One Voice, Please by Sam McBratney

One Voice, Please

Written by Sam McBratney

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Subtitled Tales of Truth and Trickery this is a terrific collection of very, very short stories each with a pithy point to make. Some are familiar such as The Ratcatcher a version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin story, the Good Samaritan and The Stone Soup but many are new. Especially suitable for reading aloud, picking one a night will provide an interesting and enjoyable journey of discovery. (6+)

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One Voice, Please by Sam McBratney

"One voice, please," shouts the innkeeper. "One voice only, please."

And so begins a marvellous journey through the oral storytelling tradition. Containing over fifty short stories and fables from around the world, this humble anthology is the result of author Sam McBratney's 25-year interest in collecting tales. Well-known tales such as The Good Samaritan and The Pied Piper make an appearance, as well as many new stories. Told with wit and wisdom, the tales are accompanied by stylish black and white illustrations from Russell Ayto.


INTRODUCTION Your collector of stories remembers stopping to eat in southern Irelandyears ago. The place was a family pub, full of people relaxing around a turf fire and-so it seemed-all talking at once. Suddenly the landlord called out, One voice, please. One voice only, please. A hush fell over the company as a small man sitting in the chimney corner cleared his throat. He wore a battered hat and had huge red ears. And then, fixing his eyes on a thatch peg in the roof, he began to tell a story. That was the moment when this collection began. I've been collecting stories that have been told down the ages ever since. These are some of my favorites. You and I are present in these tales of truth and trickery. So, hush: one voice only, please. . . . People are full of rage nowadays

rage is as old as the human race. DINNER OUTSIDE A servant had a short-tempered master, who came down to Sunday dinner in a bad mood. The soup is too hot! he raged, and thumped the table. Well, if the soup hadn't been too hot, it would have been too cold, for no soup could have pleased him that day. He would have picked a fight with the perfect bowl of soup. Lifting the dish, he pitched it, soup and all, out of the open window into the yard below. The good servant who had brought the soup did not hesitate for a moment. He threw the meat he was bringing to the table straight out of the window. Then the bread. And after the bread went the jug of wine. As a matter of fact, he threw the tablecloth and every item on it out of the window and into the yard, too.There was a terrible tinkling of falling cutlery and breaking glass. What the devil do you think you're doing? cried the master, rising to his feet. The good servant looked at him out of marvelously innocent eyes. Have I misunderstood your intentions? Pardon me, Master, but when I saw the soup leave the room, I thought you wanted to eat outside today. After all, the weather is warm, the sky is blue . . .and, behold, the bees are buzzing around the apple blossom! It was a fine lesson in how to deal with bad manners. One hopes that the master had the character to learn from it, and that the soup never flew out of the window again. Money gives everybody troubleat one time or another. WITNESSES There was once a man-neither the first nor the last-who had a problem with a loan. This is how he explained the problem to his friends at the inn. I lent ten silver crowns to a cousin of mine, who shows no sign of paying them back. And now I need the money. He just laughs when I ask him, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever see my ten crowns again. If only I had witnesses! But I gave him the money in private, so I can't prove it. The fellow could deny everything. His friends, all too familiar with the horrors of borrowing and lending money, made sympathetic noises. Then the innkeeper spoke. If it's a witness you're after, I can help you there.

Ask your cousin to come here tomorrow night. Remind him quietly in front of us all that he still owes you a hundred silver crowns.

Aye, that's what he'll say, too, said the innkeeper. And you shall have your witnesses. You can work wonders whenyou'rehighly motivated. Ask Master Hound. THE RUNNING HARE ONE MORNING in March, a dog went after a hare in the meadow. It was a mighty chase, in and out of the rushes and the bushes. At the last moment, the hare gave a jump and a twist, and escaped into open country. An old fellow had been watching all of this througha gap in the hedge. He said, Well, Master Hound, I see that Hare had the beating of you this morning.

About the Author

Sam McBratney

As a child

In his own words, Sam McBratney spent his postwar childhood “in short trousers and Fair Isle jumpers.” He remembers studying for his 11-plus exam, before going to grammar school, and then on to study History and Political Science at Trinity College in Dublin.

As an adult

Sam became a teacher and taught at a further education college, a grammar school and a primary school. He took early retirement from the teaching profession to concentrate on his career as a writer. Sam is married with three grown-up children and a teenage tortoise, and lives in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

As an artist

Sam has won many awards for his children’s books and is best known as the author of the multi-million selling Guess How Much I Love You which was shortlisted for the 1994 Kurt Maschler Award, and is now one of the world’s best-selling picture books. In 2004, Sam reunited with Guess How Much I Love You illustrator Anita Jeram to produce the follow-up, You’re All My Favourites, and the two of them collaborated again in 2007 to produce a series of brand-new storybooks featuring the Nutbrown Hares: Guess How Much I Love You in the Spring followed by Summer, Autumn and Winter and brought together in Guess How Much I Love You All Year Round.

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Book Info


176 pages


Sam McBratney
More books by Sam McBratney


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

5th December 2005




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