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


Worksheet84.91 KB

Language level

Average: 4 (147 votes)
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Submitted by Trang Luu on Fri, 07/04/2023 - 04:49


For my opinion, Mr. Carter has brought his son to the farm because both of them got a big problem despite of his talk to Sam. He think the farm will be the good place for his son because Sam who has just escaped from his big problem in their world and never think to come back.

Submitted by MARCELO EUGENI… on Tue, 14/03/2023 - 13:28


For me, Mr. Carter left his son at the farm to leave him away from the problems he had at school and avoid something serious happening to him.

Submitted by inaki07 on Fri, 24/02/2023 - 22:46


I suppose that mr Carter has brought his son to the farm in order to give him some time to stay away from school and maybe to have an help from Sam. But help don' t want to admit it, in fact help is very nervoso and embarassed.

Submitted by Jack75 on Thu, 23/02/2023 - 17:08


I suppose that mr Carter has brought his son to the farm in order to give him some time to stay away from school and maybe to have an help from Sam. But help don' t want to admit it, in fact help is very nervoso and enbarassed

Submitted by Nahomi GR on Thu, 19/01/2023 - 00:53


It seems to me that Carter wants his son to go on vacation at the farm because he wants his son to stay out of school because his son can have a lot of problems.

Submitted by gasparmartinez on Tue, 10/01/2023 - 23:20


I believe that Mr Carter brought his son to the farm to show him a different way of life in the farm

Submitted by olexandra_2005 on Sun, 08/01/2023 - 17:22


Maybe he did it to show his son that life is different. Also he could do it because thought that difficult life on the farm can teach his son to be clever and responsible for his actions :)

Submitted by 8LADAN8 on Sat, 12/11/2022 - 16:47


In my point of view, Mr. Carter brought his son to the farm to keep him away from school and his routines to solve his problems. But it seems that Mr. Carter causes problems which is why his son ran away.

Submitted by Medrabie on Thu, 03/11/2022 - 23:24


Pls i want a resume of this story

Hello Medrabie,

How about you write a summary and then we give you feedback on it?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team