Common Core: 4th Grade English Language Arts : Compare and Contrast Treatment of Themes and Topics and Patterns of Events in Stories, Myths, and Traditional Literature from Different Cultures: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.9

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Example Question #1 : Compare And Contrast Treatment Of Themes And Topics And Patterns Of Events In Stories, Myths, And Traditional Literature From Different Cultures: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.4.9

Passage and illustrations adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.) This story is originally from the Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma, c. 3rd century BCE.

Image "Common Core Fourth Grade CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.9 - Compare and Contrast Treatment of Themes and Topics and Patterns of Events in Stories, Myths, and Traditional Literature from Different Cultures - Image 1" adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.).
Image "Common Core Fourth Grade CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.9 - Compare and Contrast Treatment of Themes and Topics and Patterns of Events in Stories, Myths, and Traditional Literature from Different Cultures - Image 2" adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.).

Common core fourth grade ccss.ela literacy.rl.4.9   compare and contrast treatment of themes and topics and patterns of events in stories  myths  and traditional literature from different cultures   image 1ow in a certain place there lived a man named Haridatta. He was a farmer, but poor was the return his labor brought him. One day, at the end of the hot hours, the man, overcome by the heat, lay down under the shadow of a tree to have a doze. Suddenly he saw a great hooded snake creeping out of an ant-hill near at hand. So he thought to himself, "Sure this is the guardian deity of the field, and I have not ever worshipped it. That's why my farming is in vain. I will at once go and pay my respects to it."

When he had made up his mind, he got some milk, poured it into a bowl, and went to the ant-hill, and said aloud: "O Guardian of this Field! All this while I did not know that you dwelt here. That is why I have not yet paid my respects to you; pray forgive me." And he laid the milk down and went to his house. Next morning he came and looked, and he saw a gold denar in the bowl, and from that time onward every day the same thing occurred: he gave milk to the serpent and found a gold denar.

One day the man had to go to the village, and so he ordered his son to take the milk to the ant-hill. The son brought the milk, put it down, and went back home. Next day he went again and found a denar, so he thought to himself: "This ant-hill is surely full of golden denars; I'll kill the serpent, and take them all for myself." So next day, while he was giving the milk to the serpent, the man's son struck it on the head with a cudgel. But the serpent escaped death by the will of fate, and in a rage bit the man's son with its sharp fangs, and he fell down dead at once. His people raised him a funeral pyre not far from the field and burnt him to ashes.

Common core fourth grade ccss.ela literacy.rl.4.9   compare and contrast treatment of themes and topics and patterns of events in stories  myths  and traditional literature from different cultures   image 2

Two days afterwards his father came back, and when he learnt his son's fate he grieved and mourned. But after a time, he took the bowl of milk, went to the ant-hill, and praised the serpent with a loud voice. After a long, long time the serpent appeared, but only with its head out of the opening of the ant-hill, and spoke to the man: "'Tis greed that brings you here, and makes you even forget the loss of your son. From this time forward friendship between us is impossible. Your son struck me in youthful ignorance, and I have bitten him to death. How can I forget the blow with the cudgel? And how can you forget the pain and grief at the loss of your son?" So speaking, it gave the man a costly pearl and disappeared. But before it went away it said: "Come back no more." The man took the pearl, and went back home, cursing the folly of his son.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

 

Adapted from "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" in Japanese Fairy Tales (1904, trans. Teresa Peirce Williston)

A long time ago, in a little old house in a little old village in Japan lived a little old man and his little old wife.

One morning when the old woman slid open the screens that in that era formed the sides of all Japanese houses, she saw, on the doorstep, a poor little sparrow. She took him up gently and fed him. Then she held him in the bright morning sunshine until the cold dew was dried from his wings. Afterward she let him go, so that he might fly home to his nest, but he stayed to thank her with his songs.

Each morning, when the pink on the mountain tops told that the sun was near, the sparrow perched on the roof of the house and sang out his joy. The old man and woman thanked the sparrow for this, for they liked to be up early and at work. But near them there lived a cross old woman who did not like to be awakened so early. At last she became so angry that she caught the sparrow and cut his tongue. Then the poor little sparrow flew away to his home, but he could never sing again.

When the kind woman knew what had happened to her pet she was very sad. She said to her husband, "Let us go and find our poor little sparrow." So they started together, and asked of each bird by the wayside, "Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow lives? Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?"

In this way they followed until they came to a bridge. They did not know which way to turn, and at first could see no one to ask. At last they saw a bat hanging head downward, taking his daytime nap. "Oh, friend bat, do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?" they asked.

"Yes. Over the bridge and up the mountain," said the bat. Then he blinked sleepy eyes and was fast asleep again.

They went over the bridge and up the mountain, but again they found two roads and did not know which one to take. A little field mouse peeped through the leaves and grass, so they asked him, "Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?"

"Yes. Down the mountain and through the woods," said the field mouse.

Down the mountain and through the woods they went, and at last came to the home of their little friend.

When he saw them coming the poor little sparrow was very happy indeed. He and his wife and children all came and bowed their heads down to the ground to show their respect. Then the sparrow rose and led the old man and the old woman into his house, while his wife and children hastened to bring them boiled rice, fish, and cress.

After they had feasted, the sparrow wished to please them still more, so he danced for them what is called the "sparrow dance."

When the sun began to sink, the old man and woman started for home. The sparrow brought out two baskets. "I would like to give you one of these," he said. "Which will you take?" One basket was large and looked very full, while the other one seemed very small and light.

The old people so thought they would not take the large basket, for that might have all the sparrow's treasure in it, so they said, "The way is long and we are very old, so please let us take the smaller one."

They took it and walked home over the mountain and across the bridge, happy and contented. When they reached their own home they decided to open the basket and see what the sparrow had given them. Within the basket they found many rolls of silk and piles of gold, enough to make them rich, so they were more grateful than ever to the sparrow.

The cross old woman who had cut the sparrow's tongue was peering in through the screen when they opened their basket. She saw the rolls of silk and the piles of gold, and planned how she might get some for herself.

The next morning she went to the kind woman and said, "I am so sorry that I cut the tongue of your sparrow. Please tell me the way to his home so that I may go to him and tell him I am sorry."

The kind woman told her the way and she set out. She went across the bridge, over the mountain, and through the woods. At last she came to the home of the little sparrow. He was not so glad to see this old woman, yet he was very kind to her and did everything to make her feel welcome. They made a feast for her, and when she started home the sparrow brought out two baskets as before. Of course the woman chose the large basket, for she thought that would have even more wealth than the other one.

It was very heavy, and caught on the trees as she was going through the wood. She could hardly pull it up the mountain with her, and she was all out of breath when she reached the top. She did not get to the bridge until it was dark. Then she was so afraid of dropping the basket into the river that she scarcely dared to step. When at last she reached home she was so tired that she was half dead, but she pulled the screens close shut, so that no one could look in, and opened her treasure.

Treasure indeed! A whole swarm of horrible creatures burst from the basket the moment she opened it. They stung her and bit her, they pushed her and pulled her, they scratched her and laughed at her screams. At last she crawled to the edge of the room and slid aside the screen to get away from the pests. The moment the door was opened they swooped down upon her, picked her up, and flew away with her. Since then nothing has ever been heard of the old woman.

Which of the following themes best applies to both stories?

Possible Answers:

It's important to be polite to all guests. 

Being lazy can make all of your problems worse than they would otherwise have been.

Being greedy causes trouble.

It's not worth it to attack someone or something for personal gain.

Make sure you haven't offended someone before accepting a gift from that person.

Correct answer:

Being greedy causes trouble.

Explanation:

To figure out which statement applies to both stories, we can use process of elimination. That mean that we can consider each answer choice, one at a time, identifying the incorrect ones. The one that's left after we've identified four incorrect answers must be the correct answer!

"Make sure you haven't offended someone before accepting a gift from that person." - This could apply to the fate of the mean old woman in "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow," but it doesn't apply as well to "The Gold-Giving Snake." The farmer wants to continue to accept gifts from the snake even after his son tried to kill the snake and died, and he doesn't get into any trouble by accepting the gift from the snake after he has offended the snake. So, this isn't a very accurate theme for "The Gold-Giving Snake." Let's consider the other answer choices.

"It's important to be polite to all houseguests." The sparrow is polite to all of his houseguests in "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow"—even the old woman who cut his tongue; however, there aren't any houseguests in "The Gold-Giving Serpent," so this can't be the theme of that story.

"It's not worth it to attack someone or something for personal gain." - The farmer's son attacks the snake for personal gain in "The Gold-Giving Serpent": he thinks the anthill is full of gold and wants to get all the gold at once instead of being given one piece per day. The same is not true for "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow." While one could argue that the old woman attacks the sparrow at the beginning of the story, she does not do so "for personal gain"—she is motivated by anger and frustration, not a desire to obtain something like the farmer's son is.

"Being lazy can make all of your problems worse than they would otherwise have been." - None of the characters are notably lazy in either story, so this isn't the best theme for either.

"Being greedy causes trouble." - This is the best answer! It is a good expression of the theme of "The Gold-Giving Serpent" because the problem in that story is caused when the farmer's son greedily attacks the snake, thinking he can obtain a lot of gold at once. It is also a good expression of the theme of "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow," because the problems of the old woman who cut the sparrow's tongue are caused by her taking the larger basket. She thinks it contains more treasure than the one the elderly couple took, but it really contains monsters. Both stories advise against being greedy, so "Being greedy causes trouble" is the best answer.

Example Question #2 : Compare And Contrast Treatment Of Themes And Topics And Patterns Of Events In Stories, Myths, And Traditional Literature From Different Cultures: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.4.9

 Passage and illustrations adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.) This story is originally from the Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma, c. 3rd century BCE.

Image "Common Core Fourth Grade CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.4 - Determine the Meaning of Words and Phrases in a Text, Including Mythology - Image 1" adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.).
Image "Common Core Fourth Grade CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.4 - Determine the Meaning of Words and Phrases in a Text, Including Mythology - Image 2" adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.).

Common core fourth grade ccss.ela literacy.rl.4.9   compare and contrast treatment of themes and topics and patterns of events in stories  myths  and traditional literature from different cultures   image 1ow in a certain place there lived a man named Haridatta. He was a farmer, but poor was the return his labor brought him. One day, at the end of the hot hours, the man, overcome by the heat, lay down under the shadow of a tree to have a doze. Suddenly he saw a great hooded snake creeping out of an ant-hill near at hand. So he thought to himself, "Sure this is the guardian deity of the field, and I have not ever worshipped it. That's why my farming is in vain. I will at once go and pay my respects to it."

When he had made up his mind, he got some milk, poured it into a bowl, and went to the ant-hill, and said aloud: "O Guardian of this Field! All this while I did not know that you dwelt here. That is why I have not yet paid my respects to you; pray forgive me." And he laid the milk down and went to his house. Next morning he came and looked, and he saw a gold denar in the bowl, and from that time onward every day the same thing occurred: he gave milk to the serpent and found a gold denar.

One day the man had to go to the village, and so he ordered his son to take the milk to the ant-hill. The son brought the milk, put it down, and went back home. Next day he went again and found a denar, so he thought to himself: "This ant-hill is surely full of golden denars; I'll kill the serpent, and take them all for myself." So next day, while he was giving the milk to the serpent, the man's son struck it on the head with a cudgel. But the serpent escaped death by the will of fate, and in a rage bit the man's son with its sharp fangs, and he fell down dead at once. His people raised him a funeral pyre not far from the field and burnt him to ashes.

Common core fourth grade ccss.ela literacy.rl.4.9   compare and contrast treatment of themes and topics and patterns of events in stories  myths  and traditional literature from different cultures   image 2

Two days afterwards his father came back, and when he learnt his son's fate he grieved and mourned. But after a time, he took the bowl of milk, went to the ant-hill, and praised the serpent with a loud voice. After a long, long time the serpent appeared, but only with its head out of the opening of the ant-hill, and spoke to the man: "'Tis greed that brings you here, and makes you even forget the loss of your son. From this time forward friendship between us is impossible. Your son struck me in youthful ignorance, and I have bitten him to death. How can I forget the blow with the cudgel? And how can you forget the pain and grief at the loss of your son?" So speaking, it gave the man a costly pearl and disappeared. But before it went away it said: "Come back no more." The man took the pearl, and went back home, cursing the folly of his son.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

 

Adapted from "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" in Japanese Fairy Tales (1904, trans. Teresa Peirce Williston)

A long time ago, in a little old house in a little old village in Japan lived a little old man and his little old wife.

One morning when the old woman slid open the screens that in that era formed the sides of all Japanese houses, she saw, on the doorstep, a poor little sparrow. She took him up gently and fed him. Then she held him in the bright morning sunshine until the cold dew was dried from his wings. Afterward she let him go, so that he might fly home to his nest, but he stayed to thank her with his songs.

Each morning, when the pink on the mountain tops told that the sun was near, the sparrow perched on the roof of the house and sang out his joy. The old man and woman thanked the sparrow for this, for they liked to be up early and at work. But near them there lived a cross old woman who did not like to be awakened so early. At last she became so angry that she caught the sparrow and cut his tongue. Then the poor little sparrow flew away to his home, but he could never sing again.

When the kind woman knew what had happened to her pet she was very sad. She said to her husband, "Let us go and find our poor little sparrow." So they started together, and asked of each bird by the wayside, "Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow lives? Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?"

In this way they followed until they came to a bridge. They did not know which way to turn, and at first could see no one to ask. At last they saw a bat hanging head downward, taking his daytime nap. "Oh, friend bat, do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?" they asked.

"Yes. Over the bridge and up the mountain," said the bat. Then he blinked sleepy eyes and was fast asleep again.

They went over the bridge and up the mountain, but again they found two roads and did not know which one to take. A little field mouse peeped through the leaves and grass, so they asked him, "Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?"

"Yes. Down the mountain and through the woods," said the field mouse.

Down the mountain and through the woods they went, and at last came to the home of their little friend.

When he saw them coming the poor little sparrow was very happy indeed. He and his wife and children all came and bowed their heads down to the ground to show their respect. Then the sparrow rose and led the old man and the old woman into his house, while his wife and children hastened to bring them boiled rice, fish, and cress.

After they had feasted, the sparrow wished to please them still more, so he danced for them what is called the "sparrow dance."

When the sun began to sink, the old man and woman started for home. The sparrow brought out two baskets. "I would like to give you one of these," he said. "Which will you take?" One basket was large and looked very full, while the other one seemed very small and light.

The old people so thought they would not take the large basket, for that might have all the sparrow's treasure in it, so they said, "The way is long and we are very old, so please let us take the smaller one."

They took it and walked home over the mountain and across the bridge, happy and contented. When they reached their own home they decided to open the basket and see what the sparrow had given them. Within the basket they found many rolls of silk and piles of gold, enough to make them rich, so they were more grateful than ever to the sparrow.

The cross old woman who had cut the sparrow's tongue was peering in through the screen when they opened their basket. She saw the rolls of silk and the piles of gold, and planned how she might get some for herself.

The next morning she went to the kind woman and said, "I am so sorry that I cut the tongue of your sparrow. Please tell me the way to his home so that I may go to him and tell him I am sorry."

The kind woman told her the way and she set out. She went across the bridge, over the mountain, and through the woods. At last she came to the home of the little sparrow. He was not so glad to see this old woman, yet he was very kind to her and did everything to make her feel welcome. They made a feast for her, and when she started home the sparrow brought out two baskets as before. Of course the woman chose the large basket, for she thought that would have even more wealth than the other one.

It was very heavy, and caught on the trees as she was going through the wood. She could hardly pull it up the mountain with her, and she was all out of breath when she reached the top. She did not get to the bridge until it was dark. Then she was so afraid of dropping the basket into the river that she scarcely dared to step. When at last she reached home she was so tired that she was half dead, but she pulled the screens close shut, so that no one could look in, and opened her treasure.

Treasure indeed! A whole swarm of horrible creatures burst from the basket the moment she opened it. They stung her and bit her, they pushed her and pulled her, they scratched her and laughed at her screams. At last she crawled to the edge of the room and slid aside the screen to get away from the pests. The moment the door was opened they swooped down upon her, picked her up, and flew away with her. Since then nothing has ever been heard of the old woman.

Which character(s) in "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" play(s) is/are most similar to the farmer's son in "The Gold-Giving Serpent"?

Possible Answers:

The monsters

The old man's wife

The sparrow

The old man

The old woman who cuts the sparrow's tongue

Correct answer:

The old woman who cuts the sparrow's tongue

Explanation:

Let's consider the role that the farmer's son plays in "The Gold-Giving Serpent" before we compare him to the characters in "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow." What does the farmer's son do in the story? The farmer receives a gold denar every day from the snake because he leaves it milk. The farmer has to go to the village and leaves his son to do this, but the son decides to do something else.

The son brought the milk, put it down, and went back home. Next day he went again and found a denar, so he thought to himself: "This ant-hill is surely full of golden denars; I'll kill the serpent, and take them all for myself." So next day, while he was giving the milk to the serpent, the man's son struck it on the head with a cudgel. But the serpent escaped death by the will of fate, and in a rage bit the man's son with its sharp fangs, and he fell down dead at once. His people raised him a funeral pyre not far from the field and burnt him to ashes.

The farmer's son infers that the anthill must be full of gold, so he tries to kill the snake. The snake survives and bites him, which kills him. Later in the story, the old man brings more milk to the snake, but the snake gives him a costly pearl and tells him not to come back.

How does the son's role in the story compare to the characters in "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow"? The son greedily tries to get a large amount of gold at once instead of accepting the single gold denar he and his father receive per day from the snake. Which character is greedy in "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow"? The old woman who cuts the sparrow's tongue is greedy. She sees that her neighbors receive treasure from the sparrow in a small basket, so she goes and obtains a big basket from them, thinking it has more treasure in it. While the characters' roles do not line up perfectly, both the farmer's son and the old woman who cuts the sparrow's tongue perform actions motivated by greed and cause themselves problems because of those actions. So, the best answer is "the old woman who cuts the sparrow's tongue."

Example Question #3 : Compare And Contrast Treatment Of Themes And Topics And Patterns Of Events In Stories, Myths, And Traditional Literature From Different Cultures: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.4.9

Passage and illustrations adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.) This story is originally from the Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma, c. 3rd century BCE.

Image "Common Core Fourth Grade CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.4 - Determine the Meaning of Words and Phrases in a Text, Including Mythology - Image 1" adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.).
Image "Common Core Fourth Grade CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.4 - Determine the Meaning of Words and Phrases in a Text, Including Mythology - Image 2" adapted from "The Gold-Giving Serpent" in Indian Fairy Tales (ed. Joseph Jacobs, illustrator John D. Batten, 1892 ed.).

 

Common core fourth grade ccss.ela literacy.rl.4.9   compare and contrast treatment of themes and topics and patterns of events in stories  myths  and traditional literature from different cultures   image 1ow in a certain place there lived a man named Haridatta. He was a farmer, but poor was the return his labor brought him. One day, at the end of the hot hours, the man, overcome by the heat, lay down under the shadow of a tree to have a doze. Suddenly he saw a great hooded snake creeping out of an ant-hill near at hand. So he thought to himself, "Sure this is the guardian deity of the field, and I have not ever worshipped it. That's why my farming is in vain. I will at once go and pay my respects to it."

When he had made up his mind, he got some milk, poured it into a bowl, and went to the ant-hill, and said aloud: "O Guardian of this Field! All this while I did not know that you dwelt here. That is why I have not yet paid my respects to you; pray forgive me." And he laid the milk down and went to his house. Next morning he came and looked, and he saw a gold denar in the bowl, and from that time onward every day the same thing occurred: he gave milk to the serpent and found a gold denar.

One day the man had to go to the village, and so he ordered his son to take the milk to the ant-hill. The son brought the milk, put it down, and went back home. Next day he went again and found a denar, so he thought to himself: "This ant-hill is surely full of golden denars; I'll kill the serpent, and take them all for myself." So next day, while he was giving the milk to the serpent, the man's son struck it on the head with a cudgel. But the serpent escaped death by the will of fate, and in a rage bit the man's son with its sharp fangs, and he fell down dead at once. His people raised him a funeral pyre not far from the field and burnt him to ashes.

Common core fourth grade ccss.ela literacy.rl.4.9   compare and contrast treatment of themes and topics and patterns of events in stories  myths  and traditional literature from different cultures   image 2

Two days afterwards his father came back, and when he learnt his son's fate he grieved and mourned. But after a time, he took the bowl of milk, went to the ant-hill, and praised the serpent with a loud voice. After a long, long time the serpent appeared, but only with its head out of the opening of the ant-hill, and spoke to the man: "'Tis greed that brings you here, and makes you even forget the loss of your son. From this time forward friendship between us is impossible. Your son struck me in youthful ignorance, and I have bitten him to death. How can I forget the blow with the cudgel? And how can you forget the pain and grief at the loss of your son?" So speaking, it gave the man a costly pearl and disappeared. But before it went away it said: "Come back no more." The man took the pearl, and went back home, cursing the folly of his son.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

 

Adapted from "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" in Japanese Fairy Tales (1904, trans. Teresa Peirce Williston)

A long time ago, in a little old house in a little old village in Japan lived a little old man and his little old wife.

One morning when the old woman slid open the screens that in that era formed the sides of all Japanese houses, she saw, on the doorstep, a poor little sparrow. She took him up gently and fed him. Then she held him in the bright morning sunshine until the cold dew was dried from his wings. Afterward she let him go, so that he might fly home to his nest, but he stayed to thank her with his songs.

Each morning, when the pink on the mountain tops told that the sun was near, the sparrow perched on the roof of the house and sang out his joy. The old man and woman thanked the sparrow for this, for they liked to be up early and at work. But near them there lived a cross old woman who did not like to be awakened so early. At last she became so angry that she caught the sparrow and cut his tongue. Then the poor little sparrow flew away to his home, but he could never sing again.

When the kind woman knew what had happened to her pet she was very sad. She said to her husband, "Let us go and find our poor little sparrow." So they started together, and asked of each bird by the wayside, "Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow lives? Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?"

In this way they followed until they came to a bridge. They did not know which way to turn, and at first could see no one to ask. At last they saw a bat hanging head downward, taking his daytime nap. "Oh, friend bat, do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?" they asked.

"Yes. Over the bridge and up the mountain," said the bat. Then he blinked sleepy eyes and was fast asleep again.

They went over the bridge and up the mountain, but again they found two roads and did not know which one to take. A little field mouse peeped through the leaves and grass, so they asked him, "Do you know where the tongue-cut sparrow went?"

"Yes. Down the mountain and through the woods," said the field mouse.

Down the mountain and through the woods they went, and at last came to the home of their little friend.

When he saw them coming the poor little sparrow was very happy indeed. He and his wife and children all came and bowed their heads down to the ground to show their respect. Then the sparrow rose and led the old man and the old woman into his house, while his wife and children hastened to bring them boiled rice, fish, and cress.

After they had feasted, the sparrow wished to please them still more, so he danced for them what is called the "sparrow dance."

When the sun began to sink, the old man and woman started for home. The sparrow brought out two baskets. "I would like to give you one of these," he said. "Which will you take?" One basket was large and looked very full, while the other one seemed very small and light.

The old people so thought they would not take the large basket, for that might have all the sparrow's treasure in it, so they said, "The way is long and we are very old, so please let us take the smaller one."

They took it and walked home over the mountain and across the bridge, happy and contented. When they reached their own home they decided to open the basket and see what the sparrow had given them. Within the basket they found many rolls of silk and piles of gold, enough to make them rich, so they were more grateful than ever to the sparrow.

The cross old woman who had cut the sparrow's tongue was peering in through the screen when they opened their basket. She saw the rolls of silk and the piles of gold, and planned how she might get some for herself.

The next morning she went to the kind woman and said, "I am so sorry that I cut the tongue of your sparrow. Please tell me the way to his home so that I may go to him and tell him I am sorry."

The kind woman told her the way and she set out. She went across the bridge, over the mountain, and through the woods. At last she came to the home of the little sparrow. He was not so glad to see this old woman, yet he was very kind to her and did everything to make her feel welcome. They made a feast for her, and when she started home the sparrow brought out two baskets as before. Of course the woman chose the large basket, for she thought that would have even more wealth than the other one.

It was very heavy, and caught on the trees as she was going through the wood. She could hardly pull it up the mountain with her, and she was all out of breath when she reached the top. She did not get to the bridge until it was dark. Then she was so afraid of dropping the basket into the river that she scarcely dared to step. When at last she reached home she was so tired that she was half dead, but she pulled the screens close shut, so that no one could look in, and opened her treasure.

Treasure indeed! A whole swarm of horrible creatures burst from the basket the moment she opened it. They stung her and bit her, they pushed her and pulled her, they scratched her and laughed at her screams. At last she crawled to the edge of the room and slid aside the screen to get away from the pests. The moment the door was opened they swooped down upon her, picked her up, and flew away with her. Since then nothing has ever been heard of the old woman.

Which character(s) in "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" play(s) a role closest to that of the snake in "The Gold-Giving Serpent"?

Possible Answers:

The old man's wife

The old woman who cuts the sparrow's tongue

The sparrow

The old man

The monsters

Correct answer:

The sparrow

Explanation:

Let's consider what role the snake plays in "The Gold-Giving Serpent," and then compare that role to the roles of the listed characters from "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow."

In "The Gold-Giving Serpent," the snake gives the farmer a gold denar in return for a daily bowl of milk. Eventually, the farmer goes to the village and sends his son to drop off the bowl of milk. The son thinks that the anthill is full of gold, so he attacks the snake. The snake kills the farmer's son, and for a while the farmer does not bring the snake any more milk. When the farmer does start to bring the snake milk again, the snake gives him an expensive pearl and tells him not to come back.

Which character from "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" does this most sound like? The snake gives out something valuable in return for nice treatment, but bites the farmer's son after he is mean to it. This role of treasure-giver and punishment-giver is most close to that of the sparrow in "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow." The sparrow gives the elderly couple gold after they are nice to him, but sends the old woman who cut his tongue back to her house with a basket full of monsters.

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