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Stories for Children

lower-intermediate level

No Pets Here

Episode 210129 / 29 Jan 2021

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Joe and Bella had always wanted a pet. But their parents always said no.

“We're too busy,” they said.  “Pets make too much mess. We've enough to do, without a pet as well!”

Then one day, Bella came home from school very excited. “My friend Izzy has got a  hamster,” she told the rest of the family over tea. “She's asked me to go round and play tomorrow so I can meet her. I wish I could have a hamster!”

“Well you can't,” said Mum, passing round spaghetti. “No pets here!”

“I'd like a puppy,” said Joe.

“You know we can't have a puppy,” said Mum. “We're all too busy to take it for walks.”

“Then how about a kitten?” Joe asked.

“No kittens, either,” said Dad. “In fact, no pets at all!”

The next day, Bella was going to Izzy's house. Joe decided to invite his friend Finn round to play in the garden. He told Finn, “We'll be able to play football for once without Bella getting in the way.”

But when the boys got home, Joe had a shock. Bella and Izzy were there too!

“What are they doing here?” he complained to Mum.

“Izzy's mum had an appointment, so she dropped Izzy off here instead,” Mum explained.

“But Finn and I want the garden to ourselves.”

“Don't worry about that,” said Mum. “Bella's busy.”

Joe understood when he saw that Izzy had brought something with her: her hamster!

“She's called Harriet,” Bella told Joe. “Isn't she lovely?”

Harriet was small and round with beady eyes, golden fur and long whiskers. She sat in Bella's hand and snuffled at Joe. Then Bella fed her a lettuce leaf. Nibble, nibble, nibble, went Harriet, and the leaf disappeared in no time.

“She's cute,” Joe had to admit.

“Look, she's got a ball,” Bella said. Izzy showed them a big, see-through ball made of purple plastic. She put Harriet inside. Harriet began to run, and the ball moved across the floor.

“You see,” Izzy explained, “this way, Harriet can run wherever she wants.”

“Just make sure she doesn't escape,” said Mum. “If she did, we'd never catch her. Be careful when you put her back in her cage.”

Joe and Finn went into the garden to play football. They were practising penalties, when they heard a shout. It was Bella – and it was loud!

The two boys ran for the house.

“What's the matter?” asked Joe.

“Harriet's gone,” Bella wailed.

“What do you mean – gone?”

“We were lifting her out of her ball,” said Bella. “And – we dropped her.”

Bella and Izzy began to cry.

“Come on,” said Joe. “We've got to look for her.” They all got down on their hands and knees. Mum came in and helped too.

But Harriet must have been scared of all the noise.

“Don't worry,” said Mum. “She'll come out when she's hungry.”

She didn't.

When Dad came home, they all searched again, but they couldn't find her.

 “I'm afraid she's gone under the floorboards,” said Dad. “We'll never find her now.”

For a whole week, there was no sign of Harriet. Then, one night, Joe woke up. “I wonder,” he thought, “if I went downstairs now and was very quiet...”

He crept downstairs. And there, sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, calmly nibbling on a breadcrumb – was Harriet!

Bella was very happy. And when she told Izzy the news, she was even happier, because Izzy didn't want Harriet back.

Izzy had a new hamster. She said that Bella could keep Harriet!

“Please can I?” Bella asked her parents.

“I suppose so,” said Mum.

“But what about me?” demanded Joe. “Why should Bella have a pet and not me?”

“I suppose that's true,” said Dad.

And that's how Joe got a kitten. He called him Caspar.

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