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

The Bronze Ring (7): A Magic Cure


Do you believe in magic?

A gardener's son wants to marry a princess. He has just shown kindness to an old woman, and has carried her on the back of his horse into a city.


[34] The next day the gardener's son heard a great noise in the street, and the King's heralds passed, blowing all kinds of instruments, and crying:
[35] "The King, our master, is old and infirm. He will give a great reward to whoever will cure him and give him back the strength of his youth."
[36] Then the old beggar-woman said to her benefactor:
[37] "This is what you must do to obtain the reward which the King promises. Go out of the town by the south gate, and there you will find three little dogs of different colors; the first will be white, the second black, the third red. You must kill them and then burn them separately, and gather up the ashes. Put the ashes of each dog into a bag of its own color, then go before the door of the palace and cry out, 'A celebrated physician has come from Janina in Albania. He alone can cure the King and give him back the strength of his youth.' The King's physicians will say, 'This is an impostor, and not a learned man,' and they will make all sorts of difficulties, but you will overcome them all at last, and will present yourself before the sick King. You must then demand as much wood as three mules can carry, and a great cauldron, and must shut yourself up in a room with the Sultan, and when the cauldron boils you must throw him into it, and there leave him until his flesh is completely separated from his bones. Then arrange the bones in their proper places, and throw over them the ashes out of the three bags. The King will come back to life, and will be just as he was when he was twenty years old. For your reward you must demand the bronze ring which has the power to grant you everything you desire. Go, my son, and do not forget any of my instructions."


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. a herald: a person who announces that the king is coming, or that the king has news
b. an instrument: or, a musical instrument; something to make music with, like a piano or a drum
c. infirm: unwell, ill
d. a reward: something given in return for a good deed, like money for reporting a crime
e. to cure: to make well again; also, a cure: something that makes a person well again
f. a benefactor: someone who has done something for another; related to "benefit," something good that one receives
g. to obtain: to get
h. ashes: the soft gray remains after something has burned
i. celebrated: famous
j. a physician: a doctor
k. Albania: a country in Southeastern Europe; here, it just means a far away, unfamiliar place
l. an impostor: someone who pretends to be something he's not
m. learned: educated; pronounced LEARN-ud, not LEARNED
n. to overcome: to succeed against difficulties; to win
o. a mule: a cross between a horse and a donkey; it's big and strong, but cannot have offspring (babies) of its own
p. a cauldron: a very large pot for boiling water and cooking; bif enough to put a man inside
q. a Sultan: a ruler (like a king) in Arabic-speaking places
r. to boil: to heat water to 100 degrees C (or 212 degrees F) until it makes steam
s. flesh: the skin and muscle on a body
t. bronze: a kind of metal, usually made by mixing copper (Cu) and tin (Sn)
u. to grant: to give, especially when the giver is extremely powerful, like a king


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

1. People often become __________ as they reach their 80s and 90s.
2. The police arrested the __________ who said he was a doctor, but wasn't.
3. As of now, there is no __________ for the common cold.
4. Some people eat the __________ of fish and animals; others are vegetarians.
5. Can you play any kind of __________?
6. If you explain your case clearly, the court might __________ your request.
7. Please __________ some water and we'll make tea.
8. If one is ill, one should visit a __________.
9. If you found some money, would you turn it in and hope for a __________?
10. If you work hard and believe in yourself, you can __________ most problems.
11. The __________ Age came between the Stone Age and the Iron Age.
12. What do you have to do to __________ a driver's license?


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 dogs are white, black, and red? Do the colors mean anything?
2. Three dogs, three bags, three mules. Can you think of any folk stories that use THREE as an important number?
3. Where do you think the old woman got her knowledge? Do you think that what she says will come true?


1 c infirm; 2 l impostor; 3 e cure; 4 s flesh; 5 b instrument; 6 u grant; 7 r boil; 8 j physician; 9 d reward; 10 n overcome; 11 t Bronze; 12 g obtain

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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