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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Help From a Stranger

Mrs. Livingstone lived alone in a small apartment. Each morning she went out to the shops to buy vegetables, fruit, bread and meat. She put her groceries in a cart and pulled it behind her. It was difficult for her to carry the cart up the stairs to her door, but every day she did it. She'd sit alone at night and miss her husband, Harry, who had passed away years before. Sometimes Mrs. Livingstone cried because she was so lonely.

One morning she heard the rain falling against her window. “Oh no! Not another rainy day! I don't think I can stand this gloom. I wish the sun would come out.” She pulled her curtains back and watched the raindrops sliding down the glass pane. She noticed a man standing across the street. He didn't have a coat. “That man hasn't got a home. How sad. I wonder if he's lonely too.” She grabbed her umbrella and walked across the street. “Hello. My name's Mrs. Livingstone. Would you like to come to my apartment and have some hot soup and bread?”

Jack smiled at her. “I'd love that, Mrs. Livingstone.”

They feasted on ham soup, full of lentils, carrots, onions and bits of tender ham. She sliced several slices of hot bread and spread butter on each piece.

Jack ate four slices and three bowls of soup. “Thank you, Mrs. Livingstone. Is there anything I can do for you, to repay you for your kindness?”

Mrs. Livingstone wrapped a piece of cake in a paper napkin. “Here. This is for you. Why don't you come back tomorrow and you can eat lunch with me again. You don't have to do anything. I am happy to help.”

Jack took the cake and left.

Mrs. Livingstone worried about him as she walked to the shops. “At least the rain has stopped.” She bought some carrots, a cabbage, a bottle of milk and a bag of apples. When she got home, she stood at the door. “I'm so tired. I don't have the energy to carry my cart up the stairs.” She turned the knob of the door and stopped.

“Mrs. Livingstone. Let me help you!” Jack grabbed the cart and pulled it up the steps. He helped her unload the food too.

“Stay and have a cup of tea with me.” Mrs. Livingstone took his hand. “Please?”

Mrs. Livingstone let Jack stay in her extra bedroom. Every day he went shopping with her and helped her carry the groceries and every day Mrs. Livingstone fed him. He helped her do things around the house, like fix the leaky taps and polish her kitchen floor. Neither Jack nor Mrs. Livingstone was ever lonely again.

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