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Short Stories for Children of all Ages: Milly, Molly and AlfMilly, Molly and Alf


On an ordinary, hot summer day, the door to Milly and Molly´s classroom burst open and in stepped the new boy.

Miss Blythe introduced Alf to the class.

"Alf is making a new start, in a new country," Miss Blythe explained. "Alf is a refugee. His own country is not a safe place to live."

Milly and Molly offered to show Alf where to put his things.

But Alf was different.

He didn´t own a school bag or a bathing suit.

Alf kept an apple in his pocket and a pencil behind his ear.

And he wore his black pair of shorts for everything. Even to swim.

Milly and Molly took an immediate liking to Alf.

It didn´t seem to matter that he never combed his hair and had no shoes. He smelt deliciously soapy and was never lost for words.

Alf lived in the caravan park with Nan. She wasn´t his mother and he didn´t have a father.

Bur Nan made the rules and Alf followed them.

Milly and Molly were excited when Alf chose them to be in his team on sports day.

He knew when to be quiet... and when to be noisy.

He didn´t get cross and he didn´t get flustered.

Before every race, Alf would say, "you can do it." And they did. Milly, Molly and Alf won all their races.

But Alf was different.

He didn´t talk about his home and family or Christmas and birthdays. He didn´t have a pet or a particular hobby. He didn´t share his thoughts or all his feelings. Alf didn´t cry and he didn´t smile either.

When Miss Blythe asked hard questions like, "who is the President of America" or "what is the capital of South Africa?" Alf always knew the answers.

"How do you know all that stuff?" Milly and Molly asked.

"Nan reads me the newspaper," said Alf.

Alf always scored on top in spelling.

"How do you do it?" Milly and Molly asked.

"Sometimes, I help Nan with the crossword," said Alf.

Alf always scored highest in math.

"Who taught you?" Milly and Molly asked.

"The butcher," said Alf. "I help him after school for pocket money. If I´m quick with my jobs he lets me help balance the drawer."

On the last day of school, Miss Blythe asked Alf to stand up.

"Alf," she said, "you´ve been a pleasure to teach. But you´ve taught us lots more." Miss Blythe gave Alf the prize for ´Best All-Rounder´.

Suddenly... Alf smiled.

What´s more, he was lost for words.


Gill Pittar and Cris Morrell

Milly, Molly and Alf

New Zealand, Milly Molly Books, 2002

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