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Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Bronze Ring (18): The Island of the Mice


GET READY:

If you had a lot of money and time, and decided to travel, would you always have a fixed destination? Or would you just "go wherever the wind blows you"?

Now a poor man, the gardener's son has been sailing around with his crew and some black cats.

READ THIS:

[107b] After wandering about a long time he reached an island inhabited by mice. The captain landed upon the shore and began to explore the country. There were mice everywhere, and nothing but mice. Some of the black cats had followed him, and, not having been fed for several days, they were fearfully hungry, and made terrible havoc among the mice.
[108] Then the queen of the mice held a council.
[109] "These cats will eat every one of us," she said, "if the captain of the ship does not shut the ferocious animals up. Let us send a deputation to him of the bravest among us."
[110] Several mice offered themselves for this mission and set out to find the young captain.

NOTES:

Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. to wander: to move around without a purpose; to travel with no fixed destination
b. to inhabit: to live in a place. "Inhabited by mice" means "mice live there."
c. to explore: to travel in an new or strange place to learn about it. May be used as a metaphor, too, as in "exploring an idea."
d. nothing but mice: only mice
e. fearfully: here, it means "extremely"
f. havoc: destruction, trouble. Usually with a verb like "make" or "wreak."
g. council: a formal meeting, especially of government advisors or lawmakers
h. ferocious: fierce, cruel, violent; extremely dangerous
i. deputation: an official group assigned to carry out a task; a delegation
j. mission: a formally-stated task or goal. Many companies have "mission statements" telling what their purpose is.

PRACTICE:

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

1. The storm created __________ with the homes in the area.
2. Don't __________ around; get straight to the point!
3. By the time I got home from work I was __________ tired.
4. This company's __________ is to serve the customer as well as possible.
5. The city __________ met last night to decide whether to build a new school.
6. Few people __________ Antarctica; it's too cold.
7. Let's meet again next week to __________ other options.

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 old magician gave the captain (the gardener's son) a lot of cats?
2. Do you think the captain had a responsibility toward the mice? That is, is it OK to just let the cats run wild on the island of mice?
3. If your family or community were in serious trouble, would you volunteer to help, as the mice did?

ANSWERS TO THE PRACTICE:

1 f; 2 a; 3 e; 4 j; 5 g; 6 b; 7 c

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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