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According to a legend of the Middle Ages there once lived in a distant pagan land a dreadful monster called a dragon. The flapping of its great batlike wings could be heard for miles around. With a single blow of its terrible claws it could fell an ox. From its nostrils came clouds of smoke and flame that brought death to those who breathed it. Every year a young girl was offered to it to prevent it from rushing upon the city and destroying all the inhabitants.

One year the lot fell to Princess Sabra, daughter of the king. She was saved by the valiant St. George, youngest and bravest of the seven champions of Christendom. With his magic sword Ascalon, he wounded the monster so badly that the princess was able to put her sash about its head and lead it to the marketplace of the town. There St. George slew it with one blow. Won over to the Christian faith by this deed of its champion, the people were baptized.

This is but one of the many dragon stories told in the lore of different countries. Before the time of Columbus and the age of discovery sailors refused to venture into unknown seas for fear of encountering dragons and other monsters of the deep. Old maps show the uncharted seas filled with strange creatures having wings, horns, and claws of such enormous size that they could crush a ship.

The dragons of Chinese and Japanese myth and art were reptiles with batlike wings and claws and were supposed to spread disease and death among the people. For ages the dragon was the emblem of the former imperial house of China.

These superstitions may have been based on the fact that mammoth reptiles roamed the prehistoric world. Dinosaurs lived in the ages before man appeared on Earth. However, there may have been some reptiles of great size at the time of the primitive cavemen of Europe. Such beasts would easily give rise to legends of monsters such as the dragons.

" Make practical stylistic tasks

  1. Read the extract from the Saga of Beowolf. Note the achievements of medieval prose in comparison with folklore texts. Substantiate your point of view with the examples.
  2. Summaries the features of the saga in 5-7 sentences.

{{{…He was amazed at what he saw— a precious hoard, cups and weapons. There were many such ancient treasures in that earth house, for in the old days a man had hidden the riches of a noble, dying tribe there. He was the last; death had taken the rest. That lone survivor, knowing death was near, mourning his lost friends, kept those treasures all alone.}}} The cave stood near the sea, protected by secret spells. He bore the treasures inside, a huge and worthy hoard of worked gold. He said, "Hold you now, Earth, what warriors could not, from you first it was taken. War-Death has seized my people; none of them can bear a sword, hold an ornamented cup. They have gone elsewhere. Now shall the hard helmet and its golden ornaments fall. Their owners sleep in death, those who once wore the war-mask. So it is with the coat of mail, which stood amid crashing shields, held off the bite of iron: it lies, falling to pieces, like the warrior who owned it. Never again will that armor travel far on a war chief by the side of heroes. There is no joy in the song, no pleasure in the harp. No hawk sweeps over the hall. No horse gallops in the courtyard. Death has sent off many men." Thus, sad in mind, he moaned his sorrow; the lonely survivor moved day and night in sadness until the flood of death surged into his heart. The Dragon Attacks An old night-ravager, that one which, burning, seeks a burial mound, the smooth dragon of malice who flies by night encompassed in fire, found the hoard standing open. Earth dwellers fear him much. He must seek a hoard in the earth, where, old in winters, lie will guard heathen gold, though he gains nothing from it. So that foe of the people, exceedingly powerful, guarded the cave three hundred winters until a man angered his heart, took a cup to his master asking for peace. Peace was granted: the lord examined the cup, the ancient work of men. So was the hoard robbed, ransacked of a treasure. The dragon awoke, and strife came: it sniffed along the stones, found an intruder's footprints. The thief had stepped with insidious craft near tlie dragon's head. (Thus may an undoomed man survive danger if the Almighty holds him in favor.) The hoard-keeper sought eagerly along the ground, looked for the man who had robbed him while he slept. Hot and fierce he moved about the cave. He went completely around the wasted place but no man was there. Eager for battle, he turned and turned again searching the cave, but the golden cup was gone. Anxiously he awaited the fall of night; enraged, the cave-keeper would with fire avenge the loss of his cup. When the day was gone, as the dragon wanted, he no longer waited, but went in flame, prepared with fire. The beginning was fearful to people in the land, as was the ending: death for their king. The fiend spouted fire, burned bright houses— the glow of fire stood out, a horror to the people. That terrible sky-flier wished to leave nothing alive. Near and far was seen the dragon's violence, how that destroyer hated and humbled the Geat people. The people of the land were eniveloped in fire. At dawn he darted back into his cave. He trusted in his war and in his cavern.

" Make practical stylistic tasks





  1. Read the extract from the Bible. Note the means of expressiveness in it (similes, metaphors, epithets, etc.) Write down examples.
  2. Find examples of creating super linear meaning (ex: the extract describes the wedding, but you can also imagine the palaces of Jerusalem, the vineyard etc.).

J Offer your variant of translating the marked extract {{{…}}}Pay attention to preserving peculiarities of saga style.


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