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As the summer days went hot and dry, Ahmed’s wish for a tree-house in his house garden grew stronger. Ahmed had always wanted a tree-house in which he could sit in hot days. His father said that he could have one for his new grade in school. Now of course he was in a fifth grade. His father chose a big tree. Not only Ahmed but his sister Hira was also very anxious for the tree-house. “It’s my tree-house, and you’re too young. You’d do something silly,” said Ahmed. “I’ll be very careful,” Hira replied. “Hira won’t do any harm, I’m sure,” added the father. “She’s too small,” whined Ahmed. “She’d fall out.” Next day, when Ahmed and Hira came home from school, there was a rope ladder hanging from the tree. And over two wide branches that ran out from the trunk, a wide platform had been built. “The floor of my tree-house!” Ahmed shouted. “Hurrah!” He climbed up the ladder and began to bounce on the wooden platform. Hira looked up at the tree-house. She imagined having tea up there, with her friend Fatima. “Come down, Ahmed!” called his father. “Those planks haven’t been nailed in properly, yet. Besides, mum says it’s tea time.” Ahmed climbed down the ladder which swayed as he moved. Hira watched and thought. “I could do that, easy as pie.” That night it rained. The wind howled and lightning flashed across the sky. It rained all the next day as well. When Ahmed and Hira came home from school, the tree-house hadn’t been built. All the planks were still neatly stacked in the garage. Ahmed asked why nothing had been done. “Look at the rain. I can’t build a tree-house in weather like this,” said the father. “Is it going to be ready tomorrow?” Ahmed asked. “It depends on the weather,” said the father. “But I’ve call out my friends for today,” Ahmed moaned. “Goodness,” said her mother. “How many boys are coming?” “Twelve,” said Ahmed. “And...” “Hold on, Ahmed, you’ll never get 12 boys in the tree-house all at once,” said the father. “We’ll take it in turns,” said Ahmed. Hira thought, two girls would fit in a tree- house very nicely. It rained again in the night, and all the next day. “I’m sorry, Ahmed,” he said. “I didn’t have a chance to fix your tree-house. It’s been too wet.”
After tea, the father went out. Ahmed went to watch TV in the sitting-room. Hira followed. After a few moments Ahmed began to cheer up. Hira could tell that he’d had an idea. She could almost see it making its way across Ahmed’s face. Suddenly he jumped up and rubbed his hands together. “Yes,” he murmured. “Yes, what?” said Hira. “I’m going out for a bit,” Ahmed told her. “But it’s raining, you’ll get wet.” “So I’ll put on my anorak and wellies.” “Where are you going?” Ahmed was just about to tell Hira to mind her own business when he thought better of it. Hira might help him if he was nice to her. “I’m going to finish the tree-house myself,” he whispered. Hira gasped. “You can’t, you’ll fall,” she whispered back. “No I won’t. You just keep mum busy and don’t you dare tell her where I am or what I’m doing. Promise?” “Promise,” said Hira, very reluctantly. “But be careful.” From the window she watched her brother. He was doing his work very firmly. But just when he was to lay the last plank, He couldn’t keep himself on the floor and slipped down. “My God, my legs hurt,” Ahmed shouted. The very next day Ahmed fell sick. He had a terrible cold, a big bruise on his forehead and he’d sprained both his ankles.