The Whale and his Throat


Long, long ago, my dear, when the world was young, there was a very big and very hungry whale. He lived in the sea, and he ate fish. He ate all the fish in the sea - except one. Now this last fish was a very small, very clever fish, and he always swam just a little way behind the whale's right ear. Of course, the whale could not catch him. Then the whale stood up on his tail and he said, "I'm hungry!"


"Great Whale," said the very small, very clever fish, "have you ever tasted man?"


"No," said the whale, "what is it like?"


"Very nice," said the very small, very clever fish.


"Then go and get some for me!" said the whale.


"One man at a time is enough," said the very small, very clever fish. "If you swim forty miles to the north, you will find a man. He is sitting on a raft. The raft is in the middle of the great grey-green sea. This man is wearing a pair of blue trousers and a pair of red braces." (You must NOT forget the braces, my dear. This man's braces held his trousers up.) "He has a sailor's knife, as he is a shipwrecked sailor. His ship went down to the bottom of the sea two days ago, with all his friends."


Rudyard Kipling was an Englishman who lived and worked in India about hundred years ago. His stories about the animals of the jungle are loved all over the world.


Rudyard Kipling: Just So Stories. Oxford Progressive English Readers; Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1994

Grade 1 (1,400 headwords)