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Overview: Short stories – stories for children and teens

The Tailspin

The large engines are fighting loudly against the storm. "What a weather", mutters Dick, the on-board mechanic. "The weathermen have well and truly gotten it wrong again." "Humans cannot know everything" answers Fred, the radio engineer. "Now don’t see everything as so negative." "Just wait until we are lying under the ruins of this old thing with broken limbs", grumbles the mechanic back. "God will bring us safely to our destination", the radio engineer tries to calm him. "God? I don’t need him. I can help myself. That works a lot better anyway. At least I know where I am with myself!" Dick answers curtly. "Why are you always so adverse to everything to do with Christianity?" Fred wants to know. "Well that doesn’t really have anything to do with you ... but if you really want to know: lots of people say that they are Christians but in the next moment they do something to prove that they are definitely not" moans Dick.

Fred knows that his friend isn’t wrong. There had also been moments in his life where his behaviour had not quite shown that he belongs to Christ. When he moans at his colleagues instead of giving in or when he complains about others ... "Fred, there is something wrong with the upper rudder!" Dick suddenly shouts and pulls him away from his thoughts. "We are losing altitude."

"Radio SOS! Quicklyl!" Bill, the co-pilot, screams through to the back of the freight plane. Fred keeps sending emergency signals through the ether. The sweat is standing on his forehead. The nearest airport is over two hours away. His message rings through the stormy night like a scream for help but he does not get any contact with earth. "Put your seatbelts on!" calls Bob, the commander, and clamps his hands around the control stick. "We will have to perform an emergency landing." "That means – be ready to die!" grumbles Dick.

"I am not flying for the first time." - "This ... is the end" whispers Fred and quietly prays. "Yes, this is probably the end, Fred", says Dick’s shaky voice. "But I don’t think it will be painful. One hit and it’s over." "No, that is not the end! That isn’t the finale. You, Bill, Bob and I will have to step up in front of God!" counters Fred.

The commander stares through the cabin window. His eyes try to look through the fog. His strong hands are lying calmly on the control stick. "Aren’t you scared, Bob?" asks Bill. "I am a bit scared but I know that God will not leave me. He is my redeemer and I can trust in him completely." The plane continues to drop lower and lower. Suddenly they can recognise the bubbling of a flowing river. Then the machine crashes.

Dick is first to wake from his dizziness. He tries to remember. Oh yes, they crashed. And he is still alive. Water is flowing in through the ripped open back of the plane. He quickly tries to free himself from the belt. Bill comes to the back. "Are you missing something?" "I don’t think so. Come on, we have to help Fred. How is Bob?" he asks. "He is alive but his arm is broken", answers Bill shakily. After half an hour they have managed to escape onto a wing. The wind is blasting through their wet clothes. How long will they survive? Maybe half an hour? Bill shoots off a flare. Will someone see it? And if so, will they be brave enough to cross the flowing river to get to us strangers?

The wrecked machine slips further and further into the water a centimetre at a time. Suddenly Dick is blown into the water by a stormy gust. The three men can hear screams of fear through the screaming of the storm. He wildly flaps his arms around fighting against the deathly cold which is surrounding him from all sides. His hands finally find a grip on the back end of the wing. Now he is hanging there in the icy water but for how long? And he is scared, scared stiff of dying. Now, with the dark waters surrounding him like a grave, he feels very close to death. He knows now: he will have to face God. And he cannot do it!

Dick’s stiff hands are clambering like clamps at the edge of the rudder. He does not want to die. But his energy is failing. Now he calls to God. Will God listen to him, the person who had often taken God’s name in vain? Despairing with fear and stiff from the cold Dick hangs onto the end of the wreck which is slowly but surely disappearing into the waves. A few minutes and then...

Suddenly he hears a shout of joy. It is Fred’s voice. He turns his head a little. Yes, help is on the way. The men on the wing are crying out. A little boat with an old man in it is slowly approaching. It manoeuvres towards the wing where the three desperate men are holding on. As the three men get in the boat it is pushed down into the water almost up to the rim. "The boat is too small and it is leaky", says the rescuer. "But I don’t have another one. You will have to scoop out the water while I row. We are not too far from the bank, but the currents ..."

A terrible scream pierces through the storm. "Dick! He is alive!" rejoices Fred. "What should we do?” calls Bill and turns to the rescuer. "Another one on board and we will all drown. You said it yourself." Without a word the old stranger starts rowing towards the wreck. As soon as he discovers Dick he skilfully steers the boat to the rear wing and carefully climbs onto the unfortunate machine. Using all of his power he pulls Dick out of the water and into the boat. The little rowing boat immediately sinks down to the rim. "Row in that direction – away from the wreck. That is the right bank to head for and be quick. "What about you?" stammers Bill, "what will you do?" "I have a powerful redeemer. I can die and face God. You friend cannot – I could see that." Then he gives the boat a strong push.

The three men fight silently against the storm. They have experienced something unbelievable and unimaginable together. They finally reach solid ground. Dick immediately rows back to the plane wreck.

The waves foam and squirt up around the boat. Despite everything he has gone through he is not tired. He must get back to the wreck, whatever it costs. Hours later he reaches the spot. The side rudder is still peering slightly out of the water. The old man is……gone. Drowned! He has been ripped away by the violent currents. "O God!" calls Dick throwing his hands over his face. The old man had died for him, for Dick, the mocker. He confesses his sins and calls out to God for mercy.

Possible parts of the bible relevant to the story:

  • Jesus said to her, He who believes in me will live, even though he dies. ( John 11,25)
  • Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. ( Matthew 7,13)
  • But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. ( Proverbs 1,33)
  • Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue! ( Psalm 31,2)
  • Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. ( Acts 4,12)

(Source: "Der Kompass" edition 2000, a daily calendar for children and young people in Germany. The story was allowed to be included in the collection of materials ( / with kind permission.)
Copyright: Christian circulation (

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