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“Indeed!” said the king, laughing to himself. “Then answer my first question. How long shall I live? Come, you must tell me to the very day.”
“You shall live until the day you die," replied the shepherd, "and not a day longer. And you shall die when you take your last breath, and not one moment before.”
“You are witty, I see," said the king, laughing. “We will let that pass, and say that your answer is right. Now tell me how soon I
ride round the world.” “You must rise with the sun, and ride with the sun until it rises again next morning,” replied the shepherd. “As soon as you do that, you will have ridden round the world in twenty-four hours.”
The king laughed again. "Indeed," he said, "I did not think it could be done in twenty-four hours. You are not only witty but wise; and we will let this answer pass. Now comes my third and hardest question. What am I thinking?"
“That is an easy question,” said the shepherd. “You think I am the abbot of Canterbury. But to tell you the truth, I am only his poor shepherd who has come to beg your pardon for him and for me.” With that he threw off his long gown and revealed his shepherd's clothing.
The king laughed long and loudly. “A merry fellow you are,” said he. “You shall be the abbot of Canterbury in your master's place.”
“O king, that may not be,” said the shepherd; "for I can neither read nor write."
“Very well, then," said the king. “I will give you something else to pay for this merry joke. You shall have four pieces of silver every week, and when you return home, tell the abbot you have brought him a free pardon from King John."
You may be sure that the abbot's gratitude to the shepherd was as great as the king's amusement at the good man; and the merry fellow lived a comfortable life the rest of his days. Taught a lesson by his escape, the abbot took great care to change his manner of living, so that he might not again arouse the king's jealous anger.
- Old English Tale.
What does the first paragraph of the story tell you about King John? What does the second tell about the abbot? We might call these two paragraphs the introduction to the story. The rest of the story is divided into two parts: the task set the abbot; how it was performed. Tell the story briefly.
Dramatizing the Story.
You may play the story of “King John and the Abbot." In order to do this well, study the story and see into what acts and scenes it should be divided.
When the abbot pleaded for mercy, what task did the king give him? The answer to this question gives a name to Act I. We might call it “The Three Questions."
Where did the conversation between these two great people take place? We might call this Scene I.
To what place did the abbot first go for help? What happened? How shall we name this scene?
Where else did he go? What success had he? How shall we name Scene III?
Where did the abbot and the shepherd meet? What name would you give this scene?
II What did the shephe:d offer to do? This brings us to Act II, which we might call “How the Shepherd Helped His Master."
The story closes with this scene but we might add another scene, one at the abbey, when the servant tells of his success and the abbot shows his gratitude. Think what the shepherd would tell his master. Think what the abbot would say and do.
Decide upon the places in the room to represent the palace, Oxford, Cambridge, the lane, the abbey.
Choose the characters represented in the play; decide upon the dress or costume of each.
Your program will now be somewhat like the following:
KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT
A PLAY IN Two Acts
Time: Long ago.
THE THREE QUESTIONS
HOW THE SHEPHERD HELPED HIS MASTER
SCENE I. In the king's palace.
The charm of letter-writing is to write as you would talk. Let your language be so natural and unaffected that you would not feel ashamed if you were present when your letter was read. If you are writing a business letter, make it brief and to the point. In every case be courteous, even if you are replying to a brusque or rude letter. Remember, too, that what you have learned about the paragraph applies as much to letters as to any other form of composition.
The Parts of a Letter.
Read carefully the following letter:
357 Church Street, Greensboro, N. C.,
Aug. 10, 1919. B. F. Johnson Publishing Co., Eleventh and Cary Streets,
Richmond, Va. Gentlemen,
Inclosed you will find a post-office order for $1.50, for which please send me the first four books of your Child's World Series.
Very truly yours,
[Miss] Mary L. Jones.
In this short letter, as in all complete letters, there are four parts. These are: (1) The Heading :
357 Church Street,
Aug. 10, 1919. The heading tells where and when the letter was written. If these two items should be omitted, no reply could be sent to the letter; but if the writer lives in a small town or village, the number of the house and the name of the street may be omitted. (2) The Introduction :
B. F. Johnson Publishing Co.,
Richmond, Va. Gentlemen, It will be seen that the introduction consists of two parts, the address and the salutation. The salutation is written one line below the address and at the left margin of the paper. Study the following models:
Messrs. Houghton Mifflin Company,
Baton Rouge, La.
Dear Sir: 1 Instead of the comma after the salutation, good usage permits the colon, especially in business letters.