This is a short story for learners of English called The Present. We hope you enjoy it!
Cora has been married for six months. She lives with her husband in a small town outside the city. Houses in the city are very expensive, so they bought a house with a big garden about an hour by train from the city. Brian, her husband, takes the train to work every day. He works in a bank. Cora doesn’t have a job. Sometimes she gets bored. Brian bought her a dog for Christmas. The dog is very naughty but he is good company during the day.
Today is Cora’s birthday. I wonder what Brian has bought me? she thinks. I hope it’s something very pretty.
Brian gets up very early in the morning. He has to take a train at 7:00am. He always brings Cora a cup of tea in bed before he leaves for work. Today he brings Cora’s tea and a parcel wrapped in beautiful paper with a big ribbon tied around it.
“Happy birthday!” he says. “I hope you like your present!”
Cora puts her teacup on the table next to the bed. She unwraps the present.
“Oh,” she says.
“Aren’t they great?” says Brian. He is very pleased. “They will be perfect for working in the garden!”
Cora looks at her present. It is a pair of black rubber boots. Cora is very unhappy, but she doesn’t say so. She knows that Brian thinks it is a very good present.
“Oh, thank you!” she says. “They look very useful!”
“I have to go,” says Brian. “I’ll see you tonight. I have made a reservation at the local hotel for dinner.” He kisses Cora and leaves the house.
Cora is very sad. Then after she gets out of bed, she starts to feel angry.
What a terrible present! I hate these boots. I wanted a romantic present!
She throws the boots into the garbage bin and goes into the living room to watch TV.
A little later she hears the mailman. The mailman rides a motor scooter. It stops outside their house.
Maybe my mother has sent me a present, thinks Cora. She knows I like pretty things.
Cora goes to the door. She wants to go to the mailbox, but it is raining heavily.
I didn’t hear the rain because I had the TV on very loud. Where are my outdoor shoes? Did the dog take my shoes? Where did he hide them?
Cora looks everywhere, but she can’t find her shoes.
The dog is out in the garden. Cora opens the kitchen door and shouts, “Bad dog!”
The dog runs to her. He is wagging his tail. He is a very friendly dog. Then Cora sees the garbage bin. I could wear those ugly black rubber boots, she thinks.
Cora goes to the garbage bin and takes the boots. She takes off her slippers and puts on the boots.
Oh no! They are ugly and they don’t fit! They are too small and very uncomfortable. Why did Brian buy these?
She feels very angry. She takes the boots off, and throws them into the garden. One of the boots lands upside down. Cora can see something on the ground. It is a small box. She runs into the garden in her bare feet. She picks up the box. She takes the other boot and shakes it. Another box falls on the ground.
Cora takes the small boxes back into the kitchen. She sits down at the table and opens them.
There is a beautiful pair of earrings in one box and a matching necklace in the other box.
I am very lucky. The garbage man will come soon and he will empty the garbage bin. Brian is a wonderful husband but sometimes he has very crazy ideas!