Chike and the River
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The more Chike saw the ferry-boats the more he wanted to make the trip to Asaba. But where would he get the money? He did not know. Still, he hoped.
Eleven-year-old Chike longs to cross the Niger River to the city of Asaba, but he doesn’t have the sixpence he needs to pay for the ferry ride. With the help of his friend S.M.O.G., he embarks on a series of adventures to help him get there. Along the way, he is exposed to a range of new experiences that are both thrilling and terrifying, from eating his first skewer of suya under the shade of a mango tree, to visiting the village magician who promises to double the money in his pocket. Once he finally makes it across the river, Chike realizes that life on the other side is far different from his expectations, and he must find the courage within him to make it home.
Chike and the River is a magical tale of boundaries, bravery, and growth, by Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most beloved and admired storytellers.
his hand into his pocket. Chike’s heart beat faster. He brought out a handful of coins and gave one to Chike. “Thank you, sir,” said Chike. Then he looked at the coin and saw that it was one shilling. In his joy he said again, “Thank you, sir.” The man did not reply; he was talking to his friend again, with a cigarette in his mouth. 14 Chike on the Boat Chike’s dream had come true; at last he could go to Asaba. He jumped up and down several times and sang “One More River to Cross.” It
market. There he leaned against one of the old lorries and wept silently. He wished he had obeyed his mother and never gone near the river. Then he remembered another thing his mother always said. She told her children that crying does not solve any problem. So instead of crying Chike began to think and plan. His first thought was to go to the owner of one of the shops and ask if he could sleep there. But then it occurred to him that the man might be a thief and kidnapper. Finally Chike decided
to the back of the lorry and climbed in quietly. At first he lay down on one of the benches. Then he thought it was better to hide under them. So he climbed under the benches and lay on the floor of the lorry. He thought of his mother and sisters quite safe at home and his misery grew. He was hungry and mosquitoes sang in his ear. He did not try to kill them because they were too many and because killing them would make a noise. He coiled himself up with one hand as pillow and the other between
Michael, was a very big boy and he did all the difficult work in the house. He split firewood, went to the market, cooked, washed clothes and ironed them. Chike washed the plates after meals and sometimes swept the rooms. They lived in two rooms. His uncle slept in one of them and kept all his boxes there. The soup-pot and other cooking vessels were hidden away under his huge iron bed. The other room had chairs, a round table in the center, framed photographs on the walls, a radio on the wooden
not easy. On the last day of term all the pupils were tidying up the school premises. The boys cut the grass in the playing fields and the girls washed the classrooms. Chike’s class was working near the mango tree with all the tempting ripe fruit which they were forbidden to pick. They sang an old prisoners’ work song and swung their blades to its beat. The last day of term was always a happy, carefree day; but it was also a day of anxiety because the results of the term’s examination would be