فصل 01

مجموعه: کتاب های ساده / کتاب: الماسی به بزرگی ریتزها / فصل 1

کتاب های ساده

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فصل 01

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CHAPTER ONE

John Meets Percy

John T. Unger came from a well-known family in Hades, a small town on the Mississippi River. He was sixteen and his parents wanted him to have a good New England education. They decided to send him to St Midas’ School near Boston. Hades was too small for their clever son.

Mrs Unger packed her son’s trunks and Mr Unger gave him a lot of money.

“Remember, you’re always welcome back here,” he said.

“I know,” said John.

“Don’t forget who you are and where you come from,” said his father proudly. I “You are an Unger from Hades.”

John was crying as he walked away. As he was leaving the city he looked back at Hades for the last time.

St Midas’ School is half an hour from Boston and it was the most expensive and most exclusive boys’ preparatory school in the world.

John’s first two years went well. The fathers of all the boys were very rich and John spent his summers visiting his classmates in their fashionable holiday homes.

In the middle of his second year at school, a quiet, handsome boy named Percy Washington joined John’s class. The new student was pleasant and very well dressed: it was obvious that he came from a very rich family. Percy and John immediately became friends. In fact, John was Percy’s only friend as Percy did not want to make friends with the other boys. But even with John, Percy was reserved and he did not talk about his home or family. So when John was invited to spend the summer at Percy’s home “in the West”, John was surprised but he accepted happily.

Percy started talking about his family when they were on the train.

“My father,” said Percy, “is the richest man in the world.”

“Oh,” said John politely. He could think of no other answer.

“The richest,” repeated Percy.

“I read that there was a man in America who earned five million dollars a year. And four other men who earned more than three million dollars a year.”

“Oh, they’re nothing,” said Percy. “My father could buy everything they have.”

“Goodness,” said John, “he must be very rich. I’m glad. I like very rich people. I visited the Schnlitzer-Murphys last Easter. Vivian Schnlitzer-Murphy had jewels as big as chickens’ eggs.”

“I love jewels,” said Percy enthusiastically. “Of course, I don’t want anyone at school to know about it, but I have quite a big collection. I collect them instead of stamps.”

“And diamonds,” continued John. “The Schnlitzer-Murphys had diamonds as big as walnuts.”

“Oh, that’s nothing,” Percy moved closer to John and whispered, “That’s nothing at all. My father has a diamond bigger than The Ritz-Carlton Hotel.”

The sunset in Montana was beautiful as the train stopped in a small village called Fish. A horse-drawn carriage came and drove them away. After half an hour the sky became dark and a magnificent huge I car appeared on the road. John had never seen such a car.

“Get in,” said Percy to his friend. “I’m sorry we had to bring you here in a carriage, but we can’t let the people on the train and from the village see this car.”

“What a car!” said John, who was amazed.

“This thing?” laughed Percy. “It’s just an old car.”

They drove in the darkness towards the opening between two mountains. Percy looked at the clock in the car and said, “We’ll be there in an hour and a half. You’ve never seen anything like it before.” John was prepared to be surprised.

“We’re driving uphill now,” said Percy. “An ordinary car could not drive up this road.”

There was a pale moon in the distance. The car stopped suddenly and some men appeared out of the dark. They started working and four huge metal cables I came down from above. They were tied to the wheels and the car was slowly lifted from the ground. It went higher and higher, and then suddenly they were on the ground again.

“The worst is over,” said Percy looking out of the window. “Now it’s only five miles from here and it’s our road. It belongs to us. This is where the United States ends.”

“Are we in Canada?”

“No, we’re not. We’re in Montana, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. You are on the only five square miles of land in America that aren’t on any map.”

“Why? Did they forget?” asked John.

“No,” said Percy, “they tried to put it on the map three times. The first time my grandfather corrupted an entire government department and the second time he changed the maps of the United States. The last time was more difficult. My father created a very strong magnetic field and the map-makers’ compasses did not work. They thought our place was ten miles further up the valley. There’s only one thing my father is afraid of,” Percy said. “It’s the only thing that could find us.”

“What’s that?” asked John.

“Airplanes,” Percy whispered. “We have half a dozen antiaircraft guns, so no one has found us yet. Some pilots have died and some have become prisoners. Father and I don’t mind that, but my mother and sisters worry about it.”

The stars in Montana were very bright that night as they drove on. Suddenly John saw a magnificent castle of shining marble near a big lake.

John was amazed by the towers and the thousand yellow windows with their golden light. It looked like a fairyland. Then he heard the sound of violins playing beautiful music - he had never heard anything like it before.

The car stopped in front of high marble steps. At the top of the steps two huge doors opened silently and a beautiful lady with black hair was there to meet them.

“Mother,” said Percy, “this is my friend, John Unger from Hades.”

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