Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Why the Stars Stopped Singing" - Edcon Publishing


When this unicorn's horn reached the stars, beautiful singing could be heard. Did you know that there was a time, years ago, when the stars in the sky used to sing? Many years ago, the stars sang because of a unicorn. The unicorn lived in a large forest near a small village in England. Even in those days, unicorns were very unusual creatures. And this one was unusual even for a unicorn. His horn was so long it reached up into the sky. When his horn touched the stars, they would start to sing. During the day, the unicorn would graze. He ate grass, berries, and the wild flowers that grew in the forest. At night, he sµt on the ground with his head raised to the sky as he smelled the sweet, fresh air. His horn would graze the stars, and then the stars sang. Sad people became happy when they heard the stars singing. Babies stopped crying and fell asleep when they heard the stars singing. People who were ill began to feel better when they heard the stars singing. "Life would not be the same without the unicorn," everyone said. One afternoon, as the unicorn grazed in the forest, he noticed a girl sitting on a stone and crying. The unicorn was a friendly creature with a kind heart. He couldn't stand seeing anyone cry. So he asked, "What is your name, little girl, and why are you unhappy?"
The little girl was so astonished to hear the unicorn talk that she stopped crying. She wiped her eyes with the yellow stole she wore around her neck. "I'm Elsie," she said shyly. "I've lost my bracelet and I can't find it. My father will be angry with me. He carved it just for me out of wood," she explained. "I know what we can do," the unicorn said. Your father can make you another bracelet from a piece of my horn. Cut off a little bit. It won't hurt me. But, please, promise me that you will not tell anyone where you got the horn. "Thank you, dear unicorn. I promise not to tell anyone. And I have a gift for you. Here is my yellow stole." And off she ran, leaving the unicorn to wonder what to do with the scarf hanging from his horn. Elsie ran home to show the unicorn's gift to her father. She was so excited that she forgot her promise to the unicorn. She told her father how she happened to have a piece of unicorn horn. Her father made her a new bracelet that was even more beautiful than the old one. Elsie's father was a cobbler, and while he worked on Elsie's bracelet, he had been thinking of the wonderful shoe buttons he could make from the unicorn's horn.
Finally, the cobbler went to the unicorn and said, "Please, dear unicorn, I am a poor cobbler. If I had a piece of your horn, I could make wonderful buttons for my shoes. Many people would want to buy them. I would be able to have more money to buy food and clothing for my wife and children. The unicorn sighed. He thought, "How hard it is for people to keep a secret." But he felt sorry for the cobbler and let him cut a few inches off his horn. The cobbler sold many pairs of shoes made with buttons from the unicorn's horn. Soon, everyone in the village knew how the cobbler was able to make such wonderful buttons. Many people went to the unicorn, asking him for bits of his horn. They wanted the horn to make things like rings and bracelets and combs and boxes.
At first, the unicorn let the people have all they wanted. But then he begged them to leave him alone. Then the mayor of the village heard about the people going to the unicorn. He ordered them to stay away from the unicorn. But people went to the unicorn anyway. While he slept, they stole pieces of his horn. The more they stole, the shorter the unicorn's horn became. It became too short to reach the sky. The unicorn's horn was no longer able to graze the stars, and they stopped singing. The people of the village were very unhappy. They knew that they had lost their lovely night music because they were so greedy. But it was too late to do anything about it.

"WHY THE STARS STOPPED SINGING" COMPREHENSION CHECK

1. The stars sang _________
a. when the moon came out.
b. when the unicorn's horn grazed them.
c. because they were twinkling.
d. only on holidays.

2. The unicorn ___________
a. looked just like other unicorns.
b. lived in the zoo.
c. was kind and friendly.
d. was unpleasant to everyone.

3. Elsie was crying because she _____________
a. had lost her bracelet.
b. was feeling ill.
c. had lost her way in the forest.
d. had a fight with her father.

4. Elsie promised the unicorn _________
a. to come back again.
b. to give him her money.
c. that she would keep a secret.
d. that she would not hurt him.

5. Elsie's father made for her _____________
a. new shoes.
b. a bracelet.
c. a doll house.
d. a box.

6. The cobbler wanted some of the unicorn's horn to make ________
a. a pipe.
b. a ring.
c. a comb.
d. buttons.

7. When the mayor gave an order, __________________
a. everyone kept away from the unicorn.
b. the unicorn was locked in jail.
c. the people stopped buying shoes.
d. some people stole from the unicorn anyway.

8. When the unicorn's horn became short, ________________
a. he looked like a cow.
b. everyone went home.
c. life was no longer the same.
d. the people were happy.

9. Another name for this story could be ____________
a. "What to Feed a Unicorn."
b. "How Elsie Got a Bracelet."
c. "How the Unicorn Got a Stole."
d. "The Unicorn Who Gave Too Much."

10. The main idea of this story is that ___________
a. greed makes people destroy nature.
b. unicorns make good pets.
c. stars don't really sing.
d. things were better in the old days.