A short story extract

A short story extract

Read a section from a short story to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.


Reading text

Sam squinted against the sun at the distant dust trail raked up by the car on its way up to the Big House. The horses kicked and flicked their tails at flies, not caring about their owner's first visit in ten months. Sam waited. Mr Carter didn't come out here unless he had to, which was just fine by Sam. The more he kept out of his boss's way, the longer he'd have a job.

Carter came by later while Sam was chopping wood. Carter lifted his hat as if he were waiting for an appointment with the town priest, and then removed it completely as if he were talking to his mother. He pulled out a pile of paper from his back pocket and held it out.

'Don't pick up your mail often, do you?'

Sam took it without a glance and dropped the envelopes onto the bench.

'Never,' he replied and waited for Carter to say why he was here. The fact it was Carter's house was no explanation and they both knew it. Carter twisted his hat round and round, licking his lips and clearing his throat.

'Nice work fixing those fences,' he said finally.

'I'll be back to the beginning soon,' Sam said. It wasn't a complaint. A fence that took a year to repair meant another year's work to the man who did it well.

'Don't you ever want to take a holiday?'

'And go where?' A holiday meant being back out in the real world, a place even people like Carter travelled to escape from. Sam's escape was his reality and he wasn't going back.

Mr Carter wiped the sweat from the back of his neck. The damp patches on his shirt drew together like shapes in an atlas. His skin was already turning ruddy in the June sun. Otherwise he had the indoor tan of a man that made money while other people did the work.

'I've brought my son with me on this trip. He's had some trouble at school.' Mr Carter's eyes flicked up, blinked rapidly and then shifted back to the hat occupying his hands. 'Not much trouble out here for a young boy.' He attempted a laugh but it came out like a dog's bark.

The two men looked towards the northern end of the property. It stretched as far as the eye could see. Even the fences were barely visible from where they stood. However bored and rebellious a teenage boy might get, it wasn't possible to escape on foot. Sam looked at the biggest of the horses, kicking at the ground with its heavy hooves. Could the boy ride? he wondered. There was a whole load of trouble a good rider could get into out here, miles away from anyone. But maybe there was even more trouble for someone who knew nothing about horses and wanted to get away from his father.

Task 1

Task 2


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Language level

Average: 4 (148 votes)

Submitted by ubaid332 on Fri, 28/06/2024 - 06:46


Why do you think Mr Carter has brought his son to the farm?

Mr Cater brought his son to the form as he has problems at the school. Mr. Cater explains to his son that the school problems are very light if you see Sam's problems because he does not do any holidays and makes a continuous effort. Mr. Cater wants his son will learn practical life examples from Sam and start struggling in his school for a better life.

Submitted by Pecas on Sat, 22/06/2024 - 02:05


According to this text,  this rich man the only thing that he wants; is getting out of his responsabilities as a father.

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Submitted by Libra23 on Mon, 03/06/2024 - 16:39


Well, we can image that Mr Carter’s conduct is a way to help his son. 

Living and working in a farm it’s not a quiet and simple job, in fact it’s based on a physical work: you must get up early in the morning and go to bed not very late, possibly your life is based on the sun cycle. 

For these reasons, Mr Carter could consider the best solution for helping his son, that him stays at the farm and learns how working from Sam. 

Submitted by EstherNao on Thu, 30/05/2024 - 14:39


Mr Carter brought he's son to help him to calm down and keep him away of what influence him in the bad way.

Submitted by FelipeZin on Tue, 07/05/2024 - 18:22


Carter knows his son and how he acts to draw another person's attention, so he thought his son might get out of trouble if he does not have anyone to impress with his boy's mischief.He hopes.

Submitted by ddddsky on Fri, 08/03/2024 - 08:44


"Why do you think Mr Carter has brought his son to the farm?"

I think it is because he wants to keep him away from trouble. I expect the boy to feel his father is too controlling when he needs freedom. That's why he rebels and makes trouble at school. But the father doesn't understand, and he thinks that keeping him away from people will do good for him. 

Submitted by Sihem2022 on Fri, 23/02/2024 - 19:26


I think Mr Carter brought his son to the farm to teach him a moral life lesson.He wanted to show him that having a high standard living come out with the hard work and time is so precious to waste it.Plus he wanted to introduce him to a hard-working boy named Sam who has never taken a holiday before as he has to work all day for his living.

Submitted by amroelwan.com on Tue, 12/12/2023 - 16:23


I think he wants to keep him away from the trouble he made at school

Submitted by TataRyt on Sun, 19/11/2023 - 21:14


I think Mr Carter cannot find a common language with his son because of a lack of trust. From the narrative, we know that his son has problems with sth. So, I guess that Mr Carter sent him to the farm to avoid doing sth with the problems of his son and shift the responsibility for upbringing to Sam.

Submitted by Headshot667 on Wed, 15/11/2023 - 21:13


In my opinion Mr Carter brought his son to the farm because of his problems in school.
Text does not give us an explanation of what kind of problems it was. My assumption that Mr Carter actually
took his son to the farm to make him have more life experience. The boy would grow up physically
and mentally so his old school problems will seem a lot easier than before.