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Grade 10 English Unit 11 Reading I Wisdom of Little Girls Exercise

 Grade 10 English Unit 11 Reading I Wisdom of Little Girls Exercise

Wisdom of Little Girls


It was an early Easter. Sledging was only just over; snow still lay in the yards; and water ran in streams down the village street.


Two little girls from different houses happened to meet in a lane between two homesteads, where, the dirty water after running through the farm-yards had formed a large puddle. One girl was very small, the other a little bigger. Their mothers had dressed them both in new frocks. The little one wore a blue frock, the other a yellow print, and both had red kerchiefs on their heads. They had just come from church when they met, and first they showed each other their finery, and then they began to play. Soon the fancy took them to splash about in the water, and the smaller one was going to step into the puddle, shoes and all, when the elder checked her:


'Don't t go in so, Malasha,' said she, 'your mother will scold you. I will take off my shoes and stockings, and take off yours."


They did so; and then, picking up their skirts, began walking to- wards each other through the puddle. The water came up to Ma- lasha's ankles, and she said:


'It is deep, Akoulya, I'm afraid!'


'Come on,' replied the other. 'Don't be frightened. It won't get any deeper.'


When they got near one another, Akoulya said:


'Mind, Malasha, don't splash. Walk carefully!'


She had hardly said this, when Malasha plumped down her foot so that the water splashed right on to Akoulya's frock. The frock was splashed, and so were Akoulya's eyes and nose. When she saw the stains on her frock, she was angry and ran after Malasha to strike her. Malasha was frightened, and seeing that she had got herself into trouble, she scrambled out of the puddle, and prepared to run home. Just then Akoulya's mother happened to be passing, and seeing that her daughter's skirt was splashed, and her sleeves dirty, she said:


'You naughty, dirty girl, what have you been doing?"


'Malasha did it on purpose,' replied the girl.


At this Akoulya's mother seized Malasha, and struck her on the back of her neck. Malasha began to howl so that she could be heard all down the street. Her mother came out.

'What are you beating my girl for?' said she; and began scolding her neighbour. One word led to another and they had an angry quarrel. The men came out, and a crowd collected in the street, every one shouting and no one listening. They all went on quarreling, till one gave another a push, and the affair had very nearly come to blows, when Akoulya's old grandmother, stepping in among them, tried to calm them.


'What are you thinking of, friends? Is it right to behave so? On a day like this, too! It is a time for rejoicing, and not for such folly as this.' They would not listen to the old woman, and nearly knocked her off her feet. And she would not have been able to quiet the crowd, if it had not been for Akoulya and Malasha themselves. While the women were abusing each other, Akoulya had wiped the mud off her frock, and gone back to the puddle. She took a stone and began scraping away the earth in front of the puddle to make a channel through which the water could run out into the street. Presently Ma- lasha joined her, and with a chip of wood helped her dig the channel. Just as the men were beginning to fight, the water from the little girls' channel ran streaming into the street towards the very place where the old woman was trying to pacify the men. The girls followed it; one running each side of the little stream.


'Catch it, Malasha! Catch it!' shouted Akoulya; while Malasha could not speak for laughing.

Highly delighted, and watching the chip float along on their stream, the little girls ran straight into the group of men; and the old woman, seeing them, said to the men:


'Are you not ashamed of yourselves? To go fighting on account of these lassies, when they themselves have forgotten all about it, and are playing happily together. Dear little souls! They are wiser than you!"


The men looked at the little girls, and were ashamed, and, laughing at themselves, went back each to his own home.

'Except you turn, and become as little children, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.'

-Leo Tolstoy



sledging /ˈslɛdʒɪŋ/ - the activity of travelling or sliding downhill over snow on a sledge.

homestead /ˈhəʊmstɛd/noun, - a house, especially a farmhouse, and outbuildings

finery /ˈfʌɪnəri/ noun - expensive or ostentatious clothes or decoration.

fancy /ˈfansi/ noun - a superficial or transient feeling of liking or attraction

splash /splaʃ/ verb - cause (liquid) to strike or fall on something in irregular drops.

puddle/ˈpʌdəl/noun - a small body of standing water (rainwater) or other liquid

plump /plʌmp/verb - set (something) down heavily or unceremoniously

scramble /ˈskrambl/verb - to take off immediately in an emergency or for action

affair/əˈfɛː/noun - an event or sequence of events of a specified kind or that has previously been referred to

blow/bləʊ/noun - a strong wind

rejoicing/rɪˈdʒɔɪsɪŋ/noun - great joy; jubilation

folly/ˈfɒli/noun - lack of good sense; foolishness

chip/tʃɪp/noun - a small piece of something removed in the course of chopping, cutting, or breaking a hard material such as wood or stone

pacify/ˈpasɪfʌɪ/verb - quell the anger, agitation, or excitement of

lassie/ˈlasi/noun - a girl or young woman

A. Replace the words or phrases in red in the sentences below with the correct words from the box.

abusing                  finery                      lassies            scrambled

 fancy             folly                        rejoicing         chip


a.   The women were dressed in their best clothes to go to the party. - Finery

b.   Do you sometimes imagine of living in a luxurious house?- Fancy

c.   When Shila was chased by a dog she managed to climb quickly climb onto the wall. - Scrambled

d.   The young girls impressed everyone with their performance. - Lassies

e.   It was his stupidity to leave the bike unlocked in the street. - Folly

f.    Each one blamed the other of cheating. Soon, they started mistreating each other. - Abusing

g.   Could you please give me a piece of paper? I can't find the duster. - Chip

h.   The farmers danced in happiness when it rained after a long drought. - Rejoicing


B. Choose the correct alternative to complete the sentences.

a. The two little girls were dressed in new frocks probably because…………………

      i. they were twins.

      ii. they had to go to church.

      iii. they went to the same school.

b.   When Malasha was going to splash into the puddle, ……………….

      i. Akoulya asked Malasha not to go into the puddle.

      ii. Akoulya asked her Malasha to take off her shoes and stockings before going.

      iii. Akoulya asked Malasha to go into the puddle alone.

c.   While running home, the girls were caught by............

      i. Akoulya's mother

      ii. Malasha's mother

      iii. Akoulya's grandmother


d.   Akoulya's grandmother.........

      i. was able to calm down the crowd

      ii. could not calm down the crowd

      iii. chased away the crowd with stones

e.   While the men were busy fighting, the two girls.....

      i. joined the fight of the men

      ii. played a game together

      iii. started to fight with each other

f.    At the end, the men ………….

      i. were guilty of their deed

      ii. were pleased with their deed

      iii. were proud of their deed


C.   Answer these questions.

        a. How were the girls dressed?

        Ans:- The girls were dressed in new frocks: one wore a         blue frock and the other a yellow print. Both had red         kerchiefs on their heads.


b.    Where did the girls begin to play?

        Ans:-  The girls began to play in a large puddle formed       by dirty water running through the farm-yards in a lane between two homesteads.


c.     Why did Akoulya get angry with Malasha?

        Ans:-  Akoulya got angry with Malasha because Malasha         splashed water onto Akoulya's frock, getting it dirty, as         well as splashing her eyes and nose.


d.    Why did the crowd gather in the street?

        Ans:- The crowd gathered in the street because   Akoulya's mother struck Malasha, causing a commotion.    This led to an argument between the mothers, which escalated and drew the attention of other villagers,       leading to a large, noisy quarrel.


e.     How did Akoulya's grandmother try to calm down the         crowd?

        Ans:-  Akoulya's grandmother tried to calm down the         crowd by stepping in among them and reminding them         that it was a time for rejoicing and not for such foolish         behavior. However, they did not listen to her.


f.     Why are the girls called wiser than men?

        Ans:-  The girls are called wiser than men because, while the adults were quarreling and about to fight, the girls     had already forgotten their disagreement and were happily playing together, showing that they moved on    quickly and peacefully.


g.     What lesson do you learn from the story?

        Ans:-  The lesson from the story is that holding onto anger and getting involved in conflicts can lead to unnecessary strife, while children’s ability to forgive and      move on can serve as a model for adults. It also teaches      the value of simplicity and innocence in resolving        conflicts and maintaining harmony.


D.    Remember a similar incident that happened during         your childhood and share it in the class.


      When I was seven, a similar incident happened that I still remember. My friends and I had just come from a family gathering and were wearing our best clothes. We found a large puddle in the park and decided to jump over it. My friend Mia made it across perfectly, but when I jumped, I slipped and landed in the middle, splashing mud all over my new white sneakers.


      I started crying, worried about my mom's reaction. Mia tried to comfort me by showing her own dirty shoes and saying, "It's just mud, it will wash off!" This helped a little, but then some other kids gathered and started teasing me, which led to a small argument.


      Seeing this, Mia started splashing in the puddle and laughing, inviting everyone to join her. Her laughter was infectious, and soon, everyone, including the kids who had teased me, was splashing around and having fun.


      When I got home, my mom was initially upset about the dirty sneakers, but after hearing the story, she smiled and helped me clean up. This incident taught me how a little kindness and laughter can turn around a bad situation and bring people together.

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