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men had to let their beards In the far away vil'lage of Rangama' because thev liked grow long, and flow'ing' They d'id not do this or razor blades to cut them' long beards, but tney had no scissors

0f course once in a while they choppedthe beards on a woodenplank like the way the fishermen cut big fish.



The visest old manof the villase was BabunSeeya. He was unhappy about chopping the beard this wav. So he thought out a better idea.



He began to rear a little mouse,feed'ing it with fish and rice and coconut. Then he tausht the tittte mouse hot,, to triin his beard once in a while. And so t hey lived together jn a cosy Iittle homeby the roadside, lovabte old BabunSeeyaand his little pet mouse.


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Things do not happen the same way everyday. That 'is vlhy on one fine day the little mousecould not cut the beard. He tried and he tried and he tried, but in vain. In the end he called out to I cannot cut the beard anyilore. Babun Seeya, "Seeya, Seeya Hhat shall I tlo?"

"Maybe your teeth are blunt, my dear. Go out and Eet them sharpened," answeredBabun Seeya. But before the mousecould get out of the house, a very mysterious thins happened.BabunSeeya's beard begail to groll fast like water flouing out of a spring. Then what ditl the poor little mousedo? He climbed up to the roof and hid beth,een the rafters to watch what would nappen next. And helpless old Babun Seeya sat on his easy cha'ir and soon fell








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The beard grew and filled the whole ; house. Then'it danced out of the house and 'into the front yard. There it began to c'l imb the trees. and b'irds Some I i ttl e caught tlere squi rrel s \-' in'it,

yard the beard began to bJrissle this Having wrapped around the trees in Babun Seeya's front in a neanby t,lay and that. Then it sat.JRatu Men'ika, the tittle s.irl Picking sticks for firewood, th'icket.

In a playful mood, the beard began to scramble up to her. lt{henthe little gjrl sah,this queer looking thins she dropped the sticks in her hand and fled homeuardsthrough the forest.

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There were people on the road, The beard vished to have some fun and began to trail doun the fillage I lage roao. road. It tt lrent ]n in tnrougn through tne the Tront front .,' Vr door of houses on the yayside and came out sellers, - of the rear. Vegetable and fruit fishmongers, children and olrl folk t.,ere all wrapped up in the beard as it rushed along \


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:>q, lt went swir'ling and frolicking road iust as'it pleased. i1:\-village

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The people vonderedwhat th"is creepy, crawly, hairy thjng kas. They never for a momentthought it could be BabunSeeya's beard. 'What could th'is be?' they asked one another. "trlhere does it

come from?"

"0h, ue don't really knou. Looks like the beard of a giant. Irhich means a giant is risht here w'ith us!" They decided. '0h dear, we must hjde,' sajd one. 'But how can i.,e hiOe? tle are all caught up in this maze. It 'is flowing like the sea," they kept for help. Yet there j1as no one to help. Everyone seemedto be wrapped up in the beard, And the i*riggly, wiggly beard came easjlyr breezily dohrn.the people made such a great hustle busile tryjng to go free.



0nce again the beard sah, Ratu l'lenika running between the trees, Ratu Menika lived at the edge of the forest. she ran alt the l,Jay homethrough the thicket, downthe glen, across the broot( and over the sti le. The swiilins, curling, beard was quite close behjnd her but not close enoughto wrap around her.

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Ratu Menika kept runn'ing and soon rushed into the house. There r,*asno one home' Father hrasat,,ay in the rice fields and mother was also there to help him. A pot of boilins bubbljng water was over the richly burn'ins /-',r<2"' I i ,4i<xkitchen fire. Ratu Men'ikalost no time to think what she should do.

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The frisky, brisky' cr-ispy bearrl was danc'ing behind Ratu Men-ika before for ioy right wrapp'ingher up. And then she grabbed the beard with both her handsand thrust it into the crackling fi re. - '\ _+-''' u'\



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And then the beard beganto hurn.


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It burnt thnough the forest, o\rer the stile, across the brook" up the glen and out of the thicket, on to the road" It burnt itself, away and harmedno one, setting the bawling, wailing people free. The litile ch.ildren danced for joy to be free aEain.

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"t{hat a great wonder." They all exclaimed. "Let us 90 and see this great big g'iant hrhosebeard is burning nou." And they rushed along with the burning beard.

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l{hen they came to the house of Babun Seeya,fear and sorrow took the better of them. 'Could the great big siant t.,ith the long, long beard have swallowed up Babun Seeya?" W'ith tears in their eyes they waited to see..And then before their very eyes, the beard thet filled the whole house burnt out in a j'iffy!

BabunSeeyawoke up from his deep sleep on his easy chair. He iumpedto his feet becausea tiny flame was fllckering at his chin.

Mouse jumped dournfrom the roof with a thud on to the mud floor excitedly everything he saw from the roof.

and began to tell

Babun Seeva

Then they dancedtogether singing BabunSeeya: I had a beard that ran awaybultying everyone,..... Mouse:And then 'it burnt back all the way, never to grow again


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Babun Seeya and Mouse: Never to gro!/ again Never to grow again And then it burnt back all the way... Never to grow again.

A burnt beard never grows. And sjnce they urere such good friends by noltr, Grandfather Babun and the l.ittle friendly mouselived in the little cosy homeby the roads'ideforever.

O EASL Junior Readers project, 1994 ChiefEditor

Nirmali Hettiarachchi

Graphics Assistant

Mrinali Thalgodapitiya

Editorial Board

Nihal Cooray Nirmali Hettiarachchi Rajiva Wijesinha

Beard is published at Level 3 ofthe Learning English Series produced Th" TlT"*11 by the English AssociationofSriLankaJuniorReadersProject PreparationofthebookwasassistedbytheCanadian

Internationat Developmenr Asercy,anclpubrication ** ?;;;;il;ffffiffiTJj Development Agency Bureau.


The Runaway Beard  

A short story by Sybil Wettasinghe.

The Runaway Beard  

A short story by Sybil Wettasinghe.