The Bamboo House:
Susie lived in Malaysia. When she was six years old something happened in the family which she would never forget.
Susie’s house was made of bamboo. Long poles of wood were used to hold up the roof, the walls and the floor. The house was built above the ground so that people did not get wet and a higher house was not so easy for the wild creatures to get into.
There were three children in the family: Susie, her brother Sam and her sister Tali.
Their mother and father used to grow fruit for the family and to sell in the market.
One day, Father loaded up the baskets on his bicycle and set off to market. Mother stayed at home to look after the family. She was not feeling very well and she was tired. Mum fell asleep on the mat in the bedroom.
Sam was the eldest and he said he wanted to go and play in the garden. Susie didn’t think he ought to do that while their mum was asleep, because he should stay in the house and look after Tali who was only three years old. Tali could be a bit naughty sometimes. Sam went out to play and Susie looked after Tali while Mum as asleep.They played with their dolls made of palm leaves. They were very quiet so as not to wake Mum up.
After a while they heard some shouting. It was Sam and someone else.
“Stop. Come here,” said the voice.
“Go away!,” said Sam.
Mum woke up. “Whatever if the matter?” she asked. “What is Sam up to now?”
Sam appeared up the ladder and climbed in to the house. He was looking guilty.
“Whatever have you been up to, Sam?”
“I didn’t mean to frighten Mr. D’s chickens,” cried Sam.
Then Mr. D appeared below us, shaking his fist at Sam.
“That boy of yours, Mrs! He’s been shooting peas at my hens. They have all flown off into the jungle. Wild animals may catch them and eat them if they are too frightened to come home.”
“Oh dear, oh dear!” said Mum. “This is the last thing I need today. Come on, all of you. We have to go and bring back Mr. D’s chickens. Sam, I am very cross with you.”
The houses were in a clearing in the jungle. The chickens had run away to hide in the trees.
It took a long time to find them and shoo them back.
Mum and Susie were very tired and cross when at last the chickens were all in their pen.
Sam felt bad. He had frightened the chickens and because of him everyone felt cross and tired, especially mum.
“I’m sorry, Mum. I won’t do it again. I didn’t mean to hurt the chickens. I was just practising my shooting.”
His mother sighed a big sigh. “All right, Sam, but why don’t you hang some big leaves on the washing line and get your sister to pull it up and down. Then you’ll have a target that won’t get hurt.”
Susie enjoyed helping Sam with his target practice and he used his pea shooter to frighten away snakes and any other animals which were careless enough to climb up to the house.
- What name might you give to the story?
- How did Susie try to help her Mum at the start of the story?
- Sam did several things which were not helpful and not good. Can you remember what he did?
- What did Sam do with his peashooter?
- What might have happened to the chickens in the jungle?
- What do you think about hurting or frightening animals?
- Do you think Sam’s mum was kind or unkind? Why?
- How did Susie help Sam at the end of the story?