On her usual walk in the forest, Grace meets an unusual boy.


Going through the forest is my favourite part of the walk. My dog Benji loves it too. I’m Grace. I live on a farm with my parents and I take Benji for a walk most days after school. While Benji’s playing, I stop to take a photo of a butterfly. I’m thinking about posting it on Facebook, but then I hear Benji barking. He’s jumping and running around a boy. The poor boy looks worried. 'Benji, stop! Come here!' I call and throw him his ball. I’m about to say sorry to the boy, but he’s gone.


It’s cold today, so Benji and I are walking fast. As we go through the forest, it starts raining so I run. Suddenly, I fall and I’m on my back. OUCH! That hurt! 

Then there’s someone there and a voice asks 'Are you all right?' I look up and see the boy from yesterday.
'I’m OK,' I say and the boy helps me up.
'I haven’t seen you at school. Do you live near here?' I ask.
'No, I’m from Manchester,' he says. 'Sorry! I have to go. Can you walk? Do you need help?' 
'No, I’m fine. Thanks!' I say and the boy walks away.
'I’m Grace,' I call. 'What’s your name?' but he’s already gone. 

At home, Mum’s watching the news. 
'Hi Grace. Do you know  about this boy, Mark?' she asks.
'No, what boy?' I say.
'A boy from Manchester. He’s run away from home. Look! This is his dad.' 
There’s a man on TV sitting with a policeman. He’s crying as the policeman asks people to help. Then they show a photo of the missing boy. It’s the boy from the forest. He’s Mark. Should I say something? 
'Poor man,' says Mum. 'I just hope they find his son soon.'
No, I mustn’t say anything. If I tell Mum, the police will come and find Mark. What if he’s run away for a good reason? I should talk to him first.


I can’t find Mark, so I shout, 'Mark, where are you?'
No answer.
'Mark,' I shout again, 'I know about you.'
After a moment, he appears. 'What do you know? How do you know my name?'
'Your dad was on TV. The police are looking for you.'
He looks shocked. 'Did you say anything? Have you told them?'
'No,' I say. 'I wanted to talk to you first. What’s happened? Why have you run away?'
'I had an argument with my dad. A bad one.'
'What about?' I ask.
Mark points to a fallen tree and we sit down.
'My mum died four years ago. It was a very difficult time for me and for Dad. He was sad for a long time, but then he met someone new. Mel’s her name.'
'Oh, and don’t you like her?' I ask.
'No, not much. She’s not a bad person, but we don’t really connect. She wants my dad for herself and she isn’t interested in me.'
'But, what about your dad? Have you talked to him?'
'He tells me to try harder with her, but I can’t. The night I ran away, he told me that we’re all moving to London. Mel’s from London, you see. Then he told me that he and Mel want to get married and have a baby. We both got angry and I told him I’m not moving to London. I took my tent and I left in the middle of the night.'
'But what will you do? You can’t live here.' I tell him.
'I know, but my grandad and my friends are in Manchester. I don’t want to move to London.'
'You might like London,' I say.
'That’s what my dad says.'
I feel sorry for Mark, but I think of his dad crying on TV and feel sorry for him too. 
'What are you going to do?' I ask.
'I don’t know. I need time to think.'


Mark’s waiting for me in the forest. I’ve got some news.
'The police came to the farm this morning. They’re going to search the forest tomorrow.'
Mark looks sad, 'I didn’t want this. My dad, crying on TV and the police looking for me. I don’t know what to do.'
'I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you live with your grandad in Manchester? Let your dad and Mel move to London and visit them in the holidays.'
Mark doesn’t answer at first, then he looks at me and smiles. 
'Can I use your phone?' he asks. 'I need to call my dad.'

Robin Newton

Language level: 


Did you like the story?


Tylin's picture
Tylin 15 March, 2017 - 01:31

Wow, it is such a great to story for me. When I first moved to live in PP city, I didn't know much about renting a room to stay while studying at university. I asked one of my friends who sat behind me about this issue. But it is just his answer to make me smile. Finally, I decided to call my mom to help me and she actually wanted me to stay in the orphanage where she used to stay before.

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prettinho_08's picture
prettinho_08 7 January, 2017 - 09:08

Hey guys,
I´m thinking about Mark, he is in bad Situation! He don´t want to go to London, he want to live in Manchester becouse there are his grandfather and his friends. I think it´s not OK from his Father to live in London becouse Mark don´t like London. Grace´s has a prilliant idea he said to Mark he should live at his grandfather. But why didn´t speak Mark with his father about the Situation?

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Ken's picture
Ken 13 October, 2016 - 10:42

Can't wait to read a sequa to the story. For example, two years later... !

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Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 7 September, 2016 - 15:09

Yeah.... thinking back, Mark seems to be a very sensitive kid.
Me, either..., that's why I sometimes ride rusty.
Perhaps Mark can't stand Meg's insensitivity.....?!

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ealkan's picture
ealkan 7 September, 2016 - 07:07

I think it's very nice story. I like story and I also like fairy tale. My favourite fairy tail is The Curse of the Sad Mummy. Thanks to everyone for everything.

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Tina - Coordinator's picture
Tina - Coordinator 7 September, 2016 - 09:10

Hi aminetugcea 
I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the story ☹.
Would you be able to tell why you didn't like it?
Tina (LearnEnglish Teen Team)

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prettygirl02's picture
prettygirl02 1 September, 2016 - 08:47

what a lovely story! i hope to know the rest of this story, "did Mark meet his Dad and who he would live with?"

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butterfly_333's picture
butterfly_333 17 May, 2016 - 17:29

I really like the story. It was very interesting to read. I`m glad that it has a happy end and the boy called his dad. It shows us that there is always a solution for any problems we have. Sometimes it is also enoúgh if we only talk about our situation and find together a good way for everyone.

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barbiedoll10's picture
barbiedoll10 10 April, 2016 - 11:55

Yes, I like it, but the end is kinda sad. I mean, the boy will live with his grandparents instead of living with his dad... It should not be like that, but it is okay as long as he is happy :)

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carp's picture
carp 17 January, 2016 - 13:31

I hesitates for a long long time to write Enghlish. I afraid of mistake grammar. I learn English myself. Today i decided to write something because I think that if you love something but you afraid of this and you don't do anything to it you are fails guy. I know this my article is terrible mistake grammar but i think that you can understand what i try expression. I very very appreciate who fix this my article.
Beginer learn english, a guy hesitates to write english in Viet Nam

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Rajjshanu's picture
Rajjshanu 25 May, 2016 - 09:39

Hi..can we talk?? I want to talk in english for improving my self in elglish, so can u help me?

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JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 26 May, 2016 - 10:39

Hi Rajjshanu,
On LearnEnglish Teens you can't 'talk' to other users or contact any of them directly, but you can communicate with each other using the comments. 
Best wishes and good luck with your studies, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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poppymoore's picture
poppymoore 29 January, 2016 - 13:23

Hey Carp!
I really appreciate your courage. It felt good to know that you are so passionate about learning and are working so hard for it. And if you like we can converse(talk) in English to get you in practice.( Your comment reminded me of my first public speaking)

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