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Stories for Children

lower-intermediate level

Sick Day

Episode 210122 / 22 Jan 2021

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One morning Joe woke up with a sore elbow.

He prodded it carefully with one finger. Ow! That really hurt!

Joe climbed out of bed and put on his dressing gown, very, very carefully, so as not to joggle his bad elbow. Then he went downstairs.

Mum was in the kitchen, searching for cereal in the cupboard.

“We're out of cornflakes again,” she said, not looking round.

“Mum,” Joe began, “I think there's something wrong with my -”

But at that moment, Bella came into the kitchen. She was clutching her tummy.

“Mum,” she cried, “I'm very, very ill! Very ill indeed! My tummy hurts really, really bad! I am far too sick to go to school!”

Mum was worried. She felt Bella's forehead. “You do feel hot. But you were fine yesterday.”

“I'm not fine now,” said Bella. “Please, Mum. Can I go back to bed?”

Bella didn't even want breakfast. Joe tried to tell Mum about his elbow. But Mum was too worried about Bella.

“Please just get dressed, Joe, or you will be late for school!”

Mum stayed home to look after Bella. Dad gave Joe a lift to school, and Joe tried to explain about his elbow.

“I was playing football yesterday and I banged it and it still hurts,” he said.

“Probably just a bruise,” said Dad. “I hope Bella is better soon. She looked a bit feverish to me.”

It's always about Bella, thought Joe crossly.

At school, Joe had to be very careful of his elbow. He had to keep it really still. Luckily he could still write with his other hand.

At home, Mum was looking after Bella.

She put her back to bed and tucked the covers round her.

She brought her a glass of water to sip slowly.

She stroked her head and read her a story.

“How do you feel now?” she asked. “Would you like to try a little breakfast?”

“I can't eat a thing,” said Bella.

Mum was worried. It wasn't like Bella not to eat anything. She leaned over to pick Bella's teddy bear off the floor. As she did so, she caught sight of something under the bed.

A huge pile of sweet wrappers! And an empty box!

“Bella!” Mum cried. “Are those the sweets that Aunt Jackie sent you? And that you were supposed to save for your birthday?”

Bella turned very red. “I woke up early and felt hungry,” she said in a small voice.

“But Bella,” said Mum, “no wonder you've a bad tummy! You've eaten every one!”

An hour later, Mum and Bella were walking into school. Bella's tummy was better, and Mum wanted to get back to work.

Mrs Smailes, the headteacher, came running to meet them.

“Oh good, you're here,” she said. “I think you need to go straight to hospital!”

“Hospital!” said Mum. “She's only eaten too many sweets!”

“I'm not talking about Bella!” said Mrs Smailes. “I'm talking about Joe! Didn't you notice that he'd broken his elbow?”

“What!” said Mum.

At the hospital, Mum and Joe had to sit in the waiting room, until Joe could have his X-ray.

“Why didn't you tell me?” Mum said.

“I did try,” said Joe. “But you wouldn't listen. Then my teacher noticed I couldn't move my arm.”

At the hospital they were very kind to Joe. They took an X-ray of his arm, and the doctor showed him the picture of the crack in his bone.

A nurse wrapped up Joe's elbow in a bandage. Then they put his arm in a sling.

Joe was sad that he wouldn't be able to play football for a few weeks, so Mum bought him a box of sweets from the hospital shop to cheer him up.

“I hope Bella doesn't steal any,” said Joe, opening the box.

“I don't think she will,” said Mum, smiling. “I think she's had enough sweets to last her a long time!”  

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