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King Canute on the Seashore


Long ago, England was ruled by a king named Canute. Like many leaders and men of power, Canute was surrounded by people who were always praising him. Every time he walked into a room, the flattery began.


"You are the greatest man that ever lived," one would say.


Then another would insist, "O king! There can never be another man so mighty as you,"


And someone would smile and say,‘Your highness, there is nothing you cannot do."


"Great Canute, you are the monarch of all," another would sing. "Nothing in this world dares to disohey you."


The king was a man of senses, and he grew tired of hearing such foolish speeches.


One day he was walking by the seashore, and his officers and courtiers were with him, praising him as usual. Canute decided to teach them a lesson, so he bade them set his chair on the beach close by the edge of the water.


"So you say I am the greatest man in the world?" he asked.


"O king," they cried, "there never has been anyone as powerful as you, and there never be anyone so great, ever again!"


"And you say all things obey me'?" Canute asked.


"Absolutely!" they said. "The world bows before you, and gives you honor."


"I see”the king answered."In that case. bring me my chair, and we will go down to the water."


"At once, your majesty!" They scrambled to carry his royal chair over the sands.


"Bring it closer to the sea," Canute called. "Put it right here, right at the water's edge."He sat down and surveyed the ocean before him. "I notice the tide is coming in. Do you think it will stop if I give the command'?"


His officers were puzzled, but they did not dare say no. "Give the order, O great king, and it will obey," one of then assured him.


"Very well. Sea," cried Canute, "I command you to come no further! Waves, stop your rolling! Surf, stop your pounding! Do not dare touch my feet!"


He waited a moment, quietly, and a tiny wave rushed up the sand and lapped at his feet.


"How dare you!" Canute shouted. "Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!"


And in answer another wave swept forward and curled around the king's feet. The tide came in, just as it always did. The water rose higher and higher. It came up around the king's chair, and wet not only his feet, but also his robe. His officers stood before him,alarmed, and wondering whether he was not mad.


"Well, my friends," Canute said, "it seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe. Perhaps you have learned something today. Perhaps now you will remember there is only one King who is all-powerful, and it is he who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of his hand. I suggest you reserve your praises for him."


The royal officers and courtiers hung their heads and looked foolish. And some say Canute took off his crown soon afterward, and never wore it again.


1.克努特(?- 1035),建立了包括今丹麦、挪威、英格兰、苏格兰大部和瑞典南部的大帝国,被尊称为“克努特大帝”,他的帝国也被称为“北海帝国”,是历一个几乎统治了北海沿岸地区的帝王.
2.英语中“of+名词”结构相当于这一名词的形容词,此处的“a man of sense"表示“a sensible man",意思是“明智的人”.
4.结构“have sb. do sth.”中的“have”为使役动词,表示“使某人做某事”。


文章来源: http://www.titotopin.com文章标题: 英语童谣:努特国王在海滨


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