Learn English 100% free...Get 1 free lesson per week // Add a new lesson
Log in!

Click here to log in
New account
Millions of accounts created on our sites.
JOIN our free club and learn English now!

  • Home
  • Print
  • Guestbook
  • Report a bug

  • Get a free English lesson every week!
    Click here!

    - Our other sites

    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #94562: First well - Tale
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Tales [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Present simple and habits - Fairy tales and legends-Vocabulary - May, Might, Should... what they mean... - A/An-how to use - Vocabulary: DIY and hobbies... - Vocabulary: time that flies - From Kansas City to Tulsa : What for? (1/2) - What about suggesting ...
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    First well - Tale


     The First Well

     There once was a small kingdom around a lake.
     One very hot summer, it did not rain and the lake dried up.
     People grew anxious and went to the King.
    'It has not rained for so long, our fields are barren!'
     said the farmers.
    'There are no fish to catch. How shall we earn a living?'
     asked the fishermen.
     'Save us from disaster, good King,' urged the women,
     as their children cried with thirst.

     The King sent his four generals in all directions
     to look for water.
     The first general went east, towards the sunrise;
     the second went south, to the dust and heat;
     the third went west, where the sun sets;
     and the fourth followed the North Star.

    They searched day and night, night and day; high and low
     they searched everywhere, but in vain.

     Three of the generals returned, empty-handed. But the general who had gone north was determined not to fail his King.
     At last, he reached a cold mountain village. As he sat at the foot of the mountain, an old woman came by and sat next to him. The general pointed at the horizon and said, 'I belong to a beautiful kingdom, where it has not rained for a whole year. Can you help me find water?'  The woman motioned the general to follow her up the mountain and into a cave. 'We have no water in our country either,' she said. Then, pointing to the icicles in the cave, she continued: 'We call this ice. Take some and your kingdom will never go thirsty again.'

    The general broke off a huge piece, loaded it onto his horse-cart and rushed back home.

    By the time he reached the court, the enormous icicle had melted into a small lump of ice. Nobody in the court had ever seen ice, so everybody gazed at it with wonder. 'This must be a water-seed!' one of the ministers exclaimed suddenly.

    The king ordered the 'water-seed' to be sowed immediately. While the farmers dug a hole, the lump dwindled in the sun. They swiftly placed the seed in the hole, but before they could cover it up, it had vanished. The farmers there grew confused and worried. They dug deeper and deeper into the earth, all night long, looking for the mysterious seed.

    At the break of dawn, the King found the farmers fast asleep around a hole. Curious, he peeped in and cried out in amazement 'Wake up my worthy men - the water-seed has sprouted! There's water in the hole!'

    This is how the first well was created.


      Vocabulaire (traduction des mots soulignés dans le texte ci-dessus)
     to dry up: s'assécher to grow anxious: s'inquiéter  (grow, grew, grown)
     barren: aride / improductif  to cry with thirst: pleurer de soif
     empty-handed: les mains vides / bredouille to fail: décevoir  (pour ne pas décevoir son roi)
     to motion: faire signe cave; grotte
     break off: casser  (break, broke, broken) to load: charger
     to melt: fondre lump: morceau
     to gaze: regarder fixement water-seed:  graine d'eau
     to sow: semer  (sow sowed, sowed or sown) to dig; creuser
     to dwindle: diminuer / rapetisser break of dawn: lever du jour    (dawn = aube)
     fast asleep: profondément endormi to peep: jeter un coup d'œil
     my worthy men: mes braves gens to sprout: germer

     Wells (puits)

     Life on earth depends on water. 

     When people live far from a river, lake or spring, they have to dig wells
     to access the groundwater.
     Until recently, wells were dug by hand so they had to be
     wide enough to accommodate men with digging tools. 

     Quand ils vivent loin d'une rivière, d'un lac ou d'une source les gens
     doivent creuser des puits pour atteindre l'eau du sous-sol.
     Jusqu'à récemment les puits étaient creusés à la main, ils devaient
     donc être assez larges pour que des hommes puissent y pénétrer
     avec leurs outils.


    shovel (pelle)

     Buckets are lowered into the well and filled with water.
     When the buckets must be lifted by hand, hauling them out
     of a well takes great effort .

     Les seaux sont descendus dans le puits et remplis d'eau.
     Quand on les soulève à la main, les tirer hors du puits
     demande un gros effort.

     To make the lifting easier, the rope can run through a pulley
     or wind on a windlass.

     Pour rendre ce levage plus facile la corde peut passer dans la 
     gorge d'une poulie ou s'enrouler autour d'un treuil.

     groove wheel  (roue à gorge)   hand crank  (manivelle)
     wind  wound wound  (enrouler)


     The well is surrounded by a low stone wall to prevent accidents.

     The roof protects the water from impurities.

     Le puits est bordé d'un petit mur de pierre pour éviter les accidents.
     Le toit protège l'eau des impuretés.


     Dowser  (sourcier) 

     Before the development of modern geology, a dowser was used to locate groundwater. Then the well-digger could begin his work..
     A dowser was also called 'a water witch'.

     Avant le développement de la géologie moderne un sourcier localisait
     l'eau souterraine, ensuite le puisatier pouvait commencer son travail.

     To find underground water, a dowser uses a rod or forked tree branch. He holds it in front of him and begins walking.  When water is discovered, the rod or forked tree branch gives a signal. It will dip or twitch.

     Pour trouver l'eau souterraine un sourcier utilise une baguette. Il la tient
     devant lui et marche.
     Quand il y a de l'eau la fourche l'indique, elle se baisse ou vibre.


     Not all dowsers use a Y-shaped rod.
     Some of them prefer L-rods. Others practise with a pendulum.

     Les sourciers n'utilisent pas tous une baguette en forme de 'Y'.
     Certains préfèrent des baguettes en forme de 'L', d'autres pratiquent
     avec un pendule.



            The origin of dowsing dates back about 8000 years.

            Les débuts de la recherche des sources d'eau
            datent d'à peu près 8 000 ans. 
            (et peut-être plus loin, mais il ne reste pas de traces.)  

      Dowsers still exist.

      This man is Danish. He is looking for water with a willow twig.

       When he finds it, the signal is so strong that the twig breaks. 

     Les sourciers existent encore.
     Cet homme est danois. Il cherche de l'eau avec une baguette de saule.
     Quand il la trouve le signal est si fort que la baguette se casse.

     Do dowsing rods really work?


     Les baguettes de sourcier fonctionnent-elles vraiment ?

     No one really knows. A lot of people, especially scientists, are sceptical. However Albert Einstein said:

                 'The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors
       which are unknown to us at this time.'

       Personne ne sait réellement. De nombreuses personnes, surtout les scientifiques, sont sceptiques.
      Toutefois Albert Einstein disait: La baguette du sourcier est un instrument simple qui témoigne de la réaction
      du système nerveux humain à certains facteurs qui nous sont encore inconnus.


     remarque : certains utilisent la radiesthésie à d'autres fins que la recherche de l'eau.

    🎬 Help: how to see videos

    Twitter Share
    English exercise "First well - Tale" created by lili73 with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from lili73]
    Click here to see the current stats of this English test

    Please log in to save your progress.


     Which general followed the North Star?

      If there had been nine generals in this kingdom, the  would have probably gone

      northeast, the  southeast,  the  southwest, the  northwest and

      the  would have stayed at home. 


    Three generals returned empty- handed (with empty hands) 
    Cet adjectif composé en -ed est formé de la façon suivante :
     adjectif (empty) + trait d'union + nom au singulier (hand) terminé en ed

    Compléter les phrases suivantes en utilisant ce modèle :

    The fourth general has a black beard => He is a  man.
    The king has a kind heart => He is a  person.
    The old woman points at the cave with her right hand => She is a woman.
    The generals' chariots have two wheels => The generals drive chariots.

      course de chars


    Why did the king order the farmers to sow the lump of ice?

    When did the king discover water at the bottom of the hole?


     In the past, people dug wells with a .

     To raise heavy buckets, you can wind a rope round a cylinder by using a .

    A man who searches for underground water with a rod is a .

      of crystal, metal or other materials suspended on a chain is sometimes
     used in divination and dowsing.

    End of the free exercise to learn English: First well - Tale
    A free English exercise to learn English.
    Other English exercises on the same topic : Tales | All our lessons and exercises