Text only  Print this page | E-mail this page| Add to favourites
British Council LearnEnglish Central British Council LearnEnglish Central
learnenglish central stories, image copyright by Paul Millard
this theme
stories archive
See lots more stories in our archive
Sign up for our newsletter and receive updates about what's happening on this site.
learn english
Learn English in your country, in the UK or take an exam

Double-click on any word and see its definition from Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

Write a Mini-Saga

A mini-saga is a story that has exactly 50 words (not 49, and not 51!). Write a mini-saga of your own and send it to us.

How to write a mini-saga
An example of a mini-saga
Ideas for mini-sagas
Read mini-sagas from our users
Send us you mini-saga

How to write a mini-saga
A mini-saga is a story which has exactly 50 words. Here is one way that you could write a mini-saga.

1. Start by thinking of a story that you have written or would like to write, or think of a well-known story, or something that you have read.

2. Get a written version of the story - write it down, or print it off the Internet.

3. Shorten your story. Take out any words that are not absolutely necessary. How many words are there?

4. Now shorten your story again. How many words are there? At this point you may need to change words or sentences to make exactly 50 words.

Send us you mini-saga


An example of writing a mini-saga

Start with the story:

The Cobbler – First Draft (233 words)

Once upon a time there was a man named Roddy Biggs, who was a bank robber. One day he took a pair of shoes to a cobbler to get new soles put on them. The cobbler gave him a ticket, which he put in his pocket. The next day Roddy was arrested by the police for a bank robbery he had committed the week before.

Time passed slowly and 20 years later Roddy was released from gaol. As he was walking away form the prison, he put his hand in his jacket pocket, and found a piece of paper. Pulling it out, he saw the cobbler’s ticket and remembered taking his shoes there all those years ago.

“Why not?” he thought, and went off to see if, just by chance, the cobbler was there and still had his shoes. When he got to the address on the ticket he saw, sandwiched between a supermarket and a multi-storey car park, the cobbler’s shop. He went in and found an ancient man working in the dark little room. He gave him the ticket. The old man examined the ticket closely and then took down a huge ledger from the shelf. Blowing of the dust, he opened it and ran a shaking finger down the columns of names and dates inside. His finger stopped at an entry. Looking up, he said, “They’ll be ready next week!”

Take out words you don't need:

The Cobbler – Second Draft (100 words)

A man named Roddy Biggs took a pair of shoes to a cobbler. The cobbler gave him a ticket, which he put in his pocket. Next day Roddy was arrested for a bank robbery. He was sent to gaol.

Twenty years later Roddy was released from gaol. He put his hand in his pocket, and found the ticket.

He went to see if the cobbler still had his shoes. When he got to the address he went in and found an ancient man. He gave him the ticket. The old man examined the ticket and said, “They’ll be ready next week!”

Take out words you don't need, and change some words to leave exactly 50 words:

The Cobbler – Final Draft: the mini-saga (50 words)

A man took his shoes to a cobbler. Next day he was arrested and sent to prison for robbery. Twenty years later he was released, found the cobbler’s ticket and, just in case, took it to the cobbler’s shop. Examining it closely, the old man said, “Come back next week”.

Read mini-sagas from our users

Send us you mini-saga


Ideas for mini-sagas     
Newspaper Articles
First Experiences
Great Failures
Urban Legends
Nursery Rhymes
Memorable Days
Poems in Prose 
                             Police Reports
Crimes Witnessed
Holiday Incidents
Puzzle Stories
Travel Incidents
Horror Stories
Great Adventures
Love Stories

Send us you mini-saga


Your texts (Mini-sagas sent in by our users)

The hairy monster

The hairy monster was gaining on me. As it leapt onto me, I screamed until I could no more. I thought it would start ripping open my flesh. The cuts would be an ocean deep. My mum told me to calm down as she brushed the spider off my leg.  


Wife's support?

After a car accident, at the hospital, the husband said to his wife: “Darling! When I lost my dad you were with me. My company was ruined, you still were with me. Now, I'm here totally trashed and you are here by my side. Such bad luck you gave me!”

PePe Williams

Pedro and the wolf

Every day Pedro used to freak out their neighbours screaming that a wolf was coming to kill them, and people always ran to help him. Everybody was tired of the joke and after a week Pedro screamed again but no one cared. After this day Pedro was not seen anymore.

Fabiana Rinaldi


The big quiet house

It was very quiet in the big old house. The feeling was terrible and there was the feeling that someone was looking at me. The night was dark and windy. Suddenly there were red eyes behind the shelf. I was shocked … but then I saw that it was only my cat.

Nina Ludwikowski (Germany)

Too drunk to ... get back home again?

I was too drunk at a party, so looked for a taxi. Outside, finally a car stopped. In my slurring English I told her where to go. She didn’t hear. Because we weren’t moving, I repeated it. She looked at me. “I‘m picking up my son from his guitar lesson”

Robin Druijff

Business class

A racist woman was sitting next to a black person on a plane. She complained. The hostess said that there was a seat in business class. The woman agreed and felt happy. She was surprised when the hostess said to the black man that he could go in business class.

Stephane (Switzerland)



She goes to him and says that she loves him. She isn’t very happy. She wonders and asks why he cries, because love is so wonderful. He is silent. She will be very sick if he doesn't say that he loves her too. Instead of that he says "Love hurts".

Angela Geuhs


I liked the sunset that I could see from my balcony. Every evening I went on my balcony, saw the sunset and dreamed. One evening was a beautiful sunset. In this sunset I saw my deceased father. I tried to catch him and so I fell down from my balcony.

Jennifer Müller (Germany)

Tiny girl

Lisa was 1.35 metres small. The kids in her class laughed at her and said "Tiny girl never grows". She was sad but also angry and so she climbed up onto the roof in the big break and shouted "Now I am bigger than you". Then she jumped and died.

Martin Schmitt


A freezer

A man was locked in a freezer by accident. He was freezing. He thought he was going to die. He had a pen and wrote on his body. “I’m gonna die. Good bye, honey.” Next day, his body was discovered but he was dead. Ridiculously, the temperature was just 17ºC.

Ji, Da-eun

The haunted house

Lisa moved into a haunted house. She was afraid at first, but nothing happened. That evening she was washing her hair in the sink. She thought it was thicker than usual, but didn’t care. When she raised her head, she saw the ghost in front of her.  It was wet.

Kim Hee Young (Korea)

The Monkey

A monkey had a flea in his ear. The flea said “I’ll bite if you don’t do what I want." The monkey did what it required and the flea got lazy. The monkey died very soon and the flea was too fat to hunt for food. Soon it also died.

Paula Wiefel (Germany)


The childless couple

There was a couple. They looked happy, but they didn’t have a baby, though she had already given birth twice. Each time the baby died as soon as it was born. They didn’t know the reason so the wife was suffering. It turned out that the husband had killed them.


Half ten in the morning in an English-class

There he sits, waiting for the thing that can’t be prevented. The others look not so scared as he thinks he looks. It comes closer. It won't stop. All the others just accept it. Escape is no longer possible. Now is it there, he says: "Oh, its an C ..."

Benjamin Werker (Germany)

The wish to be free

It is night. She stands on a reef; the moon is shining, so bright and clear. The waves are breaking and the wind blows the clouds away. I remember the past again. Our time together, which will never come back. She is happy, happy to follow the clouds away ...

Inka Klages (Germany)


One Day

If I had only one day more to live, I would say "sorry" for all the bad things which I have done. I would make true all my dreams and travel far away. If I had only one more day to live, I wouldn’t tell anybody at all about it.

Inka Klages (Germany)

A policeman on the street

A woman was walking on the street when she saw a policeman patrolling it. Suddenly, he approached her gradually. She was afraid of being arrested. However, she could not run away from him. He looked at her. The policeman asked her “Could you tell me where the police station is?”

Myeongkuk Choi

The knock on the window

It was a rainy night. I was in a flat shivering. Suddenly someone knocked on the window. I opened it. It was an old woman . She asked, “Where is the room 304?” I answered carefully. She went away. After a while, I realised I was on the 3rd floor.

JiYounG Kim (Korea)


The Butcher

He stood there, blood stainds all over his shirt. He chopped a huge chunk out of the lifeless something in front of him with a hatchet and carefully put it into a bag. Suddenly he stared right at me. With a soft voice he said: “Would you like something else?”

Ingo Böhne

A fairytale ending

The wedding was great, the cake was awesome,
A fairytale ending not after all,
After the honeymoon I had to do all the housework.
His feet up on the table watching TV and eating dinner.
Was this the Prince Charming I married?
Maybe it was better living with my step-sisters!

Charlotte Dawson

The Victor from the Printing-works

On the way home from my dirty work, I used to meet a girl. She had never given me a smile. Finally one day she gave me one. What a victory! Looking into the mirror at home I could see the smiling winner with black daubed all across his face.

Milan Karadi


Racism’s no big issue. Never! Everything’s changed since the Second World War! Nobody’s neglected because of his or her religion or opinion. No way. Not here. We live in a modern state. Some months ago an Afro-American was beaten up. But no, racism is no big issue. No where, never.

Magdalena Pollmann (Germany)


A Scare

Emma was lying in bed. “BANG!" "CRASH!" What was it? Thud! Thud! Thud! It was coming up the stairs. Emma’s heart was in her mouth and she hid under her quilt. Her door opened and the light went on 'Just me, dear I’ve been putting the pans away from our lunch!'


Still life

Art class: the teacher brought some colours and told the students to paint still life. After one hour they had painted flowers, chairs, some fruit, and the teacher fastened them on a board. Only Billy’s work was not hung. He brushed quite different still life: a stiff in a coffin.

Sylwia Osiecka (Poland)

The True Story of Little Red Riding Hood

The wolf stood in court charged with trespassing and the murder of Grandma. “I haven’t eaten that granny”, he pleaded. “Besides grannies are not tender enough for my taste”. In the back of the court stood Little Red Riding Hood, still picking her teeth and letting out a small burp.

Luis Bautista (The Netherlands)

My Old Maths Teacher

We were in the fourth form last year. One day, we were having a maths lesson just a few days before the exam. The teacher said the maths exam would be very easy, don’t worry about it. Then a student said, ‘Of course, because you have all the answers, miss!’

Tommy Yip


The Love Story of the Frustrated Swimmer and the Red-Haired Thief (A True Story)

She was seven and took up swimming. But a naughty boy nicked her Italian towel. She hated his guts and quit.
She fell for a charming lad. He took her home to meet his family. Her mind flashed back as she recognised the shabby towel in the bathroom.

Mará José Caravaca (Argentina)


The river

It is born in a boggy place as a small trickle of muddy water. Gradually it starts to grow, twisting and winding. It rushes forward, growing until it reaches a cliff's edge and thunders down. Later it slows, hissing like a snake, and ends its journey, as a still pond.

Riham Dabapu (Saudi Arabia)


The line between success and failure

A girl was sitting for her A-levels. She was very confident about her results. She saw her results. The results were so bad that she could not accept them. She screamed and fainted. She was sent to the hospital. In the hospital she became mad. Her life ended up there.

Kevin and Carol


Lonely Mike on a lonely night

On a lonely night, Mike climbed up the mountain. He saw the sky with stars and the moon. No one talked to him at that moment. He was lonely and he wanted to make friends with the stars. So he jumped up and tried to catch them. But he failed…


Never say die

A couple was walking on a bridge. Suddenly, a handsome man, who was riding a horse, approached the girl. She fell in love with the man. They boy went crazy and screamed there. One day, he killed an artist and used his tools to draw a famous picture, named ‘screaming’.


The scream

John had a habit of screaming near the coast. Joanie, living five blocks away, liked to listen to it before sleeping every night. She recorded it into her mobile. One day she went shopping and her phone rang. A man came and asked, ‘Is that my voice?’ and they smiled.


Historical girl

Peter moved to a new apartment and met Ann. She told him about her life. Peter started to like Ann. However, she left when she knew how he felt. Finally, Peter visited a museum and he saw a portrait. He froze on the spot because Ann was smiling at him.


Smile after scream…

Cambridge University received a letter for a graduate. It was 57 years late. The official sent it to the man’s home. Unfortunately, he had already died. His wife read the letter and screamed, ‘It was a love letter!’ When she looked at the signature, she smiled finally. It was hers.



John looked at ‘Napoleon’ for an hour every day. Mary wondered why. One day, she asked him, ‘Why are you only interested in that picture?’ ‘I’m not interested in it, but you. Your face is the most beautiful picture I’ve ever seen,’ he replied. Both laughed and broke the silence.


German Shepherd

They went for a walk and left their baby sleeping. The dog used to stay home and look after things. When they came back, the dog was soaked in blood. The husband shot the dog dead. In the baby's room … a dead body on the floor and the baby sleeping.

Marcelo Elias (Brazil)


One challenge in my life

When I woke up I saw a dark sky. I tried to speak but I couldn’t. I was scared. I didn’t hear anything. I saw smoke above me. Seconds later I heard my mother shout ”Wake up! We’re all finished. The army helicopters are coming. Please don’t die. Please LIVE.”

Victoria Curley


The happiest day in my life

This happened when I was 10. Coming home, I saw mum embracing a man, crying. I was angry, I thought he made her sad. Surprisingly, they clasped me. "Honey, this is your dad returning from the front," mum cried, but those were happy tears. We have had much laughter afterwards.

Thu Pham (Vietnam)


Brave boy

The boy dislocated his foot and was taken to a surgeon. That was a difficult operation performed without anaesthetic. To the doctor’s surprise, the boy didn’t utter a sound. After surgery the boy told the doctor: “If my Mum had heard me crying, that would have caused her stronger pain”.

Massalina Saule (Kazakhstan)



Johnny's parents never took him to the zoo or circus. They told him that all animals should roam free. On the morning of his first day at school Johnny was found covered in blood. He'd slit his own stomach. Somehow he recovered. "I had butterflies in my tummy" he explained.



Smart law students

My friend and I often apply our legal knowledge. She claims: “Within my lawful right established in the orally concluded agreement, I hereby appeal to you to switch off the given light”. I respond: “Objection. The mentioned agreement contents a proviso: unless your action infringes my constitutional right for study”.

Massalina Saule (Kazakhstan)


Persistence wins the day!

It seemed all over. Goran had lost his third Wimbledon final. Lady luck had turned her back on him. But he thought otherwise. A new Goran was born that day. He persevered. Destiny was with him. At last he won the final due to resilience and never say die attittude.

Suleman Maniya (Pakistan)


A bad day

Yesterday, I went shopping with my friend. When we walked in a shop, suddenly there were some people fighting outside, I was very afraid. We ran as quickly as possible, however, there was a man who hit me. I was hurt and bleeding. It was a bad day for me.

Winnie Hui (Hong Kong)


I met a man

I met a man,
He was the best.
But then he left,
I was depressed.

All I have now
Are memories.
So I can
Think of him at least.

If only I could rule the world!
Then I would never let him go.
But he is gone,
I am alone.

Irina Dubrovka (Russia)


My miserable day

The day it rained I left my house with a list of things to do. Next I was in the rain dripping from head to toe, being splashed by cars dashing through puddles. It was a nightmare getting home. Got home, sat on my bed, thought about my miserable day.

Stella Kalu (Nigeria)



Sharon’s father died when she was ten and her mother got married again. One day, her step-father disappeared. The police questioned Sharon and her mother. Sharon panicked and confessed she had killed
her step-father because he beat her. Sharon was brought to a girls’ home as she was under 16.

Geraldmine Kung (Hong Kong)


Thieves in the Name of Freedom

“Hurry up!” Violeta whispered nervously. Suddenly they heard footsteps and a man’s voice shouting, “Stop thief!”. Miraculously, the twins both managed to escape.
15 years later…
Wouldn’t it have been better if you had asked me for the apples?
Remember your words, daddy  “Those who accept presents, pledge their liberty”


Fernando Cobo

The Double

Daniel was a poor guy who didn't work nor study. He had difficulty in paying his bills. One day Daniel was walking in the street and someone called him Antonio Banderas. This person was a film director and said to Daniel that he could be a double. He became rich.


Nicole Póvoa

Unexpected death

Yesterday I met a very nice girl. Her name was Janice, she was beautiful. She was, because she died. I didn't even have time to know her better. She died when she was going home and a truck ran over her. That was a horrible ending for a nice girl.

Lucas Galego and Tiago Aialla (Brazil)


Haiti’s story

The perfect, once pristine island of Haiti lies crushed. People are fleeing, screaming. Huge bangs are heard as innocent people are shot. A small child sobs as her mother falls to the ground. An old woman stops and remembers what a pure, beautiful country this once was. Before the war.

Susie Ricketts (Sheffield, England)


A man saved from death

A man was jailed for stealing money from the king’s Treasure. He was caught and jailed.  When the king heard about this he ordered him to be executed. However, he was too short to reach the rope above him. Then the king said, “Release him and bring a tall man.”

Salim Sadiqisa


The wolf is coming

The sheep boy looked after the sheep on the hill.  He was shouting: “The wolf is coming”. People ran to the hill but were disappointed. The second day he did it again, the people still ran to him and were disappointed again. Finally, the wolf came, but nobody believed it.

Li Wang


Summer suffering

… It was high summer. He had come out onto a street. He was walking and thinking of the opportunity that he had missed to meet with her again. He was suffering. Both his body and soul were overwhelmed by grief. The sharp pain of loss was killing him …

Igor Potrebchuk



I was sitting by the window in class doing the test, in my last year of secondary school.  Just twenty minutes left to go.  A strong wind came and took all my exam papers.  I started crying.  I woke up and thanked God right away.  Then I left the school.

Brzoom Hassan Kadirgolam


PC World

We didn’t know exactly where PC World was but I had an idea. We took a bus. We didn’t know where to get off the bus. We missed our stop and got off at the next stop and came back on foot. Oh! I could not believe it. “Store closed.”

Naeem Manzoor


Someone at the door

He was waiting for his friend’s arrival. Suddenly, there was a heavy knock at his door. His friend had told him he would arrive at 3. It was 2.30 now. Quickly he moved to face a man.
“Good morning sir, could I have a few minutes of your time?”

Fawaz Dahroj


An unlucky girl

She had an English exam the next day at nine. The night before she set her alarm for seven. She couldn’t sleep during the night so she decided to take a bath and wait until the morning to leave. But unfortunately she fell asleep and did not hear the alarm.

Pamela Kontcho


An over-talkative little child

A little child asks his father: “Dad, what is the Cold War”?    Troubled, the father answers: “It was a snowball fight during the winter”. Astonished, the child replies: “I thought it was a war between the capitalist and the communist blocs.” Embarrassed, his father says: “ Go to your room idiot”.

Pamela Kontcho


The lady on the bridge

A lady was trying to kill herself when Michael shouted, promising to marry her.
“My husband will never change!” she cried.
He cuddled her and both went for dinner.
Surprisingly they found on their table a box saying “Give it to her.” She looked and he never saw her again.

Marinela Cutabiala


Fragility of live

A little boy was thinking about the fragility of life, sitting in the kitchen. His grandmother, as always, was preparing dinner.“Grandma” he asked seriously “Will you live for a long time?” “Nobody knows” she answered, faintly thrilled with his sensibility. “But” the boy continued frowning, “Can my mother cook?”

Olga Ratkiewicz


Birthday surprise!!!

It was her sixteenth birthday. Her aunt’s present was a strange old book with blank pages. At midnight, she saw her dead mother dressed up like a witch and pointing to the book. When she woke up, she saw words in the book and learnt how to be a witch.

Pwint (Myanmar)


Saving money

Yesterday I wanted to phone my neighbour, but my phone wasn’t working, because I hadn’t paid the bill. I owed 20 pounds. I thought for a minute and then opened my window and shouted to my neighbour: Hi! Let’s talk for some minutes, and I will owe only 19 pounds!

Kádár Kristóf


Croc’s meal

Tom was walking. He saw an eagle flying towards the lake. The eagle was drinking water. Suddenly a crocodile from the water took a bite; the eagle died leaving a feather floating on the surface. Tom went into the water; the croc winked his eye “You’re next on my list”!

Sulaiman Meher


In love

There was a man who was in love but did not want to notice that. He stood on a bridge and was tempted to jump because of his confusion. He thought he was a fool. The heart is the boss, not the head, he realized when he was halfway down.



One hour flying

One hour flying and the sea will embrace me
One hour flying and the sun will caress me
One hour flying and the fragrances of the earth will welcome me
One hour flying between true freedom and me
However, it is already Monday morning and the plane sadly has gone




She sips his warm coffee
He enjoys his beer
The atmosphere is perfect
Outside it is raining
They exchange glances
He is attracted
She is embarrassed
She feels a quiver of fear when he walks toward her
He asks with a pleasant voice
Have you finished with the newspaper?



Diving for the first time

With shaking hands and trembling feet, Sam climbed the diving board. While he was looking at the water with eyes wide open, a sudden push came. He jumped into the cold, icy water and finally finding himself safe said, "It was easy. I could have done it all by myself."

Naeem Ni Ni


Sad story

Once there lived this butt-ugly fish in the ocean just out side Great Barrier Reef that had no friends but it’s reflection in the mirror. One day a big whale swam by and bombed into the little fish’s house and smashed the mirror. Now it had no friends at all!

Sarah-Mia Theil Nielsen


One day

One day a woman was at home hoovering, cleaning and washing up when her husband came back from a day’s work. “What have you been doing today?” he asked “Just the usual housework,” she answered “what about you?” I have also been doing house work. The man was a carpenter.

Martin Daivd Grant (Denmark)


A mini saga?

A mini saga is kind of a summary but there are certain rules. You have to tell a story in fifty words. Not ninety-nine and not fifty-one but exactly fifty. This might sound easy but it is not as easy as it sounds. You think this is a mini saga?

Mark Johnsen


The walking man

Once there was a lonely man,
who started walking and walking,
all over the world.
He went to many countries,
he got a lot of new friends,
he walked for several years,
until he one day forgot why he started walking in the first place,
and then he walked home.

Anders Hjorth (Denmark)



Delectable navigation along the wave of liberty. She strode magnificently, a shimmering body with an immortal touch of majesty. Gleaming upon those sailing with her nobility, most jewel-crowned, some less, others not at all. The warm delight shared all inside; froze under the monumental hollow splash, without achieving her destiny.

Marlene Win (Myanmar)


Love in the supermarket

They exchanged their first glances among the apples and the frozen peas. He felt like a defrosting turkey before Thanksgiving dinner. Her mouth was suddenly as juicy and warm as rare beef on a plate. They remembered and laughed about that day much later. They were both vegans by then.

Luis Sousa (Brazil)


The United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.
A registered charity: 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland)
Our privacy and copyright statements.
Our commitment to freedom of information. Double-click for pop-up dictionary.
 Positive About Disabled People Download Browsealoud