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

The Bronze Ring (10): Marked with the Ring


Do you know what "revenge" means? Look it up if you don't.

The gardener's son is now a successful man, and is living in a palace in another city.


[50b] After several days the gardener's son met his rival, the minister's son, who had spent all his money and was reduced to the disagreeable employment of a carrier of dust and rubbish. The gardener's son said to him:
[51] "What is your name, what is your family, and from what country do you come?"
[52] "I am the son of the prime minister of a great nation, and yet see what a degrading occupation I am reduced to."
[53] "Listen to me; though I don't know anything more about you, I am willing to help you. I will give you a ship to take you back to your own country upon one condition."
[54] "Whatever it may be, I accept it willingly."
[55] "Follow me to my palace."
[56] The minister's son followed the rich stranger, whom he had not recognized. When they reached the palace the gardener's son made a sign to his slaves, who completely undressed the new-comer.
[57] "Make this ring red-hot," commanded the master, "and mark the man with it upon his back."
[58] The slaves obeyed him.
[59] "Now, young man," said the rich stranger, "I am going to give you a vessel which will take you back to your own country."


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. rival: enemy; one you are competing against
b. to be reduced to: to be brought down to; in this case, to a lower level of society
c. disagreeable: unpleasant
d. rubbish: garbage, trash
e. degrading: embarrassing; humiliating
f. condition: situation
g. willingly: gladly, without hesitating
h. slaves: people who are "owned" by another, and are not free to leave.
i. new-comer: one who has just arrived, and usually doesn't know others
j. red-hot: so hot that it turns red
k. to obey: to do what one is told to do
l. vessel: ship, boat, etc.


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

1. It's __________ to be seen drunk in public.
2. Many people find it __________ to get up on cold winter mornings.
3. The football players were happy when they beat their __________.
4. It's important to welcome __________ to your school or workplace.
5. If you __________ your boss, you'll probably get along better.
6. The pyramids of Egypt were actually built by Hebrew __________.
7. The old man was __________ walking after they took away his driver's license.


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

1. Does it seem like too much coincidence that the gardener's son should see the prime minister's son?
2. Why do you think the prime minister's son didn't recognize the gardener's son?
3. Why do you think the gardener's son did something cruel, burning the prime minister's son's back, and then giving him a ship?


1 e degrading; 2 c disagreeable; 3 a rivals; 4 i new-comers; 5 k obey; 6 h slaves; 7 b reduced to

This lesson is ©2012 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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