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


Did you like the story?

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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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shamim's picture
shamim 17 December, 2015 - 15:29

I'm thinking about Mark's father....he is in bad situation! his wife died four years ago, and now he wants starting a new life with new person...I think he's got the right! but he's got a boy and has to tack care of him....what are you doing if you are in same situation?!

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Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 20 December, 2015 - 08:30

Well..,, what I'm not sure is that who "we" were?? - "we both got angry". Mark and his dad?? Will you pkease tell me uf you know who they are?

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 20 December, 2015 - 09:20

Hi Elsa007! Yes, you're right, 'We' refers to Mark and his dad there.
Jo (LearnEnglishTeens team)

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Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 20 December, 2015 - 13:16

Thank you for the reply, Jo. Well, a further question... why did Mark's dad need to get angry to hear Mel wanted to marry him?? Well well... I'm at a loss to understand Mark's dad. Perhaps, he'd better be staying with Mark!!

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 20 December, 2015 - 18:13

Hi Elsa007! Have another look at that part of the story. It doesn't say Mel is there when Mark and his dad have the argument. In fact, it suggests that she's not there. We can imagine that Mel and Mark's dad have already talked about marriage and moving to London. Then, Mark's dad tells Mark. When Mark hears about this he gets upset, and during the conversation they both (him and his dad) get angry. Does that make sense? Have another read! 

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Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 21 December, 2015 - 07:40

Thank you for the reply, Jo! My English is poor, but now I understand what you mean. They got angry with each other/ they had an argument about Mel. Right?
Well, going back to the question about Mark's dad, he should start a new life anyway if he really feels happy with Mel. Otherwise, he may need to give a second thought to moving.
Mark may be having a hard time, but he's young and has a ptential. ⭐️

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Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 15 December, 2015 - 23:11

Well... I'm thinking, what if Grace couldn't have a chace to talk with Mark again?? What would she do??

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Ken's picture
Ken 31 October, 2015 - 12:54

A touching story! I think Grace's advice is proper. Once she said 'You might like London' to Mark, but if he had followed the suggestion, he would have become a delinquent drifting around the big city without finding any meaning in his life. But, with his grandpa, supposedly, he is reliable enough, Mark will be able to grow with meaningful purposes in his life. People affect us in all ways…!
(੭ ˃̣̣̥ ω˂̣̣̥)੭ु⁾⁾

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usama's picture
usama 29 October, 2015 - 16:25

hi every body first of hello to all of you. after reading all the story i like it very much. But i feel pain in my heart the boy left his father because his new mum does not care of him. This often happen when some one die in family weather dad or mum. But i think if the boy does not to move in London with his father then he should stay with his grandfather. Also her stepmother should care of him because he is just boy.
Please admin help to improve my writing because every time i feel i am not good in writing and reading. So if you find any error or mistake then let me know to correct it. Because with out improving the writing skill i will be able to move in my future to do degree. For that i must be very good in English writing as well as in reading.
At the end i think to every one those who spend their valueable time to help us to learn English.

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