The following is an original story, published by Stanley Ainsworth in 1946 as part of Galloping Sounds, a little book featuring several stories loaded with specific phonemes for articulation practice. This story is loaded with "th" sounds.


The three kittens were lost! Thirsty, Thinker, and Theo had started down the path to see the world. After pushing their way through a field of thistles, and crawling through a thick hedge full of sharp thorns, they were very tired. So, as kittens often do, they curled up together for a little nap. When they woke up, they did not know which way to go to get home.

"I'm thirsty," meowed Thirsty. He was always wanting a drink, and that is why he had that name.

"Stop saying that," answered Thinker. "I am trying to think. Which way is North?"

Theo said nothing. She never did. She just opened her mouth in a big yawn and let her brothers do the thinking and talking.

"That way is North," said Thirsty, out loud. Then he whispered to himself, "At least I think it is."

"Then that is the way we want to go, because we came South down the path from the house," answered Thinker.

Neither of the other kittens could say anything. They did not have the least idea which way to go, so they began to follow Thinker.

Before they had gone far, it started to thunder.

"What's that?" asked Thirsty.

"Oh, that's just thunder," said Thinker. "If we don't hurry, it will rain before we get home."

"I hope so! I'm thirsty."

The three kittens went on, back through the thick thorn hedge and the field of thistles. Suddenly, it began to rain hard. The puddles soon began to grow larger and larger. Thirsty was slipping into more and more of them as he tried to get a drink, but the others would not wait for him. He was soon covered with mud and he was still thirsty.

"I think you will need a bath," said Thinker.

"I hate baths," growled Thirsty.

On and on they went. It began to get very dark. Theo was afraid, but she did not say anything.

"I hope that this is the right way home," meowed Thirsty.

"Yes, it is," purred Thinker. "See, here is the path that we came down this morning."

Sure enough! There, through the dark and the rain, they could see the lighted windows of their home. My, but they were happy! They scampered up to the door and began to meow as loud as they could, but nothing happened; no one came to open the door for them.

"Oh, dear," said Thirsty, "the rain and thunder are making so much noise that they can't hear us. What shall we do? I am so thirsty for some milk."

"Stop saying that! Since we woke up, this is the fourth or fifth time you have said you are thirsty," said Thinker.

"It is not," answered Thirsty. "It is only the third time."

"Why don't you drink rain water if you are so thirsty?"

"Because I get all muddy," answered Thirsty, "and I hate baths! Besides, I am thirsty for milk. What can we do?"

"I know!" said Thinker. "There is a broken window in the basement. We will jump in through that."

They scampered off again. The hole in the window was stuffed with a cloth, but Thinker put his teeth into it and jerked it out.

Thump! Thump! Thump! The three kittens jumped through the hole and landed on a box underneath the window. Then, they all ran for the stairway to the kitchen.

"What was that noise?" said Mother's voice from the kitchen. "I thought 1 heard three thumps in the basement."

She opened the door, and before she could say "Why, it is only our three little kittens," Thirsty, Thinker, and Theo had rushed between her feet and dashed to their beds underneath the warm kitchen stove.

Soon, a pan of warm milk was almost hidden by the three kittens as they noisily ate their supper. Thirsty was happy, at last. Theo was not talking, but she was making a noise - lapping up milk with her pink tongue. Thinker was much too busy to do any thinking. They were all very thankful to be home again.

added January 1, 2007 with permission of Sue Ainsworth Jennings, daughter of Stanley Ainsworth