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Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Bronze Ring (19): Three Strange Mice


Who says "Ho, ho, ho!" What does it show us?

The cats traveling with the gardener's son have been eating the mice that live on an island. The queen of mice sends a group of brave mice to speak to him.


[111] "Captain," said the mice, "go away quickly from our island, or we shall perish, every mouse of us."
[112] "Willingly," replied the young captain, "upon one condition. That is that you shall first bring me back a bronze ring which some clever magician has stolen from me. If you do not do this I will land all my cats upon your island, and you shall be exterminated."
[113] The mice withdrew in great dismay. "What is to be done?" said the Queen. "How can we find this bronze ring?" She held a new council, calling in mice from every quarter of the globe, but nobody knew where the bronze ring was. Suddenly three mice arrived from a very distant country. One was blind, the second lame, and the third had her ears cropped.
[114] "Ho, ho, ho!" said the new-comers. "We come from a far distant country."
[115] "Do you know where the bronze ring is which the genii obey?"
[116] "Ho, ho, ho! we know; an old sorcerer has taken possession of it, and now he keeps it in his pocket by day and in his mouth by night."
[117] "Go and take it from him, and come back as soon as possible."


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. to perish: to die (if a living thing); to rot or decay (if not).
b. to exterminate: to kill
c. to withdraw: to leave; sometimes, to take out (to withdraw money from the bank)
d. dismay: distress; a condition of worry and unhappiness
e. every quarter of the globe: all over the world
f. to crop: to cut short


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

1. To his __________, he discovered that he has been robbed.
2. By the time he reached home, he was __________ with hunger.
3. If a girl __________ her hair too short, she might look like a boy.
4. It is not possible to __________ all the mosquitoes in the world.
5. It is better to __________ from a fight than to lose.


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 condition set by the captain (that is, the gardener's son) is reasonable? Why or why not?
2. Why do you think they are shown as blind, lame, and with cropped ears?
3. How could the three mice possibly know where the ring is?


1 d dismay; 2 a perishing; 3 f crops; 4 b exterminate; 5 c withdraw

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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