داستان‌هایی با هزار کلمه-۱

تعداد کلمات هر یک از داستان‌های زیر ۵۵۰ است.


Asoka was an Indian king who lived more than 2,000 years ago. He is still famous today because he tried

to follow the teaching of Buddha. He wanted to be a good king. He wanted his people to stop fighting and killing each other and to live in peace and happiness. However, Asoka had not always wanted these things.
When Asoka became king, he did not think about the teaching of Buddha. He wanted his country to be bigger and stronger so he began to fight with other countries. Asoka was a good fighter. His army was big and his soldiers were also good at fighting. He fought and won many wars and slowly his country became bigger. Of course, many people died in these wars but Asoka did not think about that.
Eight years after Asoka became king, he sent his army to Kalinga which was another country in India. Asoka’s army killed over 100,000 people in Kalinga. When Asoka found out about this, he was sorry and he remembered the teaching of Buddha. Buddhists must not kill. They must not fight. They must live peacefully.
After the war in Kalinga, where so many people had died, Asoka changed. He became a different man and began to think about his people and how he could make their lives better. He made roads and along the roads he planted trees. People could stop under the trees to rest if the weather was hot and they could eat the fruit from the trees. Asoka built houses for travellers where people could rest and sleep without paying. He was also interested in medicine. He grew plants to make medicines which he gave to his people. He also gave medicine to animals. He did not want people or animals to be sick. After the war in Kalinga, Asoka became a good Buddhist and he wanted his people to be good Buddhists too. He asked his people to study the teaching of Buddha. Buddha taught that people should not kill either people or animals so he told his people to eat vegetables, and not meat.
Asoka made new laws for his people. He wrote the laws on stone and on pieces of iron. He put these stones and pieces of iron in different places around his country so that when people read them, they would know the laws of the country and try to follow them. Today, after 2,000 years, we can still see many of these stones and pieces of iron and read Asoka’s laws, so we know a lot about him. We know that he was a great Indian king who followed the teaching of Buddha. We know that his people also followed the teaching of Buddha. We know that his country was very big, that there were no wars and the people lived in peace and were happy. We can find his writings in the north of India and also in the south of India.
Asoka was king for almost 40 years but after he died the country did not stay peaceful. The new king was not as good as Asoka and the great country of Asoka broke into several small countries which often fought against one another. People began killing each other again, and they forgot the teaching of Buddha.

The Inuit

The Inuit live in Canada, Greenland and the north of America. They were the first people to live in these countries, arriving there about 5,000 years ago. They live in a land of ice and snow, a land without trees. For nine long months of the year it is cold, dark winter, while summer is only three short months. Today, many Inuit live modern lives in towns and cities, but not so long ago the people lived the way their parents and their parents’ parents had lived for thousands of years. The Inuit speak many languages but because there is not much difference between each one, people from different places can usually understand each other. There are about 90,000 people who speak these languages. Like many people all over the world, the Inuit do not want to lose their language and culture. They want to remember and teach their children the old ways.
Most Inuit lived in small groups of only a few families. Many of these groups lived near the sea because most of their food came from there. Because the weather was too cold to grow anything, their food was the fish and animals that they caught. Other Inuit moved from place to place following the animals called caribou, which made up the biggest part of their food. Sometimes the Inuit boiled their food but often it was not cooked at all.
In winter, the Inuit lived in houses made of earth and stones with an earth roof. Another kind of Inuit house was made of snow. The people could build these houses very quickly so they were useful when they travelled from place to place. The snow houses were round and not very high. The beds and tables were also made of snow and the windows were made of ice. The doors of the snow houses were small so the warm air inside could not get out and the cold air could not get in. A house like this was not cold. There was a lamp inside the house and this warmed it. The lamp was important because it did three things. It warmed the house, it gave light and it was used to cook the food.
Because it was always very cold, the Inuit had to wear thick, warm clothes. The women made clothes from the skins of animals. Each piece of clothing could take weeks or even months to make and they could be very beautiful. Mothers wore special clothes so they could carry their babies on their backs against their skin to keep them warm and safe.
Dogs were important to the Inuit way of life because they could live in the very cold weather. Each group had several dogs which helped the people when they moved around. The Inuit also used boats. The boats were light and easy to carry and they could move through the water quickly. Small boats were used to catch animals and fish, and bigger boats were used when the family travelled. A long time ago the Inuit used stone and animal bones to make knives and the other things they needed. However, over time they began to use guns and modern knives.
Now the Inuit way of life is changing but the old ways are remembered and valued.

Willem Iskandar

Willem Iskandar was a famous writer from North Sumatra in Indonesia. He was interested in teaching and learning and he was one of the first Sumatran people to write poems and school-books.
Willem Iskandar was born in 1838. His father was the king of a part of Sumatra. When he was a baby, his parents called him Sati. When the first school was opened in his village, Sati was one of the first children to enter it. His school was not a rich school. The building was very small and it had only one teacher. His teacher soon liked Sati because he was a very clever student.
Then Mr. Gouden, an important Dutch man in Sumatra, came to visit the school. He saw Sati and was interested in him because he was clever. After the visit he went to see Sati’s parents. He wanted Sati to come and live with his family and to learn Dutch and other things with his own children. Sati’s parents were happy about this and Sati lived with the Gouden family until he was old enough to start work in an office.
A few years later, when the Gouden family went back to Holland, they asked Sati to go with them. So in 1854 Sati left for Holland to study there. He was the first person from Sumatra to study in that country. While he was living in Holland, the Dutch king heard about him and one day Sati went to see the king. He was the first person from Sumatra to visit the king. When the king met him, he gave him a new name: Willem Iskandar. When his parents heard about this, they were not very happy because they did not want Sati to forget about his own country. This never happened.
After studying in Holland for five years, Willem came back to his own village and got some money to open a high school. This was the first high school in Sumatra. He was the only teacher so he taught all the classes. Willem worked very hard and at the same time he wrote books for his students. After some time, he asked the good students from the higher class to teach the students in the lower class. In this way he taught his students to be teachers. His students later became teachers in many different parts of Sumatra.
Willem Iskandar worked for about 15 years and then he was sent again by the Dutch to study in Holland. He met many people and made many friends. After some time he married one of his Dutch friends.
After three years the people in Willem’s village were happy because he had passed his examinations and he was coming back soon. However, he never went home. Willem Iskandar was ready to go home and had said good-bye to his friends. Then his wife suddenly did not want to go with him. She did not want to leave her country. Willem Iskandar was very sad. He loved his wife but he wanted to go home to his own country. One day, in one of the quiet corners of a beautiful flower-garden in Amsterdam he shot himself. Near his body they found a note in Dutch from Willem. Only the word ‘Good-bye’ was written on it.

Fa Hien

Fa Hien was a Buddhist who lived in China more than 1,500 years ago. At that time, many people in China

were Buddhists but they did not know much about Buddhism because there were no books about it in China.
When Fa Hien became a Buddhist, he thought a lot about his people. He was unhappy because there were no Buddhist books. So in the year A.D. 399 he went to India to find some books for his people. Two of his friends went with him and they travelled by land.
After travelling for six years through the west part of China, Fa Hien arrived in India. He stayed in India for ten years and lived with Indian Buddhists who taught him about Buddhism. While he was in India, he learned the Sanskrit language and he copied several Buddhist books. When he finished copying the books, he left India and went to Ceylon by boat.
Fa Hien studied Buddhism in Ceylon too. Buddhism in Ceylon was a little different from Buddhism in India or China. He also bought more books about Buddhism in Ceylon. After staying there for about two years, he decided to go back to China, so he put all his books on a ship and left Ceylon. It was a big ship and there were a lot of people on it.
Everything went well during the first few days of the voyage, but suddenly there was a strong wind and the sky became very dark. Water began to come into the ship through a big hole in the bottom. In order to save the ship everybody had to throw their things into the sea. Fa Hien threw all his things away except his books. The weather continued to be bad for several days but one night the ship was carried to an island where the people got off the ship and mended it. They waited on the island until the sea was smooth again. When the wind stopped blowing, they continued their voyage and at last they arrived at the island of Java in Indonesia.
The ship did not go on to China, so Fa Hien waited in Java for several months before he got on another ship. At that time, it usually took 50 days to sail from Java to China, but after sailing for a month there was another big storm. The people were afraid but Fa Hien did not do anything. He only prayed. People became angry with him and when they passed a small island, they wanted to leave him on the island. When Fa Hien’s friends heard about this, they were angry with the people. They said they would tell the king when they arrived in China, if Fa Hien was left on the island. Then the other people changed their minds and they did not leave Fa Hien on the island. The storm continued for many weeks but one day they suddenly saw land. They were happy because it was China.
Fa Hien was happy, too, because he still had all his books with him. He went back to his home town and spent the rest of his life writing the books in Chinese and teaching his people about Buddhism. His books are very important in the growth of Chinese Buddhism.

James Brooke

Many years ago Sarawak was part of Brunei and many different people such as Malays, Dayaks and

Chinese lived there. The country was ruled by a sultan and in the time of James Brooke the sultan was not a good man. He acted badly towards his people and they turned against him and started fighting him. The sultan’s name was Hassim.
James Brooke was English. He was born in India in 1803 but he was sent to school in England at the age of fourteen. When he was older, he went back to India to work but he did not like it there. One day he became ill and was sent back to England to rest and get better. When he was well again, he did not return to India. Instead he worked on a ship which went to many parts of Asia. Brooke began to be interested in foreign places.
Brooke started to read widely about Asia and he wanted to visit the places that he read about. When his father died, he left him a lot of money and with the money he bought a ship. He left England and went to Asia. When Brooke reached Sarawak, the people, especially the Dayaks were fighting the sultan, Hassim.
Hassim really wanted to end the war and he told Brooke that he would give him the country of Sarawak if he would help him to stop the fighting. Brooke began to teach Hassim’s men how to use guns. When the people saw that their enemies had guns they were afraid and wanted to stop the war. Brooke organized a meeting between the sultan and the people and the war ended peacefully. After the war ended, the sultan gave Sarawak to Brooke and he became the first English sultan of Sarawak in 1842. This was the beginning of one hundred years of rule in Sarawak by the Brooke family.
Brooke was a very good leader. He learned the Malay language and mixed with his people. Before Brook became sultan, the rich and important people in Sarawak had been very powerful and they had not always followed the rules of the country. Because of this the poor people were afraid of them. After Brooke became the sultan everybody, both rich and poor had to follow the laws of the land. If anyone broke the law they were caught. However, people who followed the law and lived their lives in a good way no longer had to be afraid. The people felt safer and enjoyed a happier, more peaceful life.
James Brooke helped his people in other ways too. He was very interested in learning and he wanted the people of Sarawak to learn about the world. He sent to Britain for teachers to come to Sarawak and when they arrived, Brooke and the teachers built the first schools in the country. People became more and more interested in studying and parents sent their children to the schools so that they could make their lives better.
In 1863 Brooke returned to England because he was not well and another member of his family, Charles Brooke, became the second English sultan of Sarawak. James Brooke died in England in 1868. Now Sarawak is a part of Malaysia, but the name Brooke is still remembered.


Like Buddhism, Jainism began in India. However, while Buddhism went to other countries, Jainism never

moved from India. Jainism is not widely known now but it was very important in the history of India.
The greatest teacher of Jainism lived at the same time as Buddha. His name was Mahavira and he came from a strong and rich family. When he was thirty years old, he left his home. He travelled for twelve years and then began teaching. He taught his ideas to his followers for thirty years until his death at the age of 72. The place of his death is important for his followers.
For almost one hundred years after Mahavira died, Jainism was not very important. Then a famous king became a follower of Jainism. At this time Jainism broke into two parts. It happened like this. One leader wanted to leave the north of India where there was not enough food and people were hungry. A big group of people went with him but many others did not follow him. Later, when some of the people came back to the north of India from the south, they found changes. Followers of Jainism had not worn clothes in the past but now many of them were wearing white clothes. The two groups still believed in the same things but they lived in different ways.
For the followers of Jainism everything has a life. Animals, trees, flowers, water and stones all have lives. Every part of the world is alive. Each life wants to be free from its body but until it is free, it is born again and again. If it wants to be free it must do good things and not hurt anything else.
This is difficult so a Jain must do things carefully. If a person walks on a bee and kills it, this is very bad. Water and earth each have a life so drinking water and walking on earth hurt them. A true follower of Jainism eats and drinks but does not kill the plants. Other people kill them. Water must be very clean before Jains will drink it because they do not want to kill anything in the water. Jains cover their faces with a piece of cloth because they do not want to hurt the wind or air when they take it into their bodies. They do not run or hit their feet on the ground. They live very carefully and think before they do anything.
Some lives are more important than other lives. All living things are put into five groups. The highest group is people, gods and some animals like horses, cows, and snakes. The second group cannot hear things. Bees are in this group. The third group cannot see or hear. The next group cannot hear, see, or smell things. Some of the things in this group live in the sea or in the ground. The last group is the biggest. They can only feel things. Plants, earth, water, air, stones, fire and wind are in this group. It is very bad to hurt things in the highest group. It is not as bad to hurt things in the lowest group, but it is still bad. The followers of Jainism do not like to hurt things at all.

Life in the South Pacific Islands

The Pacific is the largest ocean in the world and has more than 5,000 islands. These islands make up many different countries but together they are called the Pacific Islands. The Pacific Islands are always warm and the weather is the same for most of the year. Between the months of April and November there is less rain and some cool wind but the weather is still warm. The people of the Pacific Islands came from Asia a long time ago. We know this because a few of the words in their many different languages are the same as words in Asian languages.
In the following story we can see how life was in a Pacific Island village many years ago. Today, many places in the Pacific have changed but it is good to look back to see how life was in the old days.
A day in the life of a Pacific Island village.
The life of the village begins when the sun comes up. The shouts of the young men are heard among the trees. They call to one another as they go to their work. As the sun begins to shine on the soft brown roofs and the tall thin trees, birds call and the noise of the sea is mixed with the noise of the village. Babies cry and little children roll out of their beds and walk down to the sea to wash their faces. Children get ready and go to find their friends to go fishing. The whole village opens its eyes and goes towards the sea.
Some of the men get ready to take the boats out fishing. Through the village a noise calling the young men together is heard. They come from all parts of the village. Some go with their digging sticks to work in the village garden. Others work in their own gardens. Little children are too hungry to wait for the first meal of the day so they eat food left over from the day before. Women carry washing to the river at the far end of the village while the older girls go fishing or make cloth.
In the houses the older women and the mothers with young babies sit and talk about the day. The old men sit by themselves rolling leaves to make rope. Some families are already hard at work cooking the food which has been brought from the village gardens. Children are running backwards and forwards, carrying water. They get leaves to put the food in before it is cooked.
At twelve o’clock the ground burns the feet of the little children and they run into the houses. Some women carry leaves to keep the sun away from their faces. Everything is quiet and as the sun slowly moves towards the sea, someone shouts out ‘a boat’. The men bring their boats out of the sea and on to the land. They are tired because the day has been hot. The fish are put on the floor, or in front of the houses until the women pour water on them. The men come home from the gardens. They go together to a big house to drink and talk and then everyone eats the food that the women have made. The day is almost finished.


Buddhism comes from the word Buddha. Buddha was a person who lived more than two thousand five

hundred years ago in India. His family was rich and he lived in a beautiful house with many servants. However, outside his house there lived many poor and unhappy people. One day when he went out of his house, he looked at the people and asked himself these questions, ‘Why are people so unhappy? How can people be happy?’
When he was twenty nine years old, he left his family and his beautiful home and went out into the world to find the answers to his questions. First, he studied with teachers but they did not answer his questions. After this he lived by himself in the forest and he did not eat for many days. He tried to get away from his body and the world but this did not give him the answers to his questions. Then he sat down under a tree and he thought. He sat and thought for forty-nine days and after this time he learned something from himself. He became the Buddha. Finally, his questions were answered.
People are unhappy because they want things. They are always looking for food, money and other things. When people do not want things, then they will be happy. When people do not want things, they are free. They stop thinking about themselves. They stop thinking about tomorrow and they are kind to other people. These are the teachings of Buddha. Buddha’s teachings were not written down until two or three hundred years after his death. Before this people just remembered them and told them to others.
Buddha died when he was eighty years old. During his long life he travelled to many places and had many followers. A follower of Buddha is called a Buddhist and some Buddhist men become monks. Monks do not work and they do not have money. They cut off all their hair and they wear only a long piece of yellow cloth. They usually do not wear anything on their feet. Early in the morning, monks walk along the street carrying a bowl. They cannot ask for food but people stop them and give them food. The life of a monk is not easy. They spend their time praying and thinking and trying to get away from the world. They try to follow the teachings of Buddha.
In Thailand any man can be a monk and many become monks for a short time, usually the three months of the wet season. Their time spent being a monk is very important for Thai men. They leave their families and go to live and study in a temple. After three months they go back to their own lives, although some remain monks and study the teachings of Buddha their whole lives.
Since the time of the Buddha, women have also given their lives to Buddhism. These women are called nuns. Some of them pray and study Buddhism, some study the great Buddhist writings and others help the poor.
There is more than one kind of Buddhism. While all Buddhists follow the Buddha’s teachings, Buddhism developed differently in each of the many countries it spread to. Buddhism started in Asia but today it has spread to Western countries.


This is the story of Jayaprana which happened in Bali many years ago. Jayaprana was a very clever young

man who could sing very well and was good at telling stories. One day Jayaprana’s parents became ill and died and not long after that his brothers and sisters also died. He was left all alone. After his family died, the king asked Jayaprana to live with him. The king liked him because he was good at singing and could tell interesting and funny stories. The king liked to listen to him. One day the king said to him, ‘Jayaprana, you are a man now and you must find a wife. Every man must marry. It is not good if you do not have a wife.’
Jayaprana answered, ‘But I am still too young to marry.’
The king said, ‘No, you are old enough to marry. You must marry quickly. You can choose one of the young women in my house.’ But Jayaprana was not interested in them.
One day he was walking in the town and he saw a beautiful young woman. Her eyes were dark, her hair was long and black, and her face was smooth and beautiful. She had a beautiful smile. When Jayaprana saw her, he fell in love with her. He asked his friends, ‘What is the name of that beautiful girl?’ His friends answered, ‘Her name is Ni Layonsari.’ Jayaprana could not forget her. He went to the king and said, ‘I want to marry Ni Layonsari. Can you write a letter to her parents? Please ask her parents to let me marry her.’
Of course the king was glad to hear this and he quickly wrote the letter and sent it to Ni
Layonsari’s parents. The parents were happy to get a letter from the king. They said, ‘We will be happy if Jayaprana marries Ni Layonsari. ‘
So Jayaprana and Ni Layonsari were married and they loved each other very much. They lived near the house of the king. One day the king saw Ni Layonsari and when he saw her, he fell in love with her. He went back to his house but he could not forget her so the king wrote a letter and gave it to one of his servants. The king told the servant to kill Jayaprana. The king sent the servant and Jayaprana on a long journey. When they were far from the city, the servant gave the letter to Jayaprana. In the letter the king said, ‘Jayaprana, you must die. The servant will kill you.’
Jayaprana was sad but he was not afraid to die. ‘I am ready,’ he said. The servant took a knife and killed him. When Ni Layonsari heard about Jayaprana’s death, she cried. Then the king came to her and said, ‘Ni Layonsari, now you must marry me.’ Ni Layonsari answered, ‘I do not want to marry you.’ The king was angry when he heard this, and he said, ‘You must marry me now.’
Ni Layonsari answered, ‘You must wait for eleven days.’ That night Ni Layonsari took a knife and killed herself. When the king heard this, he became angrier. He took a long knife and began to kill his servants. He killed many people and, in the end, he killed himself.

Death Ceremonies in Bali

When someone dies in Bali, their family and friends are not usually sad. For them, death is the beginning

of a new life because the dead person will come back into the world in another form. However, before this happens, something has to be done with the body. There are many different ceremonies or events when someone dies. In some countries the body is put into the ground. In other countries, and in some places in Bali, the body is put on top of the ground or in a tree where it is eaten by animals or birds. Usually in Bali the dead body is burned because after it is burned, the dead person can easily come back to live in this world. The form the person comes back in depends on their last life. If a person has been bad they will come back as a dog or a snake, while a good person will have a better life than their life before.
When a person dies, friends and family visit the house, bringing presents of food. The body cannot be burned on just any day. The family prays to the Gods to find out which is the best day, and usually the body is put in the ground for forty-two days before it is burned. Before the body is put in the ground the family washes it. Flowers are put in the nose, iron is put on the teeth and arms, and glass is put on the eyes so that when the dead person comes back to earth for the next life, they will have strong arms and teeth, good eyes and will smell nice. After the family takes the body out of the ground, they bring it back to the house. When all this has been done, the body is ready for burning.
The body is put on the top of a beautiful wooden tower. The family and their friends then walk in a line to the burning place. Some people walk in front followed by the men carrying the tower. They do not walk in a straight line but run from one side of the road to the other and turn around quickly. This keeps bad things away from the body. People in the dead man’s family walk in front of the tower and hold on to a long rope hanging from it. All the time the noise of the music and the people is very loud. At the burning place the family look at the body for the last time and then the body is put on the burning place. After the burning, some pieces of the bones are taken to the sea or to a river and they are thrown into the water. The people wash in the water and then they go home.
A long time ago, when a rich man was burned, his wives were burned with him on the fire. This was also done in India many years ago.
The burning of the body is expensive so people have to save money for this while they are still alive. Because burning a body is expensive, sometimes people burn several bodies at the same time. This is cheaper because not so many towers are needed. These burnings are very noisy and smoky.


Indonesia is now a free country but 180 years ago it was not free. It was in the hands of the Dutch. The

Indonesian people were very poor because they had to pay a lot of money to the Dutch, and only a few Indonesians went to school. Because of these things most of the kings of Java and of the other Indonesian islands as well as the Indonesian people were against the Dutch, and they wanted to free their country from their rule. One day a group of brave people attacked the Dutch. Diponegoro was the leader of these brave people.
Diponegoro was born the son of a king in 1785. He was a Muslim and he loved his people and his country. In 1825 the Dutch decided to build a road through his land. Diponegoro told them to stop but they did not listen to him and they continued to build the road. After this happened, Diponegoro started to fight the Dutch and many Javanese people joined him in his fight. The war that Diponegoro and his army fought against the Dutch is now known as the Diponegoro War.
Diponegoro’s men did not have as many guns as the Dutch soldiers. Because of this Diponegoro’s army used a different way of fighting them. They came out of the forest and suddenly attacked them and then quickly hid themselves in the forest again, where the Dutch soldiers couldn’t find them. The Dutch army was not good at fighting in this way so they always lost and Diponegoro’s men won back most of central Java. The Dutch way of fighting was different. They built long roads which they used to go from one place to another quickly and easily. This meant they did not need to go through the forest to fight Diponegoro’s army. It seemed as if the war would never end.
At that time the Dutch had many enemies in Indonesia and they were fighting many different wars. They were trying to find a way to stop the war with Diponegoro because it was expensive for them. They tried to talk with Diponegoro and his friends but Diponegoro would not meet them because he knew that the Dutch were dangerous. The Dutch leaders tried to make friends with Diponegoro’s people by offering to give them land if they left Diponegoro and stopped fighting against them but the Javanese people did not listen to them.
The war continued for 5 years until 1830, when Diponegoro was asked to come to a meeting with the Dutch leaders. They promised him that after the meeting he could go back to his own people. But the Dutch leaders lied. When Diponegoro arrived at the place for the meeting, they caught him and would not let him go. He was sent to Jakarta and in April 1830 he was sent away from Java to an island. He stayed there for 10 years and then he was sent to another island in 1840. He died there in 1845.
Diponegoro is now a famous name in Indonesia. People remember his brave fight for his country against Dutch rule. In almost every town in Indonesia you can find a Diponegoro street and in one of the biggest towns in Java you will find the Diponegoro University.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the name of an island off the coast of mainland China. The biggest and most important city

on Hong Kong is Victoria, but not many people use this name. People usually call the city Hong Kong too. Even though Hong Kong is small, only about 1000 square kilometers, around seven million people live there today. Hong Kong has a very interesting history. Many years ago the island of Hong Kong belonged to China and now it belongs to China again. However, for more than 150 years, Hong Kong was ruled by the British.
Hong Kong has a very good port and in the middle of the 19th century, British ships often stopped there. They came to China to trade. However, in 1839 a war began between China and Britain which continued for three years. In 1842 the Chinese and the British held a meeting which ended the war. At the meeting, the island of Hong Kong was given to Britain. Fifty years later, in 1898, China gave the area around Hong Kong to the British for 99 years. In 1997 the British returned Hong Kong to China but it was a very different place from the deserted island of 150 years ago.
Not many people lived in Hong Kong when it was first given to Britain. Most of the people were Chinese farmers and fishermen and soon more Chinese arrived. Some of them left China because they could not find work there and others came to Hong Kong when there was a war in China. All of these people came to find a better life for themselves and their children. Besides the Chinese, many other people came. They came from India, Britain, Holland and many other countries. After some years they began to think of Hong Kong as their home and they began to work hard for their new home. They too wanted to make a better life for their families.
People began to build factories and many kinds of things were produced such as clothes, medicine, machines and radios. These things were not only sold in Hong Kong but also to many other countries. Hong Kong soon became famous as a world centre for buying and selling, and it has continued to get stronger and stronger.
In 1997 when Britain returned Hong Kong to China, there were many differences between the Hong Kong way of life and the Chinese way of life and people thought there might be some problems. Many people from Hong Kong didn’t want to live by the Chinese rules. Meetings between the leaders of both countries were held and it was decided that Hong Kong would be ruled by “One country, two systems”. This meant that Hong Kong people could continue to live in the way that they had, while being a part of China.
Today, Hong Kong is a world centre for trade and banking. There are world famous universities teaching in both English and in the Chinese language of Cantonese. The port is one of the finest in the world and the beautiful city of Victoria is built on the surrounding hills. For the visitor, Hong Kong offers both East and West. You can go shopping, try food from many different countries, visit interesting places, and have a great time.

The English Language

The story of the English language is a story of change. Old English is very different from Modern English. Today Old English is a university subject. If we do not study it we cannot understand it because, while some of the words are the same, many of the old words are no longer used. The story of the English language began some time after the year A.D. 400 when many groups of people came to England from North-West Europe. They were called Angles, Saxons and Jutes and their languages helped to make up Old English. In Old English the ends of words were very important because they carried a lot of meaning such as past and present time. In Modern English most of these endings are gone. This is one of the biggest differences between Old and Modern English.
All languages change over time and this is often influenced by outside events. For example, when the church became important, Old English became a written language. Before this, only a few people could read and write. Latin, the old language of Italy, was used in the church and because of this, many Latin words entered the English language, for example the word school came from the Latin language. At that time most schools were a part of the church.
In the year 1066 France attacked England and for two hundred years French became the language used by English kings and queens and the rich people of the country. Everybody else continued to use English. However, slowly English became important again and many of the schools began to use English instead of French. Over this time, many French words came into the English language. Often there were two words for one thing, a French word and an English word. In Modern English, ask and demand have almost the same meaning but ask comes from Old English and demand comes from French. English has many words like this. The English language between 1066 and about 1500 is called Middle English. Some time after 1500 we have the beginning of Modern English. At that time the school system developed and more people went to school. English ships sailed all over the world and words from the new countries became part of the English language. While Latin was still used in the church, English was becoming more widely used. Writers, like William Shakespeare, used the language in beautiful and new ways.
Around 1750, many books were written about the English language. The writers of these books thought people were speaking English badly so they tried to show people how to use the language correctly. They thought that Latin was the best language because it used very long words and sentences and they wanted English to become more like Latin. At the same time correct spelling was beginning to be important too. Because of these books, the spoken language became different from the written language. When people wrote, they were very careful about the rules, but when they spoke, they just said what they wanted to say. Later another change happened and written English started to become like spoken English again. Sentences were shorter and people used easier words. The English language and all languages are always changing. When a language does not change, it dies.

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was one of the most famous Indian writers of the 20th century. He wrote thousands of poems, stories and songs in both his own language, Bengali, and in English. Today his writing is still widely read and his books can be found in many other languages. However, Tagore did not become famous for his writing worldwide until he was 51 when he started to write his poetry in English.
Tagore was born into a rich family in Calcutta, India in 1861. When he was still very young, he was already interested in reading, writing and music. He wrote his first book of poems when he was only 17 years old. He liked to watch the things around him: the trees, the birds, the sky, the flowers and the grass. All these things were beautiful for him. He was interested in God and how people could live their lives in the best way possible.
When he was old enough to go to school, his father sent him to a school in his town but he did not like it. He did not like his lessons and he did not like his teachers’ way of teaching so after a short time he left the school. His father then found him a teacher and together they studied at home. Later his father sent him to England to study law. However, Tagore did not want to study law so he came back to India before he finished his study.
In 1901, Tagore started a school outside Calcutta. His school was different from other schools because in his school the teachers taught in a different way. The students had to ask questions and the teachers answered them. In this way, Tagore taught the students how to think. Both the students and the teachers liked this way of teaching. Some of Tagore’s students were rich and some of them were poor but all the students had to live together. They lived together, learned together and played together. Everything was free in Tagore’s school. The students did not have to pay for their lessons or their food so Tagore needed to find money for his school. He used his own money from his writing and some of his father’s money. As well as working at his school he continued his writing and became a great thinker and a leader in his country. Much of his thinking was based on the old Indian ideas of thousands of years ago.
Tagore travelled to Europe and the United States of America where he taught in universities. He talked about India and Indian people, about his writing and his ideas and he also talked about his school. Many of the people he met were interested in his school and they sent him money so that the school could continue.
Tagore continued writing and in 1913 he won the Nobel Prize. He was given this prize because he was judged the best writer in the world for that year. In 1921, Tagore’s school became a university and students came from all over the world to study there. At the age of 68 he became a painter.
Tagore spent most of his life trying to unite the ideas of East and West. He died in 1941 at the age of 80.


The teachings of Confucius were very important for the Chinese people. Confucius was not like Jesus

Christ or Mohammed. He did not bring the words of God to the people. He was just a very great teacher and most of his teaching was about life in this world.
His real name was K’ung Fu-tzu but he was called Confucius by foreigners because they could not easily say his Chinese name. He was born five hundred and fifty years before Christ. His family were important people but they were poor. He loved history and music, and for most of his life he was a teacher, travelling from place to place in China. He had many followers and some of them wrote down his teachings so we can still read them today. After he died his teachings became more famous and many Chinese emperors followed them. They built temples to him and called him a god and made his birthday into a national holiday called Teachers’ Day.
For the Chinese, people were not the most important things in the world. They were only.
a part of the world around them. People had to learn to live in the world in their correct place. When they could do this, they could become happy and find peace. Confucius taught people to live in the world with each other. A leader and his people must learn to live with each other. A husband and wife, a father and son, an older sister and a younger sister, all must learn to live with each other. This was the way of Confucius. A husband must do the correct things. His wife must follow him. The leader of a country must be kind, his people must follow him and not fight against him. If every person does the correct thing, then there will be peace and happiness in the world. In the teachings of Confucius, the family was very important. Everybody in the family must know their correct place. Because of Confucius, the family was a very important part of Chinese life and China became like a big family. The leader of a country was the father and his people were his children.
The teachings of Confucius were not new but Confucius was the first person to bring all these ideas together for people to learn and follow. For Confucius, people were not born bad. They were bad because they did not live correctly in the world. The leader of a country was a very important person in the teachings of Confucius. If the leader of the country was a good person, the people in that country would also be good. When a leader was bad, then the country would not be a happy place.
One of his followers once asked Confucius, ‘What does a country need?’ Confucius answered, ‘Enough food, a good army, and a good leader.’ The person then asked, ‘Which one is the most important?’ Confucius answered, ‘An army is not very important. All men must die, so food is not the most important. But if the leader of the country is not good, then everything will be bad.’
When Confucius died, he was over seventy years old. Although he died more than two thousand years ago, many people still try to follow his ideas.

Stamford Raffles

Today Singapore is a world centre for trade, shipping and tourism, but two hundred years ago Singapore

was just a deserted island off the coast of Malaya with only a few fishermen living there.
Stamford Raffles was an Englishman who helped to make Singapore. Raffles, the son of an English sea captain, was born in Jamaica in 1781. Because his parents were poor he left school when he was 14 and started work in a trading company in London. The trading company was called the British East India Company. It was an important and powerful company that sent ships all over the world. As well as trading, the company officials sometimes became rulers of the countries they traded with. Raffles did his work well and soon began to get higher positions in the company. He was often sent to other countries and he became very interested in foreign places. He became the ruler of Java and in 1817 he wrote a book called History of Java.
In 1819 Raffles went to rule the island of Singapore. At that time Singapore was covered with forest and there were only a few poor fishermen living there. Some of them were pirates and when a ship came near the island, they went out to it in small boats. They attacked the ships, stole things from them and sometimes killed the sailors. The waters around Singapore were dangerous and ships were afraid to come near the island.
When Raffles came, he made laws and stopped the pirates. He made some of the people policemen and they made sure that the new laws were kept. Singapore became safe and people were no longer afraid. Many people came to live in Singapore and ships were no longer afraid to visit there. The ships came to buy and sell things and the island began its history as a trading centre for the world. Raffles built many houses, buildings and roads. Now people could easily go from one place to another on the island. Besides houses and roads, Raffles built schools and he brought in teachers from Britain to work in the schools. The lessons were taught in both English and Malay, and the teachers wrote school books to help their students. Many Europeans came to Singapore and started companies.
Raffles did many other things in his life. He was interested in the history of the Malay people so he learned their language. He read many history books in the Malay language and then he wrote them in English so that other people could read them too. He was also interested in studying the things of nature. He went into the forests looking for different plants and animals to study and he sent some of these back to England so that people there could see them and understand more about other places. He brought plants such as coffee and sugar to Indonesia so that the people could start growing them for themselves.
In 1824 Raffles and his wife returned to England. He put all of his books, plants and animals on the ship but before it reached England, a fire began on the ship and everything was lost. Despite this, Raffles started the London Zoo and was its first president. Raffles died at the age of 45 in1826.

Abdullah Writes about a War

Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir was born in Malacca in 1796. His parents were part Arab, part Indian, and part

Malay. While Abdullah was a child, he learned many languages and could speak at least five. When he was older, he became a writer. He was one of the first people to write books in the Malay language and he is known today as the father of modern Malay writing. He was also a teacher. He taught the Malay language and culture to the English who ruled Malaya at that time, among them Stamford Raffles, and he helped some of them to write English books in the Malay language. Abdullah was known as Munshi Abdullah. Munshi means teacher.
Abdullah did not like the old Malay system of ruling the people. Under this system, the people did not go to school. He believed that without learning, the Malay people could not question the poor conditions of their lives and they could not fight for changes to the system.
In 1838 there was a war in Kelantan. It was a war between three Malay kings. For a long time there had been a lot of trade between Singapore and the Malay kingdoms, and wars caused serious problems for the traders. In 1838 some ships from Singapore were caught and held by the Malay kings in Kelantan. The Singapore ship owners wanted to get their ships back so they sent a group of people to take letters to one of the kings. Abdullah was sent with the group because he could speak many languages.
In 1838 it was very dangerous to sail in the seas around Malaya. Pirates often stopped ships at sea, and stole money and other things from them and killed the sailors. Abdullah knew that it was dangerous but he wanted to go so that he could write a book about the voyage. Everyday he wrote down what he saw of Malay life and the war.
After a long and difficult voyage, Abdullah and the group arrived in Kelantan. They sailed from the sea into the Kelantan River and then they sailed along the river for several miles until they reached a town. In the town they saw soldiers on the side of the river. The soldiers belonged to the army of one of the enemy kings. Abdullah and his friends were afraid but they had to get the letters to the king. To do this they had to pass the soldiers of the other kings and when the enemy saw them they started to shoot at them. It was very dangerous but Abdullah and his friends made one last try. They ran past the soldiers and when they reached the king’s house they stopped. Abdullah could see the enemy. He took a pencil and a piece of paper and he began to draw a picture of the enemy. Suddenly a man was killed not far from Abdullah. After that Abdullah went quickly back to his boat.
Today, if there is a war, reporters go there and we can see it on television or the internet, or read about the story in the newspaper. Almost 170 years ago Abdullah did the same thing. He saw the war in Kelantan and he wrote about it in his book The Voyage of Abdullah.

King Mongkut of Thailand

Thai means free, so Thailand is the land of the free people. King Mongkut helped Thailand to remain a

free country. Unlike many countries in Asia that fought against their foreign rulers, he did not fight the English and French. Instead, he worked with them and stayed free.
Prince Maha Mongkut was born in 1804 in Siam, which is the old name for Thailand. He was the eldest son of the king and the queen so everyone thought he would become king after his father’s death. During his childhood he studied Buddhism and history and when he was only twelve years old, his father put him in charge of the army. However, Prince Mongkut had a half-brother called Jetta who also wanted to be king. Jetta was seventeen years older than Mongkut and he was very powerful. When Mongkut was twenty his father died and Jetta was chosen to be king. Fearing for his life, Mongkut left his family and became a Buddhist monk. For 27 years he travelled through his country praying, living on the food that people gave him and learning how the ordinary people lived. He studied many different subjects including languages and science. He spoke English and French and this helped him to learn how people in other countries lived. All of his learning would be useful to him when he became king.
In 1851, Jetta died and at the age of 47 Mongkut stopped being a Buddhist monk and became the king of Siam, which had a population of about five and a half million people. Mongkut ruled his people very well but he was different from other kings. Before him the kings had looked only at their own country, Mongkut was interested in the world around him and he was friendly towards western countries. He wanted his country to have the good things that the West could offer and he wanted his people to learn about other countries, but he also wanted Siam to remain a free country. King Mongkut knew that his country could not fight against the outside world. He knew that his country had to change but making changes was not easy. The old ways were very different from the new western ways. Sometimes Mongkut had to fight against his own family to get changes. Sometimes he had to fight against himself.
As was the way for kings in Siam, Mongkut had 39 wives and 82 children. His wives lived with their children in a special place, which they were not allowed to leave. King Mongkut, however, wanted his wives and children to learn about the outside world too, so he brought in teachers from England. King Mongkut died in 1868. In a way, he died because of his love of learning. On 18 August 1868 the shadow of the earth was going to cover the sun. King Mongkut and his oldest son, Chulalongkorn, went to a place south of Bangkok to watch this and study it. While they were there, they both became very ill and a month later the king was dead at the age of 64. On his 20th birthday King Mongkut’s son, Chulalongkorn, became king and continued his father’s work to make Thailand into a modern and free country. Today Chulalongkorn’s grandson is the king of Thailand.

The Maori

Before Europeans came to New Zealand, the Maori people were already living there. The Maori first came to New Zealand about 1000 years ago but the biggest number came after the year 1l00. They came more than two thousand miles in small boats from the islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The weather in New Zealand was colder than the Pacific islands but the Maori changed their way of life to fit in with the new conditions.
When the Maori arrived in New Zealand, they found many large birds. One of the birds, the moa, was much taller than a person. They could not fly but they could run very fast and they could kill a person by kicking them. The moa was very useful to the Maori. They were good to eat because there was a lot of meat on one bird. The people used them to make clothes. Moa eggs were big and the Maori used them for carrying water. By the time Europeans came to New Zealand, there were no more of these birds. They were all dead.
New Zealand was a rich country for the Maori. The earth was rich, there were many forests and there were many birds and fish. However, there were almost no animals before people arrived. The Maori brought many plants with them, such as sweet potatoes and other kinds of vegetables and they also brought dogs and rats. Because the weather in New Zealand was cold, the Maori built strong warm houses of wood. Their houses were usually only one large room and they were strong and beautiful. The Maori had a special kind of art. They did not paint pictures, but they cut pictures out of the wood.
When Captain Cook, an Englishman, visited New Zealand in 1769, there were many Maori. Cook became a friend of some of them and he studied their way of life. After Captain Cook, many other Europeans came to New Zealand. They brought many useful things, like knives, guns and plants but they also brought many bad things like illness. More Europeans kept arriving and they started to fight with the Maori about the land. The Europeans wanted more land but the Maori did not want to give up all their land. The Land Wars were fought from the 1840s to the 1870s. The Maori were brave fighters but they did not win because there were too many white people and they had more guns. After the wars, a lot of Maori land was taken by Europeans. This was a very difficult time for the Maori. Many of their leaders were dead, their land was lost and they did not understand the European way of life.
Then, around 1900, new young Maori leaders started coming forward and they tried to help their people. In 1900 there were less than fifty thousand Maori people in New Zealand. Today there are more than six hundred thousand Maori out of a population of over four million New Zealanders.
In 1900 Maori language and culture was dying. Today, Maori language and culture is taught in schools and universities. You can hear and see the language, which is called Te Reo, everywhere and many New Zealanders realize that Maori is what makes New Zealand different and special.


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