A Horse and Two Goats

Unit 10
A Horse and Two Goats
Part I Listening and Speaking Activities
Part II Reading Comprehension and Language
Part III Extended Activities
Part II Reading Comprehension and
Language Activities
Pre-reading Tasks
Comprehension work
Language work ( A, B, C)
Pre-reading Tasks
Discuss the following question.
What do you think might cause
misunderstanding in communication?
A Horse and Two Goats
At the entrance of the small Indian village of Kirtan,
there stood a massive guardian in the shape of a prancing
horse, with his head held high proudly, his forelegs in the
air and his tail looped up with a flourish. On this
particular day, an old man was drowsing in the shade of a
nearby cactus and watching a pair of goats graze in this
arid soil; he was disturbed by a motorist, who got out of
his station wagon at the sight of the statue , and went up
to the brightly-colored horse.
A Horse and Two Goats
“Marvelous!” He cried, pacing slowly around the
statue. His face was sunburned and red. He wore a
khaki-colored shirt and shorts. Noticing the old man’s
presence, he said politely in English, “How do you
The old man, not understanding what the other
meant, replied in pure Tamil, his only means of
communication, “My name is Muni, and the two
goats are mine and mine only.”
The red-faced man glanced at the goats, took out a
cigarette and asked, “Do you smoke?”
A Horse and Two Goats
“I never even heard of it until yesterday,” the old man replied
nervously, guessing that he was being questioned about a
murder in the neighborhood by this police officer from the
government, as his khaki dress indicated.
The red-faced man said, “I come from New York. Have you
heard of America?”
The old man said respectfully, “Anything may happen these
days. Bad characters everywhere.”
“I am sure you must know when this horse was made,” said
the American tourist, and smiled ingratiatingly.
The old man reacted to the relaxed atmosphere by smiling
himself, and pleaded, “Please go away, sir, I know nothing.
Our village has always had a clean record. Must be the other
A Horse and Two Goats
“Please try to understand me,” the American tourist said. “I
arrive three weeks ago and have traveled five thousand miles
since, seeing your wonderful country.”
Then he went on to explain at length, uttering each syllable
carefully, what brought him to this country, how much he like
it, what he did at home, how he had planned for years to visit
India, the dream of his life and so forth---every now and then
pausing to smile polity, the old man smiled back but said
nothing, then he turned to go.
The other seized his shoulder and said earnestly, “Is this
statue yours? Will you sell it to me?”
The old man realized that the other was referring to the
horse. He thought for a second and then related in detail that
the horse had been there for a very long time and that it would
appear as the tenth avatar at the end of the Yuga, when the
world would be destroyed, and the redeemer would come in
the form of a horse to help the good and punish the evil.
“And this horse will come to life then.” He continued, “And
that is why this is the most sacred village in the whole world.”
A Horse and Two Goats
A conversation leading to mutual mystification
followed, with the Indian chattering away about various
avatars of God Vishnu and the American trying to drive
a bargain for the purchase of the statue.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” the red-faced man
said to himself. Turning to the old man he asked, “Will
you take a hundred rupees for it?” Then he drew from
his wallet a hundred rupee note.
The old man now realized that some financial element
was entering their talk. He peered closely at the note,
the like of which he had never seen in his life. What was
this man flourishing the note for? Perhaps for change.
He laughed to himself at the thought of anyone’s coming
to him to change a large note. With a grin, he told the
man to go to the village headman for help.
“If that’s not enough, I guess I could go a little higher,”
the red-faced man said.
A Horse and Two Goats
“You‘d better talk to him yourself because he goes
mad at the sight of me and my goats,” the old man said,
with his eyes traveling to his goats.
The American followed his look and decided it would
be sound police to show an interest in the old man’s
pets. He went up to them casually and stroked their
Suddenly it dawned on the old man that the other
wan making him an offer for the goats. His dream if a
lifetime was about to be realized. He had always hoped
to sell them some day and with the capital to open a
small shop on this very spot, he needed twenty rupees
for this project. And he felt that with some bargaining
he could get the money now.
“It is all for you,” said the American as he placed on
the old man’s palm one hundred and twenty rupees.
A Horse and Two Goats
The old man pointed at the station wagon.
“Yes, of course,” said the other.
The old man said, “This will be their first ride in
a motor car. Carry them off after I get out of sight;
otherwise they will never follow you but only me.”
So saying, he brought his palms together in
salute, turned round, and was soon out of sight.
The red-faced man looked at the goats grazing
peacefully and then sat down on the pedestal of
the horse, as the westerly sun touched off the
ancient faded colors of the statue with a fresh
splendor. “He must have gone to fetch some
help,” he remarked, and settled down to wait.
Flourish n. 茂盛, 兴旺, 华饰, 繁荣
v.1 挥动,挥舞 flourish flags 挥舞旗帜
2 繁荣;兴隆 a flourishing business 生意兴隆
Plants will not flourish without water.
The company has really flourished since the
chief engineer joined us.
Chaucer flourished at the end of the 14th
century. 乔叟在14世纪末享有盛名。
The dramatist flourished around 1930.
a massive guardian:
The horse was worshipped by the
villagers as a protector of the village.
Massive indicates that the horse statue is
not only large in size, but also heavy in
weight. Here is one more example: The
new stadium is a massive building.
An official language spoken in Tamil
Nadu state in Indian, and also one of the
languages of Sri Lanka, Singapore and
several regions in the Indian Ocean and
the Middle East.
Avatar: a god in Hinduism
at the end of the Yuga: Yuga is any of the
four ages (the Satya , the Treta , the
Dvapara, and the Kali) in Hinduism.
According to Hinduism, these four ages
form a cycle, due to be repeated, with
each worse than the last.
it dawned on sb. that:it came to one’s
mind all of a sudden that …突然意识
到…… 猛然想起……
Eg. It dawned on me that he was
actually trying to help me.
was soon out of sight: be out of sight:
Eg. He stood at the street corner,
following his mother with his eyes
until she was out of sight.
Ingratiatingly: adv. Respectfully, showing
respect. The American tourist was trying to
please the old man with a friendly humble smile.
Ingratiatingly is often used disapprovingly of
someone who tries to make himself liked by
other people in a humble manner. Another word
with similar meaning but different connotation
is gratefully, which is often used in a positive
Comprehension work
(Questions for discussion )
A Summarize the story
What is the story A horse and Two Goats
about? Summarize it in no more than 50
The story is about an encounter between
an old Indian villager and an American
tourist in India, neither for who understand
the other’s language. As a result, the
American’s intention of buying the statue of
a horse is misunderstood by the Indian as
an offer to buy his two goats.
Comprehension work
(Questions for discussion )
B Summarize the paragraphs
Summarize the first half of the story from the beginning to
Then, he turned to go.
The American tried to strike a conversation about the statue
of the horse he admired but the old man mistook him for a
police officer investigating a recent murder in the
Summarize the second half of the story.
In the second half of the story, both parties tried to employ
different means of communication to work out the other’s
intention. But the misunderstanding continued and got worst,
finally leading to a hilarious ending when the American was
left alone waiting with two thin goats.
II Language work
B In other words
Put the following expressions from the text in the
blanks, change the form if necessary.
Sacred plead capital ingratiating respectful
relate massive disturb
1 The old castle was surrounded by _____walls.
2 I’m sorry to __________ you, but could you tell me
how this machine works?
3 The girl wept and ________until her mother
agreed to do as she wished.
II Language work
4 Cows are ______ to many Indian people.
5 The retired editor needed a lot of
________ to start up a new newspaper.
6 The millionaire _______ to his
grandchildren the story of his success.
7 The middle-aged employee always spoke
to his boss in an ________manner and
was looked down on by his colleagues.
8 One should be ________ when talking
about other people’s religious beliefs.
II Language work
C Work with sentences
Rewrite the following sentences using the following expressions.
get out of sight react to refer to
dawn on pace (v.)
At the thought of make one an offer for sound policy to do
1 The father suddenly realized that his son was lying to him.
2 The foreigner offered to buy the old jar and the old woman found herself
unable to refuse.
3 The boy responded to his teacher’s criticism by turning his back on the
4 The prisoner felt very regretful when he thought of his past.
5 He stood at the street corner, following his mother with his eyes until he could
no longer see her
6 I don’t know which companies she was talking about when she spoke of
competing firms
7 Mother walked back and forth in the corridor while her daughter was having
an operation inside the operating theatre.
8 I think that it is a wise decision to ban smoking in all public places.
Script of the Dictation
Language is the commonest means of communication for
human beings, but of people speak different languages they
usually turn to other means. Gesture, then, is often the first
choice. Gestures in most cases help people a lot in getting their
message across. However, since the same gestures may be
used for different ideas in different cultures, failures in
communication often happen. Sometimes this may lead to
terrible consequences. Several years ago, some European
sailors were swimming near a coastal area in a foreign country,
which was closed to outsiders. Seeing these unknown
swimmers, the guards on the coast wanted to question them.
The guards shouted to them to come nearer, and made at the
same time their usual “come here” gesture. The sailors did not
understand the language and took the gesture to mean “go
away”, and the realized they might be near costal defenses, so
they swam off. The consequence was that the guards, who
were now highly suspicious, opened fire, with tragic results.
Grammar work
B rewrite the following sentences with “it” as an impersonal
1 It will be difficult for me to do.
2 It is sound policy for us to save regularly.
3 It was very dangerous for Mike to drive so fast.
4 It is a disadvantage for her to take part in a composition
competition where all the other competitors are older than she.
5 It was a disgrace for her to quarrel with her husband in public.
6 It was a shame for you to cheat in the exam.
7 It is a convenient time for you to visit the hospital now.
8 It was my honour to be invited to your party.
9 It was very generous of Mary to pay the bill.
10 It was mean of him to keep everything for himself.
1 It dawned on the father that his son was
2 The foreigner made the old woman an
offer for the old jar, and she found herself
unable to refuse.
3 The boy reacted to his teacher’s criticism
by turning his back on the teacher.
4 The prisoner felt regret at the thought of
his past.
5 He stood at the street corner, following
his mother with his eyes until she was out
of sight.
6 I don’t know which companies she was
referring to when she spoke of competing
7 The mother paced up and down the
corridor while her daughter was having an
operation inside the operating theatre.
8 I think that it is a sound policy to ban
smoking in all public places.
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