girl said. ‘Can’t we maybe stop talking?’

They sat down at the table and the girl looked across at the hills on the dry side of the valley and the man looked at her and at the table.

‘You’ve got to realize,’ he said, ‘ that I don’t want you to do it if you don’t want to. I’m perfectly willing to go through with it if it means anything to you.’

‘Doesn’t it mean anything to you? We could get along.’

‘Of course it does. But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want anyone else. and I know it’s perfectly simple.’

‘Yes, you know it’s perfectly simple.’

‘It’s all right for you to say that, but I do know it.’

‘Would you do something for me now?’

‘I’d do anything for you.’

‘Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?’

He did not say anything but looked at the bags against the wall of the station. There were labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights.

‘But I don’t want you to,’ he said, ‘I don’t care anything about it.’

‘I’ll scream,’ the girl said.

The woman came out through the curtains with two glasses of beer and put them down on the damp felt pads. ‘The train comes in five minutes,’ she said.

‘What did she say?’ asked the girl.

‘That the train is coming in five minutes.’

The girl smiled brightly at the woman, to thank her.

‘I’d better take the bags over to the other side of the station,’ the man said. She smiled at him.

‘All right. Then come back and we’ll finish the beer.’

He picked up the two heavy bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks. He looked up the tracks but could not see the train. Coming back, he walked through the bar-room, wherepeople waiting for the train were drinking. He drank an Anis at the bar and looked at the people. They were all waiting reasonably for the train. He went out through the bead curtain. She was sitting at the table and smiled at him.

‘Do you feel better?’ he asked.

‘I feel fine,’ she said. ‘There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine.’

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