Subskill: Reading Comprehension
Concept: Story Elements
Grade Level: Upper Elementary
It was a hot and humid day as the three teenagers set off into the jungle carrying food, a bucket and a fishing rod. With each step, their leather sandals left tracks in the muddy dirt. Flies buzzed around their ears and the hot sun beat down on their heads through the canopy of the trees.
“I’m so excited we’re going fishing!” said Ramya.
“Maha River, here we come!” said Suje.
“Aye, Aye, Captain!” winked Ary.
As they walked deeper into the jungle, the trees became more dense. They had to step over branches that had fallen onto a narrow path leading up to the river.
At one point, Ramya nearly slipped but managed to steady herself just in time.
The flow of the Maha River was faster than normal. Ary observed that the old bridge looked even more worn than usual.
“What’s that?” asked Ary, pointing to a shiny red creature in the middle of the bridge.
“What’s what?” asked Suje.
“It looks like a…like a….like a karkarul!” said Ramya excitedly.
Ary moved in closer to the edge of the bank. “It is a karkarul!
“What’s a k..k..karkarul?” asked Suje.
“Haven’t you heard?” asked Ary. “A karkarul is a magical creature. It has the head of a cobra and the body of a bird. The elders say, if you pull a feather from its tail, you will be granted three wishes!”
Suje’s eyes widened. “Really? Well, I could use a new bow and arrow,” he said, “and I know Mother and Father would love a new thatched roof for our hut. The harvest has not been very good this year. We could use a bag of gold too!”
Suje took off his sandals and walked toward the bridge. “Where are you going, Suje!” yelled Ramya.
“Where am I going? I’m going to get myself a karkarul feather!”
“But you must make friends with a karkarul before it will allow you to pluck one of its feathers!” Ramya warned.
“Hmph! Just watch me!” Suje said. He walked slowly toward the bridge. The karkarul appeared to be eating something and had not yet heard them.
“Suje,” Ary pleaded, “the karkarul are strange creatures. I’ve heard they can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Besides, the wood on the bridge looks like it’s starting to rot. I don’t think grabbing a feather is a good idea.”
“Bah!” said Suje. “The bridge will hold up fine. Just watch.” As Suje boldly stepped onto the rickety old bridge, he heard a slight creak and immediately gripped the railings with his hands. Instantly, the karkarul whipped its head around to look at Suje, its eyes gleaming in the sunlight.
Cautiously, Suje raised his foot to take his next step. The karkarul turned slowly around to face him, a piece of meat still hanging from its snake-like mouth. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, and then the karkarul turned back to finish its meal. Feeling more confident now, Suje let go of the railings and leaped towards the karkarul.
Suddenly, there was a loud crack and a flash of red as the karkarul flew into the air with a loud hiss!
Then Ary and Ramya saw Suje tumble into the fast-flowing river below.
They rushed down to the water and found Suje clinging to a rock and gasping for air.
“Ramya, go get Suje’s father. I’ll see if I can help Suje get out of the water!” cried Ary.
As Ary reached out and pulled him to the river bank, Suji cried “Oww… my leg, my leg! And I didn’t even get a single karkarul feather!”
You’re lucky it was just your leg and not your life, you silly goat!” said Ary. “Now just sit here and wait until Ramya comes back with your father. It doesn’t look like we’ll be doing any fishing today!”
Here are some questions to ask after listening to the story:
Where does the story take place?
How would you describe Suje – what are some character traits?
What happened when Suje went to get a feather?
What type of conflict is illustrated in this story?