FC: The Ambitious Guest: A Short Story by Nathaniel Hawthorne Paraphrased and adapted for children by Sylvia Marohn
1: Dedicated to Erika Marohn, love of my life
2: One fine September night, a family gathered around their fire
3: parents, children, and grandmother, laughing, happy, and warm in their windy New England home.
5: A steep mountain towered above them, and would often throw stones down its side and startle them at midnight: and sometimes travelers passed through for a short stop at the cottage. They would usually pause a moment for company.
6: It was not unusual then, on this chilly September night, to hear the footsteps of a stranger approach the door.
7: The stranger wore a sad expression when he was invited in, but quickly brightened up with the smiles of the family to greet him.
8: The family liked the stranger who had traveled far and alone, and he felt at home with them.
9: While they were talking, a stone tumbled down the mountainside and the family held their breath while the stone rumbled by... | Although it scared them, everything was fine (for now.)
11: Then the stranger told the family that he wanted to be famous: a celebrated hero who would be recognized as a shining star even years after his death.
12: The oldest daughter in the family disagreed with the stranger: "It is better to sit here by this fire," answered the girl, blushing, "and be comfortable and contented, though nobody thinks about us." The whole family agreed.
15: In the next room the smaller children had been put to bed | but the grownups listened as they talked.
16: They were playing and whisper-ing when one little boy's voice was heard above the others.
17: "I want all of us to go take a drink out of the Flume!" (The Flume was a river deep in the woods by the house where they lived.)
18: The grown-ups in the next room laughed.
20: Just then, some travelers passed by outside, calling the father by name. The father, though, happy and warm, didn't leave the comfort of his house.
21: The boy who wished and longed for the Flume realized that the travelers might have given the family a ride, but the opportunity was missed!
22: As the night wore on, the eldest daughter and the stranger started to fall in love
23: The grandmother told secrets, and the family talked with the stranger deep into the night.
25: All of a sudden, the group heard a ROAR of ROCK as boulders tumbled down the side of the mountain! "THE SLIDE! THE SLIDE!" they all screamed as young and old alike ran from the warmth and comfort of their house.
26: Little did they know that their small house was the only safe place in the valley. All of the family, including the stranger ran right into the path of destruction.
27: The only thing that remained was the cottage, exactly as the family had left it, smoke still rising through the chimney from the fireplace, chairs in a circle around it cozy and warm.
29: No one could remeber the name or face of the stranger that wanted to become a hero, but the names and faces of the family that lived in the cottage were forever a legend in those parts: their story and fate caused the folks around to shed a tear or two.
30: The End.