The Refugee by Pearl S. Buck
Genre: social problem
Theme: the aftermath of a natural disaster
Setting: city in China; flood
Characters: old man, noodle vendor, passer-by
Summary: Please put the paragraphs into the correct order:
An old man, too old for the heavy burden he is carrying, is the last of the procession. He can hardly keep up with the others. When he can no longer go on he sits down near a stand selling hot noodles. A man passing by takes pity on him and offers him some coins, although he himself does not know where his next meal is to come from. The old man is reluctant to take the money. He does not want to be thought a beggar and so explains the situation. He says that his people had good land, but that the river rose and they had no food left. In desperation they even ate the seed which had been bought for planting the land. He takes pains to defend his people, saying that they were too hungry and too inexperienced to think of the future, although he warned them not to eat the seed.
The passer-by drops a silver coin and a copper penny into the old man's apron and goes on his way. To the noodle vendor's surprise the old man does not spend all the money on food, but only the copper coin. He gives the noodles to his small grandson, whom he is carrying in one of his baskets. The boy's mother and father had died in the floods and the old man is now looking after the child. He himself only eats the few scraps left by the boy. Then he hands the bowl back to the astonished vendor, who cannot understand why a starving man with a silver coin does not buy more food for himself. The old man explains that the rest of the money is for seed. He says that the best thing he can do for his grandson is to buy seed to ensure against more starvation the following year.
The flooding of the river has forced the farmers of an unnamed country to leave their homelands and look for food and shelter in the capital a few hundred miles away. The city is...
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