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The Runaway Palace

Note to parents & educators: downloadable & editable lesson sheet. This story has been carefully chosen to help serve as a lesson that teaches us that even if we dislike something or someone, we should always try to treat them well. The lesson includes post-reading tasks which focuses on key vocabulary and comprehension questions

Long, long ago, when the world was so full of magic that even the smallest stone could hold a thousand secrets, there was a palace that was alive. Because it slept all the time, nobody knew its secret. It remained that way until the Princess who lived there married a Prince who was a brave and strong warrior but had such a bad temper that even the smallest inconvenience would cause him to hurl things around and slam doors and windows. After his last victory, he let the kind and sweet Princess leave the palace to travel and negotiate the peace, leaving the Prince to live alone for a long time.

The Prince’s boredom caused his bad temper to grow worse and, with the passing days, more and more marks and dents appeared on the walls and floors of the palace, which grew dirty and neglected. One day, when the Prince went out, the palace - annoyed at how it was being treated - woke up and moved for the first time in many years. It decided to hide behind a hill but was so big that it didn’t take long for the Prince to find it again.

The palace tried to escape many times but the Prince would always find it easily and then unleash his fury, causing more and more damage. One night, having grown tired of the Prince’s actions, the palace locked all its doors and windows while the Prince slept. It ran for days and days, ignoring the damage and destruction the Prince was causing while trapped inside. When the palace finally stopped and opened its doors, the Prince discovered that they were surrounded by ice and snow, in the midst of the most horrible cold.

“The North Pole? How do I get out of here?” wondered the Prince as he explored his new surroundings. 

After searching all morning and finding nothing, the Prince decided to go back to the palace to warm up. However, when he tried to open the door he found it locked. He banged on the door furiously but all he managed to do was destroy his near-frozen hands. After a while, the door opened slightly and the Prince ran towards it, only for it to slam in his face.

“Stupid palace! It seems angry with me!”

The palace was indeed angry with the Prince and shook all its windows to let him know.

“So that’s the way you want it?” shouted the Prince.

“Well, get ready, because this is war. And I have never lost a battle.”

In the days that followed, the Prince and the palace had the strangest fight imaginable. While the Prince tried to get in by breaking the windows, the palace did whatever it could to keep him out. In the middle of that crazy war, the cold began to freeze the Prince’s feet and crack the palace walls. When he was almost completely frozen solid, the Prince - winner of a thousand battles - realized that the only way to win this one would be to make peace. And so the Prince began to repair the palace and to control his anger and fury so as not to damage it again. The palace soon realized that it liked the repairs much more than the stupid fighting and that only that brutish Prince could do them. Soon enough, the palace opened its doors to allow the Prince to shelter from the cold at night, and clean and repair by day.

Much to his surprise, the Prince discovered that he really enjoyed doing the repairs and in no time the palace looked magnificent once again. So much so, that one night it finally forgave the Prince, closed its doors and ran all the way back to its country.

They arrived just before the Princess, who was delighted with the sway the palace looked and the improved character of her husband, now barely interested in wars and fighting any more. The lasting peace and the Prince’s repairs meant the palace could finally resume its silent sleep.

The only thing anyone knows about this unique palace is that it was taken down stone by stone and distributed around the world. Some of the stones could well be part of your house today, so don’t let your anger and temper cause it any damage...


Post-Reading Task

1. Vocabulary

For each bolded word from in the story, write down its Part of Speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction) and its meaning in the following table. A few examples are shown.

Part of Speech
The use of special powers to make things happen that would normally not happen.

noun Something giving trouble or causing delay or discomfort.
verb To discuss with someone in order to agree on something.
Something or someone that is not given enough attention or care.
North Pole
noun In the middle of a group of people or things.
verb To knock or hit something forcefully.
adjective Something done in a rough, unpleasant, or violent way.

2. Questions about the story

1) How did the Prince treat the palace?

2) So, what happened to the palace?

3) What did the palace do to let the Prince know it was not happy about his behavior?

4) What did the Prince do when the palace locked him out in the cold North Pole?

5) What did the Prince later do to ‘make peace’ with the palace?

3. Thoughts about the story and life

This story teaches us that even if we dislike something or someone, we should always try to treat them well.

If we try to harm or damage them, the trouble will fall back on us.

If we can learn how to take good care of things and also help others, we will have a more peaceful and happy life.

1) Give an example of how you took good care or repaired something.

2) Give an example of how you repaired a relationship with a friend, classmate, or family member after a fight or disagreement with them. What did you say or do to make things better? Did it work?

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