HSEB (Higher Secondary Education Board) Grade 11
The Magic of the Words
UNIT ONE:- STORIES OF THE SUPERNATURAL
1:- The Recurring Dream
A story from England
The story starts with a description of Kimberly Clark, the protagonist of the story, who is twenty five yeas old with all qualities of a normal young woman. She is pretty, she loves to dance, and she has many friends and a good position in the office of a large company. Despite these all, she has a problem. She has been troubled by a strange and mysterious dream that haunts her every night.
The strange dream always begins on a country road. Kim stands on this road and sees a lane with a white fence and a hedge on each side. At the end of the lane, on the top of a little hill, she sees a small white cottage with green shutters. Then she walks up the lane to the house, goes in and looks around. In one of the rooms, she finds a man asleep in bed. He is a little old man with white hair and a white heard. When she comes near his bed, the man wakes up. Then he sits up and looks at her. When she tries to speak to him, she wakes up. She is very surprised troubled by the dream because she has never known any little old man like that and neither the place.
Kim’s roommate knows everything. So, one day she proposes Kim to visit her (Janet’s) parents’ farm house to feel peace in mind. As they pass through a country road, Kim sees the similar scene which she sees in her dream. They stop there. Janet does not want Kim to go and see the small cottage but Kim goes.
The house was exactly the same, except for a sign in front of the house which said ‘FOR SALE’. Unlike her dream, Kim goes to the door of the house and knocks and to her surprise the same old man answers the door who immediately closes the door. After Kim’s request, he opens the door. Kim again asks why the house is for sale. The old man reveals that the house is haunted by a ghost. Kim tries hard to think to say something instead asks who the ghost is. The old man gets surprised and shocks her by replying that she herself is the ghost.
2:- The Lost Doll
A story from Colombia, South America
The only child of Roberto and Rosa Soto was Maria del Carmen. She was beautiful. She was bright, kind, and loving but she was always sick. By the time she turned four, she was very weak and died a few days later. After Carmen’s death, Rosa gave away Carmen’s things to the local priest of the other village because the doctor had said that they would not have next child. However, Roberto had hope. Rosa thought that it was only a false hope.
As Roberto was looking out to the backyard where Carmen often played, he remembered a little doll which Carmen used to play with. It was not given to the priest and was in Carmen’s hand when she died. Rosa also did not know about it and neither did Roberto. They looked everywhere and asked friends, the neighboring children, and even the undertaker but nobody knew about the lost doll. So, they forgot it.
On the first anniversary of the death of Carmen, Rosa gave birth to another baby girl proving that the doctor was wrong. The baby girl was baptized ‘Evangelina’ that meant ‘good news’. She was same as Carmen in appearance, action, and characters. The big difference was that Evangelina was healthy. The priest even thought that God took their sick child, healed her, and gave her back to them.
One day when Evangelina was four, she said that she had been sick long ago. She even told to her aunt who was from Bogata. They did not give more attention to her thinking because she knew about Carmen by learning from her parents. During their conversation, Evangelina said that she knew about the doll. She took her mother and her aunt into the backyard and asked her mother to dig up hard, strong ground next to the tree. To their surprise, they found the lost doll under the ground.
Evangelina said that when she was sick, the priest came and prayed. Then she went to sleep but a real nice man woke her up. He did not let her take her doll with her. She wanted to bury the doll in the yard. So, he helped her put it under the ground without a shovel. Rosa was speechless.
3:- The House Call
A story from Germany
The story took place on 26th December, 1903 in Berlin, Germany. The famous German surgeon, Dr. Emil Braun, was sitting alone in the dining room of his apartment trying to write notes about the surgery while having his dinner. Soon he dozed off but woke up when he heard the doorbell ring. He heard a child talking about her sick mother to Mrs. Braun. He went to the door and saw in the semidarkness a little girl of perhaps six or seven who was wearing a cotton dress and shabby shoes. Over her head, she had a ragged shawl which she was holding together at the neck. The doctor felt sympathy for the child and her sick mother and became ready to go with her.
It was raining lightly outside as the doctor walked down the steps to the street but the girl was already almost a block up the street, waiting for him. She walked too fast, however. Stopping only for a moment at each corner to make sure he saw where she was going. The girl led the doctor through the poorest part of Berlin, the section of the city around the hospital where Dr. Braun was head surgeon. Finally they reached an old tenement house where the girl’s mother was living. The doctor climbed up stairs up to the fifth storey. As the doctor entered the room, he heard the door close softly behind him.
The woman was lying in the bed. The doctor recognized her as a person who at one time worked as the maintenance staff at the hospital. She was suffering from pneumonia. When the doctor talked about the girl, daughter of the woman, Elda said that her daughter, Adelheid, had died of the flu in September just three days after her seventh birthday.
The doctor was surprised. The little girl was not there. Elda told that she had kept Heide’s shoes and shawl to remind her of Heide. The doctor got up and looked. He saw the same ragged shawl on a hook and a pair of shabby shoes on the floor. As he looked closely he found them wet. Elda said that she had been thinking about him earlier that night hoping and praying for him. As she was talking she felt asleep. Then, touching her feverish head once more, he took his black bag, stepped out into the dark hallway, and closed the door.
A story from Puebla, Mexico.
Though the story Fear is from the unit of the supernatural stories, it is not a supernatural story. In fact, it is a psychological story. It’s a thriller / suspenseful story based on human fear of a nervous man. This story also shows how a man behaves in a state of panic and nervousness.
The main character of the story is Armando Gonzalez. He was a man who had to look after a big family of nine members. However, he had a dream. It was a common dream to have a house of his own. With this aim, he had saved 50,000 pesos since the last many years (20 years).
On that very day, he went to the bank to withdraw 50,000 pesos because he had seen a house within that limit. The deal was finalized and he had to do the payment. He was very careful from the beginning. The bank was slightly crowded that day and he did not like it. In his turn, the bank accountant started to count the money loudly which Armando did not like. He feared other people would know that he was carrying a heavy amount and anybody could loot him.
He caught a bus to go home. There he met a man whom he had already seen in the bank. Not only that he had dashed against him and he had given a double look at Armando Gonzalez. Here, he found the same man getting on the same bus. Now, there was no doubt to Armando that man intended to rob him. Everybody in the bus was looking at him only because he was putting his hat backwards. But, what Armando thought was that they were looking at him because they had the knowledge that he was carrying 50,000 pesos. He started to see a thief on each face. This increased his nervousness all the more.
After some time, he found that the man was talking to three other boys. He thought that they were making secret plans to loot him. This heightened his nervousness and he made a plan to get off the bus at next stop and to take another bus from there and he did accordingly.
Suddenly, he also saw that the same three boys had got off there. Now, it was sure to Armando that it was a part of the robbery. Now, he was panic stricken. He started to run shouting for help. The three boys also started to run after him only with the intention to help him. But, there was no limit to Armando’s fear and he was running as fast as he could. Suddenly, his feet got entangled with some thing and he fell down. Before he got up, the three boys came up to him. Armando started to implore / beg / plead them not to rob him. They were also surprised at it and they said that they were not intending to loot him. Rather they were students and they were there for a football tournament and that they were running after him because he was shouting for help.
Now, his fear is gone and he got up and put his cap on and this time he put it rightly. At this time, all the four walked up slowly back to the street.
5:- The Loving Mother
A Story from the Island of Hokkaido, Japan
Mr Shoji Sakota was a pharmacist in the city of Sappora on Hokkaido Island in northern Japan. He used to have his own drug store in the same building, where he used to live. He used to live alone in the rear part of the building because his wife had died several years earlier.
One stormy winter night in 1964, he was working in his room at about mid night. As it was the end of the fiscal / financial year, he was very busy with the profit, loss and the accounts of the whole year. At that time, there was a knock at his door. At first, he avoided it. But the knocking persisted or repeated. At last, he opened the door thinking that somebody might have come for some very important medicine. It was a woman who wanted an ame (Japanese candy used for pacifying young children) on a stick for her baby. Mr Sakota was quite surprised at it because the lady was buying sweet at that time of night. He was very much moved or surprised by the appearance of the lady. She was so strange that her hair was disheveled / messy / uncombed / untidy and her eyes were quite strange.
In short, she looked a lady from another world. The lady went from there but somehow or other Mr Sakota could not forget her appearance and at last he left working and went to the bed. On the next night, the same woman came and both the times she asked for an ame. Mr Sakota was all the more worried. He had a friend with whom he shared his worries. The friend was a photographer. So, they planned to snap the lady if she came the next time or next night.
The next night also, the lady came at the same time and with the same demand. The photographer friend was hiding in the shop and he snapped the lady from different angles. But, when the photographs came, they were quite surprised to find that all articles were present in the photograph but not the lady. Then the two friends decided to follow her the next time if she came.
The next night also, the lady arrived at the same time and asked for an ame. When she left the shop, the two friends followed her quietly.
Finally, they reached to a room in an old building. In the room, they found a baby sucking or licking an ame and the woman appeared to be sleeping there in the bed. When they tried to wake up the lady, they realized that she was dead and they felt that she had been dead for several days.
The conclusion is that after her death the lady’s soul was worried about the child. She not only wanted to arrange for food for her child but she also wanted someone to come and know that she had been dead and her child was in a helpless situation. She had selected Mr Sakota for this.
Describe the woman who visited Mr Sakota’s pharmacy at night.
As Mr Sakota was working with his accounts at about midnight, there was a knock at his door. He peeped out and found a lady standing there. Unwillingly, he let her in. She was standing with her head bent down. She was excessively thin and her skin was abnormally light. Her long black hair was disheveled and she was wearing a tattered / ragged Kimono (long Japanese gown). The most mysterious and strange were her eyes. It seemed as if she was not looking at him rather she was looking through him. In short, the mysterious looking woman seemed to be from another world.