SYRACUSE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

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1 SYRACUSE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT Grade 06 Unit 03 Assessment Text Modified Story and Original Poem Hybrid: Informational & Literary Reading Reading Standards: RL.6.2, RL.6.3, RL.6.4, RL.6.5 RL.6.6, RL.6.9 RI.6.2, RI.6.3, RI.6.4, RI.6.5, RI.6.6, RI.6.9 Nadia the Willful By Sue Alexander In the land of sand where the people move their tents around the desert, there lived a girl who was stubborn and had a bad temper, so everyone called her Nadia the Willful. Willful - stubborn, doing things your way, doing what you want. Nadia's father, the sheik Tarik, was kind and gracious so everyone knew him, too. He did not know what to do with his willful daughter. Only Hamed, Nadia's brother, could calm Nadia's temper when she got mad. "Oh, angry one," he would say, "shall we see how long you can stay that way?" And he would laugh and pull at her dark hair until she laughed. Then she would follow Hamed wherever he went. One day, Hamed was riding his father s horse looking for the sheep. Nadia stood with her father and watched him go. Hamed did not return. Nadia rode behind her father looking for Hamed. Shepherds told them they saw a great white horse in the sand. They said there was no rider on the horse. People with camels said the desert was empty when they had crossed. Everyone whom Tarik asked said, "Such is the will of Allah." Page 1

2 At last Tarik knew in his heart that his favorite son, Hamed, had died in the desert. And he told Nadia what he knew that Hamed was dead. Nadia screamed and cried and stamped the sand, crying, "Not even Allah will take Hamed from me!" Her father told her to be quiet. Nadia was very sad. She would not see or hear people who tried to talk to her. And Tarik was silent. For days he sat inside his tent, not speaking and barely eating. Then, on the seventh day, Tarik came out of his tent. He called all his people to him, and when they were there, he spoke. "From this day forward," he said, "let no one say Hamed's name. Punishment shall come to those who remind me of the son I have lost." Each memory made Nadia want to talk about Hamed. Hamed's mother cried at Tarik s new rule. The people looked at one another uneasily. All could see on the sheik's face and by the coldness in his eyes how upset he was, and so they said nothing. But they obeyed. Nadia, too, did as her father said, but each day something reminded her of Hamed. As she passed her other brothers playing, she remembered games Hamed had taught her. As she walked by the women weaving patches for the tents and heard them talking, each memory brought Hamed's name to Nadia's lips, but she did not speak. And each time that she did not talk about Hamed, her unhappiness grew until, finally, she could no longer stop it. She cried and yelled at anyone and anything that crossed her path. Soon everyone at the oasis ran if they saw her coming. And she was more lonely than she had ever been before. One day, as Nadia passed her brothers playing, she stopped to watch them. They were playing one of the games that Hamed had taught her. But they were playing it wrong. Without thinking, Nadia yelled, "That is not the way! Hamed said that first you jump this way and then you jump back!" Her brothers stopped their game and looked around in fear. Had Tarik heard Nadia say Hamed's name? But Tarik was nowhere to be seen. "Teach us, Nadia, as our brother taught you," said her smallest brother. And so she did. Then she told them of other games and how Hamed had taught her to play them. And as she spoke of Hamed, she felt the hurt going away inside her. So she went on talking about Hamed. She went to where the women were and talked about Hamed. She told them tales that Hamed had told her. And she told how he had made her laugh as he was telling them. Page 2

3 At first the women were afraid to listen to the willful girl and covered their ears, but after a time, they listened and laughed with her. "Remember your father's promise of punishment!" Nadia's mother warned her. "Stop, I beg you!" Nadia knew that her mother had reason to be afraid, for Tarik, now had a bad temper after Hamed died. But she did not know how to tell her mother that talking about Hamed helped her pain feel better, and so she said, "I will speak of my brother! I will!" And she ran away from the sound of her mother's voice. She went to where the shepherds and sheep were and talked about Hamed. The shepherds ran from her in fear and hid behind the sheep. But Nadia went on talking. She told of Hamed's love for the little black lamb and how he had taught it to leap at his whistle. Soon the shepherds stopped hiding and came to listen. Then they told stories about Hamed and the little black lamb. The more Nadia talked about Hamed, the clearer she could see his face in her mind. She could see his smile and his bright eyes. She could hear his voice. Nadia did not hurt inside as much and her bad temper was better. At last, she was filled with peace. But her mother was still afraid for her willful daughter. Again and again she tried to quiet Nadia so that Tarik's anger would not be at her. Again and again Nadia tossed her head and went on talking about Hamed. Soon, all who listened could see Hamed's face in their minds. One day, a shepherd came to Nadia's tent calling, "Come, Nadia! See Hamed's black lamb; it has grown so big and strong!" But it was not Nadia who came out of the tent. It was Tarik. On his face was a look more fierce than that of a desert hawk, and when he spoke, his words were sharp. "I have forbidden my son's name to be said. And I promised to punish whoever disobeyed my command. So shall it be. Before the sun sets, you will be gone from this place never to return." "No!" cried Nadia, hearing her father's words. "I have spoken!" roared Tarik. "It shall be done!" Trembling, the shepherd went to get his things. Page 3

4 Now, everyone was afraid of being sent away, so they turned away from Nadia as she tried to tell them of Hamed and the things he had done and said. And the less she talked about Hamed, the less she was able to see Hamed's face and hear his voice. And this made her temper come back inside her, and it destroyed the peace she had felt. That night, she went to where her father sat in the desert, and stood in front of him. "You will not rob me of my brother Hamed!" she cried, stamping her foot. "I will not let you!" Tarik looked at her, his eyes were cold. But before he could say a word, Nadia said, "Can you remember Hamed's face? Can you still hear his voice?" Tarik cried, "No, I cannot! Day after day I have sat in this spot where I last saw Hamed, trying to remember the look, the sound, the happiness that was my beloved son but I cannot." And he cried. Nadia's tone became gentle. "There is a way, father," she said. "Listen." And she began to talk about Hamed. She told of walks she and Hamed had taken and of talks they had. She told how he had taught her games, told her tales, and calmed her when she was angry. She told many things that she remembered, some happy and some sad. And when she was done, she said, "Can you remember him now, Father? Can you see his face? Can you hear his voice?" Tarik nodded through his tears, and for the first time since Hamed had been gone, he smiled. "Now you see," Nadia said, her tone so gentle and soft, "there is a way that Hamed can be with us still." Her father thought about what Nadia said. After a long time, he spoke, and the sharpness was gone from his voice. "Tell my people to come to me, Nadia," he said. "I have something to say to them." When everyone was there, Tarik said, "From this day forward, let my daughter Nadia be known not as willful but as wise. And let her name be praised in every tent, for she has given me back my beloved son." And so it was. The shepherd returned to his sheep, kindness returned to the desert, and Nadia's name was praised in every tent. And Hamed lived again in the hearts of all who remembered him. Page 4

5 Just One Author Unknown One song can spark a moment, One flower can wake the dream One tree can start a forest, One bird can herald spring. One smile begins a friendship, One handclasp lifts a soul. One star can guide a ship at sea, One word can frame the goal One vote can change a nation, One sunbeam lights a room One candle wipes out darkness, One laugh will conquer gloom. One step must start each journey. One word must start each prayer. One hope will raise our spirits, One touch can show you care. One voice can speak with wisdom, One heart can know what's true, One life can make a difference, You see, it's up to you! (Original no modifications) Page 5

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