Tom, the Little Chimney Sweep

Poverty in the capitalist West, as presented to seventh-graders in Stalinist Russia

Copyright 2000 by Hugo S. Cunningham
Except original Soviet text was not copyrighted

File added 001202
Last minor change 001128

The following story appears as an English-language reading lesson in
E. Belova and L. Todd,English: A Textbook of the English Language for the 7th Grade in 7-year and Secondary Schools (third edition)State Textbook and Pedagogical Publishers of the Ministry of Education of the RSFSR, Moscow, 1951; p. 37.


from "The Water-Babies"
by Charles Kingsley [1819-1875]

Once there was a little chimney-sweep and his name was Tom. He lived in a great town in the North of England, where there were many chimneys. So there was always work for Tom and his master, Mr. Grimes. Of course Tom never spent the money that he got for chimney-sweeping; it was Mr. Grimes who spent it.

Tom could not read and he could not write. He never washed for there was no water in the street where he lived. So his hands and face and clothes were always black with soot.

He cried half of his life.

He cried when he had to climb up the dark chimneys; he cried when he cut his knees and elbows on the bricks; he cried when the soot got into his eyes, which happened every day of the week; he cried when his master beat him, which happened every day of the week; and he cried when he was hungry, which also happened every day of the week.

Editor's Note:
Return to table of contents for 7th-Grade Soviet textbook.

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