Учебное пособие: Методические указания по чтению рекомендуются для студентов I ii курсов специальности “ История ” гуманитарных факультетов, учащихся гимназий и средних школ, а также для научной работы студентов по курсу “ История древнего мира ”.

Работа утверждена на заседании кафедры иностранных языков ФИиПН.

Печатается по решению учебно — методического Совета Тюменского госуниверситета.

Методические указания по чтению рекомендуются для студентов I – II курсов специальности “ История ” гуманитарных факультетов, учащихся гимназий и средних школ, а также для научной работы студентов по курсу “ История древнего мира ”. Данное пособие совершенствует навыки различных видов чтения, а также коммуникативные навыки.

Составители: ст. преп. Г.П. Гавриличева

Ответственный за выпуск: ст. преп. О.А. Попова

Методические указания по чтению “ History through mythology. Greek myths “ предназначаются для студентов I – II курсов гуманитарных факультетов специальности “ История ”, а также для учащихся гимназий и средних школ.

Цель настоящей учебно – методической разработки — развивать у студентов навыки ознакомительного, изучающего и поискового видов чтения, навыки техники чтения, активизировать употребление в речи некоторых грамматических явлений, а также развивать коммуникативные навыки.

Методические указания содержат аутентичные тексты по мифологии Древней Греции.

Выбор темы учебно – методической разработки обусловлен необходимостью владения студентами – историками данной информацией по специальности на английском языке.

Методические указания по чтению состоят из пяти разделов. Каждый раздел включает текст, список имен собственных, употребляемых в тексте, необходимый лексический минимум, а также комплекс упражнений. Система упражнений рецептивного и репродуктивного характера способствует активному усвоению лексического материала, нацеливает студентов на активные формы работы, например, на чтение и анализ, дискуссию, высказывание собственного мнения по проблеме, диалог. Каждый раздел завершается заданием на написание собственной работы определенного объёма по пройденному материалу.

Данную методическую разработку отличает большое количество разнообразных упражнений коммуникативной направленности, что способствует развитию навыков речи как одного из базисных требований в овладении иностранным языком.

Упражнения нацелены на активизацию употребления в речи таких семантико-грамматических явлений, как условные предложения, пассивный залог, предлоги, фразовые глаголы словообразования, грамматические времена, косвенная речь.

Методические указания по чтению “History through mythology. Greek myths” рекомендуются для аудиторной работы, а также могут быть использованы при самостоятельной работе студентов в качестве источника по дополнительному чтению.

Topical Plan








Vocabulary Test


Echo and Narcissus


Grammar Test


The Fortunate King


Comprehension Test


Atalanta’s Lovers


Vocabulary Test




Grammar Test



Daedalus ♦ The fortunate king ♦ Echo and Narcissus ♦

Atalanta’s lovers ♦ Helen

When you were younger, you probably read and heard various fairy tales and folktales. These tales, filled with magical creatures and adventures, were meant to entertain. But they were also meant to instruct a person in proper behavior: Be kind, courteous, loyal, clever, obedient … or else see what can happen! These tales have survived tellings and retellings for hundreds of years.

Myths come to us from even older times. Most Greek myths are at least two thousand years old. They too were meant to entertain, instruct and often explain. These myths give a clear picture of the gods and tell how people should behave to please them. Many of the myths describe what happened to those who displeased the gods or who aspired to perform actions of which only the gods were capable.

Are human beings limited in the actions they are able to perform? Do the gods favor one person over another? Perhaps the answers to these questions can be found in the myths that follow.



In the very early days it was not the mainland of Greece that was the most important, but the island of Crete, which lies below the Aegean sea, south of most of the other islands. In it there are still ruins of a great palace, almost more a city than a palace, with so many rooms and passages that it must have had many people dwelling in it. These people were evidently traders and powerful on the sea. They must have been skilled shipbuilders and from the remains we have found we know they were also great architects, craftsmen, artists. In later times the island sank into unimportance and its former prominence was forgotten. Nevertheless the story of its greatness lingers on and is associated with the skills for which we know it was famous.

In legend the king of the island of Crete was called Minos. He had a great fleet and power that extended far and wide, dominating among other places the city of Athens. He seems to have been a fierce tyrant for he forced the Athenians to send him a yearly tribute of seven youths and seven maidens whom he fed to a horrible monster that he owned. This animal was called the Minotaur and was a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. To keep him safe and to prevent his victims from escaping it was necessary to build some special dwelling for him. For this purpose Minos hired a famous architect whose name was Daedalus.

Daedalus, the Greeks used to say, was the first great artist, craftsman and engineer. It was he who invented many of the tools of carpentry: the saw, the gimlet, an efficient glue. He also was the first to make statues more lifelike than a roughly carved pillar. Before this time statues had held their legs stiffly together and their arms down by their sides. Daedalus made them stepping forward and holding something in front of them. He is said to have built a great reservoir, fortified a city, and done many other engineering works. But the most famous of all the things he made was the house he built for Minos to keep the Minotaur in. This house was a labyrinth or maze with countless winding passages so that it was hard to find the way in or out. Perhaps the idea got into the story from a vague memory of the countless confusing passages in the Cretan palace. In any case Daedalus is supposed to have built a maze for Minos, so elaborate in its windings that no man without a clue could possibly escape from it.

Minos was delighted with his labyrinth and held the architect in great honor. Unfortunately when the wandering artist wished to take his fee and go the king had other ideas. There were many things that could well be made for him by the greatest craftsman in the world and he saw no reason why he should let the man build things for someone else. Being the king over the island Minos found it easy to keep Daedalus where he was. He simply forbade all ships to give the artist passage, provided him with an elaborate workshop and suggested that he might as well settle down and be happy.

Thus Minos gained the services of Daedalus but the great craftsman was not content. Beyond anything else he loved freedom to wander as he pleased, seeing the world and picking up new ideas. He was not the kind of man who could easily settle down. Therefore when he saw that he could not possibly get away by ship he turned his talents to working out something else. Minos did not visit the fine workshop he had given his artist. But if he had, he would have seen a curious sight. The whole place was deep in feathers. There were feathers of all shapes and sizes, some just thrown down anyhow as they had been brought in, and some neatly sorted into heaps. A young boy, Icarus, Daedalus’ only son and companion, was doing the sorting, while Daedalus himself was busy with twine, wax and glue, fixing the feathers together in orderly rows on a wooden framework.

Daedalus was making wings. He had seen that it would be impossible to cross the sea by boat because of Minos’ order, so he had determined to fly across it. After studying the wings of birds for a long time he designed some which he thought would support a man and now he was working on them. Icarus was terribly excited and was helping eagerly. He did not dislike living in Crete so much but he wanted to fly as the gods do. Think of being the first man to have wings !

The wings took a long time to finish but at last they were done, a mighty pair for Daedalus and a smaller one for his son. The workshop being in the top of a lofty tower Daedalus planned that they should simply launch themselves into the air from it. As they stood there fastening the wings onto their shoulders Daedalus gave his excited son some last instructions.

“ I shall go first,” he said, “ to show the way. We must go straight across the sea by the shortest route, lest we become tired and drown before we can reach land. Follow me and remember the wings on your shoulders are not natural wings like those of Cupid. We are men and must use tools to do what the gods can do for themselves. Even with our tools we must always fall short of them. If you fly too near the sea, the feathers will become wet and heavy and you will drown; if you fly up into the air as the gods do, the wax will melt in the sun before you reach Olympus. Then your wings will fall off and you will perish. Follow me as I go through the middle of the air, neither too high nor too low. So you will be safe.”

He spoke and jumped, falling like a stone till the wind caught him and he steadied. Then he began to rise again as the wings beat steadily from his shoulders. He turned and beckoned Icarus to come on. Icarus jumped. The fall was terrible; so was the sudden stop as his spread wings caught the air. Still, he had the presence of mind to work his arms as he had seen his father do and pretty soon he was sailing ahead in long swoops over the sea.

Presently the boy began to play tricks in the air. His father flew steadily on but it would be easy, Icarus thought, to catch up with him. Father was too old to enjoy this properly. The swoops were rather sickening but climbing was wonderful. Up, up he went, like the lark, like the eagle, like the gods. His father called something but the wind whistled the sound away. Icarus realized he ought to come down but nobody had ever been up there before except the gods. Perhaps the real difference between gods and men was that gods could fly. If he wanted to reach Olympus, he would have to take some risk.

Up, up Icarus went, soaring into the bright sun. In vain Daedalus called to him. He was only a black speck by now. At last he was coming down. He was coming very fast, much too fast. In another second Daedalus caught sight of the boy whirling headlong. The framework was still on his shoulders but all feathers had fallen off as the hot sun had melted the wax. One moment he saw him; then with a mighty splash Icarus hit the water and was gone. Daedalus circled round over the sea not daring to go too low lest his own wings become soaked. There was no point in both being drowned. But not even a clutching hand broke surface. The white foam hung on the water for a space; then it disappeared too.

Daedalus flew on. He reached the land at last, white-faced and exhausted but he would neither use his wings nor teach others how to make them. He had learned man’s limitations. It is not right for him to soar like the gods.


Greece the Greeks

the island of Crete Cretan

the Aegean sea [i'jεən] Minos ['mi:nəs]

Athens the Athenians

Minotaur ['minətə] Daedalus ['dedləs]

Icarus Cupid


Words and word combinations

powerful ( adj ) могущественный, властный

skilled shipbuilders искусные кораблестроители

craftsmen ( n ) ремесленники

to find the remains of найти остатки (останки)

to be associated with быть связанным с

to extend far and wide простираться далеко и широко

to force smb to do smth заставлять кого-либо силой делать что-то

maze ( n ) лабиринт

to escape from ( v ) выбраться из

to be delighted with быть довольным чем-либо

to provide smb with smth обеспечить, снабдить кого-либо чем-либо

to be excited быть взволнованным

to perish — perished ( v ) погибать

to hire — hired (v ) нанимать на работу

steadily (adv ) равномерно, постоянно

Exercises to the Text

I. Transcribe the following words and read them.

Architects, caught, eagle, excited, greatness, honor, island, legend, sailing, soar, swoops, tyrant, unfortunately, winding, yearly.

II. Find the English ( the Russian ) equivalents for the following words and expressions ( see the Text ).

Powerful on the sea, былая известность, sank into unimportance, иметь большой флот, a fierce tyrant, ежегодная дань, for this purpose, скармливал ужасному монстру, countless confusing passages, специальное жилище, the great craftsman, мастерская, by the shortest route, перелететь море, to soar like the gods, кружился над морем.

III. Match the words on the left with their synonyms on the right.

1) to lie a) to possess

2) horrible b) restrictions

3) to reach c) quick

4) maze d) to be situated

5) to own e) labyrinth

6) fast f) awful

7) limitations g) to die

8) to support h) to get to

9) to perish i) to maintain

IV. Write the opposites for the following words.

Low, to finish, natural, to melt, wet, the shortest, to rise, heavy, to disappear.

V. Explain the meaning of the words and expressions in English. What associations appear in your mind when you hear them ?

a maze

a fierce tyrant

to take some risk

a workshop

to hold smb in honor

a great fleet


VI. Fill the gaps in the sentences below with the best alternative.

1. Unfortunately the former prominence of the country … .

a) have been forgotten b) will be forgotten

c) were forgotten d) was forgotten

2. The saw and the gimlet … by this famous engineer.

a) was invented b) had invented

c) were invented d) has been invented

3. Different myths and legends usually … by the students of historical faculties.

a) are studied b) is studied

c) will be studied d) has been studied

4. The wings … by Daedalus before they flew across the sea.

a) has been made b) is made

c) had been made d) were made

5. The Athenians … to send their king a tribute.

a) were forced b) is being forced

c) has been forced d) was forced

6. A new historical film … in a week in the cinemas of the city.

a) is being shown b) will be shown

c) had been shown d) are shown

7. Unfortunately this highway … at the moment.

a) is being repaired b) was repaired

c) had been repaired d) were being repaired

8. After Daedalus had constructed a labyrinth the Minotaur … there.

a) had been placed b) will be placed

c) is placed d) was placed

9. A great number of feathers … into his workshop before he designed some wings to support a man.

a) had been brought b) were brought

c) are brought d) were being brought

VII. Match two parts to make a sentence.

1) If you fly too near the sea a) he would have to take some


2) If he had visited the workshop b) he would have flown across

the sea

3) If Daedalus had not loved freedom c) Minos would not have hired


4) If Icarus had followed his father’s advice d) the feathers will become wet

5) If he wanted to reach Olympus e) he wouldn’t have fallen

to the sea

6) If his wings hadn’t become soaked f) he would have seen a

curious sight

7) If Daedalus hadn’t invented many things g) he would have settled down

8) If Daedalus had a chance h) he would have helped

his son

VIII. Agree or disagree with the following statements. Give your reasons. Use the phrases:

No doubt; I’m sure; at last; nevertheless; unfortunately.

1. The events under discussion took place in Italy.

2. The king Minos possessed a funny animal, didn’t he ?

3. The Greeks consider Daedalus to be a great inventor.

4. The Cretan king held Daedalus in great honor.

5. It was not easy for Daedalus to settle down, was it ?

IX. Prepare short reports on the following :

1. Describe the workshop given to the architect by Minos.

2. Tell the group about the inventions and the achievements of Daedalus.

3. Characterise the king Minos.

X. Speak on the following situations with your partner :

1. You are the king Minos and Daedalus. Discuss your plans for the future after the king hired Daedalus.

2. You are Icarus and Daedalus. Reproduce the conversation before your flight across the sea.

XI. Discuss in the group :

1. Who is to blame for Icarus’ fateful end? Explain your answer.

2. Why did Daedalus achieve his goal and Icarus fail? What do you think this says about the Greeks’ idea of proper human conduct? Do you agree? Explain your answer.

3. What might Minos have done to keep Daedalus from wanting to leave ?

4. Daedalus reached land, “ but he would neither use his wings nor teach others to make them. He had learnt man’s limitations.” Have human beings today learnt “ man’s limitations“? Explain your answer.

XII. Write an article of about 150 words about the myth under discussion. Imagine that you are writing this article for the competition.


Echo and Narcissus

At times it pleased great Zeus to take upon himself some earthly form, and so descend from Olympus and amuse himself among the mortals for a time.

But Hera, his queen, was jealous of these pleasures, and whenever she learned that he had gone, she would follow him and search the whole world through until she found him. Then she would weary him with angry words and with reproaches till, for the sake of peace, he would return with her to his high palace on Olympus.

But once, when Hera followed him there, he hid himself in a deep wood and bade the nymph Echo go to meet his queen and keep her for a while in talk until he could escape unseen back to Olympus.

This Echo did. Of all the nymphs she was the wittiest and the most cunning. She hastened forth, and meeting the goddess on her way began at once to pour into her ears some curious tale of something she had lately seen. The tale was so strange that though Hera was in haste she stayed to listen. Then when the story had reached its end, she would have gone again upon her way but now it was some even stranger tale Echo had to tell. So she kept Hera listening there till Zeus was safely back upon Olympus. His queen found him there when she returned at last outwearied from her searching on the earth. He was enthroned again in his high hall in all his majesty and glory.

But Hera guessed the trick that had been played upon her, and in wrath she cried, “ Never again shall Echo’s cunning tongue be used for deceiving others. All her wit shall now avail her nothing, for she shall never again be able to put her cunning thoughts into words, ” and she took all power of speech from Echo, except that of repeating what she heard others say.

Now piteous indeed was Echo’s case and the more piteous because she loved a youth named Narcissus. He was the fairest youth all over the earth, so handsome indeed that many nymphs had pined for love of him, but Narcissus scorned them all and fled from their sighs and tender looks. Echo might perhaps in time have won his love by her wit if she could have put it into words but now she could not, and he fled from her as from the others.

But one day she hid herself among the bushes in a wood where he often came with the hope that thinking himself alone he might breathe out some tender word or sigh she could repeat to him.

It was not long before she saw him come. He was weary from the chase and threw himself down beneath a tree to rest.

“ Heigho !” he sighed.

“ Heigho !” Echo repeated softly.

“ Who is there ?” cried Narcissus starting up.

“ Is there !” answered Echo.

“ Is it a friend ?”

“ A friend !” replied the nymph.

“ Then come to me.”

“ Come to me ,” Echo cried joyously, and springing from the thicket where she had lain hidden, she ran to him with outstretched arms.

But Narcissus drew back from her with frowning brows.

“ I know you now,” he cried. “ You are one of those who have followed me. I do not want your love.”

“ Want your love,” the nymph repeated piteously holding out her arms to him.

But Narcissus answered more sharply still. “ Go away and don’t touch me and never follow me again !”

“ Follow me again !” cried Echo. But Narcissus has already gone from her. He had fled away more swiftly than she could follow him, and from that day he hid from her so that she could not find him.

Then the poor nymph grieved bitterly. Day after day she spent in tears and sad complaints until at last her sorrow melted her flesh away; her bones became rocks and at last nothing was left of her but a wandering voice that haunted caves and cliffs, answering back the calls and cries of others. But before she had vanished quite, the nymph breathed out a silent prayer to Aphrodite that some day Narcissus himself might feel a sorrow like to hers, might pine with love of one who neither could nor would return that love.

Her silent prayer was granted and thus it came to pass that once Narcissus entered a lonely wood where he had never been before and there came to a pool as still and bright as polished silver. Never before deer or bird or any living thing had found that pool until Narcissus came. Thirsty after his wanderings he knelt to drink and as he bent above the pool he saw himself reflected in the water, yet he did not know it was his own image that he saw. He thought it was some nymph or naiad who lived there in the pool – one lovelier far than any he had ever seen before.

Filled with delight he gazed, then suddenly plunged his arms down in the pool and sought to seize the lovely thing, but at once the water broke into ripples and his reflection disappeared.

Narcissus drew back with beating heart and breathlessly waited hoping it would appear again yet fearing that he had frightened it away forever.

Then, as the pool grew still, his image showed again in the water. More gently now Narcissus moved, stooping down toward it, and always as he stooped near and nearer, so the image seemed to rise up toward him, until it was as though in a moment their lips would meet; but when he thought to kiss those lips, it was only the chill water that he touched.

Again and again he tried to grasp the image but it always disappeared at his touch. And now the unhappy youth spent all his days there by the pool, filled with hopeless love of his own image. He neither ate nor slept but pined and pined with love, even as Echo had, until at last he pined his life away.

Then from the fields and woods arose a sound of mourning. Voices cried, “ Narcissus, the beautiful, is dead, is dead !“ Youths and nymphs, dryads and fauns, lamented over him, while Echo repeated every sigh and sad complaints she heard.

A funeral pyre was built on which they thought to lay the lovely form of dead Narcissus but when they went to look for it, it had disappeared; instead they found only a snow–white flower; it was a flower different from any they had ever seen before, and guessing that the gods had changed him into this form, they called it by his name, and ever since that flower has been known everywhere as the Narcissus — loveliest of blooms, even as of old that first Narcissus was the loveliest of youths.



Hera ['hirə]



Words and word combinations

descend — descended ( v ) спускаться, сходить

amuse oneself забавляться, развлекаться

reproach ( n ) упрек

escape — escaped ( v ) убегать, спасаться, избежать

curious ( adj ) любопытный, странный

reach smth. достичь чего – либо

sigh ( n ) вздох

deceive smb. обманывать кого – либо

chase ( n ) погоня

scorn smb. презирать кого – либо

still ( adv ) все еще

swift ( adj ) быстрый

grieve — grieved ( v ) огорчать, горевать

delight ( n ) наслаждение

instead ( adv ) вместо

Exercises to the Text

I. Transcribe the words and read them.

Beating, disappeared, earthy, enthroned, fearing, frightened, gently, grasp, guessed, haunted, heart, jealous, mourning, naiad, nymph, piteous, pleased, tongue, touched, wrath.

II. Find the English ( the Russian ) equivalents for the following words and expressions ( see the Text ).

Among the mortals, злые слова и упреки, hid himself in a wood, ненадолго ее задержать, the wittiest and the most cunning, устав от поисков на земле, guessed the trick, обманывая других, pined for love, всех презирал, answering back the cries of others, совсем исчезла, a silent prayer, его собственный образ, reflected in the water, полный восхищения, a snow–white flower.

III. Match the words on the left with their synonyms on the right.

1) curious a) look for

2) deceive b) come back

3) reach c) tired

4) change d) unusual

5) strange e) lie

6) search f) interesting

7) disappear g) alter

8) weary h) vanish

9) return i) get to

IV. Explain the meaning of the words and expressions in English. What associations appear in your mind when you hear them ?

To guess, a trick, a cunning tongue, a chase, a silent prayer, to seize the thing, enthroned, safely.

V. Use the word in capitals at the end of each line to form a word that fits in the space in the same line.

It was a … for Zeus to live among people for a time. PLEASE

But his wife Hera didn’t like his …. DEPART

Once she was … by her husband Zeus. DECEIVE

It was the nymph Echo who helped him in … REALIZE

of his plans. Echo was the … and the INTELLIGENT

… of all the nymphs. She kept Hera for a WITTY

while in … until Zeus could return to Olympus. DISCUSS

Hera’s … was cruel. Echo couldn’t speak out PUNISH

her own … since then. Only repeating what THINK

others say was … to her. AVAIL

VI. Fill the gaps in the sentences below with the best alternative.

1. Don’t you know him? He always … people.

a) is deceiving b) deceives

c) has deceives d) deceive

2. He phoned to say he … his bag on the plane.

a) had left b) left

c) has left d) was left

3. That person … the farm since 1947.

a) has owned b) have been owning

c) own d) owned

4. Nobody knows when it last … in Shri – Lanka.

a) has snowed b) snowed

c) is snowing d) will snow

5. Where … before you moved to Mexico ?

a) you did live b) did you live

c) you lived d) lived you

6. A typist is someone who … letters and reports.

a) types b) type

c) is typing d) are typing

7. Would you let me have a copy of your report as soon as you … it, please ?

a) will finish b) will have finished

c) finish d) finished

8. When Richard arrived at the boutique his wife … home.

a) had already gone b) has already gone

c) already went d) have already gone

9. When Mr. Barnett … letters I typed them.

a) dictated b) has dictated

c) had dictated d) have dictated

10. I … to visit this beautiful country.

a) always wants b) have always been wanting

c) always had wanted d) have always wanted

VII. Match two parts to make a sentence.

1. I found this picture a) between 5 and 5.30.

2. Ben Nevis is 4.406 feet b) among the children on

the playground.

3. There is a computer c) at 8.30.

4. His aunt was a woman d) among the presents.

5. I leave my office e) between the pages of the


6. It was difficult to find Pete f) of reading.

7. She was fond g) above sea level.

8. Our classes begin h) in the corner of the room.

9. There was a pretty doll i) of thirty – seven.

VIII. Prove that the following statements are true. Use the phrases :

As we know; it turned out that; sure; although; according to …

1. Hera was jealous by character.

2. Zeus’ wife Hera was angry with Echo.

3. It was impossible for Echo to speak to Narcissus.

4. Narcissus loved only himself.

5. Echo could not live after Hera’s punishment.

IX. Prepare short reports on the following.

1. Characterise Hera.

2. Tell the group about Echo’s efforts to attract Narcissus attention.

3. Describe Narcissus’ last day after he had entered a lonely wood.

X. Speak on the following situations with your partner.

1. You are Zeus and your partner is Hera. Reproduce the conversation after Zeus’ coming back from the earth to Olympus.

2. You are Echo and your partner is Hera. Reproduce the conversation in the wood when Echo kept Hera.

XI. Discuss in the group.

1. The author writes that perhaps in time Echo might have won Narcissus’ love by her wit if she could have put that wit into words. Do you agree?

Explain your answer. What else could Echo have done to try to capture Narcissus’ love? Do you think anything would have worked? Why ?

2. Do you think that Narcissus got what he deserved? Explain your answer.

3. Narcissus was the first narcissist, someone fascinated with his or her own appearance or self – interests. What is your opinion of narcissism — is it ever understandable or justified? Explain your answer.

XII. Write an article of about 150 words about the myth under discussion. Imagine that you are writing this article for a newspaper.


The Fortunate King

Admetus, king of Pherae in Thessaly, was thought by many to be among the luckiest of men. He was young, strong and handsome, the only son of a father who had given up the kingdom to him as soon as he came of age. Admetus was an affectionate son, and the old people felt proud and pleased that, though they had given him all their power, he still paid them every attention which could make their old age a happy one. The wealth of the king lay largely in his immense flocks and herds, for which he had the good fortune to obtain a marvelous herdsman.

Apollo himself had been condemned to spend a year on earth in the form of a servant as a punishment for an offense he had committed in anger against Zeus. He came in this way to Admetus, and since the young king was a just master, the year was a good one for both of them. Admetus saw much of his chief herdsman and came to respect him while Apollo mightily increased the flocks of the king in return for his upright dealing. When the year came to an end Admetus learned that not only was he a much richer man than before but he had also acquired a powerful friend and protector. One of the first uses he made of Apollo’s friendship was to gain himself a wife whom any prince in Greece would have been proud to marry.

Pelias, ruler of another Thessalian kingdom which he had seized by force from his cousin, had several daughters, but Alcestis was by far the loveliest. Not only was she beautiful but she was skilled in all the arts of women. She was a notable spinner and maker of cloth, a good housewife and performed everything with a charm which really came from a gentle, affectionate and honorable nature. Even her dark and sinister father was fond of her and by no means anxious to let her marry and go to live in some other land. Nevertheless from the first moment she was old enough Pelias had been bothered by suitors for Alcestis. Every young man who saw her and a great many who only heard of her asked her father for her hand. At last Pelias became weary of the business and let it be known that he would marry his daughter only to the prince who could come to ask for her in a chariot drawn by a wild boar and a lion. Of course no man could do this without the gods’ help so Pelias thought it most likely that he would be able to keep his daughter. But when Admetus accomplished the feat with Apollo’s aid, Pelias at least could be satisfied that she was marrying a prosperous king who had the help of a powerful protector. He made the best of it, therefore, and the wedding was held with much rejoicing.

For several years after this Admetus was even happier than before. His parents thoroughly approved of his bride, who treated them with loving respect. Alcestis was a gentle, dignified queen, a beloved mistress of the household, and an affectionate mother. Towards her husband even though she had not chosen him herself she showed all the love he could desire. Nothing seemed to be lacking. Admetus’ face was radiant as he moved among his people; everything he did he enjoyed. Men would mention him in conversation as an example of one who did not know what misfortune meant.

Meanwhile Apollo had not forgotten his friend and loved to appear in human form from time to time and talk with him. But at last one day he came with a very grave face. “Admetus, my friend,” he said seriously, “the Fates will spin out lasting happiness for no man. Each must have fortune and misfortune too, and so it is with you. It is decreed that in this very year your luck shall change. Within twelve months it is your fate to die.”

The “fortunate” king went pale as ashes. His legs failed beneath him so that he sat down heavily, his hands limp at his sides. Then in a moment he leaped up and began to beg and implore Apollo. “You are powerful,” he said desperately. “Save me from this. I am young, I am strong, no man enjoys life as I do. Why should I die? Life is full and rich for me; I enjoy every moment. Why, they say I even smile in sleep, and my dreams are glad ones. People point at me in the streets, “There goes a happy man,” they say. And it is true. Why should I die when so many live who are weary of life, who are old, poor, sick or lonely? Why should I die? ”

“It is not possible to alter Fate,” said Apollo gravely, “that is not entirely. What I could do I have done. Someone at least must die but I have won for you the promise that if another will die instead of you when the time comes you may live.” And with that hope the king was forced to be content.

From that time on nobody pointed to Admetus in the streets and called him the fortunate king. Indeed he made no secret of his misfortune, hoping always that someone who was tired of life would offer to change with him. But time went forward and no one came. Other people who had envied his luck did not see why a less happy man should take on his load now that it was his turn to suffer. The year went on and in all his kingdom no one offered the service that Admetus was too proud to ask. He found himself wandering past mean hovels, casting imploring glances at poor or crippled people. He fancied they understood what he wanted of them and that they looked at him mockingly. At last he could bear the city no longer and went out to manage his estate as he had been used. But the bleating of the countless lambs and the lowing of the cows in his great milking sheds only drove him to desperation. Finally his courage failed him and as the long year came to an end, he went to see his father.

His father was outraged at the proposition Admetus put before him. “How dare you suggest such a thing ?” he shouted. “I have ten more good years of life and it is my own. I earned it and I shall enjoy it. Nobody ever called me the fortunate king. I toiled hard all my life for what I had. And now you, who have had everything given you and made no effort, want my last years of peace and happiness as well. What do you think a father is for, my son? Do you expect him always to give what you need? Oh no, I have given already and far too much. A father should receive — receive respect and affection and obedience from his children as the gods have ordained it. And this is all you offer: respect when it takes no trouble, affection when it is the easiest way. Get out of my sight.”

“Selfish old man,” answered Admetus, beside himself with fury at the direct refusal. “Now I know how much your only son is worth to you, not even a few miserable, toothless years of life.”

“Get out of my sight,” yelled the old man.

“I will,” shouted Admetus, “and gladly, for you are not true parent of mine. At least I have a mother.”

Admetus’ mother was no more willing than her husband. “Look after yourself,” she said indignantly. “You are not a baby any more. As long as you were one, I took care about you, fed you, dressed you, and sat up with you. You owe your life to me in any case. I never asked you as a baby to look after me. Now it is your turn.”

“Now may you be cursed,” retorted Admetus in a passion. “May the gods remember you as an unworthy mother, a hard, unfeeling woman. What use was it to give me life and nurse me up for this? A fine gift you gave! May you die unwept and unhonored.”

“May Hera, the great queen mother, and Leto hear me,” screamed the old woman. “They know what it is to have children. May they …” But Admetus turned away without hearing, for he felt that his time was come.

Admetus lay down on his couch and groaned aloud in bitter despair as he hid his face and waited for the coming of death. Meanwhile in her inner chamber the queen Alcestis arose quietly, kissed her two children and gave them to her attendants. Then she bathed herself and put on fresh white garments and went to the sacrifice. There she prayed the gods to take her life. Then as faintness came over her, she lay down on a couch and died quietly, while the groaning Admetus felt health surging back again and sat suddenly bolt upright. It was the miracle! His luck had saved him; he was not to die!

Even as he felt sure of this, he heard wails of women from the inner chamber and, rushing in, beheld the body of his wife. Admetus fell on his knees beside the corpse and kissed it, tears running down his cheeks. It had never occurred to him to ask Alcestis. He loved her and she was so young. Everybody was so fond of her. She had as much to look forward to as he; there was no possible reason why she should die. Then as the greatness of the queen’s sacrifice became clear to him, he saw for the first time how selfish he had been. Of course, he should shoulder his own misfortunes just like everybody else. What right had he running to his parents? He had had more luck than other people in any case. Why should it not be his turn? Admetus groaned again and would gladly have died if by so doing he could have brought his Alcestis to life but it was too late.

An attendant touched him timidly on the shoulder. There was a stranger shouting for him in the great hall. It was Heracles, the mighty hero, returned from one of his deeds of strength and bursting to celebrate his achievement. He could not have come at a worse time but he had to be met so Admetus roused himself to go out and explain to him that this was a house of mourning. On the way however he thought better of it. Why should the happiness of Heracles be spoiled? Admetus had brought this sorrow on himself, and it was fitting he should bear it alone. He was utterly tired of his own selfishness. He stopped and gave orders to his servants to prepare a feast. He spoke firmly to them and they went obediently at last, muttering among themselves. Admetus went out to see his guest and made himself smile as he welcomed him.

The great, good-humored Heracles was not a sensitive man, and just now he was in an excited mood. He noticed nothing curious about Admetus or the servants; he was bent only on having a good time. And Admetus gave him a good time with wine, and song, and feasting. There was much laughter and a lot of noise. The disapproving servants who had loved their mistress far more than they did Admetus, looked as gloomy as they dared. They grouped in corners muttering, but for a long time Heracles noticed nothing at all. When finally the revelry was dying down and the excitement was nearly over Heracles perceived their disapproval and not liking it called loudly for some wine. It was brought to him but an air of reluctance which made him strike his fist on the table and demand indignantly why they could not serve him better. Admetus was out of the room, and there was no one to restrain the anger of the servants at what was going on. They told him exactly what was the matter in the plainest terms.

Heracles was appalled at the trouble he had caused but he was also touched by Admetus. Never, he felt, had he been entertained in so princely a fashion before. It was like a great prince to put aside his grief and celebrate with a guest, even while his beloved wife lay dead within his halls. Heracles questioned the servants as to how long ago the queen had died, for he knew the way to Hades well and he had a plan. He had been down to Hades, and so great was his strength that not all the monsters of that place had availed to keep him there. He had bound the mighty Cerberus and brought him up to earth alive. In fact, there was no feat that Heracles was not equal to, for he was half divine and though he was a man now he would be a god in time. It might be possible to pursue Death and wrestle with him for the spirit of Alcestis as they went hand in hand down the steep path to the underworld. He said nothing to Admetus as yet and told the servants to keep silence but he took up his great club from the corner where he had laid it, threw his lionskin over his shoulders and strode off in the direction of the dreadful path he had trodden once before.

It was early morning when Heracles came back and a muffled figure walked with him. Admetus summoned haggard and sleepless from his chamber, came much tried but still courteous to answer his guest’s unreasonable demands. Heracles put back the cloak and Alcestis looked at her husband as though she were just waking from sleep. As he ran forward and clasped her, he felt her come to life in his arms.

Alcestis and Admetus lived long after that time, happy yet generous to the poor and ailing. Admetus had learned both seriousness and sympathy. Though he was as prosperous as before, he had found that there were qualities more admirable than good luck and he never cared again to be known by the title of “the fortunate king.”


Admetus [əd'metəs]


Alcestis [əl'sestəs]

Heracles — in Greek mythology, is a mortal son of Zeus, famous for his great strength and courage.

Hades — the home of the dead in Greek mythology.

Cerberus — a three – headed dog known in mythology to guard the entrance to Hades

the Fates — in mythology, three stern and gloomy goddesses who determine the course of human life.

Leto — the mother of Apollo and Artemis.

Words and word combinations

affectionate ( adj ) нежный

punishment for an offense наказание за обиду

increase — increased ( v ) увеличивать

acquire a powerful protector приобрести могущественного защитника

seize by force захватить силой

chariot ( n ) колесница

make one’s best делать все возможное

treat smb. with respect относиться к кому – либо с уважением

meanwhile ( adv ) между тем

suffer — suffered ( v ) страдать

desperately ( adv ) отчаянно

bear — beared ( v ) терпеть

obedievce ( n ) послушание

sacrifice ( n ) жертва

generous ( adj ) щедрый

prosperous ( adj ) процветающий, зажиточный

disapproval ( n ) неодобрение

Exercises to the Text

I. Transcribe the following words and read them.

Achievement, admirable, alive, appalled, courteous, cursed, disapproving, divine, dreadful, equal, lambs, laughter, mighty, mourning, seriousness, suitors, sympathy, wrestle.

II. Find the English ( the Russian ) equivalents for the following words and expressions ( see the Text ).

Among the luckiest of men, единственный сын, as he came of age, хотя, the wealth of the king, огромные стада, for an offense he had committed, она была хорошей хозяйкой, a prosperous king, счастливее чем раньше, misfortune, умолять, forced to be content, навестить своего отца, refusal, его время пришло, suddenly, ему стало понятно, to celebrate his achievement, tired of his selfishness.

III. Match the words on the left with their opposites on the right.

1) immense a) lose

2) increase b) healthy

3) richness c) divorce

4) acquire d) greedy

5) rejoicing e) poverty

6) sick f) quiet

7) generous g) tiny

8) marry h) sorrow

9) excited i) decrease

IV. Explain the meaning of the words and expressions in English. What associations appear in your mind when you hear them?

a ruler

an affectionate mother

from time to time


crippled people



V. Use the word in capitals at the end of each sentence to form a word that fits in the space in the same line.

1. … is a bad trait of character. SELFISH

2. Her touch was …. TIMIDLY

3. That was a … king. PROSPER

4. … is a great thing. CURIOUS

5. Parents don’t want their children to be …. OBEDIENCE

6. Heracles saw the servants’ …. APPROVE

7. She was in great …. EXCITE

8. It’s a pity, but his demands were …. REASON

9. All people spoke about her …. SERIOUS

VI. Complete the sentence with the suitable preposition.

1. Look … the baby while I’m out.

2. If you look … it carefully, you’ll see the mark.

3. I’ve been looking … my spectacles for half an hour and can’t find them.

4. He looked … the book to see if he had read it before.

5. Why are you here? Tom is looking … you downstairs.

6. Have you looked … the papers yet ?

7. Don’t worry! The children will be looked … .

8. He looked … me for a few moments and then said he would never forget what I had done.

9. He asked me to look … the document and then sign it.

VII. Fill the gaps in the sentences below with the best alternative.

1. He always … the speed of 100 miles an hour.

a) drives b) driving

c) driven d) is driven

2. The neighbours … each other since 1992.

a) know b) knew

c) had known d) have known

3. I … this wonderful film when I was 16.

a) see b) saw

c) have seen d) had seen

4. The coat … 20 pounds on sale last week.

a) cost b) costs

c) will cost d) would cost

5. Simon met his wife while she … at his hospital.

a) work b) works

c) has worked d) was working

6. Don’t worry! All your expenses … .

a) will pay b) will be paid

c) had been paid d) are paying

7. If he … this painting he’ll have no money problems.

a) sell b) sells

c) sold d) have sold

8. We … our course papers in a week.

a) pass b) passed

c) shall pass d) have passed

9. Who … these documents ?

a) takes b) took

c) has taken d) have taken

VIII. Agree or disagree with the following statements. Give your reasons. Use the phrases:

We must confess; I believe; I sure; It’s a pity; to say more.

1. Apollo was glad that he met Admetus.

2. Alcestis was the best daughter of Pelias.

3. Admetus didn’t want to alter Fate.

4. Alcestis didn’t love her husband.

5. Heracles helped Admetus and Alcestis.

IX. Prepare short reports on the following.

1. Characterise Heracles.

2. Tell about the relation of Admetus to his parents when he learnt about his Fate.

3. Characterise Alcestis.

X. Speak on the following situations with your partner.

1. You are Admetus and your partner is his mother. Reproduce the conversation between them after Admetus learnt his Fate.

2. You are Admetus and your partner is Apollo. Reproduce the conversation between them about misfortune.

XI. Discuss in the group the following.

1. Did Admetus deserve to have Alcestis returned to him? Explain your answer.

2. Did the response of Admetus’ parents surprise you? Why or why not ?

3. How did Admetus’misfotrune help him to be a better person? Can you think of other examples where misfortune could actually be a blessing ?

XII. Write an article of about 150 words about the myth under discussion. Imagine that you are writing this article for your essay project.


Atalanta’s Lovers

Althaea, queen of Calydon, had borne a son to her husband Oeneus, and amid scenes of great rejoicing the infant was named Meleager. Now on the seventh day as she lay in bed with her baby by her, Queen Althaea had a vision. It seemed to her that the wall of her chamber dissolved into a mist in which far away, yet somehow near, she saw three old women spinning. They were incredibly yellow and ancient, yet their hands were quick and steady. One pulled fleecy wool from a distaft and twisted it into thread. Another drew out the end and began to wind it as it lengthened, while in the middle sat an old crone with a pair of open shears between which the thread passed as it was gathered in.

Althaea could see so clearly that she could even notice that the first who made the thread was quite unskillful. The thread ran thick here, and thin there almost to breaking, and between came knots and lumps such as would make it unfit for weaving. It seemed to her then that she had known all along that these were no ordinary women but the three Fates themselves, and that this was no weaving thread but the course of a man’s life that they spun. Even as she knew this, she saw the yellow, skeleton-like head of the winder turn to the crouching spinner, and an old voice said: “Spin out the life of Meleager, sister; spin it out even and strong.”

“How long ?” said she with the shears and the points quivered a little, “sisters, how long ?”

“Not long,” said she who was winding. “Cut when the log which burns on the queen’s hearth is totally consumed to ash.” And the pale blue eyes of all three turned slowly to the fire as the white thread ran between their fingers. The queen’s eyes turned too. The great log on the hearth was burning merrily, already half consumed. Quick as a flash she looked back to the Fates but the wall was solid again as though nothing had ever been there. Only an old voice seemed to say again, “Not long.”

The queen leaped from her bed and with her naked hands snatched the burning wood from the fire. She beat it against the hearth; she smothered it in her robe. When it was dead and black, she fetched a pitcher of water and poured it over. At last she stood, hands black, clothes scorched, feet in a puddle of water, and looked at the ugly thing. She dared not leave it where her servants might find it and finish what was begun so after some thought she wrapped it in a piece of costly embroidery and put it in a chest where her chief treasures were and of which she alone had the key. Thereafter the boy grew up strong and handsome, for the thread of his life as the Fates had foretold was even and strong.

When Meleager had reached manhood and was already famous for bravery, his father, Oeneus, brought great trouble on the land, for he neglected the worship of his goddess, Artemis, and she in anger sent to the woods of Calydon a monstrous boar. None had ever seen such an animal before. His bristles stood up along his spine like spikes of wood. His skin was tough as the rhinoceros. His great tusks were so enormous that only the elephant’s could surpass them. The animal was as savage as he was formidable in appearance. Daily he trampled the growing corn and the green vineyards till the crops of the farmers were utterly ruined and yet none could harm him. Dogs seemed helpless against him, spears glanced off his hide and men who hunted him were crippled or killed.

At last Oeneus, in desperation, sent heralds all through Greece proclaiming a great hunt in the woods of Calydon and challenging every hero who wished for glory to try to slay the monstrous boar. From every kingdom all who were famous or who desired fame came to the meeting place. The was the fortunate Admetus with Jason, his cousin. There was Meleager himself with his two uncles, brothers of Althaea. There were many other heroes famous already or to be famous thereafter. Last of all there was Atalanta, the swift-running huntress, with her bow in hand and her ivory quiver on her shoulder.

As soon as Meleager saw Atalanta, he fell in love with her beauty and her courage. He had eyes for no one else. This was by no means to the taste of other heroes who felt in was no part for a woman to join such a hunt with men. There were plenty there who disliked Atalanta and foremost among them were Meleager’s two uncles. These took it upon themselves to advise the boy to pay her less attention and were still further enraged when they were disregarded.

Nothing however came of the matter openly and when the hunt began Atalanta was included with no more than a secret muttering among the men. The boar’s lair was in a dense wood, thick with underbrush which none had dared to enter since he came. Around most of this the men stretched their strongest hunting nets. Then they took stations all about while some went down the trail with packs of dogs to rout the monster out.

When the boar rushed out all was confusion. The animal scattered the yelping dogs and made straight for the men. The hunters were many but they were not all together in one place. Nor could they aim their spears in time for the boar’s speed was too great. Besides they were fighting on dense woodland where it was very hard to move about and where spears glanced off branches without even hitting the raging beast. He, on the other hand, charged straight through the thicket and laid two heroes low. Two more were knocked down and trampled while a third saved himself only by vaulting hastily into a tree, using his spear as a pole. Rocks and arrows were whizzing around the beast but nothing hit except the blunt shaft of one spear. This slowed his rush. The yelping dogs closed in on him and while they did him no harm they did bring him for a moment to bay. He stopped and glared at them, red-eyed and snorting. In that moment an arrow from Atalanta’s bow grazed along his back and stuck below the ear. The animal was only slightly hurt but he turned and made off in the direction from which he had come while Meleager raised a joyful shout that Atalanta had drawn first blood and then headed the rush down the trail. There was a desperate struggle when the boar was brought to bay again but at last he fell and the spear that gave the final stroke was Meleager’s.

There was great rejoicing as the heroes gathered round to marvel at the great beast and measure his mighty tusks. Meleager was the hero of the hour perhaps the more because he was the host and because the heroes did not wish to remember that the timely arrow which wounded the boar and turned him at a critical moment was Atalanta’s. Meleager sensed this feeling and, drunk with his achievement, could not conceal his resentment from his older companions. He received therefore the spoils of the chase, the head and skin of the fearsome monster which were presented to him with great ceremony and then offered them to Atalanta saying that the first wound and the chief credit were hers.

At this insulting treatment of the honor paid to him there was a tense silence broken after a moment by Althaea’s two brothers. As Meleager’s uncles these saw fit to reprove him for his behavior in awarding the prize against the wishes of the other heroes. Meleager was far from quietly putting up with this. One retort led to another and the furious uncles told him exactly what they thought of Atalanta, her forward manners and unwomanly behavior. This was too much for the excited lover. In a blind passion he threw his spear at one of the speakers with all his might and killed him instantly. Before he had time to realize what he had done the other fell on him and in self-defense he struck again killing him likewise.

It had all happened too quickly for anyone to interfere. Afterwards there was muttering and great dismay. Meleager himself was appalled but covered his feelings with sullen defiance. So the group broke up most of them ranging themselves in a procession around the biers of the dead but Meleager still stayed with Atalanta and declared loudly that his uncles had brought death on themselves.

Althaea was like a madwoman when the message came. She cared little for her husband; her pride was in her brothers and her son. All the reports announced that Meleager had struck first, had started the quarrel by his open preference of Atalanta. Althaea too felt that ranging the woods with heroes was no occupation for a woman. Meleager was in the wrong from first to last — not only had he forgotten the great respect which younger men should always pay to elder, not only had he slain his own kinsmen, the greatest crime a man could commit but he showed no sign of shame or sorrow. Althaea would speak to no one and eat nothing. She went to her room and paced up and down there all night and all day. At last as the evening came the frightened servants in the doorway heard the queen speak. “I am cold,” she said to them between her teeth. “Light me a fire.”

When they came back with materials the chest by the far wall was open and the queen held in her hands a blackened piece of wood. “Let justice be done,” she said to herself and put it in the flame. Then she drew up a chair and sat down to watch it burn.

Even at that moment on his way home from the woods of Calydon Meleager gasped, clutched himself and fell writhing to the earth. “I am burning up,” was all he could say and he died in agony, no drink or cool application being capable of relieving his pain. But the queen far away in her chamber as she saw the last piece crumble into ash lifted her hand from her side before her women could stop her and drove a dagger through her heart. So ended the Calydonian hunt amid mourning and lamentation. Each of the heroes returned soberly to his home and Atalanta saying no word to any went back to the woods from whence she came.

Atalanta hunted in the wild woods as she used to do. No one could tell whether she sorrowed for Meleager for she said no word of that but though many young men came to woo her she steadfastly refused to marry. She loved her wild freedom, so she said, and had no desire to be mistress of a household or mother of children. Every suitor she counted as an enemy. Her father was not of the same mind however and for a long time he vainly urged his daughter to marry. At last losing his patience he insisted she make a choice among her suitors. Atalanta could not refuse her father directly but she decided to outwit him if she could. She therefore set up a racecourse in a grassy valley and declared that any who wished to marry must first race with her. He who could outrun her should be her husband but if she were the faster the beaten man should die. By this means she hoped to avoid having any suitors at all while yet if they did persist she could rely on her speed to defeat them.

At first the challenge of Atalanta only acted as a stimulus to her suitors. There were plenty of young men ready to risk their lives for fame and for the winning of so beautiful a bride. Perhaps they hoped that she would not be so cruel as to carry out her threat. But after a time when it was known that the swift and slender Atalanta ran like the very wind itself and that she always demanded the penalty of death when she was the winner fewer and fewer men came to race with her. Spectators thronged the racecourse instead drawn to see so desperate a struggle and to catch sight of so cruel a maiden. Among these there was small pity for the unfortunate suitors. People thought they were fools to challenge the girl when many other beautiful and far kinder maidens might be won.

Among these spectators came Hippomenes, despising in his heart both the men who ran in the contest and the worthless girl who caused death to so many. So he thought until he saw her running, swift as a wild deer, hair fluttering behind her and breath coming easily between her parted lips. Behind her toiled another runner laboring with all his strength but Atalanta spared no glance for him. Even when he was led away she only stood there, cheeks flushed and panting slightly, looking out on the wild wood which was her home.

Hippomenes had never seen anyone so beautiful. This was indeed a woman to die for, yet die he very likely would if he raced with her for he had watched her running and seen that she did not put forth all her strength. Yet he made the challenge and when the girl came — as was her custom — and said a few words to discourage him from running he thought she looked at him kindly and that the color came into her cheeks as she met his eyes. But for all these signs of favor he knew she would not spare him. He went then to the temple of Aphrodite and prayed earnestly for her aid. The goddess of love and beauty had no sympathy for Atalanta, worshiper of the cold moon goddess, Artemis. She came therefore to Hippomenes when he called her, put something into his hand and gave him counsel. With this Hippomenes waited in confidence for the morning.

When the race began Hippomenes shot a little ahead of Atalanta and made a great show of putting out all his strength. But soon he seemed to fail a little and swift feet came up behind him, Then for a moment the two raced side by side. The girl glanced at her rival uneasily and Hippomenes saw with joy that she was reluctant to pass him. Yet he knew that soon she would and he stumbled a little and seemed to fail in order that she needs must draw ahead. Then she smiled to himself as he watched her. She was easy and confident. She thought he was beaten and that she could play with him. At that he drew forth one of the things that the goddess had given him and threw it before Atalanta on the path. It was a golden apple, a miracle of a fruit which the goddess had plucked herself from a living tree. It rolled along in front of Atalanta and the wonderful beauty of it tempted her. She must have it and the man was failing; there was plenty of time. She stooped to pick it up and in that minute Hippomenes passed her. Still he seemed to be laboring and failing though actually he ran fast. Atalanta marveled that with the efforts he made his speed did not slacken and she was sure that soon it must. Again she ran evenly after him though she did not wish to. Again a golden apple rolled before her on the path.

Atalanta was angry at the challenge of this second apple. She knew now that the man, poor runner as he was, intended to win by trickery. She would accept his challenge and win all the same. His hoarse breath seemed louder and louder and greater the effort with which he ran. Nevertheless as she picked up the second apple he passed her again. Now Atalanta was angry with him and ran after him swifter than the wild deer like the woodland wind itself. She passed him like the shadow of a leaf. The goal was now in sight and for the last time Hippomenes threw a golden apple. Then as the maiden stooped for it he cast all pretenses to the winds and ran for his very life. Quick as a flash Atalanta was after him yet the goal was very near. If she had known that he was not really exhausted she would never have dared to stoop for the third apple. One moment she was two paces behind and the next her breath panting now seemed almost in his hair. But the winning post was only a few yard ahead and still the girl was half a pace behind. They seemed for a breathless second to race side by side and then with a final effort Hippomenes touched the winning post an instant before Atalanta’s outstretched hand.

Such was the winning of Atalanta and the story says that the bride in spite of her anger at being tricked was not unhappy to be won. At all events Hippomenes married her amid great rejoicing thanks to Aphrodite who had known that a woman would certainly be tempted by the gift of the three golden apples.




Oeneus [ə'neəs]

Meleager ['meleajə]

Artemis ['a:rtəməs]




Hippomenes [hi'pamənəz]

Aphrodite [a:frə'di:tə]

Words and word combinations

lie — lay — lain ( v ) лежать

ancient ( adj ) древний, старинный, старый

hearth ( n ) очаг

ordinary ( adj ) обычный, обыкновенный

incredibly ( adv ) невероятно

lengthen — lengthened ( v ) удлинять, удлиняться

dare — dared ( v ) сметь, отваживаться, иметь наглость

foretell — foretold ( v ) предсказывать, предвещать

enormous ( adj ) огромный

utterly ( adv ) совершенно

vineyards ( n ) виноградники

in desperation в отчаянии

pay smb. attention уделять кому — либо внимание

slightly ( adv ) слегка, немного

insulting treatment оскорбительное обращение

put up with smth. мириться, примириться с чем — либо

dismay ( n ) смущение

commit a crime совершить преступление

Exercises to the Text

I. Transcribe the following words and read them.

Appearance, behavior, behind, bristles, burning, cousin, discourage, embroidery, huntress, kingdom, monstrous, rhinoceros, sympathy, thereafter, thread, treasures, wrap.

II. Find the English (Russian) equivalents for the following words and expressions (see the Text).

Amid scenes, великая радость, dissolved into a mist, ей показалось, unfit for weaving, узлы и комки, totally consumed to ash, бревно, горящее в очаге, her chief treasures, выхватила дерево из огня, none could harm him, принёс большую беду, the swift — running hunters, жаждать славы, in a dense wood, влюбился в её красоту и храбрость.

Ш. Match the words on the left with their opposites on the right.

1) ugly a) unknown

2) less b) the weakest

3) merry c) apart

4) brave d) sad

5) famous e) beautiful

6) the strongest f) cowardly

7) side by side g) more

8) rejoicing h) slow

9) quick i) sorrow

IV. Write the synonyms for the following words.

To leap, included, hard, to fetch, to slay, companions, chief, refuse, to wait, to watch, quick, glory, struggle.

V. Use the words in capitals at the end of each line to form a word that fits in the space in the same line.

1. The thread was too… and the goddess decided to cut it. LENGHTEN

2. Many boys and girls are… in their childhood. HELP

3. She was afraid of being late because the train had…. DELAY

4. That worker was very… turner. SKILL

5.…, he fell and broke his leg. FORTUNE

6. It is a great… for every woman to keep her beauty. TEMPT

7. Children usually can't run…. SLOW

VI. Fill the gaps in the sentences below with the best alternative.

1. Queen Althaea never… the Fates before.

a) had never seen b) never had seen

c) has never seen d) didn't see

2. At last Oeneus… a great hunt in the woods of Calydon.

a) had proclaimed b) proclaimed

c) was proclaiming d) were proclaiming

3. Atalanta… a huntress with her bow in hand.

a) had been b) has been

c) were d) was

4. When the Queen saw them, three ancient women… .

a) were spinning b) span

c) had spun d) will spinning

5. After the Queen… the Fates' words, she snatched the log from the fire.

a) heard b) had heard

c) has heard d) will heard

6. When Meleager… an adult, his father brought a great trouble.

a) had become b) became

c) was becoming d) will become

7. Before Hippomenes could win the race, he… to Aphrodite.

a) went b) has come

c) will come d) had come

8. A golden apple… before Atalanta during the race.

a) were rolling b) was rolling

c) rolled d) had rolled

9. Many hunters… against the monstrous boar in the wood for a long time.

a) fought b) had fought

c) has fought d) were fighting

VII. Match two parts to make a sentence.

1. Invitations to the party a) will be got by them in

a month.

2. Before we moved to this town b) will be built in a year.

3. Every day many interesting events c) has been passed by us.

4. The most difficult exam d) were sent a week ago.

5. We hope the diplomas e) are discussed by students

at the University.

6. This modern Pakace of Culture f) a good road had been built.

7. Usually this film g) is shown on the eve

of Victory Day

8. This acute problem h) are usually passed in May

9. The course projects i) is being discussed at the


VIII. Find a mistake in each sentence and correct it.

1. An old woman sat in a middle of the room.

2. The Queen jumped from the bed and caught the log into the fire.

3. That man bringed a trouble on the land.

4. Her treasures was put into the chest.

5. Meleager fell by love with Atalanta.

6. Hippomenes winned the race.

7. 7. It was the desperatest fight against the monstrous boar.

8. The Fate span out the life of the Meleager.

9. Atalanta loved her wild freedom more of all.

IX. Speak on the following :

1. Describe the three Fates and their actions.

2. Describe and characterise Atalanta.

3. Describe a monstrous boar and a struggle in the wood.

X. Speak on the following situations with your partner :

1. You are Queen Althaea and your partner is Meleager. Reproduce the last conversation before his death.

2. You are Hippomenes and your partner is Aphrodite. Reproduce the conversation on the eve of the race.

XI. Discuss in the group :

1. Can you defend Meleager's actions after the boar was killed? Explain.

3. Why did Atalanta refuse to marry? Is her reason valid? Explain your answer.

4. Did Hippomenes win the race? Explain your answer.

5. The author says that Aphrodite " had known that a woman would certainly tempted by the gift of three golden apples ". Do you agree? Why?

6. If the word man were substituted for the word woman, would your answer be different? Explain.

XII. Write an article of about 150 words about the myth under discussion. Imagine you are writing this article for the conference.



The house of Menelaus, the most powerful of the kings of Greece, lay on the edge of the Spartan plain. Here the evening meal was being prepared for the men of the great household, who were gathering in the courtyard as they returned from vineyard or field. The lowing of cattle filled the air, for milking was over and the great herds of the king were being penned for the night.

A servant came quickly into the dim hall in which the torches were just being kindled. “ There is a chariot in the gateway, King Menelaus, “ he announced. “ A young man declares himself to be Paris, Prince of Troy in Asia, traveling to see the world.“

“Bring him in, “ answered the king. “ While the women prepare a bath and lay out fresh garments, you may send word to the queen that a stranger will feast with us, for she loves to listen to talk of far lands.”

Menelaus rose from his chair by the hearth, but as the guest came into the torchlight, the king hesitated for a moment in amazement at the sight of the young man’s exceeding beauty.

Paris seemed all brown and golden. His bright helmet was pushed back and yellow hair clustered from beneath it round a brown face, ruddy with health. A tawny leopard skin hung over his shoulders. His belt and sandals were of gold. His short tunic was pure white showing arms and legs lightly tanned. “When he stands beside my wife Helen,
they will make the most beautiful couple that has ever been seen upon earth,” Menelaus thought.

When Paris emerged from his bath, his yellow hair combed and shining, men set a chair for him beside Menelaus and drew up a small table. A girl brought a pitcher of water which she poured into a silver basin for the washing of hands. Then the carver laid platters of meat before them while an old servant added wheaten bread, cheese, figs and other food from the storehouse. Another carried in the golden cups and a bowl of wine mixed with water. As the king ate with his guest, he was charmed by the young man’s grace and the low tones of his musical voice.

“You must sing for us after the feast,” he said. “If your skill with the lyre matches your voice we shall think ourselves lucky indeed. Our minstrel is old so that the queen grows weary of his songs and keeps to her room. Gloom descends on my hall without her.”

“I have some skill in music,” admitted the young man. “Indeed Hector, my brother, declares that I spend too much time with my lyre and neglect the weapons of war. I am a fair short with a bow but it is true that I was reared in the mountains and never trained with spear or sword.”

“Each man has a different gift,” said the warrior king with tolerant contempt.

“Indeed that is so,” replied Paris earnestly. “Hector’s gift is prowness in war. Mine is mere grace and beauty yet you should not despise it, since it alone is not born of practice, but comes unsought direct from the blessed gods. No man can win it to whom it has not been given.”

“Best of all are the gifts of the gods,” said the king mechanically but his eyes were already on the doorway where a little bustle of servants marked the arrival of his wife. A pretty girl drew up a chair by the hearth while another knelt to adjust a soft rug before it. A third wheeled in a silver basket of yarn, across which lay a distaff full of bright blue wool to be spun. Behind all these came the lady Helen. Menelaus looked at his guest for the gasp of admiration with which strangers were used to greet the dazzling appearance of the loveliest woman upon earth. Paris’ lips opened and moved slightly but no sound came. Menelaus marveling at the charm of his sudden smile missed the little start given by Helen at the sight of such a handsome young man. Nor could he hear the voice of Aphrodite though it sounded very clearly in Paris’ ears: “ I promised you the fairest woman in all the world to wife.”

Paris took the lyre to sing a lay for Helen and her husband was glad that this evening she lingered in the hall. On the following nights she stayed late again while Paris wooed her with whispers and glances, with the notes of his voice as he sang for her with a secret touch on her hand. Menelaus pleased by the gay charm of his guest thought nothing of his admiration for Helen. All men hung upon the sight of her yet she though she loved her husband but little showed no favor to others. Her nature the king imagined was cold.

At last however on a moonless night Helen rose silently from her husband’s side to steal down the narrow steps and through the great hall where the sleepers stirred uneasily. In the courtyard Paris was wheeling out his light chariot while his servant led the horses through the gateway where the noise of their harnessing might not be heard. Soon Paris leaped into the chariot and put one arm around Helen as she clung to the rail. The servant sprang aside from the horses’ heads. In the dark hall the noise of the wheels was like distant thunder rolling father and father away into the hills.

Down on the coast in the early morning the great ship in which Priam had sent out his favorite son hurriedly hoisted her sails. Her long oars clawed the grey water even as in his palace in Sparta Menelaus awoke alone. The most beautiful woman in the world had left her husband. The guest who was treated with honor had robbed his friend.


Menelaus ['mənələz]


the Spartan plain




Words and word combinations

courtyard ( n ) двор

vineyard ( n ) виноградник

torch ( n ) факел

announce — announced ( v ) объявлять, сообщать

while ( adv ) в то время как, пока

hesitate — hesitated ( v ) колебаться, не решаться

in amazement в изумлении

helmet ( n ) шлем

pour — poured ( v ) лить

be charmed by smth. быть очарованным чем – либо

lightly tanned слегка загорелый

neglect — neglected ( v ) пренебрегать, не заботиться

distaff ( n ) прялка

woo smb. ухаживать за кем — либо

however ( adv ) однако

treat — treated ( v ) обращаться, угощать

Exercises to the Text

I. Transcribe the following words and read them.

Arrival, beneath, descends, edge, exceeding, gateway, hearth, kindled, knelt, laid, lyre, mere, ruddy, slightly, tawny, true, wheaten.

II. Give the Russian ( the English ) equivalents for the following words and expressions.

On the edge of the Spartan plain, собирались во дворе, the lowing of cattle, огромные стада, the dim hall, чистое бельё, talk of far lands, самая прекрасная пара на земле, grows weary of his songs, пренебрегать оружием, with tolerant contempt, грация и красота, a pretty girl, встал на колени, the grasp of admiration, поразительная внешность, showed no favor to others, запрыгнул в колесницу, hurriedly.

III. Match the words on the left with their opposites on the right.

1) fresh a) familiar

2) far b) decide

3) strange c) departure

4) different d) heavy

5) silent e) old

6) war f) chatting

7) hesitate g) the same

8) light h) peace

9) arrival i) close

IV. Complete the sentences with prepositions where necessary.

1. There is something wrong … the telephone.

2. Please, write your exercise … ink.

3. … the way, have you seen Linda lately ?

4. I came here … mistake.

5. Bill and Belinda fell … love … each other.

6. Slowly the airplain came … … sight.

7. It’s dark here. Please turn … the light.

8. She is very fond … children.

9. I explained … him that the lift was … … order.

V. Fill the gaps with “ who “ or “ which “.

1. A non – smoker is someone … doesn’t smoke.

1. This is the pullover … I bought in London.

2. There is a man here … wants to sell me a brush for ten pounds !

3. A bus driver is a person … drives a bus.

4. This is the Eiffel Tower … is in Paris.

5. Robert Shade is catching Flight BE 048, … leaves at 14.20.

6. Lulu is the reporter … wrote interesting articles about space travels.

7. Harry Smith, … is 55, is unemployed.

8. She has already read the book … I bought last Friday.

VI. Put the verbs in brackets in the suitable grammar tense.

A forester, with his dog Tarzan, was riding through the thick forest. Suddenly his horse (stop). The forester (feel) that something (frighten) it. He looked round and (see) a pack of wolves (come) to them. Then the dog Tarzan (run) over to the wolves, (sniff) and (disappear) with them in the forest.

The forester remembered the day when he (find) a helpless hungry wolf – cub. He (pick) it up, (bring) it home, (warm) it up, (give) it food and (put) it in Tarzan’s dog house. Soon the cub (grow) up. Then the forester took the young wolf back to the place where he (find) him and (leave) him there.

Now the forester understood why the wolves not (attack) him or his dog. Among them (be) Tarzan’s friend.

Tarzan (return) home the next morning safe and sound.

VII. а) Rewrite each sentence as indirect speech beginning as shown.

1. “You can’t park here.”

The police officer told Jack that he couldn’t park there.

2. “I’ll see you in the morning, Helen.”

Peter told Helen ………………………………………………………….……….

3. “I’m taking the 5.30 train tomorrow evening.”

Janet said ……………………………………………………………………….....

4. “The trousers have to be ready this afternoon.”

Paul told the dry – cleaners ………………………………………………..……

5. “ I left my umbrella here two days ago. ”

Susan told them …………………………….……………………………………

6. “ The parcel ought to be here by the end of next week. ”

Brian said ………………………………………………………………………….

7. “ I like this hotel very much. ”

Diana told me ……………………………………………………………..……..

8. “ I think it’s going to rain tonight. ”

William said ………………………………………………………………………

b) Rewrite each question in indirect speech, beginning as shown.

1. “ What time does the film start, Peter? ”

I asked Peter what time the film started ……………………………………….

2. “ Do you watch television every evening? ”

The interviewer asked ……………………………………………………………

3. “ Why did you apply for this job? ” asked the sales manager.

The sales manager asked me ……………………………………………………

4. “ Are you taking much money with you to France? ”

My bank manager wanted to know …………………………………………….

5. “ When will I know the results of the examination? ”

Maria asked the examiner ……………………………………………….……….

6. “ Are you enjoing your flight? ”

The stewardess asked me ………………………………………………………..

7. “ How does the photocopier work? ”

I asked the salesman ……………………………………………………………..

8. “ Have you ever been to Japan, Paul? ”

Sue asked Paul ……………………………………………………………………

VIII. Prove that the following statements are true. Use the phrases:

As far as I remember; I believe; It’s difficult to say but;

I must confess that; I doubt.

1. Menelaus was the most powerful of the Greek kings.

2. Paris and Helen seemed to be the most beautiful couple in the world.

3. Menelaus loved Helen very much.

4. Paris was treated with honor by Menelaus.

5. Paris fall in love with Helen.

IX. Prepare short reports on the following topics.

1. One of Menelaus’s evenings.

2. Helen’s behavior.

3. Paris’ appearance.

X. Speak on the following situations with your partner.

1. You are Menelaus and your partner is Paris. Reproduce the conversation between them after their meeting at Menelaus’ house.

2. You are Helen and your partner is Paris. Reproduce the conversation on the eve of their last night at Menelaus’ house.

XI. Discuss in the group.

1. The author says that Helen “ loved her husband but little, showed no favor to others.” What to your opinion made Helen marry Menelaus? Should men trust women? Explain your answer.

2. According to the myth, Aphrodite promised Paris the fairest woman in the world to wife. Were the gods a good influence or a bad influence on the actions of the individual characters? Support your answer.

3. Menelaus was a hospitable person as he treated Paris with honor. Had Menelaus deserve that Paris separated him with Helen? Give reasons for your answer. Had you been faced with the situation described in this myth, what would you have done? Why ?

XII. Write an article of about 150 words about the myth under discussion. Imagine that you are writing this article for a seminar on Culture of Greece.


1. Afanasyeva O.V., Saakyan A.S. What or that? Which word to choose? M.: ACADEMIA, 1995.

2. Bagramova N.V., Blinova S.I. Practice of the English language. SPb.: SOYUZ, 1998.

3. Coolidge O.E. Mythology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1989.

4. Coolidge O.E. The Troyan War. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.

5. Hornby A.S. Oxford Asvanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

6. Vince M. First Certificate Language Practice. Oxford: Macmillan, Heinemann, 1998.

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