Certain Bet is a short story by a Czech author Otakar Batlička and I turned it into a graded reader for pre-intermediate students. The story has 900 words and it is very easy to read. You can read the graded reader either here or you can download it to your Kindle reader. I hope you or your students will like it.
Certain Bet – free graded reader
It was seven o’clock in the evening in London. It started to rain. I was standing in a long line waiting to buy a ticket for a boxing match. I bought the ticket and because I had some free time I decided to eat in a pub.
I started eating and I didn’t notice who came in or out.
“Hello!” someone said near me. I looked up and I saw a big man standing in front of me. It was my former sports teacher who taught me when I was in the English army. We shook hands happily.
“What are you doing here?” My old teacher asked me.
“Well, I am going to see the match Lane versus Hardy. I think it will be a great fight. Both of the boys are great.”
“You are right,” answered my teacher. “But, as you know I am now I work in a sports club and I hear a lot of things.”
I looked at him and I said that I believed that Lane would win. Everyone believed that he would win.
During our conversation a group of men and women came into the pub. They greeted my friend and one of the man, a rich guy, came to our table and shook hands with my old teacher.
“What do you think? I am sure that Lane will win. I am sure that he will win before the fifth round is over. I will bet any money on him.”
My old teacher shook his head and after a while he said:
“This time I won’t bet any money on any one of them, but maybe my former pupil will feel like losing a pound or two!” He looked into my eyes.
The stranger turned to me:
“I believe in Lane. I will bet Ł10 to your on that he will win!” the stranger said.
“That is a good offer,” my old teacher entered the conversation again. “If I were you all I would take it.” He touched my leg under the table and shook his head. So I took the bet and shook hands with the stranger.
The stranger took out Ł10 out of his wallet and gave it to my old teacher. I did the same with one pound note.
“The winner will collect the money at our old friend,” said the stranger and went to his friends.
“Who is the man?” I asked my friend.
“He is a bookmaker. He has earned a lot of money on a horse racing but I don’t know whether he understands people as well has horses. Anyway, congratulations,” he told me. “I can give you the money right now but let’s wait till the end of the match. What if a miracle happened.”
I didn’t know what he was talking about.
“What do you mean? A miracle? Everyone believes that Lane will win.”
“It depends,” said my friend and refused to tell me more. “It’s time to go.”
We left together and we went into the hall. We were sitting quite close to each other.
The bell rang and the match started. Both of the men were strong. We could hear some shouts telling Lane to start attacking. Most of the people clearly believed that Lane will win.
And in the first round it was clear that Lane was better. He often hit Hardy very hard. My old friend looked at me smiling but I didn’t believe that I had any chance to win the bet.
The second round was the same. Lane was clearly better but my old teacher was still smiling. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t believe in Lane’s victory. When he was younger he used to do boxing, that was why I thought that he knew what he was talking about, but now I started to doubt him.
In the third round I watched both of the boys carefully and I saw that Lane seemed a bit more tired than Hardy. Moreover, his hits were not as hard as in the first and second round. During the break my friend turned to me again and showed five fingers. He believed that there will be only five rounds.
In the fourth round Hardy was calm and protected himself. Lane was attacking a lot but Hardy managed to avoid the attacks. Suddenly his left hand hit Lane’s chin and Lane fell down. “One – two – three – four – five… Eight,” Lane is getting up, “Nine…” Lane is ready again. The end of the round four.
My friend turned to me and he took out the money out of his pocket: “They are already yours.”
I felt much better now. But I was careful because these matches are often won by accident. The bell – the fifth round… What’s wrong with Lane? He’s very weak now and he looks sick.
And then it happened. It was so quick that I couldn’t see it well. Hardy hit Lane with his right hand and Lane went down immediately. And that was the end.
People were angry and they discussed what happen. No one expected Lane to lose. But how did my old teacher knew? I came to him. He gave me the money.
“How did you know that Lane will lose?”
“You know, Lane and Hardy are professional boxers. But both of them are getting ready in a different way. Hardy practices every day, eats healthily and he wants to win. Lane is not a bad boy but yesterday I met him at four a clock with his friends. He was drunk. A boxer who does this can never win. You know, young man, the whole life is a fight and when I see that you are not ready for it, then I will bet that you will lose.”
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