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Stories for Children of all Ages@ Floss Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading”

 
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Floss
 

Floss was a young Border collie, who belonged to an old man in a town. She walked with the old man in the streets, and loved playing ball with children in the park.

“My son is a farmer,” the old man told Floss. “He has a sheepdog who is too old to work. He needs a young dog to herd sheep on his farm. He could train a Border collie like you.”

So Floss and the old man travelled, away from the town with its streets and houses and children playing ball in the park.

They came to the heather-covered hills of a valley, where nothing much grew except sheep.

Somewhere in her memory, Floss knew about sheep.

Old Nell soon showed her how to round them up.

The farmer trained her to run wide and lie down, to walk on behind, to shed, and to pen.

She worked very hard to become a good sheepdog.

But sometimes Floss woke up at night, while Nell lay sound asleep.

She remembered about playing with children and rounding up with balls in the park.

The farmer took Floss on the hill one day, to see if she could gather the sheep on her own. She was rounding them up when she heard a sound. At the edge of the field the farmer’s children were playing, with a brand new black and white ball.

Floss remembered all about children. She ran to play with their ball. She showed off her best nose kicks, her best passes. She did her best springs in the air.

“Hey, Dad, look at this!” yelled the children. “Look at Floss!”
The sheep started drifting away.

The sheep escaped through the gate and into the yard. There were sheep in the garden and sheep on the road.

“FLOSS! LIE DOWN!” the farmer’s voice was like thunder. “You are meant for work on this farm, not play!”

He took Floss back to the dog house.

Floss lay and worried about balls and sheep. She dreamt about the streets of a town, the hills of a valley, children and farmers, all mixed together, while Nell had to round up the straying sheep.

But Nell was too old to work every day, and Floss had to learn to take her place.

She worked so hard to gather sheep well, she was much too tired to dream any more.

The farmer was pleased and ran Floss in the dog trials.

“She’s a good worker now,” the old man said.

The children still wanted to play with their ball.

“Hey, Dad,” they asked, “can old Nell play now?” But Nell didn’t know about children and play.

“No one can play ball like Floss,” they said.

“Go on, then,” whispered the farmer to Floss.

The children kicked the ball high in the air.

Floss remembered all about children. She ran to play with their ball. She showed off her best nose kicks, her best passes. She did her best springs in the air.

 
 
Kim Lewis
Floss
London, Walker Books, 1992

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