Short Intercultural Stories
− The Mystery of Big Ben
(Spanish story about England)
− A Story of a Wolf Cup
(UK short story set in Finland )
− Lost in the Topkapi Palace
(Short Turkish story from Romanian)
− Little Artists of the Dance School
(Spanish Short Story from Turkey)
− The Magic Vasco
(Short Portuguese story from France )
(Portuguese short story set in Romania)
The mystery of Big Ben
It was a quiet day and Queen Elizabeth II decided to explore her castle. She loved a picture of her
grandmother so she went to it. She stared at it for a while, and as she liked it so much, she decided
to pick it up but behind it she found a little secret door. The queen opened it and saw a map that
indicated where there were the most valuable possessions of his great-grandmother. But the map
was so old that she could not tell where the treasure was. First she went to the Tower of London.
She walked through Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the Parliament of London, Westminster
Abbey, and Piccadilly Circus to get to the Tower of London by the river Thames.
- This weather is horrible, it rains constantly and it is wet, some nights the fog does not allow us to
distinguish the person next door.
The queen was with a lord, friend of hers who knew London like the back of his hand and together
they began to investigate.
They reached the Tower of London and went to the ground floor but there were only dungeons and
a couple of dead rats, although people told them some very amusing stories about the crown jewels,
- The Tower of London was a prison, defensive fort in which the crown jewels were guarded by the
In the other plants they did not find anything.
So they decided to go to parliament and ask the Prime Minister, but he said:
- Recently there have been works and we have not found anything valuable.
They searched all the buildings in London, but found nothing.
Someone gave him a clue:
- Get close to Portobello Road and in a famous antique shop a very old map was found that will
help you with yours.
Desperate, they sat on a curb. The queen looked around.
- This city is unique, cars drive on the left, the wheels of the cars are on the right. The double-
decker buses, fast food restaurants, fish and chips, sandwiches and soup, our schedule of food is
different. Well, what we can expect from the place where it passes the Greenwich meridian!.
Suddenly it started raining.
- Oh! It begins this typical London rain.
Then something miraculous happened. The water was clearing the fog and they saw clearly that the
building they had to go was the Big Ben.
- That's the only place I have not looked!
- But what happens to the clock? It's stopped!.
They ran inside, somebody had stolen a piece of the clock and the city was paralysed. They found
traces of the robber so they decided to follow them until they reached the British Museum, where a
boy told them that the thief was fed up about the bell sound, they woke up him at weekends and that
they would not get the piece back.
Then the queen decided to speak to him. She told him how important this clock was to the
Londoners’ lives and that it was a symbol which represented London and Britain in general.
So the Queen gave him the choice of the most tranquil and relaxing place in London. He could
spend the weekends and avoid the clock to wake him up.
The thief told
- For me, the best place in the world is the Royal Botanic Gardens.
So the thief returned the pieces to the Queen who ordered to repair the Big Ben.
Eventually the Queen and her Lord went and found a chest hidden in the steps leading up to the
bells of Big Ben. The queen opened it and there was the treasure.
And they all lived happily ever after.
UK short story set in Finland
A Story of a Wolf Cub
I stood gazing in wonder at the blue, green and red swirls of the majestic Northern lights. As I
walked back to the hut, the crunch of snow became louder. But, just at that moment, I realized that
it was not just my footsteps, but there was a wolf cub following me!
“You look cold!” I said. “Come with me, I’ll give you food and warmth.”
With that I scooped the cub up into my arms and took him home.
After my dinner, I scooped up the leftovers into a small bowl for the cub. The cub tucked in and
never stopped eating.
“Since you’ll be moving in with me, I think I’ll call you…” I thought long and hard. “How about
Then my mum said, “That’s a lovely name – Will it is!”
The next day, my dad and I had to go logging as we were short of wood for the fire. Right at the last
minute, I asked my mum if I could take Will with me.
She replied, “Well, OK then, but be careful with him and make sure he gets back in one piece.”
After a long trek across the frozen lake, and into the woods, we found a great lumbering spot. In the
background we could see Will playing around in the snow; he was truly having a great time. He
loved to skate his small feet on the frozen lake. A couple of times he fell over onto his furry back,
but it was nothing serious.
When we came home, we were met by the heavenly smell of mum’s freshly made berry pie. After
we had eaten some tasty ham and potato casserole and finished off the pie, we sat down and started
talking, whilst the cozy flames of the fire warmed us up.
Halfway through the conversation, we were interrupted by Will’s howling so we raced to see what it
was for. The majestic blue colours of the Northern lights had caught his eye – they really were a
beautiful sight. Suddenly we heard an answering howl from the edge of the woods. Racing around
in circles, Will stopped, then scratched at the door. Opening it, we watched as he hurtled towards a
shadow in the trees. Moonlight shone down on a female wolf – Will had found his mother again.
Short Turkish story from Romanian
Lost in the Topkapi Palace
In a hot summer day when the sun was glowing above the magnificent city of Istanbul, Ana
and Radu, who had arrived a few days before, decided to visit the Topkapi Palace.
They took the bus and arrived at the palace at noon. Being so hot and time for lunch, the children
didn’t have to wait too much to buy tickets, because the number of visitors was very small. As they
entered the courtyard of the palace, they were amazed by the beautiful gardens and they admired the
landscape and the view over the Bosphorus!
Charmed by what they saw, they could not wait to see what was inside the palace.
They entered but instead of following the guide, they sneaked through the tourists and walked alone
through the room, being stunned by what they saw: crystal stairs, great pictures, mirrors as walls or
the famous Turkish baths. They ran, they slipped between other groups of guests, looking to all the
rooms with great pleasure ... but suddenly they found themselves alone in a long empty hall…
‘Radu, what are we going to do now? Oh, why did I listen to you and left the others?’ she said.
‘So what, weren’t you in the mood for adventure and fun? Do not tell me that you didn’t like
it! If we had stayed with those old people, we could be in the third room now!’ said the boy, proud
‘At least we would’ve been with someone...’said Ana worried.
‘Let's not waste our time and let’s go that way, I think we’ll find the exit!’ said Radu.
So they walked in that hall before reaching a Turkish bath ... and still nobody was around.
They found a small window and noticed with concern that the twilight covered the sky ... and the
palace had to close at 6 p.m.
‘Ooops’... I don’t think it's OK!’ said Radu laughing.
‘What? Are you laughing? The palace will be closed in a few minutes and we will be stuck
here, so what’s so funny? Let’s take this way, it’s better as I say!’ said Ana nervously.
‘Okay, but you’ll see my way is better‘, said the boy.
The two children walked a little more and reached a large room with a crystal chandelier hanging
‘Oh, this room should be well guarded, it seems to be very valuable!’ said Radu.
‘I think so too, it is very impressive. It should be someone here to show us the way to the exit.
Let’s shout’ said the girl.
‘Is anybody here?’ the children shouted.
‘What is this noise? We heard you when you were on the stairs! What are you looking for?
The palace will close in about 10 minutes!’ said the guardian.
‘We are sorry, sir, we have lost the group and panicked. We haven’t done anything wrong ...
We just ran a little.’ said Radu.
‘Well, I forgive you because you have not broken anything. But you have to know that it's
better to go with the group and learn new things, than run around the palace by yourselves,’ said the
‘Thank you!!!’ cried the children. And when they finally got out, they promised not to do such
a thing ever again because they learned a good lesson.
SPANISH SHORT STORY FROM TURKEY
LITTLE ARTISTS OF THE DANCE SCHOOL
Long ago, a sister and a brother named Francisca and Felippe Fernanadez lived in Madrid , the
capital city of Spain where lovely melodies could be heard. Francisca was 7 and Felippe was 9
years old and they were students at primary level. They were both keen on dance as most of the
children who were brought up with charming melodies of flemenco and they dreamt to be famous
dancers in the future.
One day when they were dreaming about their dance career,
Felippe said: “ we are always dreaming. We need to do something”
“Yes, you are right” agreed Francisca and added “ we need professional help and that’s why we
must attend a dance school”
Felippe “let’s talk to our father and mention about our plans to him”
They were eager to attend a dance school in order to make their dream come true so they talked to
their father, Marcus and persuaded himof going to the dance school The next day, they arrived the
place. Its name was Dance Floor.
Whilst entering the threshold of the school, their hearts were pounding.
Mrs. Carmen, the director of the school said “ you need to buy a pair of castanets and special
Francisca, Felippe and Marcus started to look for a shop that sold castanets and shoes after they
went out of the school. They finally found a shop what they were looking for but the shoes were
pretty expensive. So, Felippe who was a real fun of Real Madrid offered his father to add the money
that he saved to go Bernabeu stadium.
At last “ we could buy them” said Felippe
“Look at that” said Francisco “what a beautiful thing it is”
It was a very beautiful flemenco dress which was crimson and glittering. And there were black rose
motifs on it.
“I am sure you look gorgeous in it” said Marcus while going in the shop.
Francisca was over the moon since she had the dress.
When they went back to their home, the children told all their adventure to their mother while
enjoying the delicious omelette and oil’s bread.
The Fernandez worked hard after that and became very good and famous dancers. They
became the representatives of their culture all around the world.
Short Portuguese story from France
The magic Vasco
Benjamin looked at the bridge and sighed… This was a week since he arrived and he was
always so sad. When his parents have announced that they have to live in Portugal, Benjamin
protested. He didn’t leave; he will stay in Reunion’s island with his friends.
They arrived last week and the boy spoke no longer to his parents. To try to convince him,
his parents had decided to show him the city and that’s how he found himself in front of Ponte Luis
“Come Benjamin!” said his mother who walked away. Benjamin was preparing to join her when a
small hand tugged at his sleeve.
“Did you see? asked a little girl with black hairs and green eyes.
_ What am I suppose to see?
_ The ghost of Vasco de Gama! cried the little girl.
_ A ghost?
_ Yes! Look! He’s going… let’s go, we have to catch him.”
The girl took his hand and began to run. Benjamin was so surprised than he ran too. They ran so
long that they didn’t see the bridge again and Benjamin was tired. He looked around him, Douro
was far. They were next a big tower:
“Did you see? He’s going on the top of the Torre dos Clerigos, let’s go!
_ No! I’m so tired, complained Benjamin.
_ Now you’re here, you must come.”
They went at the top, the view was magnificent. Benjamin was happy to be there when
suddenly he heard a chuckle.
“Hello young boy, welcome to Porto! said an old and dusty ghost. So Paulina, who’s this guy?
_ A sad boy Sir, replied the little girl. He was near the Douro looking so sad around him then I
decided to catch you with him. But it was too easy, you’re always hiding in this tower! said Paulina
with a big smile.”
Benjamin was amazing, this girl, Paulina, and this old ghost seem to know each other well.
“Benjamin, why are you so sad? asked Vasco.
Benjamin was not even surprised that the ghost knows his name; he told them his whole
“Let’s make a deal, young boy. Paulina will show you the city during this day. At Midnight, I’ll
come to see you on your bedroom. If you’re not agree to stay here, I’ll bring you back, ok?”
Benjamin was so happy and so sure to go back to Reunion…
So Paulina became his own tourist guide, they went everywhere. First, they were so thirsty
than they went to Café Majestic to drink something and then they discovered the Praça Mouzinho
De Albuquerque, the Palacio Da Bolsa. Benjamin was well, visiting all with Paulina. They met
some Paulina’s friends who invited them to go to The Casa da Musica. When Benjamin heard the
Fado, he felt so happy; the singer sang his own feelings. On leaving, he heard of Paulina’s friends
who were arguing about football teams. They took him to Estadio do Dragao and to Estadio do
Bessa XXI to convince him to support one of this team…
The day passed quickly, Benjamin couldn’t forget his new friends. He returned home and wasn’t
surprised that his parents do not be worried: a new trick from Vasco the ghost!
Then midnight came and Vasco appeared and we let you, young readers, to guess the answer
that Benjamin gave to Vasco… But don’t forget if one day you feel “saudade” try to find Paulina
and Vasco playing hiding games near the Douro!
Portuguese short story set in Romania
Once upon a time, in Porto, there lived a boy called Francisco. Francisco’s parents have got a small
business in Romania. That business was a car selling. Francisco one day told his parents that he
wanted to go with them to Romania. When Francisco and his parents got there, Francisco tried to
taste cozonac…but he didn’t like it.
The very next day Francisco went to have a look around the city and lost himself, because he was
very distracted. Finally a boy helped him and he could return to the hotel. That same boy told him
about a haunted castle...
The next day he wanted to visit the castle called Dracula. His parents new that, the castle was a
hunted castle; it was hunted by a vampire called Vlad Dracul.
When he heard, what his parents told him, he got scared. In Romania Francisco was in a private
school. Everybody was very friendly and joyful.
One day the school invited Francisco, to visit the castle of Dracula. He was scared, but he accepted
the invitation. So they left at four o’¬ clock in the afternoon.
When they arrived to the castle, they had to make groups of 3, Francisco went with Tomas and
Frederico. All of them were very scared, and worried…and while they were walking in the castle,
the paintings were moving and the boys were very scared, and worried that the vampire would take
The castle had also a kind of a park...The boys went to see and they saw someone playing Oina but
they did not know who was playing. After one hour they felt that somebody was watching them.
Francisco looked everywhere except the bathroom.
Tomas was distressed to go to the bathroom. He found it and he went to the bathroom. 15 minutes
later and he still did not come out, Frederico and Francisco were very worried, because Tomás was
not in the bathroom, and they thought that the vampire had taken him.
Then they saw a door, a very black door. They opened it and got surprised. All the class was there,
but not their friend Tomas…All the class and the two boys were very worried. Two girls called Julia
and Shasha, went to the bathroom, but before, they saw Tomás running near the class. He seemed to
be scared…He said that the vampire took him but he couldn’t run away. Everybody was happy that
he was fine and safe.
Everybody heard something coming from the corridor. It was a man who came to tell them that they
have to go away, because it was late and the vampire was about to come in order to scare them. So
all the class went to a restaurant to eat some Mamaliga, everybody loved it...Tomás and his friends
will never forget that adventure!