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Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Bronze Ring (21): The Ring is Lost


GET READY:

When a team does something, is any one member more important than any other? Why do you think so?

Three mice have taken the bronze ring from an old magician, and are bringing it to the gardener's son. The old man wakes to find the ring gone.

READ THIS:

[123] But by that time our three mice had set sail with their prize. A favoring breeze was carrying them toward the island where the queen of the mice was awaiting them. Naturally they began to talk about the bronze ring.
[124] "Which of us deserves the most credit?" they cried all at once.
[125] "I do," said the blind mouse, "for without my watchfulness our boat would have drifted away to the open sea."
[126] "No, indeed," cried the mouse with the cropped ears; "the credit is mine. Did I not cause the ring to jump out of the man's mouth?"
[127] "No, it is mine," cried the lame one, "for I ran off with the ring."
[128] And from high words they soon came to blows, and, alas! when the quarrel was fiercest the bronze ring fell into the sea.
[129] "How are we to face our queen," said the three mice "when by our folly we have lost the talisman and condemned our people to be utterly exterminated? We cannot go back to our country; let us land on this desert island and there end our miserable lives." No sooner said than done. The boat reached the island, and the mice landed.

NOTES:

Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. favoring: favorable; positive, useful, helpful, etc.
b. credit: praise, recognition, thanks
c. watchfulness: attention, care
d. to drift: to move away without a clear direction; to float aimlessly
e. open sea: the ocean away from the shore
f. high words: angry words
g. blow: a hit; to "come to blows" is to begin hitting each other
h. quarrel: a fight; also a verb, to fight
i. fierce: violent, very angry
j. to face someone: to tell someone what happened and accept responsibility
k. folly: foolishness, stupidity
l. to condemn: here, to decide; to "condemn someone to be exterminated" is to decide that they must die
m. utterly: completely, absolutely
n. desert island: a deserted island, one without anyone living there
o. miserable: very unhappy, in very bad condition
p. No sooner said than done: a proverb meaning "as soon as it was said, it was done"
q. to land: for a boat to reach the land, or for an airplane to come down from the sky and touch the earth

PRACTICE:

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

1. The judge __________ the killer to die.
2. What would you take to read if you had to live on a __________?
3. I couldn't __________ my father after I wrecked the car.
4. By the time we reached the __________, the land was out of sight.
5. If your plane __________ on time, I'll meet you at the airport.
6. The fighter fell down after an extra-hard __________ to the head.
7. I was __________ surprised by your call.
8. After another __________ argument, the couple decided to break up.
9. There's no use __________ over small things.
10. My boss never gives me __________ for the work I do.

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. Do you think one mouse deserves more credit than the others? If so, which one?
2. Why do you think their quarreling causes the bronze ring to fall into the sea?
3. Do you agree with their decision not to return home?

ANSWERS TO THE PRACTICE:

1 l condemned; 2 n desert island; 3 j face; 4 e open sea; 5 q lands; 6 g blow; 7 m utterly; 8 i fierce; 9 h quarreling; 10 b credit

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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