Three Young Men, Death and a Bag of Gold
(AFTER GEOFFREY CHAUCER)
Ø 1) Read the text and point out the sentences corresponding to the content of the story:
a)Three young men learned about the death of their friend.
b)As they were drunk, they decided to go and find Death and kill her.
c)On their way they met a beautiful lady in a coach.
d)They asked her if she knew where Death lived.
e)The lady laughed and pointed to a forest.
f)The men came to the forest and saw a sack of gold under a tree.
g)It was very dark and they decided to wait till morning.
h)They put their heads on the sack and fell asleep at once.
i)At night the storm broke out, the lightning struck the tree which fell on the three men and killed them.
j)That was how the three of them found death in the forest.
Three young men were sitting in an inn. They were drinking wine and making merry. Suddenly they heard a noise outside. They looked out of the window and saw some people carrying a coffin.
“Who is dead?” they asked. The innkeeper told them the name of the dead man. It was the name of their friend, also a young man. The three young men were very much surprised. They couldn’t believe their ears. But the innkeeper said, “Yes, it is true. Your friend is dead. Death takes young and old. He takes many people. There is a village not far from here. Every day Death kills somebody in that village. Nearly all the people there are dead. Death lives in that village, I think.”
Our three young men were drinking wine, so they didn’t understand quite clearly what the innkeeper said. They thought that Death really lived not far from that place, and they were very angry with Death killing their friend. They said, “Let’s go and kill Death! Let’ do it before night comes.” “Be careful,” said the innkeeper, “if you meet Death, he will kill you too.” “We are not afraid,” answered the young men. “We shall go and look for Death. And we shall be brothers, and we shall defend each other. And when we find Death, we shall kill him.”
With these words they left the inn and went along the road. Soon they met a very old man. They asked him, “Do you know where we can find Death?” “Oh, yes,” replied the old man, “It is not difficult to find Death. Do you see that wood? Go there and you will find him under an old oak.”
The young men thanked the old man and went into the wood. Soon they saw a very large old oak. When they came up to the oak, they saw a bag full of gold money under it. They were so glad that they forgot all about Death. They thought only about the gold. “Fine,” said one of them. “Now we shall be very rich. Let’s take this gold to the house of one of us and divide it into three parts. Let’s go! Quick!” “Wait,” said another. “Listen to me. We cannot carry all this gold money now, in the daytime. We shall meet people on the way, and they will ask us questions. They will say, “What are you carrying? Whose gold is it? Where did you get so much gold?” And if we say that we found the money in this wood, they won’t believe us. No, my friends, we cannot go now. We must stay here till night. At night, when it is dark and people are asleep, we can take the gold home and divide it.” “You are right,” said the third. “We must stay here till night. Only it’s a long time to wait, and soon we shall be hungry. Let one of us go to town and buy some wine and something to eat.” So the youngest of them went to town, and the other two remained under the oak with the gold money.
When the two of them who stayed there under the oak were sitting and waiting for the third, one of them said, “Look here, I don’t want to divide this gold into three parts, do you? Can’t we divide it into two parts, between you and me?” “Why not?” said the other. “But how can we do it?” “Oh, it’s very simple, you fool! Two are stronger than one. When he comes back, we can easily kill him, that’s all, and all the gold will be ours.” The two young men liked the plan very much and they began to wait for their friend.
And what was their friend thinking about at that time? About the gold, of course. He was thinking how good it was to have so much money. “But,” he was saying to himself, “if we divide it into three parts, there won’t be so much! I wish I could have all of it for myself!” He thought and thought, and at last he had an idea. “I shall poison them,” he thought.
He knew a man in the town who sold poison to kill rats. He went to that man and bought some poison from him. Then he went and bought some bread and meat, and three bottles of wine.
When he left the town, he stopped at a place where nobody could see him, put the poison into two of the bottles of wine, and hurried to the old oak to join his friends. He wanted very much to have all the money for himself.
When he reached the oak, the other two were waiting for him with their knives ready, and they killed him at once. They were very glad: the gold was all theirs. They opened the bottles and drank all the wine. Soon they were dead too.
This is how the three young men found Death.
Ø 2) Make up an outline of the story in writing.
The Very Fine Clock
(BY MURIEL SPARK)
Ø 1) Read the text and point out the sentences corresponding to its content:
a)Ticky and Professor John liked each other very much.
b)Professor John brought Ticky from France where he stood on a beautiful mantelpiece not far from his grandfather that stood on the floor because he was big.
c)Professor John had many friends who came to him every Sunday.
d)They talked about the universe.
e)They all admired Ticky because he was always on time.
f)One day the professors offered Ticky to become Professor.
g)They said they would all sign the documents.
h)Ticky thanked them but declined the offer because the other clocks in the house would not understand him.
Once there was a very fine clock whose name was Ticky. His friend, Professor Horace John Morris, had brought Ticky home with him from Switzerland one day, in the winter time, many years ago. Since then Ticky and the professor had become attached to each other very much and they understood each other’s ways.
Professor Horace John Morris did not like to be called “Professor Horace”, and so Ticky called him “Professor Morris” for a little while, and later on he called his friend, “Professor John”, which pleased the professor very much.
Ticky always stood on a table beside the fireplace, which was his favourite spot. Every night at fourteen minutes past ten, when Professor John had finished writing at his desk, he would come and wind up Ticky and listen to hear if Ticky’s heart was still beating well. Then he would set his wrist watch by Ticky’s time, and, after that, he would set and wind all the other clocks in the house.
“You are a very fine clock, Ticky,” he said one night, “You are always on time, and you are never too fast or too slow. In fact, you are the most reliable of all my friends.”
“I’m delighted to hear it, Professor John,” Ticky replied, “and I know that my grandfather, who lives in a castle on top of a mountain in Austria, would be very proud if he could hear it too.”
“To be perfectly honest, Ticky,” said Professor John, “I do not care for grandfather clocks as a rule. They are so very tall that one can never look into their faces and see what they are thinking. But your grandfather must be a very special clock, as it is always a good thing to have an ancestor who lives in a castle.”
Every Thursday night, instead of going to bed after he had wound up all the clocks in the house, Professor John would stay up till midnight to entertain four of his friends, who came to visit him. Their names were: Professor Sturge Baldwin Parker, Professor Norman Bailee, Professor Raymond Offenbach and Professor Maximilian Rosmini.
All four professors were as clever and famous as Professor John himself. They were all very agreeable to Ticky, for they knew he was Professor John’s best-loved friend and was also very reliable.
Ticky would listen eagerly as the five professors sat talking to each other on Thursday nights. They talked about interesting things like the moon and the stars, and seemed to know so much about them that Ticky could almost believe they had visited all the planets in the sky.
One Thursday evening, Professor Norman Bailee, who came from the north, said to Ticky, “You know, Ticky, you are the cleverest of us all because you can tell the exact time without looking at the clock.” All the other professors agreed that this was so. “Not one of us,” said Professor John, “can be quite sure of the time without looking at a clock. We can only make a guess. But Ticky always knows.”
He looked admiringly at his friend, Ticky, who stood on the table by his side. (Ticky was a plain, sturdy, wooden clock with a round white face and long black hands.)
Ticky thanked the professors warmly for their compliment and said that his grandfather would have been proud to hear it. He added, “I couldn’t keep the time, of course, without the help and care of my friend, Professor John, who winds me up at exactly fourteen minutes past ten every night.” “But,” said Professor Sturge Baldwin Parker, who also came from the north, “if it were not for you, Ticky, how could Professor John be sure when it was fourteen minutes past ten?”
Nobody was able to answer this question. The Professor Maximilian Rosmini, who came from the south, said that he had an important suggestion to make.
“I suggest,” he said, “that Ticky is as wise as any of us, and so he should be called Professor Ticky. Let us prepare the papers tomorrow. All five of us shall sign our names and make Ticky our new professor.”
The other four professors all said this was a splendid idea, and Professor Raymond Offenbach, who came from the north-north-east, clapped his hands and said, “Bravo, Professor Ticky!”
Ticky then made a speech. “I’m very happy to hear your suggestion. And I know that my grandfather would be happy too,” he said. “But I am afraid that if I were to become Professor Ticky, I would lose the friendship of all the other clocks in the house. You see, when Professor John goes off in the morning to sit all day in his professor’s chair at the university, and when the rooms have been cleaned and dusted, then all the house is silent except for the sound of the clocks in the other rooms. It is then that we speak to each other and tell all the stories of our lives.
Upstairs and downstairs, we give out our tick-tock messages, some in a breathless hurry and some in a sky tremble. The kitchen clock, of course, always lets her tongue run away with her. She is very cheerful, and chatters on a high note.
Most of all I like Pepita, the Spanish mother-of-pearl orphan clock in the spare bedroom. I love her especially when her heart misses a beat.
Professors, there is an old saying that my grandfather told me: “Heart speaks to heart”. And this is true of us all in this house.
And so, my dear Professors, I must decline to be Professor Ticky. My fellow clocks would never feel the same about me. They would think I had become too grand for them to talk to, while I would feel very much left out of their company. Please, do not think me ungrateful.”
When the professors had heard this speech of Ticky’s, they all said they admired him more than ever. “Ticky,” said Professor John, “I have always known that you were a very fine clock, and I think even more highly of you now. It is true that the other clocks in the house are not perfect timekeepers like you. But still, it is a noble thing to refuse the title of professor and remain plain Ticky for their sake.”
Professor Maximilian Rosmini clapped his hands at this, while the other four professors nodded their heads gravely.
Ticky smiled and pointed his hands towards midnight. As the four visitors rose to leave, he mused, “Why, the charming pearly orphan, Pepita, in the spare room, would not know how to say the word “professor.” All she can say is “Ticky, Ticky, Ticky.” All day long she says, “Ticky, Ticky, Ticky,” to me.”
Ø 2) Is this fairy tale about the clock?
(BY ARTHUR CLARKE)
Ø 1) Do you (your relatives or friends) have a dog? What kind of dog is it? Does it have a pedigree? How long has it been living in the family? Could you say anything about its character? Are you attached to your dog? Is the dog attached to you? If you were the astronomer what would your choice be?
Ø 2) Answer the questions on the text:
a)What kind of dog the astronomer found by the roadside?
b)How did she behave when she became a well-trained dog?
c)Why couldn’t he understand her attachment to him?
d)Why didn’t the astronomer leave the place of the earthquake without Laika?
e)Why wasn’t it possible to take Laika to the Moon?
f)How did he come to the decision to go to the Moon?
g)Was he happy on the orbit? Why?
h)Could you prove by the text that the memory of her still hurt him?
When I heard Laika’s frantic barking, my first reaction was annoyance. I turned over in my bed and muttered sleepily, “Shut up, you silly bitch.” That lasted only a fraction of a second; then consciousness returned, and with it fear. Fear of loneliness, and fear of madness. For a moment I didn’t dare open my eyes; I was afraid of what I might see. Reason told me that no dog had ever set foot upon this world, that Laika was separated from me by a quarter of million miles of space –and more of that - five years of time. “You’ve been dreaming,” I told myself angrily. “Stop being a fool, open your eyes! You won’t see anything except the walls.”
That was right, of course. The little cabin was empty, the door closed. I was alone with my memories. The sense of loss was so great that I wished to return to sleep. It was well that I didn’t do so, for at that moment sleep would mean death. But I didn’t know this for another five seconds and during that time I was back on the Earth…
No one knew Laika’s origin, though the Observatory staff made a few inquiries and gave several advertisements in the newspapers. I found her, a lost and lonely ball of fluff, huddled by the roadside one summer evening when I was driving up to the Observatory. Though I have never loved dogs, it was impossible to leave this helpless little creature to the mercy of the passing cars. When I had parked the car, I inspected my find without enthusiasm. I intended to give the puppy to somebody, but then it whimpered and opened its eyes. There was such an expression of helpless trust in them that… well, I changed my mind.
Sometimes I regretted that decision, but never for long. I had no idea how much trouble a growing dog could cause. My cleaning and repair bills rose, I could never be sure of finding an undamaged pair of shoes and an in chewed copy of the astrophysical journal. But finally, Laika became a well-trained dog. She was the only dog that was ever allowed to come into the Observatory. She lay there quietly for hours while I was busy, quite happy if she could hear my voice from time to time. The other astronomers also became fond of her (it was old Dr. Anderson who suggested her name), but from the beginning she was my dog, and obeyed no one else. Not that she always obeyed me.
She was a beautiful animal, about 95% Alsatian. It was because of that missing 5%, I think, that her masters had abandoned her. Except for two dark patches over her eyes, she was a smoky grey, and her coat was soft and silky. She was very intelligent, and when I was discussing spectral types of evolution of stars with my colleagues, it was hard to believe that she was not following the conversation.
Even now I cannot understand why she became so attached to me, as I have made very few friends among human beings. Yet when I returned to the Observatory after an absence, she would go almost frantic with delight, jumping and putting her paws on my shoulders – which she could reach quite easily – all the time uttering small squeaks of joy which seemed strange for so large a dog. I tried not to leave her for more than a few days and though I couldn’t take her with me on overseas trips, she accompanied me on most of my journeys. She was with me when I went to that ill-fated seminar at Berkley.
We were staying with university friends; they obviously didn’t like having a dog in the house but let Laika sleep in the living room. “You needn’t worry about burglars tonight,” I said. “We don’t have any in Berkley,” they answered rather coldly.
But in the middle of the night, it seemed that they were wrong. I was awakened by a hysterical barking of Laika. I got up and went to the door to silence Laika before she awoke my hosts, if it was not already too late. She was scratching frantically at the door, pausing from time to time to give that hysterical barking. I went down, opened the door, and she took off into the night like a rocket.
It was very quiet and still with the moon struggling to get through the fog. I stood in the morning haze waiting for Laika to come back when the San Francisco earthquake, one of the strongest in the 20th century began.
What happened afterwards, I would prefer to forget. The Red Cross didn’t take me away until late the next morning because I refused to leave Laika. As I looked at the destroyed house where were the bodies of my friends, I knew that I owed my life to her; but the helicopter pilots thought I was mad like so many of the others they had found among the fires and the ruin.
After that we were never apart for more than a few hours. We went for long walks together over the mountains; it was the happiest time I have ever known. But I knew, though Laika didn’t, how soon it must end.
We had been planning the move for more than a decade. It was realized that Earth was no place for an astronomical observatory. Our observatory could still be used for training purposes, but the research had to move out into space.
I had to move with it, I had already been offered the post of Deputy Director. In a few months I had to leave.
It was quite impossible, of course, to take Laika with me. The only animals on the Moon were those needed for experimental purposes; it must be another generation before pets were allowed, and even then it would cost a lot of money to carry them there – and to keep them alive.
The choice was simple. I could stay on Earth and abandon my career. Or I could go to the Moon – and abandon Laika.
After all, she was only a dog. In ten years she would be dead, while I should be reaching the peak of my profession. No sensible man would have hesitated over the matter, yet I did hesitate, and if by now you do not understand why, no further words of mine can help.
Up to the very week I was to leave I had made no plans for Laika. When Dr. Anderson said he would look after her, I agreed with almost no word of thanks. The old physicist and his wife had always been fond of her, and I am afraid they considered me cruel and heartless. We went for one more walk together over the hills; then I gave her silently to the Andersons, and didn’t see her again.
The spaceship was already over the Moon but I took little interest in my work. I was not really sorry to leave Earth; I wanted no recollections, I intended to think only of the future. Yet I could not shake off the feeling of guilt; I had abandoned someone who loved and trusted me, and was no better than those who had abandoned Laika when she was a puppy beside the dusty road.
The news that she was dead reached me a month later. Nobody knew why she died. The Andersons had done their best and were very upset. It seemed that she had just lost interest in living. For a while I did the same, but work is a wonderful remedy, and my programme was just getting under way. Though I never forgot Laika, by the course of time the memory of her stopped hurting me.
Then why had it come back to me five years later, on the far side of the Moon? I was thinking about it when the metal building around me quivered as if under a heavy blow. I reacted immediately and was already closing the helmet of my emergency suit when the door slipped and the wall tore open in front of me. Because I automatically pressed the General Alarm button we lost only two men despite the fact that the earthquake – the worst ever recorded on the Moon – destroyed all three of our Observatories.
The human mind has strange and labyrinthine ways of doing its business; it knew the signal that could most swiftly wake me and make me aware of danger. There is nothing supernatural in that; though one can say it was Laika who woke me on both occasions, during the earthquake in San Francisco and the quake on the far side of the Moon.
Sometimes I wake now in the silence of the Moon, and wish that the dream could have lasted a few seconds longer – so that I could look just once more into those luminous brown eyes, full of unselfish understanding love that I have found nowhere else on this or on any other world.
Ø 3) Agree or disagree with the following statements:
a)The human mind has strange and labyrinthine ways of doing its business. And there is nothing supernatural in that.
b)No sensible man would have hesitated over the matter: to abandon career or abandon a dog.
c)Work is a wonderful remedy.
Ø 4) Make up an outline of it in writing.
Ø 1) Read the poems aloud. Does the sound of poetry please you?
Ø 2) Translate the poems into Russian.
Ø 3) Answer the following questions:
a)What is the main idea of the poems?
b)What thoughts or feelings do the poems bring to you?
Ø 4) Learn the poem you like by heart. It will be always with you then.
Ø 5) If you can and would like to, translate the poem you like in verse.
Ø 6) Read two examples of students’ translations of the poem “Dust of Snow” (see below) by Robert Frost. Which one do you like more?
UNIT 3. COUNTRYSTUDY