Unit 1 Festivals around the world FESTIVALS AND CELEBRATIONS Festivals and celebrations of all kinds have been held everywhere since ancient times. Most ancient festivals would celebrate the
end of cold weather, planting in spring and harvest in autumn. Sometimes celebrations would be held after hunters had caught animals. At that time people would starve if food was difficult to find, especially during the cold winter months. Today’s festivals have many origins, some religious, some seasonal, and some for special people or events. Festivals of the dead Some festivals are held to honour the dead or to satisfy the ancestors, who might return either to help or to do harm. For the Japanese festival Obon, people should go to clean graves and light incense in memory of their ancestors. They also light lamps and play music because they think that will lead the ancestors back to earth. In Mexico, people celebrate the Day of the Dead in early November. On this important feast day, people eat food in the shape of skulls and cakes with “bones” on them. They offer food, flowers and gifts to the dead. The Western holiday Halloween also had its origin in old beliefs about the return of the spirits of dead people. It is now a children’s festival, when they can dress up and go to their neighbours’ homes to ask for sweets. If the neighbours do not give any sweets, the children might play a trick on them. Festivals to Honour People Festivals can also be held to honour famous people. The Dragon Boat Festival in China honours the famous ancient poet, Qu Yuan. In the USA, Columbus Day is in memory of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World. India has a national festival on October 2 to honour Mohandas Gandhi, the leader who helped gain India’s independence from Britain. Harvest Festivals Harvest and Thanksgiving festivals can be very happy events. People are grateful because their food is gathered for the winter and the agricultural work is over. In European countries, people will usually decorate churches and town halls with flowers and fruit, and will get together to have meals. Some people might win awards for their farm produce, like the biggest watermelon or the most handsome rooster. China and Japan have mid-autumn festivals when people admire the moon and in China enjoy moon-cakes. Spring Festivals The most energetic and important festivals are the ones that look forward to the end of winter and to the coming of spring. At the Spring Festival in China, people eat dumplings, fish and meat and may give children lucky money in red paper. There are dragon dances and carnivals, and families celebrate the Lunar New Year together. Some Western countries have very exciting carnivals, which take place forty days before Easter, usually in February. These carnivals might include parades, dancing in the streets day and night, loud music and colourful clothing of al kinds. Easter is an important religious and social festival for Christians around the world. It celebrates the return of Jesus from the dead and the coming of spring and new life. Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival happens a little later. The country, covered with cherry tree flowers, looks as though it is covered with pink snow. People love to get together to eat, drink and have fun with each other. Festivals let us enjoy life, be proud of our customs and forget our work for a little while.
A SAD LOVE STORY LI Fang was heart-broken. It was Valentine’s Day and Hu Jin had said she would meet him at the coffee shop after work. But she didn’t turn up. She could be with her friends right now laughing at him. She said she would be there at seven o’clock, and he thought she would keep her word. He had looked forward to meeting her all day, and now he was alone with his roses and chocolates, like a fool. Well, he was not going to hold his breath for her to apologize. He would drown his sadness in coffee. It was obvious that the manager of the coffee shop was waiting for Li Fang to leave - he wiped the tables, then sat down and turned on the TV - just what Li Fang needed! A sad Chinese story about lost love. The granddaughter of the Goddess of Heaven visited the earth. Her name was Zhinü , the weaving girl. While she was on earth she met the herd boy Niulang and they fell in love. (“Just like me and Hu Jin,” thought Li Fang.) They got married secretly, and they were very happy. (“We could be like that,” thought Li Fang.) When the Goddess of Heaven knew that her granddaughter was married to a human, she became very angry and made the weaving girl return to Heaven. Niu Lang tried to follow her, but the river of stars, the Milky Way, stopped him. Finding that Zhinü was heart-broken, her grandmother finally decided to let the couple cross the Milky Way to meet once a year. Magpies make a bridge of their wings so the couple can cross the river to meet on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. People in China hope that the weather will be fine on that day, because if it is raining, it means that Zhinüis weeping and the couple won’t be able to meet. The announcer said, “This is the story of Qiqiao Festival. When foreigners hear about the story, they call it a Chinese Valentine’s story. It’s a fine day today, so I hope you can call all meet the one you love.” As Li Fang set off for home, he thought, “I guess Hu Jin doesn’t love me. I’ll just throw these flowers and chocolates away. I don’t want them to remind me of her.” So he did. As he sadly passed the tea shop on the corner on his way home, he heard a voice calling him. There was Hu Jin waving at him and calling, “Why are you so late? I’ve been waiting for you for a long time! And I have a gift for you!” What would he do? He had thrown away her Valentine gifts! She would never forgive him. This would not be a happy Valentine’s Day! Unit 2 Healthy eating COME AND EAT HERE (I) Wang Peng sat in his empty restaurant feeling very frustrated. It had been a very strange morning. Usually he got up early and prepared his menu of barbecued mutton kebabs, roast pork, stir-fried vegetables and fried rice. Then by lunchtime they would all be sold. By now his restaurant ought to be full of people. But not today! Why was that? What could have happened? He thought of his mutton, beef and bacon cooked in the hottest, finest oil. His cola was sugary and cold, and his ice cream was made of milk, cream and delicious fruit. “Nothing could be better,” he thought. Suddenly he saw his friend Li Chang hurrying by. “Hello, Lao Li,” he called. “Your usual?” But Li Chang seemed not to hear. What was the matter? Something terrible must have happened if Li Chang was not coming to eat in his restaurant as he always did. Wang Peng followed Li Chang into a new small restaurant. He saw a sign at the door. Tired of all that fat? Want to lose weight? Come inside Yong Hui’s slimming restaurant. Only slimming foods served here.
Make yourself thin again! Curiosity drove Wang Peng inside. It was full of people. The hostess, a very thin lady, came forward. “Welcome,” she said. “My name is Yong Hui. I’ll help you lose weight and be fit in two weeks if you eat here every day.” Then she gave a menu to Wang Peng. There were few choices of food and drink on it: just rice, raw vegetables served in vinegar, fruit and water. Wang Peng was amazed at this and especially at the prices. It cost more than a good meal in his restaurant! He could not believe his eyes. He threw down the menu and hurried outside. On his way home he thought about his own menu. Did it make people fat? Perhaps he should go to the library and find out. He could not have Yong Hui getting away with telling people lies! He had better do some research! At the library Wang Peng was surprised to find that his restaurant served far too much fat and Yong Hui’s far too little. Even though her customers might get thin after eating Yong Hui’s food, they were not eating enough energy-giving food to keep them fit. They would become tired very quickly. Wang Peng felt more hopeful as he drove back home. Perhaps with a discount and a new sign he could win his customers back. So he wrote: Want to feel fit and energetic? Come and eat here! Discounts today! Our food gives you energy all day! The competition between the two restaurants was on! COME AND EAT HERE (II) A week later, Wang Peng’s restaurant was nearly full and he felt happier. Perhaps he would be able to earn his living after all and not have to close his restaurant. He did not look forward to being in debt because his restaurant was no longer popular. He smiled as he welcomed some customers warmly at the door but the smile left his face when he saw Yong Hui walking in. She did not look happy but glared at him. “May I ask what you were doing in my restaurant the other day? I thought you were a new customer and now I know that you only came to spy on me and my menu,” she shouted. “Please excuse me,” he calmly explained, “I wanted to know where all my customers had gone last week. I followed one of them and found them in your restaurant. I don’t want to upset you, but I found your menu so limited that I stopped worrying and started advertising the benefits of my food. Why don’t you sit down and try a meal?” Yong Hui agreed to stay and soon they were both enjoying dumplings and breast of chicken cooked with garlic. When they were served the ice cream, Yong Hui began to look ill. “I feel sick with all this fat and heavy food,” she said, “I miss my vegetables and fruit.” Wang Peng was enjoying a second plate of dumplings so he sighed. “Yes,” he added, “and I would miss my dumplings and fatty pork. Don’t you get tired quickly?” “Well, I do have to rest a lot,” admitted Yong Hui. “But don’t you think it would be better if you were a bit thinner? I’m sure you’d feel much healthier.” They began to talk about menus and balanced diets. “According to my research, neither your restaurant nor mine offers a balanced diet,” explained Wang Peng. “I don’t offer enough fibre and you don’t offer enough body-building and energy-giving food. Perhaps we ought to combine our ideas and provide a balanced menu with food full of energy and fibre.” So that is what they did. They served raw vegetables with the hamburgers and boiled the potatoes rather than fried them. They served fresh fruit with the ice cream. In this way they cut down the fat and increased the
fibre in the meal. Their balanced diets became such a success that before long Wang Peng became slimmer and Yong Hui put on more weight. After some time the two found that their business cooperation had turned into a personal one. Finally they got married and live happily ever after.
Unit 3 The Million Pound Bank Note THE MILLION POUND BANK NOTE Act I, Scene 3 NARRATOR: It is the summer of 1903. Two old and wealthy brothers, Roderick and Oliver, have made a bet. Oliver believes that with a million pound bank note a man could survive a month in London. His brother Roderick doubts it. At this moment, they see a penniless young man wandering on the pavement outside their house. It is Henry Adams, an American businessman, who is lost in London and does not know what he should do. RODERICK: Young man, would you step inside a moment, please? HENRY: Who? Me, sir? RODERICK: Yes, you. OLIVER: Through the front door on your left. HENRY: (a servant opens a door) Thanks. SERVANT: Good morning, sir. Would you please come in? Permit me to lead the way, sir. OLIVER: (Henry enters) Thank you, James. That will be all. RODERICK: How do you do, Mr … er …? HENRY: Adams. Henry Adams. OLIVER: Come and sit down, Mr Adams. HENRY: Thank you. RODERICK: Your are an American? HENRY: That’s right, from San Francisco. RODERICK: How well do you know London? HENRY: Not at all. It’s my first trip here. RODERICK: I wonder, Mr Adams, if you mind us asking a few questions? HENRY: Not at all. Go right ahead. RODERICK: May we ask what you’re doing in this country and what your plans are? HENRY: Well, I can’t say that I have any plans. I’m hoping to find work. As a matter of fact, I landed in Britain by accident. RODERICK: How is that possible? HENRY: Well, you see, back home I have my own boat. About a month ago, I was sailing out of the bay … (his eyes stare at what is left of the brothers’ dinner on the table) OLIVER: Well, go on. HENRY: Oh, yes. Well, towards nightfall I found myself carried out to sea by a strong wind. It was all my fault. I didn’t know whether I could survive until morning. The next morning I’d just about given myself up for lost when I was spotted by a ship. OLIVER: And it was the ship that brought you to England. HENRY: Yes. The fact is that I earned my passage by working as an unpaid hand, which
RODERICK: HENRY: RODERICK: HENRY: RODERICK: HENRY: RODERICK: HENRY:
RODERICK: OLIVER: HENRY: RODERICK: HENRY: RODERICK: HENRY: RODERICK: OLIVER: HENRY: RODERICK: SERVANT: RODERICK: HENRY:
accounts for my appearance. I went to the American embassy to seek help, but … (the brothers smile at each other) Well, you mustn’t worry about that. It’s an advantage. I’m afraid I don’t quite follow you, sir. Tell us, Mr Adams, what sort of work did you do in America? I worked for a mining company. Could you offer me some kind of work here? Patience, Mr Adams. If you don’t mind, may I ask how much money you have? Well, to be honest, I have none. (happily) What luck! Brother, what luck! (claps his hands together) Well, it may seem lucky to you but not to me! On the contrary, in fact. If this is your idea of some kind of joke, I don’t think it’s very funny. (Henry stands up to leave) Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll be on my way. Please don’t go Mr Adams. You mustn’t think we don’t care about you. Oliver, give him the letter. Yes, the letter. (gets it from a desk and gives it to Henry like a gift) The letter. (taking it carefully) For me? For you. (Henry starts to open it) Oh, no, you mustn’t open it. Not yet. You can’t open it until two o’clock. Oh, this is silly. Not silly. There’s money in it. (calls to the servant) James? Oh, no. I don’t want your charity. I just want an honest job. We know you’re hard-working. That’s why we have given you the letter. James, show Mr Adams out. Good luck, Mr Adams. Well, why don’t you explain what this is all about? You’ll soon know. (looks at the clock) In exactly an hour and a half. This way, sir. Mr Adams, not until 2 o’clock. Promise? Promise. goodbye.
Unit 4 Astronomy: the science of the stars HOW LIFE BEGAN ON THE EARTH No one knows exactly how the earth began, as it happened so long ago. However, according to a widely accepted theory, the universe began with a “Big Bang” that threw matter in all directions. After that, atoms began to form and combine to create stars and other bodies. For several billion years after the “Big Bang”, the earth was still just a cloud of dust. What it was to become was uncertain until between 4.5 and 3.8 billion years ago when the dust settled into a solid globe. The earth became so violent that it was not clear whether the shape would last or not. It exploded loudly with fire and rock. They were in time to produce carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water vapour and other gases, which were to make the earth’s atmosphere. What is even more important is that as the earth cooled down, water began to appear on its surface.
Water had also appeared on other planets like Mars but, unlike the earth, it had disappeared later. It was not immediately obvious that water was to be fundamental to the development of life. What many scientists believe is that the continued presence of water allowed the earth to dissolve harmful gases and acids into the oceans and seas. This produced a chain reaction, which made it possible for life to develop. Many millions of years later, the first extremely small plants began to appear on the surface of the water. They multiplied and filled the oceans and seas with oxygen, which encouraged the later development of early shellfish and all sorts of fish. Next, green plants began to grow on land. They were followed in time by land animals. Some were insects. Others, called amphibians, were able to live on land as well as in the water. Later when the plants grew into forests, reptiles appeared for the first time. They produced young generally by laying eggs. After that, some huge animals, called dinosaurs, developed. They laid eggs too and existed on the earth for more than 140 million years. However, 65 million years ago the age of the dinosaurs ended. Why they suddenly disappeared still remains a mystery. This disappearance made possible the rise of mammals on the earth. These animals were different from all life forms in the past, because they gave birth to young baby animals and produced milk to feed them. Finally about 2.6 million years ago some small clever animals, now with hands and feet, appeared and spread all over the earth. Thus they have, in their turn, become the most important animals on the planet. But they are not looking after the earth very well. They are putting too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which prevents heat from escaping from the earth into space. As a result of this, many scientists believe the earth may become too hot to live on. So whether life will continue on the earth for millions of years to come will depend on whether this problem can be solved. A VISIT TO THE MOON Last month I was lucky enough to have a chance to make a trip into space with my friend Li Yanping, an astronomer. We visited the moon in our spaceship! Before we left, Li Yanping explained to me that the force of gravity would change three times on our journey and that the first change would be the most powerful. Then we were off. As the rocket rose into the air, we were pushed back into our seats because we were trying to escape the pull of the earth’s gravity. It was so hard that we could not say anything to each other. Gradually the weight lessened and I was able to talk to him. “Why is the spaceship not falling back to the earth? On the earth if I fall from a tree I will fall to the ground.” I asked. “We are too far from the earth now to feel its pull,” he explained, “so we feel as if no gravity at all. When we get closer to the moon, we shall feel its gravity pulling us, but it will not be as strong a pull as the earth’s.” I cheered up immediately and floated weightlessly around in our spaceship cabin watching the earth become smaller and the moon larger. When we got there, I wanted to explore immediately. “Come on,” I said. “If you are right, my weight will be less than on the earth because the moon is smaller and I will be able to move more freely. I might even grow taller if I stay here long enough. I shall certainly weigh less!” I laughed and climbed down the steps from the spaceship. But when I tried to step forward. I found I was carried twice as far as on the earth and fell over. “Oh dear,” I cried, “walking does need a bit of practice now that gravity has changed.” After a while I got the hang of it and we began to enjoy ourselves.
Leaving the moon’s gravity was not as painful as leaving the earth’s. But returning to the earth was very frightening. We watched, amazed as fire broke out on the outside of the spaceship as the earth’s gravity increased. Again we were pushed hard into our seats as we came back to land. “That was very exhausting but very exciting too,” I said. “Now I know much more about gravity! Do you think we could visit some stars next time?” “Of course,” he smiled, “which star would you like to go to?”
Unit 5 CANADA- “THE TRUE NORTH” A TRIP ON “THE TRUE NORTH” Li Daiyu and her cousin Liu Qian were on a trip to Canada to visit their cousins in Montreal on the Atlantic coast. Rather than take the aeroplane all the way, they decided to fly to Vancouver and then take the train from west to east across Canada. The thought that they could cross the whole continent was exciting. Their friend, Danny Lin, was waiting at the airport. He was going to take them and their baggage to catch “The True North”, the cross-Canada train. On the way to the station, he chatted about their trip. “You’re going to see some great scenery. Going eastward, you’ll pass mountains and thousands of lakes and forests, as well as wide rivers and large cities. Some people have the idea that you can cross Canada in less than five days, but they forget the fact that Canada is 5,500 kilometres from coast to coast. Here in Vancouver, you’re in Canada’s warmest part. People say it is Canada’s most popular cities to live in. Its population is increasing rapidly. The coast north of Vancouver has some of the oldest and most beautiful forests in the world. It is so wet there that the trees are extremely tall, some measuring over 90 metres.” That afternoon aboard the train, the cousins settled down in their seats. Earlier that day, when they crossed the Rocky Mountains, they managed to catch sight of some mountain goats and even a grizzly bear and an eagle. Their next stop was Calgary, which is famous for the Calgary Stampede. Cowboys from all over the world come to compete in the Stampede. Many of them have a gift for riding wild horses and can win thousands of dollars in prizes. After two days’ travel, the girls began to realize that Canada is quite empty. At school, they had learned that most Canadians live within a few hundred kilometres of the USA border, and Canada’s population is only slightly over thirty million, but now they were amazed to see such an empty country. They went through a wheat-growing province and saw farms that covered thousands of acres. After dinner, they were back in an urban area, the busy port city of Thunder Bay at the top of the Great Lakes. The girls were surprised at the fact that ocean ships can sail up the Great Lakes. Because of the Great Lakes, they learned, Canada has more fresh water than any other country in the world. In fact, it has one-third of the world’s total fresh water, and much of it is in the Great Lakes. That night as they slept, the train rushed across the top of Lake Superior, through the great forests and southward towards Toronto.