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The bus stop was empty except for some stray dogs that lay curled up under the seats. Dao watched them in fear. She had not had anything to eat since morning and her tummy was starting to make loud, funny noises. She tucked her cloth bag containing some old clothes, marbles she had won the day before, and books under her arm and tiptoed to the tea stall that had already closed for the day. Bending down, she found an opening in the tin door the owner had used as a shutter.

The tiny shop smelt of stale bread and milk. In the dim lighting, she could barely make out the stove from the tables. She knocked into a number of things before getting used to the interior. Dao placed her bag on a flipped-over bench that rested atop a long table and then started to rummage the shelves. She found packets of spices and containers of sugar and salt but could not find what she needed. She climbed on the metal stove and leant against the shelf, stretching her slender arm to reach behind the rows and rows of tea leaf tins.

Dao swallowed back tears as she searched frantically. She could not believe the stall seemed to hold no leftovers. She jumped down and sat cross-legged on the floor, defeated. From the soft light that filtered through the tin opening, Dao could see clear plastic bags containing some brown things tucked underneath the stove. She crawled under and smelt heaven. Tearing through the plastic, she wolfed down the soft brown buns without thought. Tears of joy streamed down her tiny face as she happily stuffed one bun after another into her mouth.

Dao sat up straight. Her heart began to palpitate as the chatting and laughing of men grew louder. She stopped munching and covered her mouth. Her mind raced to look for an escape route. Maybe they were going to open the shutters. What if they interrogated her? If they knew the truth, she was sure they would drag her back to her village. Dao sat still, not knowing what to do.

A soft whining sound followed their chatter that seemed far away. A puppy put its face through the opening and sniffed the bun. Although afraid, she broke the bread into tinier pieces. The puppy sniffed the pieces before wiping the floor clean. The shadows outside the shop soon disappeared and silence returned.

The darkness that surrounded her became a part of her. She no longer felt afraid or hungry. Clutching her cloth bag, she curled to her side and dozed off.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. What time of the day was it ? State two points from paragraph 1 to support your answer.
  2. How did Dao enter the tea stall ?
  3. Why had Dao 'knocked into a number of things' (paragraph 2) inside the shop ?
  4. Dao 'could not find what she needed' (paragraph 2). What was it that she was searching for ?
  5. What was the 'heaven' (paragraph 3) Dao was referring to ?
  6. From paragraph 4, what did Dao hear that made her stop what she had been doing ?
  7. What was 'the truth' (paragraph 4) she was afraid the men might come to know ?
  8. Explain clearly why Dao was 'afraid' (paragraph 5) when she saw the puppy.
  9. Explain clearly why Dao 'no longer felt afraid' (last paragraph ).
  10. Based on the passage, do you think Dao could be a teenager or someone older ? What is the evidence in the passage that supports your answer ?
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Answers
 

1.

It was night. The bus stop was empty and the tea stall had closed for the day.
 

2.

She went through an opening in the tin door the owner used as a shutter.
 

3.

She could not see inside the shop clearly as the lighting was dim.
 

4.

She was searching for any leftover food that she could eat.
 

5.

Dao was referring to the soft brown buns.
  6. She heard men chatting and laughing and they were approaching the shop.
  7. The truth was that she had run away from her home (or village).
  8. She was afraid because she was not sure if the puppy would start barking which would alert the men outside the shop.
  9. She was no longer afraid because the men outside the shop had left.
  10. She could not be a teenager or someone older. Since she played with marbles, she could be much younger.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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