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  • Welcome to Storyline Online brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.

  • I'm Christian Slater and today I'm going to read "The Coal Thief" written by Alane Adams

  • and illustrated by Lauren Gallegos.

  • One morning, Georgie went into the kitchen.

  • He poked around the potbellied stove, hoping to find a stray lump of coal.

  • "Don't bother, Georgie," Mamma said, "there's been no coal for three days."

  • "But I'm cold."

  • He shivered in the icy kitchen.

  • "Put your coat on."

  • Georgie took his coat down from the hook."When's papa coming home?"

  • "he's fixing a broken rail line. He should be home for supper."

  • Just then the door burst open, and his friend Harley rushed in.

  • "Grab your boots, Georgie, We're going on an adventure."

  • Georgie hurried to put on his boots.

  • "Where are we going?"

  • "Train's coming."

  • "Aw, Harley, trains come every day."

  • "Not this train.

  • Come on, we don't want to miss it."

  • Harely had a wheelbarrow out front.

  • They started walking down the road.

  • Georgie had a lot of questions.

  • "What's the wheelbarrow for?" he asked.

  • "It's a surprise.

  • The train's carrying something special."

  • Georgie's heart beat faster.

  • "Where's it coming from?"

  • "Virginia." Georgie frowned.

  • "What's in Virginia?"

  • "Black gold.

  • Hurry up.

  • We don't have much time."

  • Geogie trotted to keep up with Harley.

  • They walked to the train depot at the edge of town.

  • "Is this where the black gold is?"

  • Georgie asked.

  • "Quiet, we don't want anyone to see us."

  • "Why not?" he whispered.

  • "It'll spoil the surprise."

  • Harley crouch down behind a locomotive, so Georgie did the same.

  • It was cold.

  • Georgie's toes stuck out of the holes in his boots.

  • The blast of the a whistle made him jump.

  • "Here she comes!"

  • Harley cried.

  • A steam engine pulled into the station.

  • Harley jumped up.

  • "This way, Georgie."

  • They ran along the tracks to the end of the train.

  • Harley lifted him up the side of a rail car.

  • Georgie looked inside.

  • It was filled with chunks of coal.

  • An entire mountain of it.

  • Black gold.

  • Geogrie looked down at Harley.

  • "What should I do?"

  • "Climb inside and toss some over."

  • Geogie blinked.

  • "Isn't that stealing?"

  • Harley scowled at him.

  • "Ain't you tired of being cold every morning?"

  • "Yes, but--" "Don't be a chicken, Georgie, or I'll tell on you and say it was your idea."

  • Georgie slowly climbed over the top and landed on hard lumps.

  • He pick one up and tossed it over.

  • Harley caught it and it on the ground.

  • "Another," he said.

  • Georgie grabbed two lumps and dropped them down.

  • Harley grinned up at him.

  • "It's gonna be a long winter, Georgie.

  • Keep it coming."

  • Georgie began throwing the pieces faster and faster.

  • Suddenly the train gave a jerk.

  • Georgie fell backward.

  • "Georgie, get of there!"

  • Harely called.

  • but the mountain of coal had swallowed him up.

  • The train began to pick up speed.

  • "Help me, Harley!" Geogie shouted.

  • He tried to push off the coal, but he just sank deeper into the pile.

  • Then papa's head appeard over the top of the railcar.

  • "Time to go, Georgie" Papa reached out his hand and pulled Georgie free.

  • They sat on the edge of the railcar.

  • When Papa said jump, Georgie jumped.

  • Papa helped Georgie to his feet.

  • "If I hadn't seen you boys head this way, you'd be half way to Texas by now."

  • Georgie craned his neck, looking for Harley, but his friend had turned tail and run.

  • "Sorry, Papa."

  • "You know stealing wrong?"

  • Papa said sternly.

  • Georgie nodded, feeling the shame curl his toes.

  • They walked back to the little mountain of coal.

  • Papa scratched his head.

  • "Train's gone now.

  • We can't give back the coal.

  • But I've got an idea what to do with it.

  • Help me load it."

  • They rolled the wheelbarrow down the street to a house with a sagging front porch.

  • "This is widow Kolbach's house," Georgie said.

  • Papa handed him two large chunks of coal.

  • "Leave this by her door.

  • Then knock twice and run on back here."

  • Georgie climbed the steps.

  • The porch creaked under his weight.

  • Dropping the coal, Georgie rapped his knuckles on the door and ran back to Papa.

  • They hid behind some bushes.

  • After a moment, Mrs. Kolbach opened the door.

  • When she spied the coal, she lifted it up.

  • holding it to her chest and cried, "God bless you!"

  • Geogie's heart felt so warm it sent tingles right down to his toes.

  • "Who else, Papa?"

  • "Come on, the Children's Home is just down the road."

  • They trundled the cart to a large brick house.

  • Kids ran about in the yard.

  • One of the boys came over to the fence.

  • Georgie piled chunks of coal in his arms.

  • "Thank you," the boy said.

  • "we've been freezing all winter."

  • He shivered in the thin shirt that he wore.

  • Georgie hesitated, then took off his coat.

  • "Here, take this.

  • It's too small for me anyway."

  • The boy's eyes grew wide.

  • "You mean it?"

  • Georgie nodded, piling the coat on top of the boy's arms.

  • Papa had many more stops to make.

  • By the time they got home, Georgie was covered coal dust from elbow to ears, and there was

  • only one chunk of coal left.

  • "Who are we giving this last piece to?"

  • "That's for your mother," Papa winked.

  • "Maybe she won't notice you gave away your good coat."

  • They reached the porch.

  • Georgie climbed the steps, but Papa turned to go.

  • "Aren't you coming in, Papa?"

  • "I still have a days work to do, son.

  • Run along now."

  • Georgie hesitated.

  • Then he ran down the steps and threw his arms around Papa's waist.

  • "I love you Papa."

  • Papa patted Georgie on the head.

  • "I love you too, little coal thief."

  • The end.

  • Wow.

  • What a great story.

  • It really got me at the end there.

  • I think that's definitely one of the things that I love about reading.

  • That you can really just get absorbed and lost and really put yourself in another person's shoes.

  • You know, when ever a book does something like that for me I think it's an extraordinary

  • and wonderful experience.

  • I'm grateful I got the opportunity to read and read it to you.

Welcome to Storyline Online brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.

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B2 US georgie papa harley coal train coat

The Coal Thief read by Christian Slater

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    Jing Fen Chang posted on 2016/10/15
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