The Stone
Literary Focus: Moral Lessons
Most stories have a message. Fairy tales have morals, which
are messages or lessons about the right way to behave. “The
Stone” was written by a modern writer. However, it has the
feel, and the moral, of an old fairy tale.
Reading Skill: Making Predictions
When you read a book or watch a movie, do you ever guess
what will happen next? If so, you know what it means to
make a prediction. Making predictions helps keep your mind
awake as you read. To make predictions as you read “The
Stone,” follow these steps:
Into the Story
Have you ever wished you could be older, right now? In “The
Stone,” the adult character has the opposite wish: he wants
to stop growing older. Read to find out what happens when
his wish comes true.
8 H
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
read for
use what you
already know
about fairy
what you
know about
the world
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
10 H
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
One day a man named Maibon was driving down the road
on his horse and cart when he saw a sickly old man. Maibon
shook his head at such a sad sight and went on his way
home. When he got home, he said to his wife, Modrona:
Ah, ah, what a sorry thing it is to grow old. When I think
that this might happen to me, too!”
“Stop looking for trouble,” answered Modrona. “Take care
of your field, or we’ll have no food.”
Maibon sighed and did as his wife asked. Although it was
a lovely day, Maibon took no pleasure in it. None of his tools
seemed to cut the way they used to. The sun didn’t seem to
shine as bright.
As for me,” went on Maibon, “I’m in even worse shape.
When I go to bed, my eyes are so heavy I can’t hold them
open. As I grow older, things will only get worse!”
As he was complaining, Maibon noticed something in a
corner of the field. He dropped his ax and opened his mouth
in surprise.
There he saw a redheaded dwarf who was struggling to
get his leg from under a log. When the dwarf saw Maibon, he
shouted, “Well, come on! Don’t stand there like an idiot.
Help me get loose!”
Maibon scratched his head: “Well, now, just a moment,
friend. The way you look—I’m thinking you might be one of
the Fair Folk.”
“Oh, smart!” Doli, the dwarf, snapped back. “Of course I
am! Enough talking. Get a move on. My leg’s going to sleep.”
Maibon got excited. “If a man does the Fair Folk a good
turn, “ he cried, “they say he must return the favor.”
Sickly (line 2) sounds like
“sick.” Maybe the old man
doesn‘t look very healthy.
That must be why Maibon is
so upset by seeing him.
I don't think the dwarf in the
field is an ordinary person.
Maibon calls him one of the
“Fair Folk.” Maybe that means
he's going to use magical
fairy powers. But I always
thought fairies were cute,
like Tinkerbell!
"The Stone” adapted from The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd
Alexander. Copyright © 1973, 2002 by Lloyd Alexander. Retold by Holt, Rinehart and
Winston. Reproduced by permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Electronic
format by permission of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
Doli agreed to grant Maibon a wish if Maibon would help
free him. Maibon pulled and chopped away at the log as fast
as he could. He freed the dwarf.
Doli let out a sigh of relief and said:
All right. You’ve done your work; you’ll have your
reward. What do you want?”
“I’ve heard that you Fair Folk have magic stones that can
keep a man young forever. That’s what I want.”
Doli snorted. “I might have known you’d pick something
like that. You humans have it all wrong. There’s nothing we
can do to make a man young again. Those stones only keep
you from getting older.”
“Just as good!” Maibon exclaimed. “That’s what I want!”
Doli hesitated
and frowned. “Those stones—we’d sooner
not give them away. There’s a difficulty—”
Maibon broke in. “I told you what I want, and that’s what
I’ll have.”
Doli shrugged and handed Maibon a large stone. Then, he
jumped up and ran away.
Laughing, Maibon hurried back to his house. There he
told his wife what had happened and showed her the stone.
His wife was not happy and called him a fool for asking the
dwarf for a stone.
Disappointed, Maibon began thinking his wife was right.
He threw the stone into the fireplace.
But, when Maibon woke up the next morning, he patted
his cheeks in amazement. “My beard!” he cried to his wife.
“It hasn’t grown!”
“Don’t talk to me about beards,” his wife replied. “There’s
trouble enough in the chicken roost. Those eggs should have
been hatched by now.”
In lines 38–41, Doli tries to
warn Maibon about making
the wrong wish. Maibon is
probably going to have to
learn a lesson the hard way. I
wonder what will go wrong?
Underline the two things
that are unusual when
Maibon gets up in the
morning (lines 55–60).
What other unusual things
might Maibon find as the
day goes on?
1. hesitated (HEHZ uh tayt ehd): to wait a moment, because of feeling unsure.
12 H
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
Maibon went to the fireplace to pick out the stone. “Let
the chickens worry about that,” answered Maibon. “Wife,
don’t you see what great thing has happened to me? I’m not
a minute older than I was yesterday.”
And the cow!” Modrona cried. “She’s long past due and
still hasn’t given birth to a calf!”
“Don’t bother me with cows and chickens,” replied
Maibon. “They’ll be all right, in time. As for time, I’ve got all
the time in the world!”
When Maibon went out to his field, he was surprised to
see that not one of the seeds he had planted there had
Some days went by and still the eggs had not hatched.
The cow had not calved. The wheat had not sprouted. And
now Maibon saw that his apple tree showed no sign of even
the smallest, greenest fruit.
His wife blamed the stone. She told Maibon to get rid of
it. Maibon replied, “The season’s slow, that’s all.” His wife
kept at him. Finally, Maibon threw the stone out the window.
The next morning, though, he found the stone sitting on
the window sill.
Now Maibon’s baby was having trouble. He was cranky
from teething, but no tooth was to be seen! Maibon’s wife
begged her husband to get rid of the stone. This time, Maibon
dug a shallow hole and put the stone into it. But the next day
the stone sat glittering
above the ground.
Time went by with nothing growing or changing. Maibon
grew upset. “Nothing’s moving along as it should,” he
groaned. “There’s nothing to look forward to, nothing to
show for my work.”
Maibon tried to destroy the stone, but no matter what he
did, the stone kept coming back. At last, he decided to bury
If a calf is a baby cow,
what does it mean to say
a cow has not calved
(line 74)? Hint: Use the
clue in line 66.
Re-read lines 79–81. What
does this tell you about
making wishes?
2. glittering (GLIHT ehr ihng): sparkling.
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
the stone again, this time deeper than before. He picked up
his shovel and hurried to the field. As he was running to the
field, he saw the dwarf sitting on a stump.
“You should have warned me about the stone!” Maibon
shouted at the dwarf.
“I did,” Doli shouted back. ”You wouldn’t listen. Now
take my advice. Get rid of that stone, and quickly.”
“What do you think I’ve been trying to do?” blurted
Maibon. “It keeps coming back to me whatever I do!”
“That’s because you really didn’t want to give it up.”
“No, no!” cried Maibon. “I want no more of it. Whatever
may happen, let it happen. That’s better than nothing
happening at all.”
“If you mean that,” answered Doli, “toss the stone onto
the ground right there at the stump. Then go home.”
Maibon threw down the stone and ran home as fast as he
could. He was so happy to see that his field was covered with
green blades of wheat and that the apple tree was heavy with
fruit. He ran into the house. His wife told him the good
news—the hen hatched her chicks; the cow bore her calf.
And Maibon laughed with delight when he saw the first tooth
in the baby’s mouth.
Maibon and his children and grandchildren lived for many
years. Maibon was as proud of his long white beard as he
had been of his strong body.
“Stones are all right in their way,” said Maibon. “But the
trouble with them is, they don’t grow.”
Will Maibon succeed in
getting rid of the stone this
time? Explain your answer.
What does bore mean in
line 112? (Hint: Look back
at line 66. What do you
think has changed here?)
The Stone
Making Predictions
As you read “The Stone,” you learned how to use clues to make predictions
about what might happen next. Now let’s review those predictions.
Read each scene from the story in the left-hand column below. These
passages were the topics of the Here’s How and Your Turns on making
predictions (pages 10, 11, and 13). In the middle column, write what actually
happened next in the story. Were the predictions you made correct? If so, how
did you guess? In the right-hand column, identify the text clue (or real-world
knowledge) you used to make the prediction. If the prediction was incorrect, in
the same column identify a text clue that pointed to what really happened.
14 H
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
Passage from the What Happened Next Clue (or Real-World
Story Knowledge) That
Predicted What
1. Maibon meets a The dwarf, Doli, does have “Fair Folk” sounded like
dwarf in the field. He magic powers: He grants “fairy”; I knew that fairies
helps free the dwarf Maibon a wish. had magical powers.
(who is actually one of
the “Fair Folk”) from
beneath a fallen log.
(lines 16–32)
2. The next morning,
Maibon finds his
beard hasn’t grown
and the chickens’ eggs
haven’t hatched.
(lines 55–60)
3. Maibon tells Doli he
longs to be rid of the
stone. (lines 96–105)
A. Match words and definitions. Write the letter of the correct definition on the
line next to each word. The first one has been done for you.
1. sickly
2. hesitated
3. calved
4. glittering
5. bore
B. Choose two words from the list above. Use each word in a sentence.
The Stone
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
a. sparkling
b. gave birth to
c. not in good health
d. gave birth to a calf
e. waited a moment, due to feeling unsure
Just Once Page 1
Page 3
Underlined event: “But it wasn’t the Moose’s name that
everybody was shouting.”
Sample response: The quarterback, players in the
backfield, and other members of the team are all in
conflict with the Moose.
Page 4
Sample answer: I think Coach is getting fed up; He’s
getting a bit angry at the Moose.
Sample response: When the crowd tells the coach to let
the Moose carry the ball, the coach looks angry. That
means that the Moose is facing a conflict with the
coach again. The Moose might even be sorry that he
asked to carry the ball. He could be in conflict with
himself, too.
Page 5
Sample answer: Before he had faced one tackler at a
time, maybe two. He’s not used to seeing five or six
tacklers coming straight at him.
Sample response: The Moose is finding out that
carrying the ball isn’t as easy as it looks. I think he’s
starting to wonder whether he should be carrying the
ball at all.
Page 6
I think it’s been worse than he expected. He did get the
crowd cheering him when he scored, but he didn’t like
that the Tigers were heading toward him and closing in
on him. At the end, he tells the coach that he’ll never
carry the ball again.
Sample response: I agree with the ending. The Moose
finally realizes that he is part of a team.
Page 7
Graphic Organizer: Retelling Guide
Sample responses are provided.
1. “Just Once,” based on the story by Thomas J.
Dygard; high school football games.
2. the Moose; to carry the ball; Coach, Jerry, Dan.
3. The coach and other players don’t think it’s a
good idea. The other characters block him by not
letting him play another position.
4. The Moose convinces the fans that he should
carry the ball and so puts pressure on Coach.
5. The Moose scores a touchdown, but he gets
pounded and tackled. Carrying the ball is not as
fun as he had expected.
6. At the end, the Moose decides he never again
wants to carry the ball.
7. Answers will vary.
The Stone Page 8
Page 11
Making Predictions
Underlined things: “My beard . . . hasn’t grown!”;
. . . in the chicken roost. Those eggs should have
hatched by now.”
Sample responses: Maybe his hair won’t grow; maybe
what he plants won’t grow.
Page 12
Sample response: It means a cow has not given birth to
a calf.
Moral Lesson
Sample response: Be careful of what you wish for—it
might come true!
Page 13
Making Predictions
Sample responses: I think so because now he really
wants everything to go back to normal; I don’t think so
because he’s not ready to give up his wish.
Sample answer: The word bore means “gave birth to.”
Page 14
Graphic Organizer: Making Predictions
Sample responses are provided.
1. Answers provided.
2. What Happened Next: Nothing grows (even his
baby’s teeth), and nothing moves along as it
Clue: If the hen isn’t laying eggs, I figured that
other things in Maibon’s life wouldn’t move along
3. What Happened Next: This time he’s able to get
rid of the stone.
Clue: Doli said that Maibon has to really want to
get rid of his wish. Before, Maibon was amazed by
what was happening, but by the end, he is getting
frustrated that things weren’t moving along
The Bridegroom Page 16
Page 18
Cause and Effect
Sample Effect: She ran home, very upset.
Sample Effect: She was too upset to answer their
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
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