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

The Bronze Ring (4): A Contest


How should an important matter be settled when a parent and a 16-year-old child disagree?

A king wanted his daughter to marry the prime minister's son. But his daughter loved a gardener's son. The king didn't like her choice, and wanted to find a way to change her mind.


[19] Then the King consulted his ministers. "This is what you must do," they said. "To get rid of the gardener you must send both suitors to a very distant country, and the one who returns first shall marry your daughter."
[20] The King followed this advice, and the minister's son was presented with a splendid horse and a purse full of gold pieces, while the gardener's son had only an old lame horse and a purse full of copper money, and every one thought he would never come back from his journey.
[21] The day before they started the Princess met her lover and said to him:
[22] "Be brave, and remember always that I love you. Take this purse full of jewels and make the best use you can of them for love of me, and come back quickly and demand my hand."


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. to consult someone or something: to ask someone (or something) for an opinion, or for information. Usually this is a trusted source, like an expert or a respected book.
b. to get rid of someone or something: to throw something away, or to cause someone to go away. "There's someone on the phone for you." "Get rid of him! I'm busy!"
c. a suitor: someone who wants to marry a girl. This is a little old-fashioned.
d. distant: far away; the noun form is "distance."
e. splendid: wonderful, beautiful, etc. Also a little old-fashioned.
f. a purse: a bag for carrying things. While it can be used for any money bag, it is most often used in American English for a woman's handbag.
g. lame: having difficulty walking. These days we use the word to mean "uninteresting" or "badly done." "This book is lame; I don't think I'll finish it."
h. copper: a reddish-brown metal, with the chemical sign Cu.
i. a journey: a trip. This word is more formal than "trip."
j. brave: not afraid; having courage
k. remember always: In old-fashioned or poetic speech, words are sometimes reversed. These days, we would usually say "always remember" (RULE: "Adverbs of frequency usually go before the verb.")
l. jewels: gems or valuable stones, like diamonds, emeralds, rubies, etc.
m. for love of someone or something: another old-fashioned expression: "He died for love of his country."
n. to demand: to ask for something and insist that it be given (or done); "He walked into his boss's office and demanded a raise in pay."


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

1. It can be lonely when someone you love is in a __________ city or country.
2. We must be __________ even when it looks like we might lose.
3. This place is a mess! We have __________ some of this stuff.
4. yesterday, my teacher __________ that the class be quiet.
5. My doctor __________ his medical books before he told me what was wrong.
6. Do you think it looks strange when a man carries a __________?
7. Did you see the sunset yesterday? It was __________!
8. That movie was so __________! I want my money back!


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

1. Do you think the ministers' suggestion is fair? Do you think it SHOULD be fair?
2. Do you think "every one" was right when they "thought he would never come back from his journey"?
3. What do you think of the Princess's action? Is she going against her father's wishes?


1 d distant; 2 j brave; 3 b to get rid; 4 n demanded; 5 a consulted; 6 f purse; 7 e splendid; 8 g lame

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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