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That groweth broad and branching
Within the forest shade;
- MARY HOWITT: The Oak Tree.
What is the oak tree called in the first stanza ? Why is this good name for it? It has also been called the king of the forest.” Give another good name for the oak, and tell why you think it appropriate.
In the third stanza to what is the root of the sapling compared? Why is the comparison a good one?
In the fifth stanza to what is the heart of the oak compared ? What are the characteristics of ironwood? Why is the comparison a good one? Think of another comparison that shows the great strength of the oak tree. To what is its bark compared? Plated mail is armor made from plates of thin steel that overlap each other somewhat like the scales of a fish. What do you think suggested that comparison to the poet? How has the poem been helped by these comparisons ?
In the poem, the poet tells the kind of ship she wishes made from the oak. What is it? What kind does she not wish made from the oak? Why?
1. For what are submarines used ?
Find pictures of Columbus's ships. Find pictures of modern ships: merchant-ships, passenger-ships, yachts, battleships, submarines, and torpedo boats. Compare ancient and modern ships and show the advantages of the latter.
III The oak is often used to make ships. What other timber is used? What materials besides wood are used in shipbuilding? Make a list of these materials. Which do you think makes the strongest ship?
During the World War it was necessary to build many ships in a short time. Materials not used before for shipbuilding were brought into use; among these was concrete. Concrete ships can be made quickly and are durable. One interesting fact about a concrete ship is that it is launched upside down and rights itself in the water. Find out all you can about concrete ships and tell your classmates what
KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT
For Reproduction and Dramatization
Read the following story:
There was once a king in England, named John, who was the most wicked ruler that England ever had. He demanded so much money from the people to pay for his own pleasures that the poor had hard work to live, and he was so cruel that few dared to disobey his commands. King John was also jealous and envious of any of his subjects who showed by their manner of living that they were wealthy. Yet some nobles had the hardihood to live in grand style, even when they knew of the king's wicked envy. One of these was the abbot who ruled the abbey at Canterbury. A hundred noblemen sat down with him to dine, while fifty knights, dressed in velvet coats and wearing golden chains, waited on him at the table.
When King John heard of the way in which this abbot lived, he flew into a great rage and sent for the offender to come to the royal palace in London and explain his conduct. This frightened the abbot very much, but he could not do otherwise than obey the king's command.
“How now, my good abbot,” cried the king, when the abbot came before him.
“I hear you keep a far better house than I. No man in England should live better than the king, and I tell you that no man shall.”'
“O king,” said the abbot, bowing low before his majesty, “I beg to say that I am spending nothing but what is my own. Do not think ill of me, I pray you; for what I do is only to make things pleasant for my friends and the brave knights who are in
“Think ill of you !" cried the king. "How can I help thinking ill of you? Everything in this broad land is mine; and how dare you put me to shame by living in greater style at the abbey than I in my palace? Perhaps you think of setting up a kingdom of your own !!!
“I have no such thought as that, my lord and king,” said the abbot, trembling. "I beg you not to imagine evil of me!”
“Silence !" commanded the angry king. "However innocent you may be, you have no right to shame your king. Your offense is well-nigh unpardonable, and you deserve to be punished by death. However, if you answer me three questions you may go free. If you fail, off comes your head, and all your riches shall be turned over to me.”
“I will try to answer your questions, O king !” said the abbot.
“As I sit here with my gold crown on my head, you must tell me, first of all, just how long I shall live. Secondly, you must tell me how soon I shall ride around the world; and, lastly, you must tell me what I am thinking.”
“These are hard questions, your majesty,” replied the abbot, “and cannot be answered without due time to consider them. I beg you to grant me two weeks' time.”
“Two weeks you shall have,” said King John ; “but if you fail to give the correct answer then, remember that
your head and I gain all your possessions."
The unhappy abbot left the palace in great fear and sadness. What should he do? Whither should he turn for help? All at once he thought of the great university at Oxford. Surely the wise men of Oxford could help him out of this difficulty! So to Oxford he went as fast as he could go, but the wise men of the university knew no more than himself of the proper answers to the king's questions. There was nothing in all the books of the great library about King John.
Then the abbot thought of Cambridge, and hastened to that university for assistance. The wise men of Cambridge knew no more of the matter than the wise men of Oxford, and their books said nothing of King John.
Seeing no way out of his difficulty, the abbot sorrowfully rode homeward to bid his friends good-by, for he had only one more week to live. As he rode up the lane leading to his grand mansion, he thought of all its beauty and comfort and how dreadful it would be to die and leave it, simply because he had made it a pleasant place for his friends and dependants.
“Welcome home, good master!” cried a shepherd who was guiding his sheep to the fold for the night. "What news do you bring us from our sovereign, King John?”
“Sad news, sad news indeed,” replied the abbot, shaking his head. With that, he told the shepherd all that had happened since he left home.
“Be of good cheer, my master," said the shepherd. "Have you never heard that a fool may sometimes teach a wise man wit? I think I can help you out of your trouble.”
"You!” cried the abbot. “How can you help where the wise men of Oxford and Cambridge failed?”
"Still, I have a plan," said the shepherd. “You know that everybody says I resemble you, and I have sometimes been mistaken for you. Now lend me your servants, your horse, and your gown, so that I may go to London to see the king. If I fail to answer his three questions correctly, I can at least give my life for yours.”
“My good shepherd, how can I thank you?” exclaimed the abbot. “Your plan is a good one. I will let you go to London and try to answer the questions; but if you fail, and the worst comes to the worst, you shall not give your life for mine. I have the courage to suffer the penalty myself.”
II So the shepherd at once began to prepare for the journey. He dressed himself with great care; he covered his shepherd's coat with the abbot's long gown, put the abbot's cap upon his head, and carried a gold-headed staff instead of a shepherd's crook. When all was ready, no one in the world would have dreamed that he was not the good abbot himself. Mounting the abbot's horse, he set out for London accompanied by a large train of servants.
“Welcome, Sir Abbot!” cried the king. “It is a good thing that you returned on time. But prompt as you are, you
lose your head and I gain your property if you fail to answer my three questions."
“I am ready, O king,” replied the shepherd.