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The name comes from the Latin word “septem’ which means “seven”.
In today's calendar September is the ninth month. But in the old Roman calendar, before Julius Caesar,1 it was the seventh month.
The Anglo-Saxons2 called it Barley3 Month.
1 Julius Caesar ['d3u:ljas 'sirza] — Юлий Цезарь, римский император (100 — 44 гг. до н. э.), провел реформу календаря
2 Anglo-Saxons ['aegglou 'saeksanz] — англо-саксы (the people who went to the British Isles from Europe about 1500 years ago)
3 barley ['bali] — ячмень, зд.: ячменный
The Twelfth Fisherman
(A tale of the wise men of Gotham)4
Оnce upon a time5 twelve men went out fishing. Some of them fished from the dry bank, and some of them went out into the river. When the day was over, they all gathered together to go home.
4 a man of Gotham ['goutam] — простак, дурак
5 Once upon a time — Как-то, давным-давно
“Twelve of us went out fishing this morning,” said one. “Let us hope that there are twelve of us to go home, for it will be a dreadful thing if one of us is drowned.”
“We shall count and see,” said another man. So he began to count, touching each of his friends as he did so. But he quite forgot to count himself, so it seemed to him as if1 there were only eleven fishermen.
“Let me count,” said a third man. So he began to count his friends too, but he also forgot to count himself. Then each man counted, and as not one remembered to add himself, they could count no more than eleven.
“Alas!2 Alas!” they cried. “One of us is drowned! Let us go back to the river!”
So they all went back to the river, but they could see no one in the water at all. And they began to cry.
Then a horseman rode by, and heard their crying. He was very much surprised and he rode up to ask what was the matter.
“What are you looking for?” he asked. “And why are you crying?”
“Twelve of us went out fishing this morning, and we are afraid that one of us is drowned.”
“Count, how many there are of you,” said the horseman.
So one of the men counted his eleven friends, but he did not count himself and this made the horseman smile.
“What will you give me if I find your twelfth man for you?” he asked.
The fishermen took all the money they had and put it into a bag.
“See,” they said, “you will have all this if you find our twelfth man.”
“Now,” he said, “come round me and I shall find your twelfth man.”
1 as if — (как) будто
2 Alas [a'lais]! — Увы!
They came round and he began to count touching each man as he did so.
“One — two — three — four — five — six — seven — eight — nine — ten — eleven — twelve. Here is your twelfth man! I have found him for you!”
“You have found our friend for us,” cried the fishermen. And they gave him the bag of money. The horseman took it and then, with a laugh, he tied it to his saddle and went on his way. But the fishermen did not know why he laughed.
(You may read another story about the wise men of Gotham on page 45.)
A Square and a Triangle
(A curious problem)
Take a square piece of paper. Then try to fold it so as to form the largest possible equilateral triangle.
A triangle in which the sides are the same length as the sides of the square, as you see in the picture, will not be the largest possible.
Which Road did He Take?
(A curious problem)
Charlie started from his home on a bicycle. He wanted to go to the village which was 10 miles away.
He came to a cross-roads and found that the sign-post had been broken1 and lay in the middle of the road. Yet he made the sign-post tell him which was the right way to go.
It was a usual sign-post with four arms,2 on which were written the names of the villages to which the four roads led.
How did he do it?
(The answer is on page 33.)
1 the sign-post ['sainpoust] had been broken — указательный столб был сломан (Подобные конструкции переводятся оборотами в прошедшем времени.)
2 arm — зд.: стрелка
7. What, by losing1 an eye, has nothing left but a nose?
2. What is the best way to make a fire with two sticks?
3. Can you make a match burn under water?
4. What is it that you have at every meal but never eat?
5. What is the end of life?
6. What is full of holes, but holds water?
7. What is too much for one, very good for two, but nothing for three?
8. When Columbus2 discovered America, where did he first stand?
9. What is it that everyone can divide, but no one can see where it is divided?
10. Why cant your nose be 12 inches long?
(See the answers on page 44.)
1 by losing ['luizig] — потеряв
2 Columbus — Колумб