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مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: نشان قرمز شجاعت / درس 8

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی ساده

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Chapter 7 “Leave me alone!”

The other soldiers left Henry alone with his friend. They all had wounds. Suddenly, the young soldier saw a look of fear on Jim’s face. The tall soldier held his arm tightly. He spoke in a shaking voice. “I’m afraid, Henry. I’m afraid that I’ll fall. And if I fall, the cannon will run over me! Help me, Henry! Please!” “I’ll look after you, Jim!” he cried. There were tears in his eyes.

“I’ve always been a good friend, haven’t I?” asked the tall soldier. “You’ll help me, won’t you? Just pull me out of the way, that’s all.” He waited for a reply. Henry made a sign with his head. He was crying now.

But then the tall soldier dropped Henrys arm. He seemed to forget all his fears. He walked carefully along the middle of the road. Henry ran to help him. ”No, no. leave me alone,” he said in a weak voice. He was looking at a faraway place. Henry followed, wanting to help.

Soon he heard a voice behind him. Turning around, he saw the thin man. “Take him off” the road, my friend,” he said softly.

“The cannon are coming, and they’re coming last. He’s going to die. You know that, don’t you?”

“Jim! Jim!” cried the young soldier, running forward. ”Come with me!”

The tall soldier looked at him, not understanding. Then he seemed to wake up. ”Oh! Into the fields?” He walked into the grass.

Henry turned around as the horses passed with the cannon.

Then he heard a loud cry from the thin man, “Look! He’s running!”

The tall soldier was running across the field, almost falling.

Henry felt a sharp pain in his heart as he watched him. He and the thin man began to run after the tall soldier. It was a strange race.

“Where are you going, Jim? Stop! You’ll hurt yourself!” called the young soldier. “Jim!”

The tall soldier stopped and turned around. His eyes were sad.

“Leave me alone!” he said quietly. “Please!” He continued on his way, almost falling again. The two soldiers followed, watching.

At last, they saw him stop. His face was calm. He was in the place that he was looking for. He stood with his arms at his sides.

He was waiting for something to happen. Suddenly, his chest began to move in and out as he tried to take in some air. His chest moved faster and faster. With every movement, the young soldier felt the tall soldier’s pain.

“Jim!” he cried.

The tall soldier spoke one last time. “Leave—me—alone!

Don’t—touch me!”

He stood up very straight and his arms shook. Then his legs began a terrible dance. Then his body fell forward. His shoulder hit the ground, and he stopped moving. As his coat fell open, the young soldier saw the terrible wound in his side. He turned away, suddenly angry. He looked toward the battlefield and cursed. The sun was red and angry in the sky.

The thin man stood looking at the body of the tall soldier. “He was a strong man, wasn’t he?” he said.” I never saw a man die like that”

The young soldier wasn’t listening. He sat on the ground with his face in his hands. He couldn’t speak.

The thin man continued: “Listen to me, my friend.” He was still looking at the body. “He’s gone, isn’t he? He’s finished. But we’re still here. We have to leave him here and go.” He was quiet for a minute. ”And I’m not in very good health,” he added softly.

The young soldier jumped up. “Not you too!” he cried. “You’re not going too!”

The thin man waved his hand. ”No, no, of course not. I just want some soup and a good bed. Then I’ll be all right again.

Now let’s go!” They looked at the body one more time. then turned away.

They walked silently back onto the road. After some time, the thin man spoke again. “I’m feeling bad now, really bad.” His legs were shaking and his skin looked blue.

“Oh, no!” cried the young soldier. He imagined another meeting with death.

His comrade waved his hand again. ”I’m not going to die yet,” he said. “I can’t die. I have too many children and they all need me.” He gave a little smile. Henry understood that he was joking.

“And when I die,” he added, “I won’t die like that other soldier.

I’ll just lie down on the ground.”

Henry walked faster, but the other man stayed beside him.

“I know a man named Tom.” the thin man continued. “He lives next door to me at home. We’re good friends. Well, we were fighting this afternoon. He started shouting and cursing at me.

‘”Look!’ he shouted. ’You’re wounded in the head!’ “I touched my head. He was right. There was blood on my hand. I started running, but just then another bullet hit me in the arm. It turned me right around. So that’s why I’m here. It’s because of my friend Tom.”

He was quiet for some time, then he spoke again. ”I can’t walk much longer. It hurts too much.” He looked at Henry. “You know, you look tired. You should look after yourself. Maybe your wound is getting worse. Maybe it’s inside your body.

They’re the worst. Where is it?” He didn’t wait for an answer.

“1 had another friend named John,” continued the thin man.

“He had a wound in the head.

‘”Are yon all right, John? everyone asked him.

“”Yes, I’m fine,’ he said. It’s nothing.’ “And the next minute he was as dead as a stone. So you should be careful of your wound. Maybe it’s worse than you think. Now tell me, where is it?”

The young soldier didn’t want to talk about wounds. “Leave me alone!” he said coldly.

The thin man looked at him sadly. “What’s wrong? I didn’t do anything.”

Henry hated the thin man. ”He’s trying to learn my secret!” he thought. “Goodbye!” he said in a hard voice.

“Where are you going, my friend?” asked the thin man. His voice was weak. “Don’t go away. You’re hurt. I’ll look after you.

Just tell me one thing. Where’s your wound?” He walked into the Held, talking to himself.

The young soldier quickly walked away. The thin man’s question hurt him too much. “I can’t keep my secret,” he thought.

“Everyone will know about my crime, and they’ll punish me. I want to die. Then I’ll be free.”

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