Session 5

It's time for drama. Join Gulliver as he meets the incredible inhabitants of the last island on his journey. He finds himself on an island of talking horse-people

ክፍለ-ስራሓት ናይዚ ምዕራፍ

ድምር ነጥቢ ናይዚ ክፍለ-ስራሓት 5

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Drama

In the land of the houyhnhnms

Join us for Part 9 of our drama Gulliver's Travels, based on the famous story by Jonathan Swift.

Horses can't talk, can they? In the world of Gulliver's Travels, anything is possible. Join Gulliver as he meets the incredible inhabitants of the last island on his journey.

While you listen to the audio you will hear different examples of verb patterns. Then take a look at the transcript to see them in bold.

ነቲ ድምጺ ብምስማዕ ነቲ ስራሕ ፈጽምዎ

ነቲ ቅዳሕ ጽሑፍ ኣርእይዎ ነቲ ቅዳሕ ጽሑፍ ሕብእዎ

Gulliver narrator
My name is Gulliver, and this is the story of my travels.

It was September 1710. I'd set sail from Portsmouth, but my luck ran out after just a few weeks. My crew rose up against me and mutinied. I was put ashore at the first island we saw.

On following a path from the beach, I was relieved to notice some tracks – a few looked human, but most were from horses. So I was not alone – thank goodness!

As I passed one field, I saw some animals. They were ugly looking with long beards like goats, and thick ragged hair on their chest and their heads. The rest of their bodies were bare.Some moved towards me and I hurried on. But one of them blocked my way. It raised its filthy claws.

I swiped at it with my sword.

Gulliver
Out of my way!

Gulliver narrator
I hit the creature and it howled. Within seconds, a herd of the creatures descended on me, their ugly faces leering and spitting…

Suddenly they all fled.

Gulliver narrator
Then I saw it – a beautiful grey stallion trotting gracefully out of the woods. Its smooth mane and back were gleaming in the dappled sunlight. It was this superb animal that had scared off the creatures.

Gulliver
Here boy… You're a beauty aren't you… Here…

Gulliver narrator
The horse stopped, circled around me, eyeing me all the time. It lifted its head away as I went to stroke it.

Gulliver
Where's your owner then? Won't you let me ride you? – I'm really tired …

Gulliver
Are you trying to say something?

Gulliver narrator
It was as if he was talking to me…

Out of the trees another horse approached, a brown one. It stopped by us. Then the most extraordinary thing happened! Both horses lifted up their right hooves and touched each other's hoof in greeting.

I couldn't believe it… They were really talking to each other. There was no doubt – I definitely heard the word 'yahoo' several times.

Gulliver
Ya… hoo.

Master (grey horse)
Yahoo.

Gulliver
Gentlemen, I see you are magicians who have taken the shape of horses. Please… take me to your master so I can find some food and drink.

Gulliver narrator
And so they led the way. After a mile, we came to a long, low building, made of logs. But when we went in, there were no people – just a mare and two foals.

I followed the grey stallion through the door and into a yard. Here, tied up, were two deformed creatures like those I'd seen earlier. They were eating lumps of meat.

Mare
Yahoo?

Gulliver narrator
The stallion picked up some meat and offered it to me, but the smell made me feel sick.

Then it dawned on me. This creature was a 'yahoo'. That's what the horses called them! They thought I was one of them! A yahoo!

Gulliver
No… no, I'm not a yahoo!

Gulliver narrator
But then I took a closer look at the yahoo. He had two legs and arms … like mine, except his nails were long and shaped like claws. He was… in fact… a man… like me… but … savage!

In the following days, I was looked after well by the stallion. It became clear to me that the houyhnhnms, as these horses were called, were no ordinary animals – they had their own language, which they pronounced through the nose and roof of the mouth. I set about learning it and was soon able to talk easily with the grey stallion, whom I called Master. He was a very patient teacher.

The houyhnhnms were the kindest, gentlest, most honest and civilized race I'd ever come across. Months passed and I felt healthy and happy to live among them. They saw me as some kind of superior yahoo – they were confused because, although I bore some resemblance physically to those beasts, they thought my clothes were part of my body.

I told Master where I came from and how I had got to their country, but he could not believe that there was another land beyond the sea or that yahoos could build boats… Nor could he understand when I described our society – where innocent people are killed in wars.    

Gulliver
In England, Master, the horses work in the fields for the people.

Master
How can this be? How can there be a country where yahoos are in charge?

Gulliver narration
The more we talked and the more I learnt about their society, the more the failings of my own became clear. And it became clear, I was a yahoo after all.

Master
There is something I must tell you, Gulliver… now that I know your secret… There is one question we houyhnhnms, are at this very moment debating… whether we should get rid of the yahoos once and for all.

Gulliver narrator
He said yahoos were vile and dangerous and threatened the peace and tranquillity of his society…

Master
I know that you are different to the other yahoos. But there are many who think that you are just one of them…

Gulliver narrator
I knew what that meant. My life was in danger…

Download

You can download the drama from our Unit 29 downloads page or from our BBC Learning English Drama podcast page.

Vocabulary

mutinied
time when sailors take control of a ship against their captain's orders

ashore
on the shore

tracks
marks left by feet

ragged
(of hair or clothes) untidy

leering
making ugly faces

stallion
male horse

dappled
covered with areas of light and darkness

circled
moved in a circle

hooves
horse's feet

mare
female horse

foals
young horses

it dawned on me
I realised

savage
not civilised, wild

vile
digusting

To do

See how much you understood from the story by answering these questions...

Gulliver quiz

3 Questions

Try our quiz about Episode 9. Did you follow the story?

ኣገናዕ፡ ፈተናኹም ዛዚምኩም
Excellent! Great job! ሕማቕ ዕድል! ዘመዝገብኩምዎ ነጥቢ ...:
x / y

Credits

Gulliver: Peter Kenny

Master: Tim Gibson

Original story: Jonathan Swift

Adaptation by: Sue Mushin

Illustrator: Adria Meserve

ELT consultant: Catherine Chapman

Producer: Finn Aberdein

More

You can find all the episodes of Gulliver's Travels and our other BBC Learning English dramas on our Drama page.

End of Session 5

Gulliver is adapting to life among these kind, intelligent and gentle horse-people. But will they let him stay among them? Join us next time! That's all for Unit 29, there is one more unit to go in our intermediate course.

Session Vocabulary

  • mutinied
    time when sailors take control of a ship against their captain's orders

    ashore 
    on the shore

    tracks 
    marks left by feet

    ragged 
    (of hair or clothes) untidy

    leering 
    making ugly faces

    stallion 
    male horse

    dappled 
    covered with areas of light and darkness

    circled
    moved in a circle

    hooves 
    horse's feet

    mare
    female horse

    foals
    young horses

    it dawned on me
    I realised

    savage
    not civilised, wild

    vile 
    digusting