The Kerchief and the Boys
Aigul Abdullayeva, 15, Khasavyurt



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As soon as I began to understand the sense of the words, my mother began teaching me how I must live when I grow up. She tried to explain many things to me but I didnt listen to her words attentively, because I thought I was doing quite well.

One day there were problems with the neighbor's children and mother said that they weren't learning important lessons, lessons about kindness.

On hearing my mothers words I asked, Mother, what do you mean? How does one learn lessons about kindness?

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My mother said, Aigul, live in such a way that nobody will feel bad because of you. Do not offend people. Share with them a last piece of bread if necessary, and the main thing is you mustnt be a source of grief.

Ill try to follow your advice, mother, I said, but it sounded difficult.

Listen to me, my dear, my mother went on, Once my mother told me the same thing and her advice helped me. First you need to think, and then speak and then do. Later, if I did something that was not proper, she would not yell at me but would say, Think about your behavior.

I am in the 9th grade now and I know many people dont understand my way of living. Some might say that I think I am always right in my behavior, opinions, and how I treat other people. But my mothers advice helped me find the proper way of living and treating people.

Last year a new family moved into a neighboring house. They were Russians and moved here because the father was an oil industry worker. Their only child, a boy, didnt know anybody here.

One day he came up to me and said that he wanted to be my friend, and I was happy to do that.

Later, my boyfriend started fighting with him when he met him in my yard. I took my mothers kerchief and threw it on the ground between the fighting boys. They stopped fighting and looked at me. In Dagestan there is a tradition that if a woman throws her kerchief between the angry men, they must stop fighting and part.

I told them to be reasonable and instead of being enemies, to become friends. The boys followed my advice and now we are a good company of three.


I. Understanding the Story
Choose the main idea in this story.
1. A father knows best.
2. Her mother taught her how to live with kindness.
3. The boy next door made a lot of trouble for her.

II. Vocabulary
Answer these questions about the words in bold with a partner.
1. What does she mean by sense in the first paragraph?
2. Why didn't she listen attentively to her mother?
3. How do you offend someone?
4. What does grief mean?
5. Describe what kind of behavior her mother wants from her.
6. How do we make enemies?

III. Now you Talk
1. What did her mother teach her?
2. Why did Aigul's boy friend start the fight?
3. Was her way of solving the problem a good one? Why?

IV. Now you Write
1. Write a letter from Aigul to her best friend about the fight.
2. You are the boy friend: Write an explanation of why you started the fight.
3. Write your opinion of the story.

V. Role Play
1. The writer and her mother: Her mother gives her advice.
2. The writer and new boy: They make friends.
3. The writer and her boyfriend: They talk about the new boy.
4. The writer, boy friend and new boy: They talk about the fight.
5. The writer and her mother:The writer tells her mother about the fight and what she did.