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(Also could be called A Tough Life)

by Paul G. Hiebert
Grade 3

(This is a story Paul found while he was going through some of his old papers. He wrote it when he was in third grade, and says that although it did not make the Atlantic Monthly, now it will make the every idea anyone has ever had. This story may well be Paul's first publication.....!)

Once upon a time there lived a boy. His name was Billy. He was poor, his father was dead and his mother was sick. She had leprosy. So the boy had to work hard. Billy's work was picking cotton.

One day Billy was picking cotton when he heard that his house was on fire. He ran back to the fire and saw his mother lying in the bedroom. He ran into the house to save his mother. She was asleep and he awakened her. He took her out of the burning house, but suddenly his clothing caught on fire. Billy rolled in the sand and put out the fire. Then he ran into the house to get his clothing and brought them out. He ran in for the last time to bring all the money. They had only ten dollars. That night they had to sleep in a hotel.

Then the boy had to work in a factory. He had to help in canning fruit. One day he was given a present of a big can of fruit. He gave it to his mother and they had it for supper. Then one day he got his money for working in the factory. Billy bought a bottle of medicine and gave it to his mother. His mother took it every day. She got better. One day when the boy was coming home from work he found his mother was well.

Then his mother worked. She sewed clothing. And one day they had a lot of money, so they bought a house. And some furniture, too. After the school was on fire all the people in the town were there. The fire men tried to save it, but it could not be saved and it burned all night and the next morning. And one day his mother died and he was adopted.

His new master was kind to him and was a pilot. He took him for rides and when he grew up he became a pilot and he flew all around the world and carried passengers. One day the plane crashed, but nobody was hurt. They had landed in the desert, and had to walk away. Soon they came to a stream near the edge of the desert and all the people had a drink of water. As soon as they reached the edge of the desert they had to go through a forest. In the forest they met a bear, and they had to fight like lions. They killed it and then Billy got sick, and died and they buried him with his mother.

Grade 3
(School Student Paper)