The Drowning Beggar
Once there was a proud and cruel king who passed a law stating that anyone who insulted or even made the slightest criticism of him would be thrown into the dungeons. As a result of this law people were very careful of what they said about the king.
One morning a homeless man was walking along the bank of a river looking for something to eat. He stumbled and fell into the river. Unfortunately it was a deep part of the river and the homeless man couldn’t swim. As he struggled in the water he cried out for help. Two passing soldiers heard his cries and ran to help. One of the soldiers was about to plunge into the river to save the man when the other told him,” Don’t bother. I recognize him. He is just a homeless man who often begs in the street.” The other soldier laughed cruelly,” It will be one less beggar on our streets. Good riddance.” They turned to walk away. The homeless man, who was now in a very difficult situation, cried out,” Death to the king! Death to the king!” The two soldiers stopped dead in their tracks. Immediately they seized the homeless man and pulled him from the river .Once on the bank, they asked him roughly,” Don’t you know it’s against the law to insult the king? Do you understand we are gong to throw you into the dungeons?”
The homeless man just laughed and said, “Given a choice between drowning and being thrown into the dungeons, I would prefer the dungeon.”
1) state (v.) – 陳述
2) cruel (adj.) – 殘忍的
3) insult (v.) – 侮辱，羞辱
4) slightest (adj.) –最小的
5) criticism (n.) – 批評，評論
6) dungeon (n.) – 土牢
7) homeless (adj.) – 無家可歸的
8) bank (n.) – 岸
9) stumble (v.) –絆腳
10) struggle (v.) – 掙扎
11) plunge (v.) – 投入
12) beggar (n.) – 乞丐
13) stop dead in their tracks – 突然止步
14) prefer (v.) – 寧願
1.Choose the best answers.
A. The king was not
B. The homeless man lived
(a) with the king.
(c) in the dungeons.
(d) by the river.
C. The two soldiers decided to
(a) insult the king.
(b) help the homeless man.
(c) go for a swim.
(d) do nothing.
D. When the homeless man was on shore the soldiers
(a) took him to see the king.
(b) built him a home.
(c) threw him in the dungeons.
(d) did nothing.
E. When the homeless man insulted the king the soldiers
(b) stopped immediately.
(c) told the king.
(d) ignored him.
2.Write T for True or F for False beside these statements about the story.
(a) The king was a kind and generous man. ___
(b) People could say whatever they liked about the king. ___
(c) One soldier was going to save the homeless man.___
(d) The other soldier had seen the homeless man before. ___
(e) The beggar dived into the river. ___
3.Complete the following sentences by putting in the correct form of the verb in brackets.
(a) The king liked (throw) _______people into the dungeons.
(b) The first soldier wanted (help) ______the drowning man.
(c) They saw that he (fall) ________into the river.
(d) The man (seize) ________ by the soldiers.
(e) The king (insult) ______by the homeless man.
4. Write short answers
(a) What was the homeless man looking for when he fell into the river?
(b) What didn’t the king like?
(c) Who heard the homeless man cry for help?
(d) Why didn’t the soldiers help him?
(e) Why did the soldiers pull the homeless man from the river?
5.Find words or phrases in the story similar in meaning to the following.
a) unkind _________________
b) prison ________________
c) smallest ________________
d) dive _____________________
e) fight ________________________