Reading

NIOS Secondary

The Parrot Who Wouldn’t Talk by Ruskin Bond

In this story, which is written in the first person, the author’s aunt decides to keep a parrot as a pet. She also decides to teach it how to talk. How successful is she in her efforts? Read this humorous story by the well-known author Ruskin Bond to find out.

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The Return of the Lion (Play)

The brave king Shivaji, led his Maratha warriors to fight many battles against the Moghul army and defeated them. After one battle Aurangzeb, the Moghul King, captured and imprisoned him.

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A Prayer for Healing (Poem)

From ancient times, people across the world, belonging to different cultures and different religions, have prayed to various objects of nature - the sun, moon, stars, earth, wind, water bodies, plants, and animals. This is because man has recognised their importance from the very beginning. The earth is our home, our only home.

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The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde

'She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,' said the young Student, 'but in all my garden there is no red rose.' From her nest in the oak-tree the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the leaves and wondered. 'No red rose in all my garden!' he cried, and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. 'Ah, on what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for lack of a red rose is my life made wretched.'

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

Mr. Jones, of the the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-house for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring.

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Mirror (Poem) by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.

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The Frog and the Nithtingale (Poem) by Vikram Seth

Once upon a time a frog
Croaked away in Bingle Bog
Every night from dusk to dawn
He croaked awn and awn and awn.

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Virtually True by Paul Stewart

Sebastian Shultz. It isn't a name you come across every day. But there it was, large and clear, at the top of the newspaper article in front of me.

The reader of the newspaper was a big woman. I couldn't see her face, but I could hear her wheezy breath.

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Patol Babu, Film Star by Satyajit Ray

This story tells of a chance opportunity that a man called Patol Babu gets to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Patol Babu had just hung his shopping-bag on his shoulder when Nishikanto Babu called from outside the main door, 'Patol, are you in?'

'Oh, yes.' Said Patol Babu. 'Just a minute.'

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A Shady Plot by Elsie Brown

So I sat down to write a ghost story.

Jenkins was responsible.

"Hallock," he had said to me, "give us another on the supernatural this time. Something to give 'em the horrors; that's what the public wants, and your ghosts are live propositions."

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The Letter by Dhumaketu

In the grey sky of early dawn stars still glowed, as happy memories light up a life that is nearing its close. An old man was walking through the town, now and again drawing his tattered clothes tighter to shield his body from the cold and biting wind. From some houses came the sound of grinding mills, and the sweet voices of women singing at their work, and the sounds helped him along his lonely way.

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Mrs. Packletide's Tiger by Saki

This story was written at a time when there was very little awareness about the need to protect the environment and the wildlife.

It was Mrs. Packletide's pleasure and intention that she should shoot a tiger. Not that the lust to kill had suddenly descended on her, or that she felt that she would leave India safer and more wholesome than she had found it, with one fraction less of wild beast per million of inhabitants. The compelling motive for her sudden deviation towards the footsteps of Nimrod was the fact that Loona Bimberton had recently been carried eleven miles in an aeroplane by an Algerian aviator, and talked of nothing else; only a personally procured tiger-skin and a heavy harvest of press photographs could successfully counter that sort of thing.

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Two Gentlemen Of Verona by A.J. Cronin

As we drove through the foothills of the Alps two small boys stopped us on the outskirts of Verona.

They were selling wild strawberries. "Don't buy," warned Luigi, our cautious driver. "You will get fruit much better in Verona. Besides, these boys....."

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Vocation (Poem) by Rabindranath Tagore

When the gong sounds ten in the morning and I walk to school by our lane,
Every day I meet the hawker crying, “Bangles, crystal bangles!”

There is nothing to hurry him on, there is no
road he must take, no place he must go to, no time when he must come home.

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Where Do All the Teachers Go? (Poem) by Peter Dixon

For a little child a teacher is special. It is difficult for a small child to think of his/her teacher as an ordinary person.

Where do all the teachers go
When it’s four o’clock?
Do they live in houses
And do they wash their socks?

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A Different Kind of School by E.V. Lucas

I had heard a great deal about Miss Beam’s school, but not till last week did the chance come to visit it.

When I arrived there was no one in sight but a girl of about twelve. Her eyes were covered with a bandage and she was being led carefully between the flower-beds by a little boy, who was about four years younger. She stopped, and it looked like she asked him who had come. He seemed to be describing me to her. Then they passed on.

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The Beggar by Anton Chekhov

What induced the beggar, Lushkoff, to change his ways?

“Kind sir, have pity; turn your attention to a poor, hungry man! For three days I have had nothing to eat; I haven’t five copecks for a lodging, I swear it before God. For eight years I was a village schoolteacher and then I lost my place through intrigues. I fell a victim to calumny. It is a year now since I have had anything to do.”

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The Accidental Tourist by Bill Bryson

They say that the world today is a small place because travel has become easy, but not everybody finds it easy to travel. Here, the author reflects humorously his experiences as a traveller.

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The Last Leaf by O. Henry

It is autumn. The wind is blowing hard and it is raining heavily. All the leaves on an ivy creeper have fallen, except one. Why doesn’t the last leaf fall?

Sue and Johnsy, two young artists, shared a small flat. The flat was on the third storey of an old house.

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The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

The Happy Prince was a beautiful statue. He was covered with gold, he had sapphires for eyes, and a ruby in his sword. Why did he want to part with all the gold that he had, and his precious stones?

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Iswaran the Storyteller by R. K. Laxman

One night Mahendra woke up from his sleep and saw “a dark cloudy form”. He broke out into a cold sweat. Was it a ghost?

The story was narrated to Ganesh by a young man, Mahendra by name. He was a junior supervisor in a firm which offered on hire supervisors at various types of construction sites: factories, bridges, dams, and so on. Mahendra’s job was to keep an eye on the activities at the work site. He had to keep moving from place to place every now and then as ordered by his head office: from a coal mining area to a railway bridge construction site, from there after a few months to a chemical plant which was coming up somewhere.

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The Adventures of Toto by Ruskin Bond

Have you ever had a baby monkey as a pet? Toto is a baby monkey. Read the story to find out whether he is mischievous or docile.

Grandfather bought Toto from a tonga-driver for the sum of five rupees. The tonga-driver used to keep the little red monkey tied to a feeding-trough, and the monkey looked so out of place there that Grandfather decided he would add the little fellow to his private zoo.

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The Lost Child by Mulk Raj Anand

A child goes to a fair with his parents. He is happy and excited and wants the sweets and toys displayed there. But his parents don’t buy them for him. Why then does he refuse when someone else offers them to him?

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If I Were You (Play) by Douglas James

Gerrard lives alone in a lonely cottage. An intruder, who is a criminal, enters his cottage. He intends to murder Gerrard and take on his identity. Does he succeed?

Scene: A small cottage interior. There is an entrance back right (which may be curtained). Another door to the left must be a practical door. The furniture is simple, consisting of a small table towards the left, a chair or two, and a divan rather upstage on the right. On the table is a telephone.

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Fear No More (Poem) by William Shakespeare

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

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Kathmandu by Vikram Seth

The writer, Vikram Seth, enjoys travelling very much. In his book, Heaven Lake, he describes a long journey from China to India, via Tibet and Nepal.

I get a cheap room in the centre of town and sleep for hours. The next morning, with Mr Shah’s son and nephew, I visit the two temples in Kathmandu that are most sacred to Hindus and Buddhists.

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The Bond Of Love by Kenneth Anderson

Can there be love and friendship between human beings and wild animals? This story is an account of an orphaned sloth bear that was rescued by the author.

I will begin with Bruno, my wife’s pet sloth bear. I got him for her by accident. Two years ago we were passing through the sugarcane fields near Mysore. People were driving away the wild pigs from the fields by shooting at them. Some were shot and some escaped. We thought that everything was over when suddenly a black sloth bear came out panting in the hot sun.

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The Duck And The Kangaroo (Poem) by Edward Lear

This is a humorous poem of a kind known as ‘Nonsense Verse’.

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
“Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!”
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

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No Men Are Foreign (Poem) by James Kirkup

Have you ever thought of some people as strange, or other countries as ‘foreign’? We have many ways of thinking of other people as different from ‘us’, as ‘them.’ ‘They’ may belong to a different country, or speak a different language. In this poem, however, the poet reminds us of the many ways in which we are all the same - for we are all human.

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My Childhood by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, whose projects in space, defence and nuclear technology guided India into the twenty-first century, became eleventh President in 2002. In his autobiography, Wings of Fire, he speaks of his childhood.

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A Legend Of The Northland (Poem) by Phoebe Cary

This poem narrates the legend of an old lady who angered Saint Peter because of her greed.

Away, away in the Northland,
Where the hours of the day are few,
And the nights are so long in winter
That they cannot sleep them through;

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The Snake And The Mirror by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

This is a humorous story about a doctor, a snake, and a mirror.

“Has a snake ever coiled itself round any part of your body? A full-blooded cobra?” All of us fell silent. The question came from the homeopath. The topic came up when we were discussing snakes. We listened attentively as the doctor continued with his tale.

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The Lake Isle Of Innisfree (Poem) by W.B.Yeats

This poem explores the poet’s longing for the peace and tranquility of Innisfree, a place where he spent a lot of time as a boy. This poem is a lyric.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

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Rain On The Roof (Poem) by Coates Kinney

When the humid shadows hover
Over all the starry spheres
And the melancholy darkness
Gently weeps in rainy tears,
What a bliss to press the pillow
Of a cottage-chamber bed
And lie listening to the patter
Of the soft rain overhead!

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Not Marble, nor the Gilded Monuments (Poem) by William Shakespeare

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.

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Ozymandias (Poem) by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Poem) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of the best known classical poems written in English, containing some very beautiful and memorable lines. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a ballad, i.e. it tells a story. Ballad poetry usually includes archaic words and spellings.

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Snake (Poem) by D.H. Lawrence

A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.

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The Dear Departed (Play) by Stanley Houghton

Characters

Sisters

MRS. SLATER
MRS. JORDAN

Their Husbands

HENRY SLATER
BEN JORDAN

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Julius Caesar (Play) by William Shakespeare

JULIUS CAESAR is the story of a man's personal dilemma over moral action, set against a backdrop of strained political drama. Julius Caesar, an able general and a conqueror returns to Rome amidst immense popularity after defeating the sons of Pompey. The people celebrate his victorious return and Mark Antony offers him the Crown which he refuses. Jealous of Caesar's growing power and afraid he may one day become a dictator, Cassius instigates a conspiracy to murder Caesar.

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The Little Girl by Katherine Mansfield

This is a story about the changing attitude of a girl child towards her father.

To the little girl he was a figure to be feared and avoided. Every morning before going to work he came into her room and gave her a casual kiss, to which she responded with “Goodbye, Father”. And oh, there was a glad sense of relief when she heard the noise of the carriage growing fainter and fainter down the long road!

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The Fun They Had by Isaac Asimov

This story takes to the world of the future where computers will play a major role.

Margie even wrote about it that night in her diary. On the page headed 17 May 2157, she wrote, "Today Tommy found a real book!" It was a very old book. Margie’s grandfather once said that when he was a little boy his grandfather told him that there was a time when all stories were printed on paper.

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Night of Scorpion (Poem) by Nissim Ezekiel

It is about the night when the poet’s mother is bitten by a scorpion.

I remember the night my mother
Was stung by a scorpion. Ten hours
Of steady rain had driven him
To crawl beneath a sack of rice.

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The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

The poet in the poem is at crossroads. There are two roads and he has to choose one. This poem is about making choices, and the choices that shape us. Robert Frost is an American poet who writes simply, but insightfully, about common, ordinary experiences.

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Where the Mind is Without Fear (Poem) by Rabindranath Tagore

This poem was written when the British ruled our country. We were slaves to a foreign power. Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian nationalist and visionary wanted India to awaken to a bright dawn of freedom - freedom from slavery and our own mental chains.

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My Son Will Not A Beggar Be by Ved Mehta

In India as elsewhere every girl or boy has fond and warm memories of his childhood, from the day he begins to talk to his mother and father. Invariably a child learns and recognizes the faces of his mother and father, of sisters and brothers who play with him, or the servants who prepare his meals or watch him play in a nursery full of toys.

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A Case of Suspicion by E.Wallace

A country doctor sets out to help a patient in the middle of a windy night. Whom does he meet on the way? And, what does he learn?

He threw back the covers and sat up on his bed, his feet feeling along the cold floor for his house slippers, the telephone ringing insistently, a little distance away.

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My Grandmother's House (Poem) by Kamla Das

The poet remembers her grandmother and wishes that she were alive to love her, to make her feel wanted.

There is a house now far away where once
I received love……. That woman died,
The house withdrew into silence, snakes moved
Among books, I was then too young
To read, and my blood turned cold like the moon

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Leisure (Poem) by W.H.Davies

What is this life if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs.
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

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Once Upon a Time (Poem) by Gabriel Okara

The poet wishes that the modern world would once again become innocent and childlike. He also wishes that he could once again be as natural, honest, and innocent as when he was a child.

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