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Overview: Short stories – stories for children and teens

Story to read out: On a knife edge

"Where on earth are my ice skates?" llka is rummaging around in the cupboard. "I had them last year." "Ilkaaaa, where are you?" her friends shout throughout the house. They have been waiting at the front door for at least ten minutes wrapped up in fleeced anoraks in blue, red and green with thick woolly hats, scarves and mitts. llka is starting to get nervous. She simply cannot find her ice skates. And how can she!? Just like it often is in her room – it is perfect chaos. Ilka stands in the middle and thinks...

Her eyes fall on the verse in the calendar today: "Children – obey your parents." - "I should have listened to mum” thinks llka, "as she said that I should clean up my room! If I had only ..." she murmurs to herself. Quietly the bedroom door opens a crack and Tobi’s grinning face appears. "Do you need a compass or our help? Or should we come back in a couple of days..?" "Get out!" she calls and throws a colourful cushion at the door.

After searching together they finally find the ice skates – right at the top of the book shelf under a drift of papers and old school books. "You will only go on ice which has been approved by the fire brigade, OK?!" Ilka’s father warns her.

"Yes, of course ..." she replies. See ya! The front door is slammed shut. They quickly run to the frozen quarry pond. The glassy ice makes a brilliant ice rink. After two or three hours the complete ice rink is totally overran. No wonder that Nelly finally determined: "Just skating around in circles is pretty boring!" "Come on, the river flows a few hundred meters from here. The ice floe has frozen over again after it melted. We can run down there and cross the river" thinks Meiko "that would be an adventure!"

"But you know that our parents have forbidden us to do that. And anyway ... I am scared", answered Nelly. "Ach, do not be a coward! And anyway - no one will see us", calls Meiko and runs off. His friends are hot on his heels because none of them want to be a coward – none of them.

llka also has a queasy feeling because she knows: God sees everything! He has an insight into everything which makes us scared and also the things we would prefer to hide. He sees what no one else sees. Ilka thinks that that is a good thing – usually…but she simply does not want to be a coward now...

After a few minutes they reach the frozen river and are out of breath. "IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN TO TRESPASS ON THE ICE". A yellow sign with black writing which you cannot miss is placed every 200m.

"Come here, we will only step on the ice near to the bank. Nothing can happen to us then!” calls Meiko overconfidently. The ice groans and creeks under the new weight but it holds. Evening is slowly approaching. The sun is low and red behind the bleak frozen trees. The cold has become sharper. "Hey, llka, I have to go home. Take a look at your watch and see how late it is!" calls Nelly to her friend. "You’re right!" she answers horrified, "I have to be sitting at the table in front of my evening meal in twenty minutes. I’ll never manage it. What on earth should I tell my parents why I am so late home?" It hits llka like an electric shock; another lie on top of it all. One sin always leads to another. It always seems to happen so quickly to Ilka! What now?

"Well we could take a short cut over the frozen river. We saw how the ice held our weight", advises Meiko and runs off over to the other bank. The ice does not even seem to notice the new weight. Tobias, llka and Nelly, as the last one, all run behind him. The first two have reached the other bank but Nelly has a couple more meters to go as she suddenly hears a buzz under her which seemed to spread across the surface of the ice and then…..crack! The ice gives way under Nelly. The icy cold flows around her calves, her hips, her shoulders ... "Heellppp! ..." The others look towards Nelly horrified. Only her head is popping out of the ice cold water. It shot through Tobi’s head that it is a case of life or death here. "I’ll fetch help!" he calls and runs off. Tobi has already disappeared into the twilight. Shakily, Nelly manages to push her freezing arms over the hole in the ice.

"I can’t manage! I can’t go on. My hands ...” cries Nelly. Meiko feels wretched. "It’s my entire fault! My fault!" the thoughts go round in his head. llka hardly feels any better. Her conscience is eating at her. "Why didn’t I listen to my parents? And what about Nelly if she drowns? She never wanted anything to do with Jesus Christ. If she drowns… she will be lost forever." "Meiko, Nelly, llka! Where are you?" "Here, Tobi, next to the oak tree", they call back. "I have brought a few blankets", says Tobi’s dad out of breath and wraps them around Nelly, who he manages to pull out of the water, he himself lying on a board. It is hard work even for a strong man like Tobi’s father because Nelly’s clothes are soaked through with icy water. "So, let’s back to the car quickly.

I hope she doesn’t catch hypothermia. I will drive her into hospital straight away." The good news comes the next day: Nelly is OK apart from a terrible cold. Everyone breaths a sigh of relief. "Forgive me, Lord Jesus", Meiko prays. "I put the others under danger." "Thank you, father in heaven. You are always there for us and always help us."

And Nelly? God especially talks to her as she lies in bed recovering from her cold. Without help she would have frozen to death in the river! So close to death ... she would never forget that. She knows: She must get serious with God now and admit her sins to him. She had always pushed it to one side until now. When you are twelve you seem to have all of the time in the world, don’t you? Not always... thinks Nelly. Not always...

Possible parts of the bible relevant to the story:

  • Children, obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord. (Collosians 3,20)
  • Do not be arrogant but be afraid. (Romans 11,20)
  • Have nothing to do with a false charge (Exodus 23,7)
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1.John 1,9)
  • Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 4,7)

(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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