Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mini Lesson: Once Upon a Time, There Was A Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes!

The following paragraphs are snippets taken from Edward Topsell's A Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes, written in 1607. Pick one, two, or three of the samples and allow students to delve into the language of the 1600s while reading tales of their favorite beasts!

{Click the picture to view an illustration from the book}.

Beware of a Hungry Lion!

...There is no beast more vehement than a she or female lyon...A most fierce and also when he is hungry, but when he is satisfied and filled, he laid aside that meeke and gentle nature, so that it is less dangerous to meet with him filled then hungry, for he never devore any till famine constrain him...(462).

Questions for discussion:

1.) According to the paragraph, when is a lion most fierce?
2.) According to the paragraph, which is fiercer, the male or female lion?
3.) Does this paragraph provide any evidence that its claims are true?

Dancing Dogs!

...There are also dogs among of a mungrel kind, which are taught and exercised to dance in measure at the musical sound of an the sweet accent of the Citerne, and tuned strings of the harmonious harp, showing many pretty tricks by the gesture of their bodies. As to stand bolt upright, to lie flat upon the ground, to turn round as rings holding their tails in their teeth, to beg for their meat, and sundry such properties, which they learne of their vagabond masters, whose instruments they are to gather gaine whithal in city, country, town, and village. As some which carry old Apes on their shoulders in coloured jackets to move men to laughter for a little lucre.(177).

Questions for discussion:

1.) According to the paragraph, what types of dogs are taught to dance?
2.) What types of instruments do the dogs dance to?
3.) What types of tricks were the dogs able to perform?

Lion Potions!

The blood of a lyon being rubbed or spread upon a canker, or upon a sore which is swelled upon the veins, will presently and without any pain cure and ease the grief thereof. Whoever doth anoint his body all over with the blood of a lyon is reported to be contrary to poison and venemous drinks, and being taken in wine it will by the sent expel all wild beasts from any one, and it doth also resist away the scent of smell of the Serpents, by which they follow men to destroy them...(486).

Questions for discussion:

1.) What were the blood and fat of the lion used for?
2.) How is this paragraph a sign of the time during which it was written?
3.) What are a few examples of ways people take advice and tips today from written publications?


New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
3.4.5. A. 5 Recognize the rich and varied language of literature.
3.5.4. A.4 Distinguish between factual and fictional visual representations.

National Standards
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Understanding the human experience. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g. philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

Thinking Standard 2: Historical Comprehension Thinking Standard 3: Historical Analysis and Interpretation.

Topsell, Edward. The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes. Printed by Iaggard, William, 1607. Lloyd William Smith Collection. Morristown National Historical Park. 30 Washington Place, Morristown New Jersey 07960.

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards:

National History Standards:

National Social Studies Standards:

ML3: Once Upon a Time, There Was a Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes

Lesson plan by Karyn Pereny

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