“You must know, sire that my father was Mahmoud, the king of this country, the Black Isles, so called from the four little mountains which were once islands, while the capital was the place where now the great lake lies. My story will tell you how these changes came about.”
“My father died when he was sixty-six, and I succeeded him. I married my cousin, whom I loved tenderly, and I thought she loved me too.”
“But one afternoon, when I was half asleep, and was being fanned by two of her maids, I heard one say to the other, “What a pity it is that our mistress no longer loves our master! I believe she would like to kill him if she could, for she is an enchantress.”
“I soon found by watching that they were right, and when I wounded a favourite slave of hers for a great crime, she begged that she might build a palace in the garden, where she wept for him for two years.”
“At last I begged her to stop grieving for him, for although he could not speak or move, by her magic she just kept him alive. She turned upon me in a rage, and said over me some magic words, and I instantly became as you see me now, half man and half marble.”
“Then this wicked enchantress changed the city, which was a very populous and flourishing city, into the lake and desert plain you saw. The fish of four colours which are in it are the different races who lived in the town; the four hills are the four islands which give the name to my kingdom. All this the enchantress told me to add to my troubles. And this is not all. Every day she comes and beats me with a whip.”
When the young king had finished his sad story he burst once more into tears, and the Sultan was much moved.
“Tell me,” he cried, “where this wicked woman is, and where is the slave who she just manages to keep alive?”
“Where she lives I do not know,” answered the unhappy prince, “But she goes every day at sunrise to see if the slave can speak to her yet, after she has beaten me.”
“Unfortunate king,” said the Sultan, “I will do what I can to avenge you.”
So he discussed with the young king the best way to bring this about, and they agreed their plan should be put into effect the next day. The Sultan then rested, and the young king began hoping for his freedom. The next day the Sultan arose, and then went to the palace in the garden where the black slave was. He drew his sword and destroyed the little life that remained in him, and then threw the body down a well. He then lay down on the couch where the slave had been, and waited for the enchantress.
She went first to the young king, who she beat with a hundred blows.
Then she came to the room where she thought her wounded slave was, but where the Sultan really lay.
She came near his couch and said, “Are you better today, my dear slave? Speak but one word to me.”
“How can I be better,” answered the Sultan, imitating the language of the Ethiopians, “When I can never sleep for the cries and groans of your husband?”
“What joy to hear you speak!” answered the queen. “Do you wish him to regain his proper shape?”
“Yes,” said the Sultan; “quickly free him, so that I may no longer hear his cries.”
The queen at once went out and took a cup of water, and said over it some words that made it boil as if it were on the fire. Then she threw it over the prince, who at once regained his own form. He was filled with joy, but the enchantress said, “Hurry away from this place and never come back, or I will kill you.”
So he hid himself to see the end of the Sultan’s plan.
The enchantress went back to the Palace of Tears and said, “Now I have done what you wished.”
“What you have done,” said the Sultan, “Is not enough to cure me. Every day at midnight all the people whom you have changed into fish lift their heads out of the lake and cry for vengeance. Go quickly, and give them their proper shape.”
The enchantress hurried away and said some words over the lake.
The fish then became men, women, and children, and the houses and shops were once more filled. The Sultan’s followers, who had camped by the lake, were astonished to see themselves in the middle of a large and beautiful town.
As soon as she had removed the spell the queen went back to the palace.
“Are you quite well now?” she said.
“Come near,” said the Sultan. “Nearer still.”
She obeyed. Then he sprang up, and with one blow of his sword he cut her in two.
Then he went and found the prince.
“Rejoice,” he said, “Your cruel enemy is dead.”
The prince thanked him again and again.
“And now,” said the Sultan. “I will go back to my capital, which I am glad to find is so near yours.”
“So near mine!” said the King of the Black Isles.
“Do you know it is a whole year’s journey from here? You came here in a few hours because it was enchanted. But I will accompany you on your journey.”
“It will give me much pleasure if you will accompany me,” said the Sultan, “and as I have no children, I will make you my heir.”
The Sultan and the prince set out together, the Sultan with rich presents from the King of the Black Isles.
The day after he reached his capital the Sultan assembled his court and told them all that had happened to him, and told them how he was going to adopt the young king as his heir.
Then he gave each man presents.
As for the fisherman, as he was the first cause of the saving of the young prince, the Sultan gave him much money, and made him and his family happy for the rest of their days.
1.capital (n.) –首都, 首府
2.succeed (v.) –) 繼任, 繼承
3.enchantress (n.) –妖婦, 女巫
4.wound (v.) –擊傷
5.grieve (v.) –(使)悲痛
6.rage (n.) –憤怒
7.populous (adj.) –人口多的, 人口稠密的
8.flourishing (adj.) –繁茂的, 繁榮的,
9.race (n.) –種族
10.avenge (v.) –為…報復, 報仇
11.Ethiopian (n.) –埃塞俄比亞人, 黑人
12.regain (v.) –收回, 恢復
13.vengeance (n.) –復仇, 報仇
14.heir (n.) –繼承人, 後嗣
15.adopt (v.) –收養
1) Choose the best answers.
1. The price’s wife knew
2. She loved
(a) her husband.
(b) a slave.
3. She punished the prince because
(a) he made a mistake.
(b) she didn’t like the palace.
(c) he hurt the man she loved.
4. The different coloured fish represented
(a) four types of people.
(b) four lakes.
(c) four mountains.
5. Everyday the prince’s wife went to
(a) beat her husband.
(b) visit the slave.
(c) beat her husband and visit the slave.
6. The sultan first
(a) killed the slave.
(b) jumped down the well.
(c) went home.
7. Next he
(a) jumped down the well.
(b) waited for the prince’s wife.
(c) chatted with the prince.
8. The slave came from
(a) the Black Isles.
9. The sultan pretended to be
(a) the slave.
(b) the prince.
(c) the prince’s wife.
10. The sultan complained that
(a) the prince’s groaning kept him from sleeping.
(b) he was hungry.
(c) he was bored.
11. The sultan said that
(a) at 12 o’clock the fish called out.
(b) at midnight the fish went to sleep.
(c) he was visited by too many people.
12. At last the sultan
(a) was killed by the prince’s wife.
(b) killed the prince.
(c) killed the prince’s wife.
13. The sultan’s capital
(a) was far away.
(b) was nearby.
(c) had disappeared.
14. The sultan and the prince
(a) left together.
(b) went different ways.
(c) parted company.
15. The sultan made the prince
(a) an orphan.
(b) his son.
(c) his mother.
2) Answer in complete sentences
1)Who did the king’s wife really love?
2)How did the king find this out?
3)Why did the king punish the slave?
4)What did his wife do when the king asked her to stop grieving for the slave?
5)How did the sultan feel when he heard the king’s story?
6)What did the sultan do to the slave?
7)Who did the sultan pretend to be?
8)Why didn’t the sultan kill the king’s wife at once?
9)Why did the sultan’s country seem so close to the king’s?
10)Why did the sultan reward the fisherman?
3) Choose words from the box to complete the sentences. Make any necessary changes.
1.He can recite the names of all the _________ cities of Europe.
2.She _________ to the throne when her father, the king, passed away.
3.About 50 people were seriously __________ in the attack.
4.His face was dark with __________.
5.She ___________ the death of her husband.
6.Hong Kong quickly became a __________ port.
7.He promised to ___________ his father’s murder.
8.She paused on the edge, trying to _________ her balance.
9.He swore ____________ on his child’s killer.
10.He is the eldest son and thus _________ to the title.
4) Write T for True or F for False beside these statements about the story.
(a) The queen loved a slave.___
(b) The king hurt the slave out of jealousy. ___
(c) The sultan pretended to be the king. ___
(d) When the sultan saw the queen he killed her immediately. ___
(e) The sultan adopted the king. ___
5) Find words or phrases in the story similar in meaning to the following.
3.main city _______________________
7.having many people ___________________________
9.take revenge ___________________________
6) Complete the following paragraph by putting in the correct form of the verb in brackets.
The young king (discover) ___________ one day that his wife (be) _________ an enchantress who (be) _________ in love with another man. The king (hurt) ____________ the other man and his wife (demand) _____________ that he (build) _____________ a palace for him. The king (do) ____________ this and his wife (go) ________________ everyday (look) _____________ after the other man. When the king (ask) ________________her (stop) _______________ she (become) ______________ furious and (cast) ________________ a spell on him that (turn) ______________ half his body to marble. After this she would (come) ______________ everyday and (beat) _____________ him. When the sultan (hear) _____________ this he (decide) _________________ (help) __________________ the young king. First he (kill) _____________ the other man and (throw) ______________ his body down a well. Then he (pretend) _______________ to be the other man so that the king’s wife would (come) ________________ close to him and he (can) ____________ (kill) _________ her. When he (do) ____________ this he (take) ____________ the young king back to his country (live) _______________ with him.