Frederick’s Holidays – Elementary Level
“I wish,” said Frederick to Mr Peterson, “that I could spend the rest of the holidays with my aunt in town. I shall be so bored here in the country. I shall not know what to do with myself. Two of my school friends live in the next street to my aunt. They will be going with their father to play in the park every day. I will have so much more fun there than I shall have here. Why, I might as well be at school as here running about the fields.”
“You are being very rude and ungrateful,” answered Mr Peterson. “When you came from Havanna last year, you had no other friends. You liked very well to be with me then. However, if you wish, you shall go to your aunt’s house so that you can be near your little friends. I will write to their father to ask that he let you spend as much time with them as possible. I do not think you will have much fun in your aunt’s house. You know that she is always ill. She will not be able to play with you or take you anywhere.”
Frederick was sent to stay at his Aunt’s house. His first wish was see his two school friends in the next street. He went to their house, but the only person at home was their father. He was sitting at a big table covered with many papers. He seemed to be very busy.
Frederick asked about his friends. He very surprised to hear that they had gone to the country. “I have a lot of important work to do,” said their father. “I would have had no time to run about with them. They would not have liked to be shut up at home all their holidays. They might as well have stayed at school as have been here. But they will have a good time where they have gone. First, they will spend a week at their grandfather’s. Then, they will go to my good friend Mr Peterson’s. There they will have all the fun they could possibly wish for.”
Frederick was so sad that he could not think of what to say. He left the house and returned to his aunt’s house. She had just got out of bed for breakfast. His aunt’s illness made it very hard for her to walk. She also had a problem with her eyes. She could not bear sunlight. She would allow the curtains on only one of the living room windows to be open, and then only a little.
Frederick had to spend his holidays with his aunt in this dark room. There was nothing interesting for him to do. During the day, his aunt made him read to her. It was only when she dropped off to sleep for half an hour or so, that he could walk softly to the open window. There, with one eye, he could look out into the street through the little opening in the curtains.
Poor Frederick was now very sorry about being so rude and ungrateful to Mr Peterson. He wished a thousand times a day he had stayed at his house. He would have been very happy to return. But he knew that it would be unkind to say anything about this to his aunt. Also, it would be difficult to ask Mr Peterson again after being so unkind to him.
He spent many sad days in the dark living room, and many boring evenings alone in his bedroom. At last the morning came when he was to be free again. “What a foolish boy I have been!” he thought. “The day of my return to school is the happiest of the holiday. Getting my things ready to go back to school is the only enjoyable thing I have done since I left it. In the country, I might have enjoyed the freedom of running in the fields in the open air. But I was selfish, and left it to be shut up in a sick room. When I get back to school, I will have to listen to my friends talk about all the good things they did during the holidays. I shall have nothing to tell them but how many medicine bottles were on my aunt’s bedroom table. And how many taxis and buses I could see going down the street while looking with one eye through a window.”
Frederick was right. For a whole week, his two little friends could speak of nothing but the fun they had at Mr Peterson’s. They told him of how they went to the river several times to go fishing. They talked about two small horses which Mr Peterson had got for them. They told how they could ride to the village along the quiet country roads. They described the beautiful houses and gardens they had been taken to see.
They showed Frederick many very lovely presents they had brought back. These were given to them by new friends they had made in the country.
Frederick could never forget how much fun he had missed by wanting to return to the city. He knew he had been wrong. As he was not a bad boy, he wrote a very nice letter to Mr Peterson. He told him that he was sorry for what he had done. He promised that he would never again ask to leave his house to go to another. He said that he never would have done it if he had not been a foolish, selfish boy. He described how bad his holiday was. He said that he hoped Mr Peterson would think this was punishment enough and forgive him.
Mr Peterson readily agreed. He asked Frederick and his two little school friends to come to his house the very next holiday. There they spent a month doing all kinds of enjoyable things together. Frederick was so happy that he never once thought of the town or leaving Mr Peterson’s house.