This is a story for young readers that I have written for an upcoming event at a Malaysian high school. The students are all second language English-speakers and they are all mid-range proficiency for their age. Our event is going to focus on the students’ aspirations and we will encourage them to think about their dreams, and the decisions they will need to make in order to achieve those dreams. We will do this by using the ‘make your own adventure‘ format of storytelling.
The printed version of this story uses the Microsoft Word comment function to provide a paragraph summary for each of the options. The summary is a very brief guide to the main points of the story. The stories are designed to be read either silently, or aloud in groups and re-enacted or re-vamped according to the ideas that come up.
… is to ride a horse
My dream is to learn how to ride a horse. I live in the city, but I have seen horses on TV and I love them. I also love to look at pictures and videos about horses on the Internet.
My house is quite far from my school. In the morning, I take the bus to school. I take the bus with my friends and we talk and play as the bus drives to school. My younger brother also takes the bus, but he is annoying so I ignore him and just play with my friends. When school is finished, we sometimes walk home. If it is not too hot, or not raining, then it is fun to walk home.
School has finished for the day, and my younger brother has taken the bus home with his friends. It’s a cool day, and I am going to walk home. I want to walk home with my friends, but everyone is in a hurry to get home.
What shall I do?
|Option 1A||Option 1B|
|Go with your friends and take the bus.||Do what you want to do – and walk home.|
Ride the bus with your friends, tell jokes and enjoy yourself. When you get home you can have some orange drink and do your homework. Your homework is difficult and you get annoyed. You push your book away, it knocks the glass off the table and it smashes on the floor. The glass was still full of orange and there is a big mess on the floor. You are in big trouble and you know your younger brother is really enjoying it. You are not allowed to go out and you have to finish your homework in your bedroom before dinner. After dinner you watch TV for a while and then go to bed.
Tell your friends that you want to walk. Say you will see them later. Everyone gets on the bus and you begin to walk home. You decide to walk through the park; it takes longer, but it is more interesting. There is a small pond near the park entrance, and sometimes there are people feeding the ducks that live on the pond. You don’t feel like watching the ducks, so you decide to walk down toward the sports fields and over the small hill to the main gates near the shops.
There is an ice cream seller near the sports fields. You still have some money from lunch so you buy an ice cream. You go to a bench near the trees and sit down to eat your ice cream. As you are eating your ice cream you see something on the ground near the trees. It looks like a wallet. You get up and go to pick it up. It is a wallet. You open it up and see it has an ID card, some bank cards and lots of money.
What do you do?
|Option 2A||Option 2B|
|Take out the ID card and go to the ice cream seller and asks him if he recognises the person.||Take out all the money and use your shirt sleeve to wipe off your fingerprints before you throw the wallet and all the cards into the rubbish bin.|
After you throw the wallet in the rubbish bin, you put the money in your pocket and run past the ice cream seller and the sports fields to the park gates near all the shops. When you get to the park gates you have a pain in your side from running and your heart is beating very strongly. You can feel all the money in your pocket – there is a lot of money – and you feel excited. You want to go somewhere to count out all the money, but there are a lot of people around, and you don’t want anyone to see you counting all the money you stole. You realise that if you buy a bicycle or complete set of your favourite anime stories your parents will ask you where it came from. You think you could say it was a prize from school, but your parents wouldn’t believe that you won a prize for anything, and even if they did believe you, your brother would probably say something to get you into trouble.
You go home and tell your mum how you found the money at the bus stop by the school gate. You hope she will let you keep it for being honest, but she makes your father take it to the school office the next day and ask the head teacher to find out who it belongs to. She doesn’t really believe your story and you are not allowed to go out. Your brother keeps asking stupid questions about “exactly where was the money?” and “exactly why didn’t you just hand it in to the school office?” and “why, exactly, didn’t anybody else see it?” After you do your homework you have your dinner and go to bed.
You take the ID card out of the wallet, and you put the wallet in your pocket. You go to the ice cream seller and show him the ID card. You ask the ice cream seller if he knows this person. The ice cream seller is very surprised, because the man on the card is a regular customer. The ice cream seller tells you that the man is called Uncle Ned, and he is a very kind man who often visits the park. The ice cream seller tells you that Uncle Ned comes to the city to bring vegetables. He brings vegetables from his son’s farm. Uncle Ned brings the vegetables for his daughter who lives near the river.
You tell the ice cream seller that you will give Uncle Ned his wallet, and you ask him to call Uncle Ned and let him know. The ice cream seller says he doesn’t know Uncle Ned’s phone number.
What do you do?
|Option 3A||Option 3B|
|Give the ice cream seller the wallet and ask him to pass it on to Uncle Ned.||Give the ice cream seller your mother’s phone number and ask him to pass it on to Uncle Ned.|
You give the ice cream seller Uncle Ned’s wallet. He takes the wallet and says he will make sure that Uncle Ned gets all the money back. He says he is sure that Uncle Ned will be very happy to get his wallet back.
You go home and do your homework. At dinner you tell your mum about the wallet and the ice cream seller. Your brother says that the ice cream seller will probably keep the money for himself, and that you weren’t very clever if you didn’t think about that. Your mum says that even though you were trying to be good, you should not have just given the wallet to a stranger. Your father asks you how much money was in the wallet and you say you didn’t count it, but there was A LOT.
Your brother keeps talking about how much old “Uncle Ned” probably needed his money, and he keeps talking about the old man’s “life savings” and the “greedy” ice cream seller and the “stupid” boy. It annoys your parents, but you’re the one who gets the blame. Everyone is in a bad mood. You watch some TV and then go to bed.
The ice cream seller puts your mother’s phone number into his phone, and says he will pass it on to Uncle Ned the next time he sees him. You continue with your walk through the park, and an hour later you are at home. You give the wallet with the money and the bank cards to your mum, and you tell her about the ID card which the ice cream seller said he would give to Uncle Ned along with your mother’s phone number. Your mother says you did the right thing. She counts the money and she is surprised by how much there is. Your brother says that you probably took some for yourself. This annoys your mum who tells him to be quiet and to go and take out the rubbish and then go and tidy his room.
While you are doing your homework, you hear your mum’s phone ringing. Your mum picks up the phone and she talks for a while. Later, your mum comes into the room and tells you that the person who lost his wallet has called. He went back to the park to look for his wallet and the ice cream seller told him how you had found his wallet and left a phone number. Your mum tells you that Uncle Ned has asked if the family can come to his daughter’s place by the river on the weekend to drop off the wallet as he doesn’t know his way around the city very well. He said that if that was not possible he would take a taxi around to your house that evening to pick up the wallet. Your mum asks you which one you prefer.
Which one do you prefer?
|Option 4A||Option 4B|
|Ask Uncle Ned to come around to your house in a taxi.||Wait until the weekend to go to Uncle Ned’s daughter’s place by the river.|
You are excited to meet Uncle Ned and give him his wallet, so you ask your mum to tell him to come that evening in a taxi. Your mum speaks to Uncle Ned on the phone, and then starts to tidy the sitting room and make tea. She tells you to help your brother clean up the yard. Your father comes home from work and your mother tells him what has happened and asks him to make sure you and your brother are cleaning the yard properly.
Uncle Ned arrives about one hour later. He is an old man and he looks like he works on a farm. He has a kind face and old clothes. Your mother gives him the wallet, and he comes into the house to drink some tea. Uncle Ned tells your parents what a good son they have and he gives you an envelope. The envelope has money inside. Your father calls another taxi for Uncle Ned. After Uncle Ned has left your father takes the money out of the envelope and gives half to you and half to your brother. Your father says you did a good job, and your brother says … nothing. Your mum gives you a kiss.
You are excited to meet the man who dropped the wallet, but you tell your mum that you would like to visit Uncle Ned at his daughter’s place by the river. Your mum goes back to the telephone and makes the arrangements with Uncle Ned.
On Saturday, your father drives you all to Uncle Ned’s daughter’s place by the river. It takes quite a long time to get there, because it is a little bit outside the city and the GPS is not so reliable. Your father is getting a little bit angry, but soon you see an old man standing at a gate and waving. The old man is Uncle Ned, and you have arrived at his daughter’s place by the river.
Uncle Ned gets in the car with your family and tells your father to drive down to the stables at the end of the narrow road. Stables? Horses live in stables don’t they? Uncle Ned tells you that yes, his daughter breeds horses and most of the vegetables he brings from his son’s farm are feed for his daughter’s horses. Uncle Ned asks you if you have ever ridden a horse. You tell him that you have never even seen a horse, but it is your dream to learn how to ride one. Uncle Ned laughs and tells you that maybe this is one dream that might come true – starting today!