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AMERICAN STORIES - Judge - Part One

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Now the Special English program American Stories.

Our story today is called Judge. It was written by Walter D. Edmonds. We will hear part one of the story today and part two next week. Here is Harry Monroe with our story.

When Charlie Hestle died, he left a wife and nine children. They lived on a small piece of land in a house with four rooms. John was the oldest boy. He was 16 years old and tall for his age. After his father died, John's mother told him, he would have to take care of the family. So John went into the cornfield behind the small house. There was very little corn and very many weeds. His family needed corn and corn needed room to grow. John bent down and began pulling out the weeds.

When John came in for supper that night, he told his mother that he had cleaned half the cornfield. She was surprised and immediately went outside to look at what he had done. While she was looking at the field, she remembered that her husband had sold some corn to Judge Don. She also remembered that they had never collected the money for the corn. She told John to go to the judge's house right away to get it. John was afraid of Judge Don. The judge was the richest man in town. He owned a lot of land and everyone owed him money. His stone house looked like a palace.

John went to the judge's house and knocked on the door. A servant opened it right away and brought John into the judge's office.

Judge Don was sitting at his desk. He was a very big man with a red face, long white hair and serious blue eyes. John stood with his back to the door. He held his hat in both hands.

"Hello, John," said the judge, "what do you want?"

John told the judge about the money.

"Oh, yes," said the judge, "I had forgotten about that. I'm sorry." He stood up and reached into his pocket. Slowly he pulled out a large brown leather wallet. He opened it and took out a new dollar bill and handed it to John. Then he sat down at his desk again.

"How are you and your family doing?" He asked.

"All right, sir." John said. "I wouldn't have bothered you about this money, but we needed it."

"That is all right," the judge said slowly, "I should have remembered it. I didn't think of it. Because your father owed me money. He owed me forty dollars."

John was so shocked he couldn't think of anything to say. Forty dollars was a fortune for him and his family. The judge looked at John for a few moments. "How old are you, boy?" He asked.

"Sixteen, sir."

"And when do you think you will pay me back the forty dollars your father owed me?" He asked.

John's face got very white. "I don't know, sir." He whispered.

The judge stood up. "I hope you are not like your father." He said. "He was a lazy man who never worked hard." He held out his hand to the boy. "Good luck to you", he said as he shook John's hand. Then he walked with him to the front door and said good night.

During the summer, John worked on other people's farms for forty cents a day. At first, nobody wanted him. People remembered how lazy his father had been. And they gave the work to other boys. But John was a hard worker and he began to get jobs. Soon he was working on other people's farms six days of the week. He worked on his own family's land every evening and all day Sunday. That summer, for the first time, the little farm had enough fruits and vegetables to feed John and his family. There was even enough for them to sell at the market.

John used to wonder how his father had always found time to go fishing. John had very little time to fish that summer and when he did have time to relax, he thought about the forty dollars he owed Judge Don. Then he would go out and look for more work. At first, he gave all the money he earned to his mother. But then, he began saving a few pennies every time he was paid. By the end of August, he had saved a dollar. As he held the money in his hand, he realized for the first time that someday he might be able to pay back all the money he owed to the judge.

By the middle of October, John had saved five dollars to give to the judge. So one night after supper, he went back to the judge's big stone house. He found the judge sitting in his office.

"Sit down, John." The judge said. "I know you have worked hard this summer. I'll be glad to help you if you need some money for the winter."

John felt his face become very hot. "I didn't come here to ask for anything, Judge." He said. He pushed his hand deep into his pocket and pulled out his money. "I wanted to pay back some of the money I owed you. It is only five dollars, but here it is.'' And he handed the money to the judge.

Judge Don counted the money. Then he went to his desk and put the money in a drawer. "Where will you find work this winter, John?"

"I don't know, sir."

Several days later, John's mother asked him to go into town to buy cloth. She wanted to make some warm clothing for the children for the coming winter. On his way into town, John met Seth Whitefeather. Seth was an Indian who also worked on the farms during the summer. But in the winter, Seth traveled north and disappeared into the woods. As they walked toward the town, John told Seth that he had no work for the winter. Seth told John that he went into the woods every winter to hunt and trap wild animals for their fur. Seth said he earned 200 dollars last winter.

"200 dollars!" John thought. He turned shyly to the Indian. "Could I come with you this year?" he asked.

Seth looked at John without smiling. "Have you got a gun and some animal traps?"

John shook his head. "No," he said, "how much would that cost?"

"75 dollars," the Indian replied."If you can get those things, I will teach you how to catch the animals, I am leaving in two weeks."

Only one person could help John. That night he went to the judge's house. The house was dark except for a light that was shining in the judge's office. John could see the judge sitting at his desk. The boy tapped at the window. Judge Don opened it. When he saw the boy's thin face, he asked,"what do you want?"

"Please, Judge," said John, "could I talk to you?"

The judge shut the window and opened the front door. They went back to his office.

"Be as quick as you can," the judge said. "It is late."

John had never been so frightened in his life. He couldn't think or speak for a few moments.

''Talk, boy.'' The judge barked at him.

So John told him about Seth and the animal furs, and asked the judge for the money.

''75 dollars?'' The judge said, ''you are asking me to lend that much money to a 16-year-old boy just like that?''

''I could do it with 50 dollars.'' John said,''but if you think it is a bad idea, I won't bother you anymore.''

''Shut up.'' The judge said, ''if I'm going to lend you money, I want to be sure you don't starve to death in the woods. Then I would never get my money back, would I?'' The judge looked hard at John for a few moments. ''What about this Seth?'' he asked. ''Can you trust him?''

John nodded his head. ''He has always been nice to me'', he said.

The judge pulled out a piece of paper from his desk and wrote something on it. ''Sign this.'' He said when he had finished writing. ''It says you promise to pay me back 75 dollars by next spring.''

John was embarrassed to tell the judge that he didn't know how to read or write.

''Put a mark at the bottom instead of your name,'' the judge said. ''Here is the money. Don't lose it.'' He walked John to the door and shook the boy's hand. ''Good luck. Come here as soon as you get back next spring.''

You have heard part one of the American story Judge. Your storyteller was Harry Monroe. The story was written by Walter D. Edmonds and adapted for Special English by Dona de Sanctis. Harcourt Brace & Company published it in 1941 in ''American's All : Stories of American Life'', edited by Benjamin Heydrick. This story is copyrighted. All rights reserved. This is Shirley Griffith.

网友的学习评论(3条):
作者:bob H curle
waiting for the result of John's hunting.I am really worrying about poor John,if hi would not have any harvests ,what would he do? with this story i realized that learning is just like farming,no pain no gain.we should work as hard as John did not step on his father's way.
作者:Leon Qin
Yes,you can say that again.i,m also looking forward to finding the result go John ,but I,m sure he will not step on his father,s way because he is a diligent guy!now he is taking the risk!nice story!
作者:jk---南大
john's life meanful than he father ,hard work can earn people's trust also the helping.real man needs job.if you go fishing all the time that make man down! expected the ending of story.
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