-TINKERS ISLAND by Stephen Rabley

London, November 1798

Jenny Tinker is fourteen. She and her father, Sam, work in Convent  Garden market. They sell  fruit and vegetables. The Tinkers get up early every morning and work very hard.

IMGOne day after work Jenny sees a man. He is running and he has got a watch  in his hand.

„Here take this,” he says, and gives Sam the watch. Five seconds later a lot of angry people run down the street after Sam.

„There’s the thief! He’s got my watch – stop him!” says an old man.

„You’re coming with us,”  two policemen say to Sam. They do not listen to Jenny’s story.

Jenny does not have a mother or any brothers and sisters. Who can she talk to?  She goes to Peter Stone’s house. Peter works in the market.

„What’s going to happen?” asks Jenny. Peter looks sad.

„They send thieves to Australia,”  he says. Peter is right. A week later Jenny watches a big ship – the Black Star – on the River Thames. One of the men on it is her father.

„How can I help him?” things Jenny. Then she sees a pair of trousers and a shirt on a line above the street.

„Yes,” she says. „That’s it!”

Five minutes later she talks to the ship’s capitain.

„I want a job,” she said. „My name’s Ned Nell.”

„Well…why not,” says the capitain. „OK, Ned – you can help to cook.”IMG2

For six weeks Jenny works very hard on the Black Star. Then one night she goes to the captain’s room.  Usually his keys are next to the bed. Tonight they are on the table. Jenny takes them ang goes down to the bottom of the ship. There she finds  her father. „Jenny!” he says. „But how…?”  „Sssshh – don’t ask questions,” says Jenny. „Come with me.”

Fifteen minutes later the Tinkers are in a small boat. The Black Star is behind them. They can hear nothing but the sea and wind. It is beautiful night  and there is a big moon. It shines on Sam Tinker’s thin, tired face. Jenny looks ar her father.

„O, Dad,” she says. „You’re free!” Then she tells him her story.

After three days Sam and Jenny are very hungry and thirsty. Then, after five days Jenny sees a big white bird. It is carrying some grass. „Look Dad,” she says.  „Do you thing there’s an island near here?”

Sam Tinker stands up in the small boat. He puts one hand across his eyes.  „Yes, Jenny, you’re right! I can see it. There is an island!!”

The island is big and has lot of tall, thick trees. First Sam and Jenny look for food and water. They fiind a small river. The water is cold and clean.  They drink and drink and drink. There are coconuts on the island, too. The Tinkers know coconuts from Covent Garden market. Sam opens two of them and gives the first one to Jenny.

(Text propus de prof. Ana Popa  în revista „Zbor” a Şcolii Nr. 1 Corod, Jud. Galaţi)

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