The Monkey’s Paw (Ch4) – an adaption of the classic supernatural tale

Next morning, it was sunny. Mr White laughed at himself. ‘Why was I so afraid last night? he wondered. He sat at the kitchen table and ate his breakfast. The sun shone through the window and everything seemed well. He looked at the monkey’s paw and shook his head.

Mrs White came into the room. She looked at the monkey’s paw too. ‘All soldiers are the same,’ she said. ‘They have lots of stories, but none of them are true.’

‘Perhaps it is true,’ said Herbert to his father. ‘Perhaps the money is going to drop on your head from the sky.’ Herbert laughed but Mr White did not.

‘Sergeant Major Morris believed* the story. And the paw moved in my hand. I felt it,’ said Mr White.

Herbert stood up. ‘ Well, I have to go to work. But when the money comes, don’t spend it all. Please wait until I get back home,’ he said with a smile.

Mr White shook his head.

Mrs White laughed and followed her son to the front door. Herbert opened the door and said goodbye. Mrs White watched her only child walk down the path and go off to work.

She closed the door and sat back down at the table with her husband. `Herbert likes joking*,’ she said.

‘Yes,’ said her husband, ‘he does.’


Later that day, there was a knock at the door. It was the postman. Mrs White took the letters from him and looked at them. There was a bill. Mrs White sighed. She showed it to Mr White. ‘We don’t have any money to pay it,’ she said.

‘The paw moved in my hand last night. I felt it,’ said Mr White.

‘Perhaps you made a mistake…’ suggested Mrs White.

‘No!’ said Mr White. ‘It…’ Mr White stopped talking and looked at his wife. ‘What’s the matter?’

Mrs White did not reply. She looked out the kitchen window and Mr White looked too. They watched a man outside their house. The man walked past their house and stopped; then he came back. Then he walked away again. Then he stopped, shook his head and returned. Three times he did all of this and Mr and Mrs White watched him do it. Finally, he walked away, stopped suddenly, opened the garden gate*, and walked up the garden path.

A moment later, there was a knock at the door.

Mrs White stood up and went to the door.

Adaption by


*believed – thought something was true

*joking – saying something funny

*gate – entrance

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The Monkey’s Paw (Ch3): Our adaption of the classic supernatural tale

Sergeant Major Morris finished his stories and his supper*. It was time for him to leave and catch his train. They all said goodnight, and Mr White closed the door behind his friend.

‘I wonder*…’ said Herbert. ‘Is the story about the monkey’s paw is true?’

Mr White said nothing.

`Did you give him some money for the little paw?’ Mrs White asked.

‘A little,’ said Mr White. `He didn’t want anything. He told me to throw* the paw away.’

`Well,’ said Herbert with a smile, `we are going to be rich, famous and happy. Wish to be a king* father!’

Mr White took the monkey’s paw out of his pocket and looked at it. ‘I have everything that I want,’ he said, looking at his family with love. ‘Even kings don’t have that.’

`What about buying the house?’ Herbert said excitedly. `We only need two hundred pounds.’

`Now that is a good idea,’ said Mr White and smiled at his wife. He held the monkey’s paw up high in his right hand. `I wish for two hundred pounds,’ he said; but suddenly he cried out and dropped the paw. His wife and son ran to him.

‘It moved!’ he said, looking at the paw. It was now on the floor. ‘It moved in my hand.’

‘Well,’ said Herbert, `I don’t see any money.’ He picked up the monkey’s paw and put it on the table.

`Did you really feel that?’ asked Mrs White.

Mr White shook his head. Now, he was not so sure. `Never mind*, no one was hurt. I am old and I get afraid easily.’

They sat by the fire and stared at the flames*. The wind outside grew stronger and the windows shook. No one spoke. Finally, Mr and Mrs White got up and went to bed.

‘Goodnight,’ said Herbert. `Perhaps the money is in a big bag in the middle of your bed,’ he said and laughed. His parents heard him, but they said nothing.

Alone, Herbert sat and stared* into the fire. At first, he felt good: the room was warm and the fire was bright, but then he began to see faces, faces in the fire. He watched. At first, the faces were not frightening, but then the faces began to change. The last face was so terrible he nearly cried out. He got up quickly from his chair and put a hand on the table. By accident, he touched the little paw. This time, he cried out.


supper*- a small evening meal

wonder* – feel curious about, want to know more about

throw* - move something through the air with force

king* – male ruler

Never mind* - forget about it, don’t worry

flames* - fire

stared*- kept his eyes on, didn’t look away

Adaptation of The Monkey’s Paw (Ch2)

Sergeant major Morris took a slow drink from his cup; then he put a hand inside his pocket. ‘Look at it,’ he said. On his hand was a small, dry, little paw*. It was very old.

Herbert took it from the sergeant major and looked at it closely. He gave it to his father. ‘What is special about it?’ Herbert asked. He put it on the table. It did not feel very nice.

‘A strange old man put a spell* on it,’ Sergeant major Morris told them. ‘The spell gave three different people three wishes* each.’

‘What is bad about that?’ Mr White asked. ‘Sounds good to me!’

‘Wishes are dangerous,’ said Morris. Suddenly, he looked afraid.

‘Did you have three wishes?’ Herbert asked.

‘Yes,’ said Morris. His face went white and his hand shook. He took a drink from his cup.

‘Did the wishes come true?’ Herbert asked excitedly.

‘Yes,’ said Morris quietly.

‘Did anyone else ask for three wishes?’ Herbert went on.

‘The first owner of the paw had his three wishes,’ Morris told him. ‘I don’t know his first two wishes – but his last one was for death.’

All the people in the room went quiet. The wind outside howled*.

‘I don’t understand,’ said Mr White. ‘Why do you keep it?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Morris, and shook his head. ‘I thought about selling it, but nobody wants to buy it. They think it is a fairy story*. Some want to try it first and then buy.’ He picked up the paw and looked at it. Suddenly he threw it on the fire.

Mr White cried out and took it out the fire before it burned.

‘Better to let it burn,’ said Morris.

‘Can I have it?’ asked Mr White suddenly.

‘The fire is the best place for it,’ said Morris.

Mr White shook his head and smiled. He put the monkey’s paw in his pocket. `You worry too much. How do you do it? How do you make a wish?’

‘You hold it in your right hand and make the wish, but I must tell you of the danger.’

‘It sounds like a fairy story to me,’ said Mrs White and stood up.

Herbert and Mr White laughed. Mr White took it from his pocket again. Morris got hold of his arm and looked him in the eye. ‘I warn you… wish for something good.’

Adaption by


paw* = an animal’s foot

spell* = words that have magical power

wishes* = a hope or a desire

howled* = blew hard and made a noise

fairy story* = a tale, a fictional story


The Monkey’s Paw (Ch1): An adaption of W W Jacob’s classic supernatural story by EFLShorts

The night was cold and wet. But in the small living room of Laburnam Villa, a fire burned brightly and a father and son played chess*. The father was a good player, but the son was better. His wife watched them play and warmed her hands in front of the fire.

‘Listen to that wind outside,’ said Mr White.

‘I can hear it,’ said Herbert, his son. He looked at the chess pieces and moved one of the pieces. ‘Check*!’ he said.

It’s bad weather out there,’ said Mr White. He wanted to distract* his son, but it didn’t work.

Checkmate*,’ said Herbert and smiled.

‘This is the worst thing about living far away from town,’ said Mr White. ‘Almost no-one wants to come this far on a stormy night.’ He was angry because he lost the game.

‘Perhaps you can win the next game,’ said Mrs White.

Mr White looked up quickly and saw his wife and son smile at each other. He smiled to himself.

Suddenly, there was a noise outside. His wife turned.

‘It’s him,’ said Mr White. He stood up and unlocked* the door. Dead leaves blew across the floor. Then a tall man walked into the small room.

‘Sergeant Major Morris,’ said Mr White.

‘Good evening,’ said the sergeant major and shook hands with Mr White, Herbert and Mrs White. Mrs White gave him a chair and sergeant major Morris sat down beside the fire. She made tea, and the sergeant major drank it slowly. He watched the fire and enjoyed its heat. When he finished the tea, he started to talk. The little family sat and listened carefully. They wanted to know all about their visitor. He spoke of different countries, great adventures and strange people.

‘Twenty-one years of travel,’ said the sergeant major. ‘When I left, I was a young man…’

‘I want to go to India,’ said Mr White, ‘and see the country. It is very beautiful, I think.’

‘Better to stay at home,’ said the sergeant major, and he shook his head.

‘Tell that story again,’ said Mr White. ‘Tell the story about the monkey’s paw.’

The sergeant major said nothing, but his face was serious*.

‘The monkey’s paw?’ said Mrs White. ‘That sounds interesting.’

The sergeant major looked into the fire.

Mrs White took his cup and put more tea in it.

‘Very well,’ said the sergeant major after some time. ‘You want to hear the story of the monkey’s paw, so here it is…’

Adapted from a story by W W Jacobs by


*chess – a board game

*check - a position in chess in which the opponent’s king is under direct attack

*distract – take away someone’s focus or attention

*checkmate - the capture of the opponent’s king

*unlocked - to open (a door) with a key

*serious – not laughing, thinking carefully

Adaption of H. G. Wells’s The Treasure in the Forest (Ch6) Final chapter

Hooker put the gold back onto the shirt. He was very afraid now. He did not want to be alone in the forest with his sick friend. He was far from help and nobody knew about his trip with Evans to the island. Hooker looked at his friend. He could not carry both the gold and Evans. He began to put gold on the shirt. The gold was heavy, so he did it slowly. He lifted the last piece of gold and something hurt his finger. He looked at his hand. There was a thorn in it and there was blood on his fingers. The thorn was two centimetres in length*. It was long and thin – like a tooth.

Suddenly, Evans cried loudly and fell onto the grass.

Hooker’s mouth dropped open. He looked at the thorn in his finger. He looked at Evans. Evans’s body shook and he cried out in pain. Hooker looked at all the trees, bushes and the big white flowers. He thought about the Chinaman’s body and looked again at Evans. He remembered the map, the marks at the bottom of it and the Chinese writing. At that time, he couldn’t understand the marks. But now he understood.

The marks were the shape* of the thorns.

‘Oh, help me!’ Hooker said quietly.

`Evans!’ cried Hooker. But Evans was quiet. His eyes were open, but they did not move.

Hooker put his finger into his mouth and sucked* his finger hard. But it was too late. He felt pain in his hands, arms and neck and he couldn’t move his fingers. He sat down. The forest was silent*. He thought about Chang Li’s smiling face. He looked at Evans’s body and then looked up. A little wind moved through the trees. From one of them, a big white flower fell down and landed* on the ground in front of him.

Pain shook his body.

His death was quick.

Adaption by


length – how long something is from end to end

shape – how something looks, its appearance

sucked – pulled something into the mouth

silent – without any sound, soundless, completely quiet

landed – fell, dropped, reached the ground

Treasure in the Forest (Ch5)

‘What are you afraid of?’ Evans asked. Suddenly, he was very angry with Hooker.

‘I am going to bury* the body,’ said Hooker.

‘Leave it!’ Evans said and he put more gold onto the shirt. ‘Help me carry this; forget about the body.’

Hooker still looked at the body. ‘He is so similar to*…’

‘Don’t be stupid,’ said Evans. ‘It is not him. Now, do you want the gold or not?’

Hooker didn’t hear Evans. The face of the dead Chinaman reminded* him of Chang-Li’s. ‘But his face and his mouth… is he smiling?’ Hooker looked around the forest and up at the trees. He looked at the big white flowers. He looked back at the body. He felt cold in the warm forest, and he felt very far away from home.

‘What’s the matter with you?’ Evans asked.

Suddenly, Hooker jumped into the hole. ‘Nothing! Let’s get the treasure out of this hole and then we can go home.’

‘Good!’ said Evans. He smiled. But then he put his hand on his forehead*. ‘I don’t feel well. My arms and neck hurt.’

‘Perhaps it’s the heat,’ said Hooker.

‘Perhaps,’ said Evans. After a minute, Hooker took his hand away from his forehead. Then together the two men pulled the shirt with the gold on it out of the hole.

When the gold was out of the hole, Hooker looked at Evans. ‘Do you want to go to the boat or bury the gold on the island?’ he asked.

‘To the boat,’ said Evans.

They picked up the gold and began to walk. But the gold was very heavy.

‘Stop!’ said Evans after a few minutes. ‘I must rest*.’

They put down the gold, and Evans sat down. His face was white and sweat* ran down it. ‘It is too warm in this forest,’ he said; and then suddenly with much anger: ‘Come on, Hooker, let’s go!’ He stood up quickly. ‘Come on!’ he said again, and they began carrying the shirt with the gold in it. They carried it for another minute. But then Evans stopped and dropped the shirt again. This time, some gold fell onto the ground.

‘What is the matter?’ Hooker asked.

Evans looked but said nothing. Rivers of sweat ran silently down his face.

‘Are you okay?’ Hooker asked and went towards his friend.

‘Don’t come near me!’ Evans cried and went and stood against a tree.

Again Hooker went to help his friend.

‘Don’t touch me,’ Evans said in a quiet voice. ‘Put the gold back on the shirt.’

‘What’s the matter?’ Hooker asked, afraid.

‘Put the gold back on the shirt and let’s go,’ said Evans.

 Adapted by


bury – put under the ground

similar to – alike, not different

reminded – made you think about again, helped remember

forehead – front part of the head above the eyes

rest – not work, not move, relax

sweat – liquid that helps cool our bodies


Our adaption of Robin Hood is coming soon…

Our adaption of Robin Hood, published by Helbling, is coming soon. Written for lower-level learners, it is an exciting reworking of Howard Pyle’s classic story. Here is one of the editors at Helbling, Fran Mariani, working on the final touches to the manuscript.


Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 09.55.37

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Treasure in the Forest (Ch4)

Evans and Hooker walked slowly forwards*. It was a body. It lay behind the bushes, face down in the grass. Evans bent down and looked closely at the dead man’s face. He turned him over.

‘Who is he?’ Hooker asked.

‘I don’t know….He was a Chinaman,’ Evans said.

‘How long ago did he die?’ Hooker asked.

Evans looked at the Chinaman. His face was black and purple. ‘Perhaps a month,’ said Evans. Beside the body, there was a shovel*. Evans looked to his left and saw lots of dirt* and a big hole in the ground. ‘Is the treasure near here?’ he asked himself. He looked up. ‘There are the three palm trees,’ he said quietly.

‘What?’ Hooker asked. He didn’t hear his friend. He came forward and looked at the Chinaman’s body. `Did he find the treasure?’ he wondered*. `Is it still here?’ Then he saw the hole and he ran to it. `Evans,’ he called, `come here! Come and see!’

Evans walked towards Hooker.

‘The treasure is all still here,’ said Hooker. ‘Look!’

Evans looked. Hooker was right; here was all the treasure. He jumped down into the bottom of the hole. In the dirt under his feet, he saw yellow gold bars*. He touched the pieces of gold with his fingers.

‘Ouch!’ Evans looked at his hand. A little thorn* was in his finger. He pulled out the thorn and cleaned the dirt off the gold bar. ‘Only gold is so heavy,’ he thought.

Hooker frowned*.

`What is the matter?’ Evans asked.

`I don’t know,’ said Hooker. ‘I don’t like it.’

‘What do you not like?’

‘That dead Chinaman,’ said Hooker. `Why is he alone? Why is the treasure still in the hole?’

‘He was alone,’ said Evans angrily.

`Then, why is he dead?’

‘A snake bit him or he was ill or…’ Evans stopped. ‘Oh, I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. We are rich!’ He was sick of Hooker’s anxiety. He took off his shirt and put three gold bars on top of it. `Oh!’ he suddenly cried.

Another thorn was in his finger.

Adapted by



forwards – to move ahead, to move in the direction that you are facing

shovel – a spade, a tool for digging holes

dirt – earth, soil

wondered – considered, thought about, pondered

bars – blocks (of chocolate, gold, silver…)

frowned – make a face that shows you are angry or puzzled

anxiety – nervousness, worry, fear




Treasure in the Forest (Ch3)

‘There are three palm trees in the forest,’ said Hooker. ‘When we find the three trees, we can find the treasure.’

‘Is it far?’ Evans asked. He looked at the beach.

Do you see the river?’ Hooker said and pointed* a finger. Evans said yes. ‘Somewhere near the river, deep in the forest, there are three palm trees,’ said Hooker. ‘They are next to some bushes* and the treasure is not far from there.’

Evans’s mouth was dry. He looked at the river. ‘Hurry,’ he said. ‘I am very thirsty.’

Hooker paddled* their boat quickly and soon they were at the river. They went under the trees and up the river. After a few minutes, Evans put his hand into the river and took a drink of cold, clean water. ‘Ahhh,’ he said and closed his eyes. ‘This is good water.’

Hooker smiled and drank too.

When they finished drinking, they lay inside their boat and rested.

‘I don’t want to go in the sun again,’ Hooker said. ‘I could lie here all day.’

‘We must go look for the treasure,’ said Evans.

Hooker filled a bottle with water and they started paddling down the river. Soon they arrived at the sea again. Both men got out the small boat and pulled it onto the beach.

Evans pointed at the thick trees and bushes. ‘We must go in there.’

Hooker put his hand inside the boat and lifted up a big knife. ‘We can use this knife to cut a path.’

The two men started cutting at the thick bushes. It was dark under the thousands of trees. ‘It feels cold in here after the hot sun,’ said Evans.

‘We must push through these bushes and find the river again,’ said Hooker. ‘The palm trees are near the river.’

So the men cut a path through the forest. They cut down bushes and they cut down big, white flowers in front of them. The men did not know their names. `Perhaps, we are the first people to find these flowers,’ said Hooker.

‘Perhaps,’ said Evans. ‘Let’s move on – the river can’t be far.’ He was not interested in the flowers. He only wanted the treasure.

It was hot thirsty work, but after a while they heard the noise of water.

‘The river!’ Hooker said.

‘At last,’ said Evans.

The men hurried towards the river, but Hooker stopped suddenly.

‘What is that?’ he said.

Evans looked.

There was someone or something behind the bushes.

Adaption by 



pointed – directed someone’s attention to a particular area, make sure someone looks at something

bushes – a plant, a little like a small tree perhaps

paddled – moved through water using a paddle



Our new book – The Albatross

If you enjoyed some of our stories, you may like our new story, The Albatross, just published by Helbling.

Here is a short description of it:

Levy, an old Greek sailor, takes on his last job and discovers that the cargo on board is not what he expected. Molly, an American teenager, finds a body on the beach when she is walking her dog. What happens when Levy tells the captain about his discovery? Why does the body on the beach disappear? And how are Levy and Molly connected?

It is suitable for high-intermediate readers and you can buy it on Amazon and other on-line retailers.

We hope you will enjoy it.






Summer holidays

See you in August when we re-start our adaption of Treasure in the Forest.

Enjoy your summer.

Adaptation of H. G. Wells’s Treasure in the Forest (Ch2)

Evans sat in the boat with his eyes half closed. Slowly, the beach grew nearer and nearer. It was noon and the sun was at its hottest. They were near the treasure* but Evans was not excited: he was very tired. ‘I am so tired,’ he thought, `I did not sleep in this boat last night. I need to rest.’

He thought of the treasure and of all the gold. One night a Chinaman told them all about the island, the map and the treasure. He wanted to remember that terrible night but he couldn’t: all he could think about was his dry mouth, the river and a cold drink of water. The sea moved slowly up and down, forward and back. Evans moved in the boat with it. The sea and its noise sounded good. Soon, his eyes closed and he fell asleep.

Evans had a dream about the treasure and Chang-Li.

In the dream, it was night and he and Hooker were in the forest. They wanted to find someone or something. Just then, through the trees, they saw a little fire. Three Chinamen sat around it and talked in quiet voices. The light form the fire lit up the men’s faces. They spoke in English and Hooker heard their words first. He looked excited. He told Evans to go closer. Evans did. Some things Evans understood, some he did not. Chang-Li took the gold from the galleon and hid it carefully on the island. He worked alone and it was his secret, but now he wanted help to get the gold back and gave the Chinamen a map… a fine story for two poor Englishmen to hear. Now the dream changed and Evans saw Chang-Li’s face. At first, it was friendly but then it changed. He became afraid: very, very afraid. Evans saw his own hands around Chang-Li’s neck; Chang-Li cried ‘No!’ and ‘Please!’ over and over again. Then, there was silence. Now all Evans could see was the gold – great big mountains of it. Suddenly Chang Li’s eyes opened and he smiled. Evans’s hands were still around his neck. ‘Evans…’ said Chang-Li, ‘Evans, you fool*, you fool…’

‘Evans… Wake up you fool!’

It was Hooker.

Evans was asleep. He opened his eyes again. They were nearly at the beach.



*treasure – a collection of valuable items (often hidden)

*galleon – an old type of ship

*crew – people on a ship

*fool – idiot



New Story: Adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The Treasure in the Forest (Ch 1)

The island in front of the two men was green with trees and mountains climbed high into the sky. The men in the boat paddled* closer. They could see a beach. It was empty. The sun was hot and the men were thirsty. They wanted to find a river. They needed fresh* water to drink.

One of the men, Evans, said: ‘It is somewhere in there, in the forest*.’

The other man at the front of the boat, Hooker, looked at the beach, the forest and the island closely. A yellow piece of paper sat on his legs.

‘Come and look at this,’ Hooker said.

Evans came along the boat until he could see the paper. The paper looked like a map*. It was old and yellow. There was a drawing of an island on it, but the pencil lines were faint*.

Both men spoke quietly: their mouths were dry with thirst.

‘Look,’ said Evans, ‘here is the beach and the forest and here are the mountains.’ He ran his finger over the paper. It followed the river across the island. ‘I could do with a drink now,’ he said and ran the back of his hand over his mouth. ‘We can get a drink of cold water from the river.’

‘And look at this,’ said Hooker. ‘The blue star on the map is the place. We can follow the river. It goes into the forest; then it goes to the blue star. That is the place! We must be careful. We mustn’t get lost.’

‘Strange,’ said Evans, ‘but those marks* down at the bottom of the map are unusual. They look like glass or teeth. They point this way and that. What are they? And what is that writing? ‘

‘I don’t know about the marks – but the writing is Chinese,’ said Hooker.

‘Of course – he was Chinese,’ said Evans.

‘They all were,’ said Hooker.

Both men sat quietly and looked at the island. The boat moved slowly towards the beach. Evans looked at his paddle. ‘Your turn to paddle now Hooker,’ he said.

Hooker quietly put the map away in his pocket and took the paddle from Evans. He was tired but he kept going. He needed water badly.



*paddled – used an oar to move a boat forward

*fresh – not old, not seawater

*forest – many trees

*map – a diagram that shows where places are

*faint – not strong, difficult to see or hear

*marks – lines, figures or symbols


Adaption of H. G. Wells’s The Red Room (Chapter 5)

Darkness; everything was black. I tried to see. There was nothing but cold, black shadows. Something moved. What was it? Did the shadows move? I let out a scream*. I tried to stand up. I waved* my arms around me. Again I saw something move and I screamed again. Was that a whisper*? I gave out a cry and ran to the door. I had to get away.

In the dark, I hit the bed. I ran around in the dark. I hit the table and the chair. I cried out again and again. Then I hit my head…

I opened my eyes. It was day and I could see the sun through the window. The old man from downstairs sat by my bed. He watched me closely. The old lady with the yellow teeth was there too.

`What happened?’ I asked. ‘I remember you but that is all.’

`We found you in the morning,’ said the old man. ‘There was blood* on your head.’

Very slowly, I remembered my night in the red room of Lorraine Castle.

`Now do you think there is a ghost in the room?’ asked the old man.

`Yes, ` I said, `the room is haunted*.’

`Did you see it?’ the old man asked. ‘Tell us… who was it? Who is the ghost? Is it the young Duke?’

`No,’ I said, `it is not.’

`Ha!’ said the old woman, `it is the wife, she died in her bed… `

`No, ` I said, `it is not her. There is no ghost of the wife or the Duke in the room. It is not a ghost. It is worse, much worse, than that.’

`What is it then?’ the old woman and man asked.

`It is the worst thing, ` I said. `I could not see it but it was with me in the corridor upstairs and it was with me in the room. ` I looked out the window. `It was darkness and fear.’

`Yes,’ said the old man with the yellow teeth. `I knew it. The dark… it is always there. In the day time it is there. It waits and watches. On a summer’s day in the room, it is there: you can feel it behind you. It has no face or body but you do not want to turn around and see it. It is in the corners at night and behind the curtains*. It lives in this house. It is haunted and that is the room of death.’

I listened to the old man. He was right: I was lucky*. I was lucky to be alive*.



*a scream – a loud, frightened shout

*waved – moved arms (to attract attention or ‘say’ goodbye)

*a whisper – a very quite voice

*blood – the red fluid in our body

*haunted – frequented by a ghost or evil spirit

*curtains – fabric used at windows to block sunlight

*lucky – fortunate

*alive – not dead




Adaption of H. G. Wells’s The Red Room (Ch4)

At midnight, the candle in the corner went out*. I did not see this: I just* turned around and saw the dark corner.

Was it the wind from out in the corridor? I knew it wasn’t. I walked over and lit the candle again with a match*. Just then, I saw something move on the wall, quick and sudden. I turned my head. The two candles on the table were out.

‘Did I do that?’ I thought. ‘Did I move quickly and the candles went out with my movement*?’ I walked back to light them again. When I did, the candle on my right went out and then the one next to it. No smoke came from the candles. At first, I didn’t understand. I stood and looked at them for a minute. Then the candle next to the bed went out.

‘What’s happening?’ I said. Then the candle in the corner went out again and then another*. One by one candles went out and the dark shadows came in.

‘I need these candles,’ I said. Who was I talking to? There was no one in the room. I took out my matches again. I began to light the candles again. I lit the candle in the corner again, but one candle at the window went out. I lit a candle next to the door and the one by the bed. But then four candles all went out at once in all the corners of the room. I lit another match and stood and watched.

Another two candles went out. I let out a cry. I dropped the matches and picked up* a candle. The candle in my hand burned* brightly. This was better: matches were too slow. I ran around and lit the candles in the room with the candle in my hand, but they all went out seconds later. I lit one and another two went out. I ran from candle to candle, corner to corner; and all the time, the darkness and shadows closed in on me. Now I was afraid.

I could not see. I ran and hit my leg on the table and fell. I let go of my candle and it went out. I stood up and got another. I turned around quickly and the candle went out again. Just then, the last two candles in the room went out. Now the only light in the room came from the fire. I moved towards the fire with my candle ready – and the fire went out too.



*went out – stopped shining, extinguished

*just – only, simply

*a match – a short, thin piece of wood for lighting fires

*movement – action

*another – one more

*picked up – held in one’s hand and raised

*burned – was aflame




Adaptation of H. G. Wells’s The Red Room (Ch3)

After I went inside, I turned* and quickly closed the door behind me. There was a key* in the door so I locked* it. I held my candle up and looked around the room. I wanted to see it; the great red room of Lorraine Castle. In this room, a young duke died a long time ago. A young wife died too. She slept in the room and for some fun her husband scared* her in the room. Her fear* was terrible and she died suddenly in bed. I looked around the big dark room with all its shadows and dark windows… Was it all true? Might I get a ghostly visit tonight?

I walked around the room and took my little light into all the corners of the room. There was an old chair and a bed of course. I sat down on it. It was cold. I got up and went to the big windows. I wanted to see out but all I saw was the black of night. I took off my coat and put it on the chair. There was a mirror and a table. On top of this table were lots of candles. I lit all of these and put them all around the room. `Thank you, some light,’ I said to no one. There was a fire and the room was cold so I lit it and watched the smoke. I wanted the fire on all night. It gave light too. In a dark room you can never have too much light. I turned my back to the fire. It felt warm. I went to my coat and got my gun out from the pocket. I put the gun on the table. I wanted it close to me.

I stood for five minutes and warmedy legs and watchede room. In one corner* of the room it was very dark. I looked into the dark corner and after some time I began to see something there. My eyes began to water*. I moved forward with a candle. There was nothing there. I sat the candle on the floor to light up the corner. I then went back to stand in front of the fire.

Time moved slowly in the room. I got more afraid the longer I stayed in the room. `There are no ghosts,’ I said to the shadows. The shadows didn’t answer. They moved in the candlelight. My eyes moved from left to right and tried to see through the dark. Everywhere I looked I thought I saw something or someone move. `There are no ghosts,’ I said. I thought about the three old people downstairs. I tried to think of them. I could call on them. For what? I did not know. What was there to be afraid of? It was a room and that was all it was.

Just then I remembered. saw candles out in the corridor. I unlocked the door and went out the room. I left the door open and got the candles. There were ten of them. I went back in and put them around the room. `More candles,’ I thought,’ that is better.’ I turned and locked the door again. I now had seventeen candles and I could now see all of the room. ‘No ghost can visit this room. It has nowhere to hide.’



*turned – moved his body around

*key – an object for opening or locking doors

*locked – a door that has been closed with a key

*scared – afraid

*fear – nervousness caused by something that is frightening

*corner – a place where two sides (or walls) meet

*water – to run with tears (perhaps because the person isn’t blinking)

Adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The Red Room (Ch2)

I took a candle* with me into the corridor. It was very dark. The light* from the candle was weak*. I was not happy. I was alone, tired and cold. I could not stop feeling afraid. The old people’s words worried me. I didn’t think it was true. I was not a child. But here – alone in the corridor – the thought of a ghost was very real. I walked up the dark corridor and held the candle in front of me.

The dark was all around me. I could not see the doors to the other rooms. I wanted to get upstairs. Slowly, I put one foot out and took one step at a time. I took my time. The steps up were wooden and made noises when I went up them. There was another corridor upstairs. I knew the red room was on my left – but where?

‘Not far now,’ I thought. I stopped and listened. Did I hear a noise? The dark moved closer to me and the light from the candle nearly went out. I put a hand around it. I could not let it go out. Shadows* moved around in the dark. A noise. I stopped again and listened but there was nothing. I moved on. I was a little afraid now. The dark did it to me. I wanted to sing or talk, to do something to break the quiet. I tried this and very quietly sang a little song. My voice sounded very loud in the dark, quiet corridor. It made me feel more alone and afraid, so I stopped. I moved slowly forward and looked at all the doors. I held my candle up to the doors. I needed to find the door to the red room quickly. Just then, in the dark, a white face looked out at me from the black shadow. I stopped. Was it a ghost? I took out my gun.

‘Who is there?’ I said.

No answer.

Again, I slowly moved forward with my candle. The face came out the shadows but had no body. It was a picture – a picture of an old man’s face on the wall! I nearly laughed and put my gun back in my pocket.

After about a minute, I found the correct door. I stood in the shadows and waited before I opened the door. Why? I do not know the answer. Was I afraid? Perhaps. I stood and looked at the wooden door and did not move. It was a long time before I was ready. Then I opened the door. Here it was: the room of ghosts. Was this true? I was about to find out.

I went into the red room.



*candle – a wax object that we burn in order to get light

*light – brightness, the opposite of dark

*weak – not strong

*shadow – a dark area behind or below an object when the object stands in front of a light




Listening task – what are the missing words? (The Red Room, Ch1)

Listen to this recording of The Red Room (Chapter 1). Some words are missing. Which ones?


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