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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Bronze Ring (6): Kindness


GET READY:

How has your kindness been tested lately? Did you pass the test or fail it?

A king wants his daughter to marry the son of his prime minister. The princess wants to marry the gardener's son. The two men are in a race to see who can go to a distant country and back first. The one who wins gets the princess. The minister's son has a better horse and a lot of money; the gardener's son has a very old horse, but the princess has given him a purse filled with jewels. The prime minister's son has been unkind to an old woman; now the gardener's son meets her.

READ THIS:

[28] That same evening the gardener's son rode up to the fountain upon his lame gray horse.
[29] "Good-day to you, young traveler," said the beggar-woman.
[30] "Good-day, good woman," answered he.
[31] "Young traveler, have pity upon me."
[32] "Take my purse, good woman," said he, "and mount behind me, for your legs can't be very strong."
[33] The old woman didn't wait to be asked twice, but mounted behind him, and in this style they reached the chief city of a powerful kingdom. The minister's son was lodged in a grand inn; the gardener's son and the old woman dismounted at the inn for beggars.

NOTES:

Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. Good-day: an old-fashioned way to say "hello." We still say "Good morning," "Good afternoon," and "Good evening," but seldom "Good day." (By the way, "Good night" means "Goodbye.")
b. a beggar-woman: a woman who begs (makes a living by asking others for money, food, and other kinds of help)
c. good woman: an old-fashioned form of address. "Good man," "Good sir," etc. are seldom used anymore.
d. to mount: to get onto something; a horse, for example
e. to be asked twice: a common phrase used when you really want something: "Tea? I'd love some! You don't need to ask me twice!"
f. the chief city: Today we would say "the capital."
g. a kingdom: A country ruled by a king (or queen, as "The United Kingdom").
h. to lodge or to be lodged: to stay somewhere, like in a hotel
i. an inn: a small hotel
j. to dismount: to get off of something (see "mount")
k. a beggar: a person who begs for a living, like the "beggar-woman" above

PRACTICE:

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

1. When we went to the mountains, we stayed in a beautiful little __________.
2. He loves to play piano for people; you don't have to __________.
3. We often see __________ asking for money near the train station.
4. The audience applauded as the speaker __________ the stage.
5. Where were you __________ when you went to college?
6. Near the end of Shakespeare's Richard III, the king calls out: "A horse, a horse, my __________ for a horse!"

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 gardener's son is polite to the old woman?
2. The gardener's son gave all of the jewels to the old woman? Does this surprise you? Why do you think he did this?
3. Do you think the old woman can be helpful to the gardener's son?

ANSWERS TO THE PRACTICE:

1 i inn; 2 e ask him twice; 3 k beggars; 4 d mounted; 5 h lodged; 6 g kingdom

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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