In time, these lessons and "stubs" will be migrated to the Buzzwords site.
Until then, consider them historical.

The Bronze Ring (1): The King Needs a Gardener


Do you know what a "fairy tale" is? What kinds of people do we find in fairy tales (kings, farmers, etc.)? Make a list.


[1] Once upon a time in a certain country there lived a king whose palace was surrounded by a spacious garden. But, though the gardeners were many and the soil was good, this garden yielded neither flowers nor fruits, not even grass or shady trees.
[2] The King was in despair about it, when a wise old man said to him:
[3] "Your gardeners do not understand their business: but what can you expect of men whose fathers were cobblers and carpenters? How should they have learned to cultivate your garden?"
[4] "You are quite right," cried the King.
[5] "Therefore," continued the old man, "you should send for a gardener whose father and grandfather have been gardeners before him, and very soon your garden will be full of green grass and gay flowers, and you will enjoy its delicious fruit."
[6] So the King sent messengers to every town, village, and hamlet in his dominions, to look for a gardener whose forefathers had been gardeners also, and after forty days one was found.


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. spacious: wide, roomy; having a lot of space
b. to yield: to produce, provide, give; used especially of plants and factories, for example
c. shady: providing shade, protecting from the sun (and therefore cool and pleasant)
d. despair: a loss of hope; to be "in despair" means to give up hope
e. a cobbler: an old-fashioned word for a person who make shoes
f. a carpenter: a person who work with wood
g. to cultivate: to grow, as a farmer grows rice or corn
h. a messenger: a person who carry messages
i. a hamlet: a small town or village
j. a dominion: an area over which a single ruler (like a king) has control
k. forefathers: ancestors, all the parents and grandparents and so on who came before one


Use one of the above terms in each of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. I want to put a new door on my room; I think I'll call a __________.
2. If I cook 1 cup of rice, how much cooked rice will it __________?
3. It's important to respect our __________ and the many things they left for us.
4. Most people like a __________ room better than one that is too small.
5. It's important to remain cheerful, and not give in to __________.
6. At one time, England's __________ covered about one-quarter (1/4) of the earth.
7. It takes hard work to __________ rice.


If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. Who or what does the "wise old man" blame for the problems in the King's garden? Why do you think he does this? Do you think he is right?
2. What job do your parents have? Do you (or will you) have the same job? Do you think a person will be better at something if his father or mother did the same thing? Why do you think this?
3. So far in this story we have seen two typical characters from a fairy tale: a king and a wise old man. Can you think of some stories from your culture that include people like these? Tell one or two stories.


1 f carpenter; 2 b yield; 3 k forefathers; 4 a spacious; 5 c despair; 6 j dominion; 7 a spacious

This lesson is ©2011 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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