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

The Bronze Ring (16): The Old Man Gets the Ring


If you had something very valuable, would you tell your husband or wife about it? Why or why not?

With the gardener's son away, a magician has been planning to take away the bronze ring. He has caught some pretty little red fishes…


[91b] Then he came back, and, passing before the Princess's window, he began to cry out:
[92] "Who wants some pretty little red fishes?"
[93] The Princess heard him, and sent out one of her slaves, who said to the old peddler:
[94] "What will you take for your fish?"
[95] "A bronze ring."
[96] "A bronze ring, old simpleton! And where shall I find one?"
[97] "Under the cushion in the Princess's room."
[98] The slave went back to her mistress.
[99] "The old madman will take neither gold nor silver," said she.
[100] "What does he want then?"
[101] "A bronze ring that is hidden under a cushion."
[102] "Find the ring and give it to him," said the Princess.
[103] And at last the slave found the bronze ring, which the captain of the golden ship had accidentally left behind, and carried it to the man, who made off with it instantly.


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. peddler: one who sells something, especially on the street
b. simpleton: a foolish ("simple-minded") person
c. madman: a crazy person
d. to make off with something: to take away something that is not one's own


The slave girl tells the Princess that the old man will take "neither gold nor silver." This means he won't take gold and he won't take silver. Rewrite the sentences below to use the same style.

It's not a cat. It's not a dog.
It's neither a cat nor a dog.

1. My father didn't go to university. My mother didn't go to university.
2. I don't eat meat. I don't eat fish.
3. John won't go to work tomorrow. John won't stay home tomorrow.
4. He hasn't seen a tiger. He hasn't seen a dragon.
5. They weren't doctors. They weren't lawyers.


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 "pretty little red fishes" were important? Why did the storyteller choose this and not something else for the old man to sell?
2. Why does the slave girl consider the old man "a simpleton" and "a madman"? Surely a bronze ring is worth more than some small fish?
3. How could the hero have forgotten something as important as the bronze ring?


1. Neither my father nor my mother went to university.
2. I eat neither meat nor fish.
3. John will neither go to work nor stay home tomorrow.
4. He has seen neither a tiger nor a dragon.
5. They were neither doctors nor lawyers.

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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