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مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: نشان قرمز شجاعت / درس 5

کتاب های متوسط

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  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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Chapter 4 “They’re coming!”

Henry’s regiment stopped outside a wood. Through the trees, they could see some open fields and a thick cloud of smoke. In the smoke they could see a line of men running toward them. A team of horses ran with the men, pulling cannon on wheels.

A shell screamed over their heads and landed in the woods near them. A cloud of brown earth flew up into the air and showered down on them. Bullets hit the trees where they were hiding. The soldiers stayed very close to the ground.

They heard a loud cry of pain. A young officer was shot in the hand. Another officer covered his wound with a clean piece of cloth.

Far away, the battle flag was falling, and there was smoke and fire all around. Men in blue came out of the smoke, running like wild horses. More and more men ran toward the regiment, shouting. Their voices mixed with the sound of the bullets and the shells. As they came closer, the older regiments began to laugh at them. “What’s the matter? What are you afraid of?” they called. “Are you trying to hide?”

Officers on horseback were beating them with their swords and kicking them. “Stop! Go back!” they cried. The running men didn’t see or hear them.

Henry saw the fear on their faces. He wanted to run, but he couldn’t. His legs refused to move. “What are they running from?” he asked himself. “I want to see it. But when I see it, maybe I’ll run too!”

The young soldier only had to wait for a few minutes.

“They’re coming!” cried a voice.

The men checked their rifles. Henry had a terrible thought: “Is there a bullet in my rifle?”

A general stopped his horse near another officer on horseback.

”You have to stop them!” he shouted angrily.

“Yes, General” the officer replied nervously. “We’ll try!” The man next to the young soldier was talking to himself: “Oh, no, we’re in trouble now!”

A young officer stood at the back of the regiment. ”Don’t fire, boys! Wait until I tell you! Wait until they come close!” Suddenly a crowd of enemy soldiers came running across the field, shouting wildly The young soldier didn’t have time to think. He threw his rifle into position and fired a first wild shot.

He immediately began to work like a machine. He put in another bullet. He fired his rifle, again and again. He suddenly forgot about himself. He was part of the regiment and part of the army.

His country was in danger, and he had to protect it.

He knew that his comrades were all around him. They were all brothers, fighting the same enemy. They all faced the danger of death. He could see them through the smoke. They reached down to get another bullet. Then they stood up to fire. He could hear the sound of metal on metal as they put in the bullets. The rifles made a loud crashing noise. Strange sounds came from the soldiers’ mouths. Some shouted and some sang. Some made noises like wild animals. The tall soldier cursed.

The officers stayed behind the soldiers, shouting orders. They watched the enemy through the thick smoke. A man dropped his rifle. He ran away screaming. An officer stopped him and began hitting him. He pushed him back toward the line. The man looked at the officer with the eyes of a beaten dog. He tried to put a bullet into his rifle, but his hands were shaking. The officer helped him.

The young soldier’s mouth was dry and his eyes felt like hot stones. The noise of the guns filled his ears and the smoke burned his nose. He fought against the pain and the smoke while he fought against the enemy soldiers. He was angry with his rifle, because it fired only one bullet at a time. He wanted to run forward and kill everyone.

The man next to him fell to the ground. Blood poured from his chest. A bullet touched one soldier on the side of his head. He dropped his rifle and held his head in his hands. Then he ran.

Another man had a bullet in his knee. He sat against a tree, crying, “Help me, help me!” The young officer was killed early in the battle. He lay on the ground like a tired man, but there was a surprised look on his face.

The young soldier heard loud shouting along the line. The blue soldiers stopped firing. As the smoke slowly cleared, he saw small groups of men in brown running away. One man turned around to fire a last shot. Then he disappeared into the smoke.

Some of the men began to shout happily Many others were silent, thinking. The young soldier felt hot and dirty, and very thirsty. He sat down, and took a long drink of warm water. He heard excited voices around him: “We did it! We stopped them!” He looked around, happy to be alive. Dead men were lying on the ground where they fell. Their arms and legs were in strange positions. A line of wounded men walked slowly past him.

Suddenly, he heard a loud crash behind him. He saw a line of camion and busy soldiers. They were firing shells over his head into the enemy lines. He heard shouts and rifle fire coming from a hillside. He saw flags waving in the smoke, and he felt proud.

“Our boys are still fighting!” he thought. Then he looked up. The sky was blue, and the sun was shining on the trees and fields.

“It’s so beautiful here.” he thought, “even when there’s a war.”

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