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

The Bronze Ring (17): The Hero Falls


What would you do if you suddenly lost everything you had?

An old man has stolen the bronze ring.


[104] Hardly had the old man reached his own house when, taking the ring, he said, "Bronze ring, obey thy master. I desire that the golden ship shall turn to black wood, and the crew to hideous negroes; that St. Nicholas shall leave the helm and that the only cargo shall be black cats."
[105] And the genii of the bronze ring obeyed him.
[106] Finding himself upon the sea in this miserable condition, the young captain understood that someone must have stolen the bronze ring from him, and he lamented his misfortune loudly; but that did him no good.
[107a] "Alas!" he said to himself, "whoever has taken my ring has probably taken my dear wife also. What good will it do me to go back to my own country?" And he sailed about from island to island, and from shore to shore, believing that wherever he went everybody was laughing at him, and very soon his poverty was so great that he and his crew and the poor black cats had nothing to eat but herbs and roots.


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. hideous: horrible-looking. frightening
b. to lament: express sadness; cry and moan
c. misfortune: bad luck
d. Alas!: a sound of hopelessness
e. poverty: condition of being poor
f. herbs: the leaves of plants used for food. In modern cooking, can be used as seasonings.


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

1. I was sorry to hear about your __________.
2. I enjoy using __________ when I prepare a meal.
3. His accident left a __________ scar across his back.
4. It does no good to __________ the past; you just have to get on with your life.
5. __________ can be overcome with hard work--and a little luck.


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

1. The old man turned everything the gardener's son had to black: black ship, black men ("negroes"), black cats. Why do think he did that?
2. How did the gardener's son know someone had stolen the ring?
3. What is the gardener's son state of mind? What tells us this in the story?


1 c; 2 f; 3 a; 4 b; 5 e

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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