Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Delmar Lemming's Version of an Old Folk Tale

The Thief (for my Advanced Communication Students, Dario, Arminda, Pilar, Pili, Vicente, Víctor, Yeray, Ana, Carolina, Ana Sofía, Fayna, Ignacio, Beatriz and Javier, among others!)

Once upon a time there was a thief. Not just any thief,...

    this man was the best thief that had ever lived. The amazing thing is everyone knew who he was and that he was a thief. The police knew he was a thief but couldn’t catch him. The judges knew he was a thief but couldn’t try him. Even the king himself knew him but nothing could be done because no one managed to catch him red handed. Also he never left behind any evidence. He was a very clever thief indeed.
    But thieves are like any other person and they grow old. So the Thief realized that his best days were behind him, he decided to retire to a quiet part of town and give up his thieving ways.
    One day the Thief was shopping for spices in a local shop and as he reached for his wallet to pay, he realized he had left it behind and had no money on him. “What do I need money for?” the thief thought to himself. “After all, I’m a thief!” With a smile he slipped the jar of spice up his sleeve and wandered out of the shop. As he walked down the street, a hand caught him by the shoulder and spun him around: It was a young police officer. “I saw you steal that jar of spice as I looked through the shop window,” and as he spoke he exclaimed. “Wait. I know who you are. You are the thief. My father always wanted to catch you.”
    So he was taken directly to the magistrate. “You! What did you steal?”
    “A jar of spice worth about five copper pennies.”
    “Well, for your sentence you will pay me 5,000 gold pieces.”
    The thief looked at the judge in shock. “I don’t have 5,000 gold pieces.”
    The judge smiled. “Then you will spend 5,000 days in prison.”
    “I am an old man. That could be the rest of my life.”
    “I hope so,” said the magistrate.
    The thief was taken to an old prison, high up on a mountain. Its walls rose as if to meet the sky. His cell was cold and damp, the bars so thick as to almost blot out the sun so once you were inside you had no idea whether it was night or day. A heavy oaken door creaked as it opened inviting him to a lengthy stay. In its squeal, he could hear the murmur of “eternity.”
    “I am going to escape,” the old thief said. The guard laughed. “No one has ever escaped from the King’s Prison. If they did whichever guard was on duty would have to take their place and serve out their sentence. No one escapes.”
    “Watch me,” whispered the old man.
    Next morning when his bowl of gruel was brought to him the Thief asked if he could be brought to see the King. The Thief told the guard he had a wonderful gift for the King and would like to give it to him himself. The guards laughed and teased the old man who turned away and seemed to speak to the wall as he half whispered, “What a pity! I wonder what the King will say to these guards when he finds out they kept him from receiving a wondrous gift.”
    Before you know it, the Thief found himself in the throne room of the royal palace. There the King sat, his Prime Minister next to him, the General of the Army next and finally the bishop of the church. The King looked impatient. “I haven’t got much time. Let me have this wonderful gift.”
    The thief held out a small golden box, covered with ornate carvings. The King smiled as he held it but upon opening the box his mood darkened. “This is a peach pit. A dried shrunken peach pit.”
    “But, your Highness, this is a magic peach pit. If you plant it, it will grow into a tree in one day. The second day it will be covered in fruit. The third day each piece of fruit will turn to solid gold.”
    “If that is so, why haven’t you planted it?” demanded the King.
    “Well this is very powerful magic. Part of the magic is that you must have a pure heart. You must have never lied, or stolen or cheated or hurt someone. I’m a thief. It can’t possibly work for me. But you, you are the King. I’m quite sure you can make the magic peach tree grow.”
    The King looked down at the peach pit and thought of all the times he had lied to his people, all the times he had hurt them needlessly. “No, I am not the one,” he muttered, handing it back to the Thief.
    The Thief then gave it to the Prime Minister. “Now then, the Prime Minister,” exclaimed the thief. “The man who runs our government, I should think you can make it grow.” The Prime Minister looked down at the pit and thought of all the bribes he’d taken over the years and all the people who had suffered because of it. “No it’s not me.”
    The Thief then gave it to the General saying “I’m sure the General can make the magic work. The brave leader of our armies,” The General looked down and thought of all the weeping widows who had lost their loved ones over a scrap of land or a forgotten idea or misplaced word. “No, I can’t do it.”
    Then the Thief handed it to the Bishop. “I’m sure the Bishop, the holy man, can make it grow.” The Bishop looked down at that peach pit and thought of all the money that should have gone to the poor and hungry but instead went into his pockets. He saw the splendid cathedrals with beggars in the doorway. “No,” he muttered. “I’m not the one.”
    These four powerful men all bowed their heads and couldn’t even look at the Thief. “Isn’t it curious,” he declared. “The four most powerful men in the country cannot make the magic happen and yet they live lives of wealth and luxury. While I, an old thief, sit condemned to a cell for stealing a jar of spice. Does this seem fair?”
    There was a long silence until the King finally spoke, “No, Thief, it isn’t fair. The lesson you taught us has bought your freedom. Go home.”
    The Thief bowed and as he left the room he looked at his guard and winked “I told you I’d escape.” (Traditional tale from Korea)

Jose Prefers Beaches with Few Sharks!

A good beach is a very big one with yellow sand. It is very important that the grain is fine, because the thick grain is very more annoying for our feet. Its sense of touch is terrible for me. The cleaning sand also is very more important, in my opinion.
The water quality is important, too. Dirty or toxic water is very bad for our skin and health. In the good beach, the water is clean and crystal clear… and obviously salty.
Most people prefer small waves and a calm tide. But the sports people enjoy big waves and those most adventurous ones prefer a strong, wild tide.
The best beaches have qualified life guards. They are very important and necessary in case of danger. They save many lives. Most beaches, but not all, have got a Red Cross station, too. Some small beaches haven't got life guards nor any Red Cross facilities but, yes, they are crowded with many people. The perfect beaches have also got good restaurants, a big parking space, big, clean bath areas and hotels, too.
Also, a good beach does not usually have lots of jellyfish and sea urchins in its waters, but it is more important and necessary, in my opinion, to have few sharks. These can really ruin your day! Jose

Ana's Essay about Beaches in Gran Canaria (NB1)

(In the Canary Islands we are surrounded by so many different beaches. In fact, many Europeans, especially from the far North, consider these islands as exclusively a beach destination. So some of our students asked:WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOOD BEACH? Here is one essay on the subject.)

I wonder what constitutes a good beach and the answer seems clear and easy. In general, people like a beach with clear, calm water, clean and white sand; a beach with facilities such as umbrellas and deckchairs, cheap restaurants and, of course, a good parking lot not far from there. And, if people could also order the weather they liked, they’d ask for a sunny day, not very hot, without wind, just the ideal temperature to get a nice suntan.
But I think it’s not so easy to answer because if we make the same question to young people who like sports and activities with friends, they’ll answer they prefer a beach where windsurf or any other sport can be practised . They like beaches where the wind blows and with a lot of big waves. Beaches with an open-air cafe or a refreshment stall with music and a lot of people shouting and laughing and with a parking area to leave their cars because they have to carry their windsurfing equipment.
On the other hand, if we make the same question to a young mother, she’ll probably prefer a very calm beach with clean sand where their children can make sandcastles, while she’s lying down on a deckchair reading a magazine or doing crosswords. And she’ll be more quiet and sure if there were some lifeguards or the Red Cross near her.
At last, if I have to answer this question with my own opinion a good beach is one that is calm, with not many people. With some rocks where I can sit on and stay there, in silence, looking at the sea and relaxing. I like a beach with clear water, some waves but not big ones, with clean, white sand and of course, without umbrellas or deskchair, I prefer just my towel. The sound and the view of the sea is, for me, one of the most relaxing things.
Now, perhaps you agree with me when I say that your question about this subject is not so easy to answer. I think what makes a good beach depends on who you ask the question to, don’t you? Ana J. NBA1

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Delmar Lemming Saluda a la EOI de Sta B

Delmar Lemming Saluda a la EOI de Sta B!

Learning about the Cape Verde Islands by Miriam NB2

In our last class day we were speaking about our Christmas time. More or less all of us had had a good time. We were speaking how our holidays had been, but one of our classmates told us his journey to Cape Verde and we learned many aspects about this place.
First of all we learned that there were ten Islands San Antao, San Vicente, Sta Lucia, San Nicolas, Sal (where is the airport) Boavista, Maio, Santiago(the most important island of all them) Fogo(where there is an active volcano) and Brava. Many of these Islands are desert; it means that nobody lives there. These Islands are quite like the Canary Islands because they are of volcanic origin, but they are drier than our islands.
They speak Portuguese and Creole Cape Verdian that is a dialect. The name of our classmate is Javier he works as a piano teacher. He told us that he would like to teach piano to people in Cape Verde but nobody was interested. This is not his first time in Cape Verde, he first went there ten years ago and fell in love with the place.

I’m very happy about to know of his journey. I would like to visit too.