'George and Martha One Fine Day' Editor's note: Four short stories about two best friends, who just happen to be hippopotamuses.


March 15, 1998|By James Marshall

The Tightrope

One morning when George looked out his window, he could scarcely believe his eyes. Martha was walking a tightrope.

"My stars!" cried George. "I could never do that!"

"Why not?" said Martha. "It's tons of fun."

"But it's so high up," said George.

"Yes," said Martha.

"And it's such a long way down," said George.

"That's very true," said Martha.

"It would be quite a fall," said George.

"I see what you mean," said Martha.

Suddenly Martha felt uncomfortable. For some reason she had lost all her confidence. She began to wobble.

George realized his mistake. Now he had to do some fast talking.

"Of course," he said, "anyone can see you love walking on a tightrope."

"Oh, yes?" said Martha.

"Certainly," said George. "And if you love what you do, you'll be very good at it too."

Martha's confidence was restored.

"Watch this!" she said. Martha did some fancy footwork on her tightrope.

The Icky Story

At lunch George started to tell an icky story. Martha strongly objected.

"Please, have some consideration," she said.

But George told his icky story nevertheless.

"You're asking for it," said Martha.

When Martha finished her lunch, she told an icky story. It was so icky that George felt all queasy inside. He couldn't even eat his dessert.

"You're the champ," said George.

"Don't make me do it again," said Martha.

"I won't," said George.

The Big Scare

"Boo!" cried George.

"Have mercy!" screamed Martha.

Martha and her stamp collection went flying.

"I'm sorry," said George. "I was feeling wicked."

"Well," said Martha. "Now it's my turn."

"Go ahead," said George.

"Not right away," said Martha slyly.

Suddenly George found it very difficult to concentrate on what he was doing.

"Any minute now, Martha is going to scare the pants off me," he said to himself.

"Maybe she is hiding someplace," he said. George made sure Martha wasn't hiding under the sink.

During the day George got more and more nervous.

"Any minute now," he said.

But Martha was relaxing in her hammock.

"I'm sorry I forgot to scare you," said Martha.

"That's all right," said George. "It wouldn't have worked anyway. I'm not easily frightened."

"I know," said Martha.

The Amusement Park

That evening George and Martha went to the amusement park. They rode the ferris wheel.

They rode the roller coaster.

They rode the bump cars.

They were having a wonderful time.

But in the Tunnel of Love, Martha sat very quiet. It was very dark in there.

Suddenly Martha cried "Boo!"

"Have mercy!" screamed George.

"I didn't forget after all," said Martha.

"So I see," said George.

From GEORGE AND MARTHA ONE FINE DAY. Copyright (c) 1978 by James Marshall. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

If you like these stories, other books by James Marshall include:

"George and Martha"

"George and Martha Encore"

"George and Martha Rise and Shine"

"The Stupids Step Out"

"The Stupids Have a Ball"

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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