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Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Bronze Ring (3): The Gardener's Son


GET READY:

Do you think parents should decide who a girl should marry? Do you think a girl needs them to approve of her choice? Or do you think she should be free to marry anyone she chooses, without their permission?

A king hired a new gardener, who did a wonderful job of making his garden grow.

READ THIS:

[13] The gardener, as you have heard already, had a son, who was a very handsome young man, with most agreeable manners, and every day he carried the best fruit of the garden to the King, and all the prettiest flowers to his daughter. Now this princess was wonderfully pretty and was just sixteen years old, and the King was beginning to think it was time that she should be married.
[14] "My dear child," said he, "you are of an age to take a husband, therefore I am thinking of marrying you to the son of my prime minister.
[15] "Father," replied the Princess, "I will never marry the son of the minister."
[16] "Why not?" asked the King.
[17] "Because I love the gardener's son," answered the Princess.
[18] On hearing this the King was at first very angry, and then he wept and sighed, and declared that such a husband was not worthy of his daughter; but the young Princess was not to be turned from her resolution to marry the gardener's son.

NOTES:

Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. handsome: good-looking. Usually used for men or boys, but sometimes used for women, horses, and even non-living things ("The company pays Bob a handsome salary.")
b. most: This is usually the superlative of "more" ("some, more, most" is like "good, better, best"). But sometimes, as here, it's used to mean "very": "I had a most exciting time in New York."
c. agreeable: easy-going, pleasant to be with; never angry or difficult.
d. wonderfully: sometimes used to mean "very": "Bob does his work wonderfully well."
e. of an age: at the right age for something; "Eighteen year olds in America are of an age to vote."
f. to marry: This is a tricky word. If I say "I married my wife," I mean we are now married. But if I say "I married my daughter to a fisherman," it means she's now married to the fisherman, not me. If I say "Michael married my wife and me," I mean Michael is a church minister and did the ceremony. Very tricky!
g. a prime minister: the head of a government, as in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Denmark, Egypt, and so on.
h. a minister: The usual meaning is "a member of the clergy; a church leader." But here it means "a key member of a government." Prime means "first," so the prime minister is usually the leader of other ministers.
i. to weep: to cry; "wept" is the past tense
j. to sigh: to let out long, loud breaths. "Weeping and sighing" means "being very dramatically unhappy."
k. to declare: to announce, especially in public
l. to be worthy of something: to deserve something; to be good enough to receive or do something. "A hard-working student is worthy of good grades."
m. to be turned from: to be persuaded against; to have one's mind changed.
n. resolution: determination; firmness in one's thinking

PRACTICE:

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

1. You get better results if you are __________ with people.
2. Everyone was excited when the official __________ that the game had begun.
3. The best athletes will not be __________ from their resolution to win.
4. I had a __________ relaxing time at the beach yesterday.
5. If you want respect, you will have to prove that you are __________ of it.
6. You can't really enjoy life until you are __________ to understand how precious it is.
7. Nothing can persuade me to give up my __________ to be a great writer.
8. Would you __________ your son to a girl from another country?

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR WRITING:

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

1. Why do you think the king was opposed to his daughter marrying the gardener's son?
2. Do you think a daughter or son should marry whomever his parents tell him to? Why or why not?
3. What do you think of a king (or any father or mother) who would "weep and sigh" when his daughter refuses to do as she is told? How would you take care of this situation?

ANSWERS TO THE PRACTICE:

1 c agreeable; 2 k declared; 3 m turned from; 4 b most; 5 l worthy; 6 e of an age; 7 n resolution; 8 f marry

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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