Have you ever wondered what will be with our planet in five hundred years? How will the infrastructure develop? What will happen to the nature? Richard lives in the world, which is significantly different from ours. They live in villages instead of cities. They use bicycles as transport. In the forests, there are only wild animals. Every inhabitant of this world must bring his Year of Sharing when he reaches the age of twelve. It means the child will go to the wild forest to live alone. This term lasts for a whole year. They do it for learning to share the world with the animals. This way every person finds a new family in the wild. Tomorrow Richard is going somewhere deep into the forest. He cannot even imagine how many dangers are waiting for him there.
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The Year of Sharing by Gilbert Harry
Is somebody listening to this? If there is, hello.
There’s a party going on. There are four of us doing our Year of Sharing this year – four of us who are twelve years old. The party is for all their family and friends.
I keep touching my nose. That’s where they put the recorder. I can’t feel it in my nose, but it’s there. It will record all my words when I speak, and any other sounds which are near me. The recorder will go on working for one year.
Can you hear the sounds of the party? Music, talking, laughing, dancing. Is everybody happy?
The answer is no. Everybody has their Year of Sharing when they’re twelve, and half of them don’t come back. They die. This is a goodbye party.
Perhaps you think I’m afraid. Well, I’m not. I’m the only person here who has no friends or family at the party. I didn’t ask any friends to come. My mother’s too busy (as usual). I specially asked my father not to come – he would cry. I don’t want people to see him crying.
I’m going outside. I don’t want to talk to anybody.
I can’t count all the bicycles by the wall here – half the village is at this party! I didn’t bring my bicycle because I’m not going home after the party.
I would really like a car, not a bicycle, because I love to go fast. I’ve seen cars in old films, but there are no cars in the world now – no cars, no roads, no factories, no big towns, just little villages like this one. In the old days, they say, the world was a bad and dirty place and animals were dying because of all those cars and factories. Was that really true? I don’t know.
Now the world is very boring. We live quietly in our villages, we don’t eat meat, and we make everything ourselves with our hands.
I’m sitting outside alone. I’ve always been alone and that’s OK. I’m clever, fast and strong and I’m not going to die in this Year of Sharing. I’ve always been best at everything in the village school. Now I’m going to be best among the animals. Here’s the doctor.
‘Hello, Richard. Alone?’
‘What do you want, doctor?’
‘I want to look at your nose and make sure the recorder’s OK. Look up. Look down. Good. After one year we will write down every word from your recorder and make a wonderful book for you. Richard’s Year of Sharing…