пятница, 23 апреля 2010 г.

Святой Георгий - покровитель Англии

St George's Day is celebrated in England on 23 April, in honour of St George, the patron saint of England. His emblem, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England, and part of the British flag. St George's emblem was adopted by Richard the Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century. The king's soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle. St. George is believed to have been born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) in the year A.D. 270. He was a Christian. At the age of seventeen he joined the Roman army and soon became renowned for his bravery. He served under a pagan Emperor but never forgot his Christian faith. When the pagan Emperor Diocletian started persecuting Christians, St. George pleaded with the Emperor to spare their lives. The Emperor tried to make St. George deny his faith in Christ, by torturing him. St George showed incredible courage and faith and was finally beheaded near Lydda in Palestine on 23 April, 303. In 1222, the Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be St George’s Day and he replaced Edward the Confessor as England’s patron saint in the 14th century. In 1415, April 23 was made a national feast day. Saint George is popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry. He is patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Pomorie, Qormi, Lod and Moscow. St George is also patron saint of scouts, soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy and plague. The most famous legend of Saint George is of him slaying a dragon. In the Middle Ages the dragon was commonly used to represent the Devil.
confusion- путаница, неразбериха
renowned – известный, знаменитый
pagan – неверующий, атеист, язычник
persecute – преследовать, подвергать гонениям
plead - защищать
spare – беречь, щадить
torture - пытать, мучить
gallantry – храбрость, отвага
chivalry - рыцарство
saddler – седельный мастер, шорник, верховая лошадь
leprosy - проказа
plague - чума
staying – останавливающий, задерживающий
The Legend of St. George and the Dragon
St. George travelled for many months by land and sea until he came to Libya. Here he met a poor hermit who told him that everyone in that land was in great distress, for a dragon had long ravaged the country. 'Every day,' said the old man, 'he demands the sacrifice of a beautiful maiden and now all the young girls have been killed. The king's daughter alone remains, and unless we can find a knight who can slay the dragon she will be sacrificed tomorrow. The king of Egypt will give his daughter in marriage to the champion who overcomes this terrible monster.' When St. George heard this story, he was determined to try and save the princess, so he rested that night in the hermit's hut, and at daybreak set out to the valley where the dragon lived. When he drew near he saw a little procession of women, headed by a beautiful girl dressed in pure Arabian silk. The princess Sabra was being led by her attendants to the place of death. The knight spurred his horse and overtook the ladies. He comforted them with brave words and persuaded the princess to return to the palace. Then he entered the valley. As soon as the dragon saw him it rushed from its cave, roaring with a sound louder than thunder. Its head was immense and its tail fifty feet long. But St. George was not afraid. He struck the monster with his spear, hoping he would wound it. The dragon's scales were so hard that the spear broke into a thousand pieces. and St. George fell from his horse. Fortunately he rolled under an enchanted orange tree against which poison could not prevail, so that the venomous dragon was unable to hurt him. Within a few minutes he had recovered his strength and was able to fight again. He smote the beast with his sword but the dragon poured poison on him and his armour split in two. Once more he refreshed himself from the orange tree and then, with his sword in his hand, he rushed at the dragon and pierced it under the wing where there were no scales, so that it fell dead at his feet. (by Mandy Barrow)
hermit - отшельник
distress – горе, страдание, несчастье, беда
ravage – разрушать, портить, опустошать, грабить
spur - пришпорить
scale - чешуя
prevail – торжествовать, одерживать победу
venomous – ядовитый, злобный
smite (smote)– разбивать, разрушать
armour – вооружение, доспехи, броня

День рождение Вильяма Шекспира

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. The parish register of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, shows that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564; his birthday is traditionally celebrated on April 23. His father, John Shakespeare, was a burgess of the borough, who in 1565 was chosen an alderman and in 1568 bailiff (the position corresponding to mayor, before the grant of a further charter to Stratford in 1664). He was engaged in various kinds of trade and appears to have suffered some fluctuations in prosperity. His wife, Mary Arden, of Wilmcote, Warwickshire, came from an ancient family and was the heiress to some land. William, according to the church register, was the third of eight children in the Shakespeare household—three of whom died in childhood. Stratford enjoyed a grammar school of good quality, and the education there was free, the schoolmaster's salary being paid by the borough. No lists of the pupils who were at the school in the 16th century have survived, but it would be absurd to suppose the bailiff of the town did not send his son there. The boy's education would consist mostly of Latin studies--learning to read, write, and speak the language fairly well and studying some of the classical historians, moralists, and poets. Shakespeare did not go on to the university. Instead, at the age of 18, on November 28, 1582 he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, (baptized on May 26, 1583) and twins Hamnet and Judith (baptized on February 2, 1585). Hamnet died in childhood at the age of 11, on August 11, 1596. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613. William Shakespeare wrote his will in 1611, bequeathing his properties to his daughter Susanna (married in 1607 to Dr. John Hall). To his surviving daughter Judith, he left some money, and to his wife Anne left "my second best bed." William Shakespeare died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. This is probably more of a romantic myth than reality, but Shakespeare was interred at Holy Trinity in Stratford on April 25. His wife Anne died in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are constantly studied, performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.
collaboration - сотрудничество, совместная работа
parish – церковный приход
burgess – житель города имеющего самоуправление
borough – небольшой город, имеющий самоуправление
alderman – член городского управления
bailiff – судебный
mayor - мэр
charter - дарственная грамота
bequeathing – завещать, предать по наследству
inter – хоронить, предать земле
acclaim - провозглашать
worship – почитать, поклоняться
reverence – почтение, благоговение
scholarship – ученость, эрудиция
Listen and watch such a wonderful sonnet!
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say 'This poet lies:
Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.'
So should my papers yellow'd with their age
Be scorn'd like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:
But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice; in it and in my rhyme.
A lot of information about the poet here: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/

День планеты Земля

 Earth Day
Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970 and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. Earth Day is celebrated in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Many communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues. While the first Earth Day was focused entirely on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes—the original national coordinator in 1970—took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Earth Day is now observed each year on April 22 in virtually every country on Earth. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network. World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 in a different nation every year, is the principal United Nations environmental observance. Earth Day 2010 coincided with the World People's Conference on Climate Change, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and with the International Year of Biodiversity. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future. Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy.  http://www.earthday.org/earthday2010
Visit this interesting site for Earth Day crafts, coloring pages, and activities. http://holidays.kaboose.com/earth-day/
How the First Earth Day Came About
By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day http://earthday.envirolink.org/history.html
virtually – фактически, в сущности, поистине
observance – соблюдение, обряд, ритуал, почтение
coincide – совпадать, соответствовать, равняться
peril – опасность, риск
renewable – возрожденный, обновленный
galvanize – оживлять, побуждать к действию
commitment – вручение, передача, обязательство
sustainability - поддержка
pivotal – центральный, осевой, основной
Facts about Earth
Age: 4.6 billion years old (Life as we know it, has only existed on the planet for the last 150 million to 200 million years)
Position: 3rd planet from the sun.
Size: 5th largest planet in our solar system.
Diameter: The Earth has an average diameter of 12,742 kilometers.
- Earth is the only planet in the Solar System to have water in its three states of matter: as a solid (ice), a liquid (sea, rain, etc.) and as a gas (clouds).
- The length of time it takes for Earth to orbit the Sun is 365 and a quarter days. To make up this extra quarter which isn't counted at the end of a year, we have an extra day every four years on 29th February.
- Earth travels through space at 66,700 miles per hour.
- The centre of the Earth, its core, is molten. This means that it is liquid rock which sometimes erupts onto the surface through volcanic eruptions. This core is 7,500°c, hotter than the surface of the Sun!
- Earth is the only planet in the Solar System not to be named after a mythical God.
- Only 29% of the surface is actually 'earth.' The rest of the planet's surface (71%) is made up of water. (by Mandy Barrow)
core – сердцевина, ядро
molten – расплавленный

среда, 21 апреля 2010 г.

День рождения королевы

Queen Elizabeth has two birthdays, one in April (private) and one in June (public). Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II , queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and 15 other Commonwealth realms, was born in London on April, 21 1926, first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, subsequently King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Five weeks later, she was christened in the chapel of Buckingham Palace and was given the names Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor. When Princess Elizabeth was born there was little reason to expect that she would succeed to the throne. Her uncle, the Prince of Wales, was only 31 and was being urged to marry: it was also quite possible that her parents would have a son who would take precedence. But the abdication of her uncle in 1936 brought her father to the throne as George VI. Princess Elizabeth grew up pretty, cheerful, and obedient. Her strong sense of duty called to mind her grandfather George V and Queen Victoria. Elizabeth and her younger sister Margaret were educated at home. On the outbreak of war in 1939, they were evacuated to Windsor Castle. In 1945, at the age of 18, Elizabeth joined the war effort, training as a driver in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service (WATS). In November 1947, she married a distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten (formerly Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark), a naval officer. Their first child, Prince Charles, now the Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the throne, was born a year later. The Princess Anne, now the Princess Royal, was born in 1950. George VI died on 6 February 1952 while Elizabeth and Philip were in Kenya. She returned home immediately, and was crowned at Westminster Abbey in June 1953. The coronation was a great success, a splash of colour and ceremony in a still austere post-war Britain. Excitable journalists wrote of a New Elizabethan Age to come. The Prince Andrew, now the Duke of York, was born in 1960, and the Prince Edward, in 1964. The Queen and the Duke celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in London in 1972. In 1977, the Queen's Silver Jubilee was celebrated in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen travelled some 56,000 miles to share the anniversary with her people. In 2002, Elizabeth celebrated her golden jubilee (50 years on the throne) and in 2006 her 80th birthday. This milestone had previously been achieved by only five other British monarchs: Henry III, Edward III, James I, George III and Queen Victoria. For more information: http://www.royal.gov.uk/HMTheQueen/Earlylife/Earlylife.aspx

пятница, 16 апреля 2010 г.

День рождения Чарли Чаплина

The film actor, director, and writer Charlie Chaplin was one of the most original creators in the history of movies. His performances as "the tramp"—a sympathetic comic character with ill-fitting clothes and a mustache—won admiration from audiences across the world. Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in a poor district of London, England, on April 16, 1889. His mother, Hannah Hill Chaplin, was a talented singer, actress, and piano player; his father, Charles Spencer Chaplin Sr. was a fairly successful singer. He found success as a performer, making his stage debut in 1894. His first stage appearance, at age five, was singing a song in place of his mother who had become ill. At eight he toured in a musical, "The Eight Lancaster Lads". Nearly 11, he appeared in "Giddy Ostende" at London's Hippodrome. After his parents separated, Charlie and his half-brother, Sidney, spent most of their childhood in orphanages, where they often went hungry and were beaten if they misbehaved. Barely able to read and write, Chaplin left school to tour with a group of comic entertainers. From age 17 to 24 he was with English vaudeville troupe, which brought him to New York in 1910, aged 21. In November of 1913 he signed a contract and left for Hollywood the next month. His first movie, Making a Living (1914), premiered in February of 1914. He made 35 films that year, moved to Essanay in 1915 and did 14 more, then jumped over to Mutual for 12 two-reelers in 1916 and 1917. In 1918 he joined First National (later absorbed by Warner Bros.) and in 1919 formed United Artists. His first full-length film was The Kid (1921). The film, which he produced and directed himself, was A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923). In 1929, at the first Oscar awards, he won a special award "for versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing" The Circus (1928). In 1943 he entered his fourth marriage, to Oona Chaplin, daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill. They had eight children. Chaplin was accused of being a communist by senator McCarthy. Tired of political and moralistic controversies and plagued with tax problems, he left the United States for Switzerland in 1952. He made a film, 'The King In New York', in 1957, which was full of criticism of McCarthy and American society in general. He published his memoirs in 1964. He was allowed to return to the US in 1972 to receive an Oscar for his services to film. He was named Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1975. He died in Switzerland aged 88 in his sleep from old age.
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Chaplin the 10th greatest male screen legend of all time. In 2008, Martin Sieff, in a review of the book Chaplin: A Life, wrote: "Chaplin was not just 'big', he was gigantic. In 1915, he burst onto a war-torn world bringing it the gift of comedy, laughter and relief while it was tearing itself apart through the First World War. Over the next 25 years, through the Great Depression and the rise of Hitler, he stayed on the job. It is doubtful any individual has ever given more entertainment, pleasure and relief to so many human beings when they needed it the most".
George Bernard Shaw called Chaplin "the only genius to come out of the movie industry".
tramp - бродяга

mustache – усы
orphanage – приют для сирот
versatility - многосторонность
controversy – дискуссия, полемика
plague – бедствовать

воскресенье, 4 апреля 2010 г.

Христос Воскрес!

Easter around the world
Easter in Russia
In Russia Christians go to church late on Easter Saturday night. At midnight they go out and walk around the outside of the church singing songs. The priest knocks on the door and everyone goes in to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The priest blesses the people's food and they return home to have a happy feast. It has been a custom to give friends and family brightly decorated eggs at Easter time, exchanged with the happy saying, "Christ is risen". Easter Sunday is a happy day of eating and visiting. In Russia, pussy willow branches are picked especially for Easter.
Easter in England
People who live in Olney, a town in England, celebrate Pancake Tuesday with a special event. They hold a pancake race on every Shrove Tuesday for over 500 years. People in England, hundreds of years ago began eating ham on Easter Sunday. In some parts of England, these springtime dancers are called Morris Dancers. They wear white shirts and red sashes. They have straw hats with streamers that dip and curl when they dance. Red and green ribbons are tied above the knees of their black trousers. Rows of little bells jingle as the dancers perform. The Morris dance is hundreds of years old.
Shrove - масленица
ham - ветчина
sash - пояс
streamer - лента
dip - спускаться
Easter in United States of America
Easter in the US is celebrated in many different ways by many different religions. Mostly it is celebrated with traditional church services and family festive celebrations. On Easter Sunday in New York and other cities, large street parades are held where people show off their new clothes and Easter bonnets. The parade is often led by someone carrying a candle or a cross. American children play a game called Easter Egg Roll. The world's most famous Mardi Gras carnival is held each year in New Orleans. It has parades, jazz bands and parties where everybody dresses up and joins in the fun. Groups of people called krewes prepare decorated floats with a Mardi Gras king and queen. Easter is a time to eat special food. In US it is baked ham, potatoes and vegetables. In the US at Easter Hot Cross Buns are served as well.
bonnet - женская шляпа
float - помост

суббота, 3 апреля 2010 г.


In the UK Easter is one of the major Christian festivals of the year. It is full of customs, folklore and traditional food. However, Easter in Britain has its beginnings long before the arrival of Christianity. Many theologians believe Easter itself is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn and spring - Eostre. In Britain Easter occurs at a different time each year. It is observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This means that the festival can occur on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25. Not only is Easter the end of the winter, it is also the end of Lent. Over Easter schools in the UK close for two weeks. Many of the symbols and traditions of Easter are connected with renewal, birth, good luck and fertility. Of course as it is a Christian festival one of the main symbols is a cross, often on a hill. When Jesus was crucified, the cross became a symbol of suffering. Then with the resurrection, Christians saw it as a symbol of victory over death. In A.D. 325, Constantine issued a decree at the Council of Nicaea, that the Cross would be the official symbol of Christianity. Easter eggs are a very old tradition going to a time before Christianity. Eggs are a symbol of spring and new life. Exchanging and eating Easter eggs is a popular custom in many countries. In the UK before they were replaced by chocolate, the eggs were hard-boiled and dyed in various colors and patterns. The traditionally bright colours represented spring and light. An older more traditional game is one in which real eggs are rolled against one another or down a hill. The owner of the egg that stayed uncracked the longest won. Even today in the north of England, for example as at Preston in Lancashire, they still carry out the custom of egg rolling. Hard boiled eggs are rolled down slopes to see whose egg goes furthest. In other places another game is played. You hold an egg in the palm of the hand and bang against your opponent's egg. The loser is the one whose egg breaks first. The same traditional game people have in Russia. Nowadays British people give each other Easter eggs made of chocolate, usually hollow and filled with sweets. Children believe that if they are good the «Easter Bunny» will leave eggs for them. They hunt for chocolate eggs hidden about the home or garden by the Easter bunny. Rabbits, due to their fecund nature, have always been a symbol of fertility. The Easter bunny (rabbit) however may actually be an Easter hare. The hare was a companion of the ancient Moon goddess and of Eostre. The bunny as an Easter symbol first mentioned in German writings in the 16th century. The first edible Easter bunnies appeared in Germany during the early 1800s, they were made of pastry and sugar. Easter was once a traditional day for getting married, that may be why people often dress up for Easter. Women make and wear special Easter bonnets - decorated with flowers and ribbons. Even today in Battersea in London there is a special Easter Parade, where hand-made bonnets are shown off. Hot cross buns, now eaten throughout the Easter season, were first baked in England to be served on Good Friday. These small, lightly sweet yeast buns contain raisins or currants and sometimes chopped candied fruit. Before baking, a cross is slashed in the top of the bun. After baking, a confectioners' sugar icing is used to fill the cross. Other Easter symbols are chickens, bread and wine. The chicks are born from eggs and are a symbol of spring and Easter. Bread is eaten to remember Jesus's sacrifice. Red wine is drunk to remember Jesus shedding His blood for humans.
Easter Poems
I Had an Easter Bunny
I had an Easter bunny,
One day she ran away.
I looked for her by moonlight,
I looked for her by day.

I found her in the meadow
With her babies 1, 2, 3.
So now I have four rabbit pets
To run and jump with me.

Easter comes but once a year
Easter comes but once a year
But when it does, we all know its here
Children filling themselves with chocolate
Dad's down the pub for a pint of beer!
We go to the church for the wine and bread
Dad's half asleep, and jerking his head
Baby sister is here too, munching away
On the free easter egg that the Priest gave us today
But remember we must, that the Lord died for us
And ascended into heaven to give us fresh lives
For each and every one of us.
lent – великий пост
fertility – плодородие богатство
to crucify - распинать
resurrection - воскрешение
fecund - плодовитый
yeast bun – сдобная булка с изюмом
raisin - изюм
currant - смородина
candied fruit - цукаты
slash – вырезать
to shed blood for somebody – проливать кровь за кого-то

пятница, 2 апреля 2010 г.

День рождения Ганса Христиана Андерсена

The Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) enjoyed fame in his own lifetime as a novelist, dramatist, and poet, but his fairy tales are his great contribution to world literature.
Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805, in Odense, Denmark. His father was a shoemaker and his mother a washerwoman, and he was the first Danish author to emerge from the lowest class. His father died when Hans was only eleven years old. Young Hans was wasting his time in school, daydreaming about the theatre and the stories he would imagine. His mother sent him to work in a tailor’s shop and later a tobacco factory to help support the family. Unhappy with these jobs, at the age of 14, Andersen convinced his mother to let him try his luck in Copenhagen rather than be apprenticed to a tailor. When she asked what he intended to do there, he replied, "I'II become famous! First you suffer cruelly, and then you become famous." He nearly starved to death trying to earn a living as an artist, actor, dancer and singer. Andersen befriended a theater director who helped him get a scholarship and return to school. Chancellor Jonas Collin, a director of the Royal Theater, noticed Andersen when he was 17. Collin had read one of Hans’ plays and saw that the young man had talent. Collin was able to obtain money from the king for Andersen's education. He sent him to a school near Copenhagen where his teacher treated him harshly and teased him about his desire to become a writer. Collin eventually took Hans out of the school and arranged private tutoring in Copenhagen. But Hans was an indifferent student and was unable to study systematically. He never learned to spell or to write the elegant Danish of the period. Thus his literary style remained close to the spoken language and is still fresh and living today, unlike that of most of his contemporaries. In 1828, at age 23, Andersen entered university in Copenhagen by writing his first prose narrative. This, his first success, was quickly followed by a vaudeville and a collection of poems. Andersen's career as an author was begun, and his years of suffering were at an end. Andersen began to be published in Denmark in 1829. In 1833 the king gave him travel money and he spent 16 months travelling through Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy. There he became friends with prominent Europeans, among them the English novelist Charles Dickens. As Andersen travelled he wrote many books about his experiences. Andersen wrote plays, novels, poems and travel books. Hans Christian Andersen considered himself ugly all his life. He was tall and thin with a long nose. It was this self-view that inspired “The Ugly Duckling”. Andersen proposed to several women during his life and was rejected by all of them. In spite of his lonely life he was able to create some of the most wonderful stories ever written. Andersen died on August 4, 1875.

четверг, 1 апреля 2010 г.

1 апреля никому не верь!

Unlike most of the other holidays, the history of April Fool's Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, is not totally clear. There really wasn't a "first April Fool's Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar. Some believe it was celebrated as the first day of spring. The beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France. Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25. The celebration culminated on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1. However, news travelled on foot, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1. These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes. The tradition spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American colonies. April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest.
pior – прежний, веский, более важный
obstinate – упрямый, настойчивый, упорный
populace – простой народ, массы, население
to errand – дать бессмысленное поручение
butt – предмет насмешек
You Know What They Say About Fools...
• It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and leave no doubt. --Mark Twain
• However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him. -- Nicolas Boileau-Desprйaux
• The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer
• Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom. -- Elizabeth Gaskell
• Looking foolish does the spirit good. -- John Updike
• Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. -- Mark Twain
• A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. -- William Blake
• A fool must now and then be right by chance. -- Cowper
• It is better to be a fool than to be dead. -- Stevenson
• The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year. -- Mark Twain
folly – глупость, безрассудство
April Fool Cards

Traditions and Customs on April Fool's Day
On 'All Fools' Day' or 'April Fools' Day', people play practical jokes and gift each other gag gifts and then when the victims are taken in by surprise, all the witnesses shout 'April Fool' at once. The innocent pranks such as prompting somebody that their shoelaces are undone or that they have something on their faces are quite common. Children love to use the opportunity to prank their classmates and even their schoolteachers. At some places, one is only allowed to play jokes until 12 noon for the jokes played after that time are supposed to bring bad luck to the perpetrator. Similarly, the victim is advised to endure the tricks with a smile on their face, exhibiting tolerance or amusement or they may suffer bad luck. It is said that those fooled by a pretty girl can expect marriage or at least friendship with her. Men are advised not to marry on this day or their wives will rule them forever. Children born on 1st of April are considered lucky generally, except in gambling where they will fare badly. April Fool's Day is one of the funniest and most popular pastimes of the day.
gag - комический
prank - шутка, шутить
perpetrator – нарушитель, преступник
tomfoolery – дурачество, шутовство (tomfool - шут)
It's interesting
British folklore links April Fool’s Day to the town of Gotham, the legendary town of fools located in Nottinghamshire. According to the legend, it was traditional in the 13th century for any road that the King placed his foot upon to become public property. So when the citizens of Gotham heard that King John planned to travel through their town, they refused him entry, not wishing to lose their main road. When the King heard this, he sent soldiers to the town. But when the soldiers arrived in Gotham, they found the town full of lunatics engaged in foolish activities such as drowning fish or attempting to cage birds in roofless fences. Their foolery was all an act, but the King fell for the ruse and declared the town too foolish to warrant punishment. Ever since then, according to legend, April Fool’s Day has commemorated their trickery.
lunatic- сумасшедший, безумный
to drown - тонуть
ruse – уловка, хитрость
to warrant – подтверждать, гарантировать
trickery - обман, хитрость