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The introduction to a new biography of Gannibal by the author
Alexander Pushkin was not only Russia’s greatest poet, but he was also the great-grandson of an African slave. The slave, whose godfather was Peter the Great, claimed to have royal blood of his own. Certainly his Russian descendants believed that he was an African prince. His descendants have included members as well as close friends of the English royal family. So the legend goes on.
Pushkin told the story of his black ancestor in “The Negro of Peter the Great”, but this biography tells a different version. The main difference is between fact and fiction. The Russian poet hoped to discover a biographical truth by sticking to the facts, only to discover that facts are slippery and not always true. His biography turned into a novel. Even then, it was left unfinished after six and a half chapters. The scrawled manuscript comes to an end with a line of dialogue – ‘Sit down, you scoundrel, let’s talk!’ — and a line of dots. Pushkin could be speaking to himself. In any case, it’s now time to stand up and carry on with the story. I have tried to join up the dots.
This is a book, then, about a missing link between the storyteller and his subject, an African prince; between the various branches of a family and its roots; between Pushkin and Africa; Africa and Europe; Europe and Russia; black and white. It is the story of a remarkable life and it poses the question: how is such a life to be explained?
My own explanation began in 2001, while I was living in Russia and working there as a journalist. The first draft was written during the war in Afghanistan, on the road to Kabul, but it describes my journey to the frontline of a different kind of war in Africa between the armies of Ethiopia and Eritrea. According to legend, Pushkin’s ancestor was born there, on the northern bank of the River Mareb, where I was arrested for taking photographs and compass readings, on suspicion of being a spy. Understandably my captors didn’t believe that I was only a journalist researching the life of Russia’s greatest writer. At the military camp, where I was held for a number of hours, the commandant looked me up and down when I asked, in my best posh English accent, ‘I say, my good man, can you tell me, basically, what is going on here?’ ‘Basically,’ he replied, with distaste, ‘you are in prison!’ The incident taught me something. Journalists, like biographers, are meant to respect facts, and by retracing Gannibal’s footsteps, I hoped to find a true story.
Some of those journeys lie behind the book, and are used whenever it is helpful to show that the past often retains a physical presence for the biographer – in landscapes, buildings, portraits, and above all in the trace of handwriting on original letters or journals. But my own journeys are not the point of the book. It is Gannibal’s story. I am only following him.
Descriptions of Africa and the slave trade result from my journeys, but this is not a book about a ‘stolen legacy’, nor certainly about the intellectual wars that have been part of black history in recent years. Biographers, like novelists, should tell stories. I have tried to do this. I should, however, point out from the outset that Gannibal was not the only black face to be seen in the centre of fashionable St Petersburg at that time. Negro slaves were a common sight in the grand salons of Millionaires’ Street and they appeared in a variety of roles, such as pets, pages, footmen, mascots, mistresses, favourites and adopted children. At the Winter Palace, so-called court Arabs, usually Ethiopians dressed in turbans and baggy trousers stood guard like stage extras in the marble wings.
1. The slave’s Russian descendants believe that the slave
A) had Russian royal blood in him.
B) was Peter the Great’s godfather.
C) belonged to the royal family in his native land.
D) was a close friend of the English royal family.
2. According to the narrator, the biography of Pushkin’s ancestor turned into a
novel because Pushkin
A) didn’t like the true biographical facts he had discovered.
B) found it impossible to stick to the facts that were doubtful.
C) could not do without describing fictional events.
D) found the true facts of the slave’s biography uninspiring.
3. The narrator’s objective in writing the book was to
A) write a new version of the novel “The Negro of Peter the Great”.
B) continue the story from where it was left unfinished.
C) interpret’s attitude to his ancestor.
D) prove that Pushkin’s ancestor was an African prince.
4. The narrator says that his research for the book
A) brought him to Russia to work as a journalist.
B) made him go to the war in Afghanistan.
C) led him to take part in the war in Africa.
D) brought him to a river bank in Africa.
5. The lesson that the narrator learnt from his arrest was
A) not to use a camera and compass at the frontline.
B) to avoid speaking to people in his best posh English accent.
C) not to distort information about real events.
D) never to tell people about his research.
6. The narrator thinks that his journeys
A) helped him find some visible traces of the past.
B) made him to feel sympathy to a “stolen legacy”.
C) deepened his understanding of the concept of intellectual wars.
D) turned out to be the main contents of his book.
7. The narrator points out that at the time of Gannibal
A) negro slaves played a variety of roles in the theatre.
B) black slaves were like stage extras in royal processions.
C) many Africans made a brilliant career at the court.
D) Africans were not a novelty in the capital of Russia.
A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP – AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM?
Tonight, do yourself a favor. Shut off the TV, log off the Internet and unplug the phone. Relax, take a bath, maybe sip some herbal tea. Then move into the bedroom. Set your alarm clock for a time no less than eight hours in the future, fluff up your pillows and lay your head down for a peaceful night of restorative shut-eye. That’s what American doctors advise.
American sleep experts are sounding an alarm over America’s sleep deficit. They say Americans are a somnambulant nation, stumbling groggily through their waking hours for lack of sufficient sleep. They are working longer days – and, increasingly, nights – and they are playing longer, too, as TV and the Internet expand the range of round-the-clock entertainment options. By some estimates, Americans are sleeping as much as an hour and a half less per night than they did at the turn of the century – and the problem is likely to get worse.
The health repercussions of sleep deprivation are not well understood, but sleep researchers point to ills ranging from heart problems to depression. In a famous experiment conducted at the University of Chicago in 1988, rats kept from sleeping died after two and a half weeks. People are not likely to drop dead in the same way, but sleep deprivation may cost them their lives indirectly, when an exhausted doctor prescribes the wrong dosage or a sleepy driver weaves into someone’s lane.
What irritates sleep experts most is the fact that much sleep deprivation is voluntary. “People have regarded sleep as a commodity that they could shortchange,” says one of them. “It’s been considered a mark of very hard work and upward mobility to get very little sleep. It’s a macho attitude.” Slumber scientists hope that attitude will change. They say people have learned to modify their behavior in terms of lowering their cholesterol and increasing exercise. Doctors also think people need to be educated that allowing enough time for sleep and taking strategic naps are the most reliable ways to promote alertness behind the wheel and on the job.
Well, naps would be nice, but at the moment, employers tend to frown on them. And what about the increasing numbers of people who work at night? Not only must they work while their bodies’ light-activated circadian rhythms tell them to sleep, they also find it tough to get to sleep after work. Biologists say night workers have a hard time not paying attention to the 9-to-5 day because of noises or family obligations or that’s the only time they can go to the dentist. There are not too many dentists open at midnight.
As one might imagine, companies are springing up to take advantage of sleeplessness. One of the companies makes specially designed shift-work lighting systems intended to keep workers alert around the clock. Shift-work’s theory is that bright light, delivered in a controlled fashion, can help adjust people’s biological clocks. The company president says they are using light like a medicine. So far, such special lighting has been the province of NASA astronauts and nuclear power plant workers. He thinks that in the future, such systems may pop up in places like hospitals and 24-hour credit-card processing centers. Other researchers are experimenting with everything from welder’s goggles (which night workers wear during the day) to human growth hormones. And, of course, there is always what doctors refer to as “therapeutic caffeine use,” but everyone is already familiar with that.
So, is a good night’s sleep an impossible dream for Americans? Maybe so.
1. The advice of American doctors is all about
A) ways to reduce negative effect of modern technologies.
B) complex measures that ensure healthy sleep.
C) positive effect of herbal therapy.
D) the process of restoring from unexpected psychological stress.
2. Americans are referred to as a “somnambulant nation” because they
A) need special help to fall asleep.
B) are sleepwalkers.
C) regularly wake up at night.
D) don’t get enough sleep to function effectively.
3. Experiments with sleep deprivation proved that
A) it inevitably leads to death.
B) its repercussions have finally become predictable.
C) it is likely to result in cardio or nervous problems.
D) animal and human reaction are almost alike.
4. There is a tendency to sleep less because
A) people want to look tough at any cost.
B) people think they can reduce sleeping hours without any harm .
C) people have learned to cope with less sleep just as they have learned to lower cholesterol.
D) otherwise they lose career and social opportunities.
5. Having naps during the day would be nice, but
A) doctors do not find them effective.
B) people won’t take them voluntarily.
C) bosses are against this.
D) it is difficult to arrange.
6. People who work at night can hardly
A) fulfill traditional family obligations.
B) consult doctors when needed.
C) socialize to their liking.
D) ever sleep without ear-plugs.
7. The main aim of specially designed shift-work lighting system is
A) to help people feel alert at night.
B) to provide better lightning.
C) to prevent heart diseases.
D) to stimulate human growth hormones.
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Artificial intelligence is the art of making machines that are able to 'think'. We often don't notice it, but artificial intelligence is all around us. It is present in computer games, in the cruise control in our cars and the servers that direct our e-mail. Some scientists believe that the most powerful computers could have the power of the human brain. Machines have always been excellent at tasks like calculation. But now they are better than humans in many spheres, from chess to mixing music.
The world's most powerful computer is ASCI Purple, made by IBM in 2004. It can carry out 100 trillion operations per second and has the size of two basketball courts. A computer with double power is expected in the next two years. A spokesman for IBM said that ASCI Purple is near the power of the human brain. But some scientists believe our brains can carry out almost 10,000 trillion operations per second.
The possible dangers of intelligent machines became the stories of many science fiction films. In The Terminator (1984), a computer network uses nuclear weapons against the human race in order to rule the world. This network then makes intelligent robots called 'Terminators' which it programs to kill all the humans. In The Matrix (1999) and The Matrix Reloaded (2003), a machine dominates humanity, using people as batteries to power itself.
In 1997, then the world chess champion Garry Kasparov played against IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer – and lost. After six games, the world-famous Kasparov lost 2.5 to 3.5 to the computer. In February 2003, Kasparov restored human reputation by finishing equal against the Israeli-built supercomputer Deep Junior. Kasparov ended the game with the score 2-2 against US company X3D Technologies' supercomputer X3D Fritz in November 2003, proving that the human brain can keep up with the latest developments in computing (at least in chess).
There are a number of different methods which try to measure intelligence, the most famous of which is perhaps the IQ, or 'Intelligence Quotient' test. This test was first used in early 20th century Paris. The modern day IQ test measures a variety of different types of ability such as memory for words and figures and others. Whether IQ tests actually test general intelligence is disputable. Some argue that they just show how good the individual is at IQ tests!
Analysis shows that human intelligence is changing. We are gaining abilities in some areas of intelligence, while losing them in others, such as memory. So this generation may not remember the great number of poems, their abilities are greater in other areas. It has been discovered that wide use of video games improves reaction time. But we could only dream of computing without calculators as fast as our grandparents did.
In 1950, mathematician Alan Turing invented a test to check machine intelligence. In the Turing Test, two people (A and B) sit in a closed room, a third person (C), who asks questions, sits outside. Person A tries to answer the questions so that person C doesn’t guess who they are: men or women, while person B tries to help him (C) in their identification. Turing suggested a machine take the place of person A. If the machine fooled the human, it was likely to be intelligent.
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Friend or enemy
History of chocolate
Love of sweet from your father
Help to dentists
Problems with weight
Chocolate is made from the seeds of the tree Theobroma cacao. The ancient Aztecs used the beans of the cacao tree as a form of money. The Aztecs discovered that by crushing the beans into a paste and adding spices, they could make a refreshing and nourishing drink. This drink was very bitter, not like our chocolate drinks today. 16th century European explorers brought the drink back from their travels, added sugar, and soon it was popular as an expensive luxury.
You can receive a 'sweet tooth' from your parents. Recent study at New York University suggests there is a genetic reason why some people prefer sugary foods. The study was based on two groups of mice. The parents of the first group were given sweetened water and the parents of the second – unsweetened water. The team found the gene that was different in the two groups of mice and then looked for similar genetic chains in humans.
All modern chocolate products have large amounts of sugar, a fact which may partly explain why it becomes a sort of drug for some people. An ability to recognize sweet things, and a tendency to like them was very useful for our forefathers. Such a genetic quality made prehistoric humans look for energy-rich, healthy and tasty food such as fruit, and helped them avoid bitter-tasting poisonous plants.
Like other sweet food, chocolate helps endorphins, natural hormones, that give us the feelings of pleasure and well-being, to appear in our body. Chocolate also makes us feel good by reacting with our brains. Scientists say that some people may develop chocoholism - a dependency on chocolate. So it's just possible that, with every bar of chocolate, your brain changes step by step in order to make you love chocolate more and more!
Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, many scientific works were written explaining the advantages of chocolate for medicine, and today it's a regular food in army rations. Chocolate could help prevent tooth decay, according to scientists at Japan's Osaka University. The cocoa beans from which chocolate is made have an antibacterial agent that fights tooth decay. These parts of the beans are not usually used in chocolate production, but in future they could be added back in to chocolate to make it friendly for teeth.
Californian scientist Professor Carl Keen and his team have suggested that chocolate might help fight heart disease. They say that it contains chemicals called flavinoids, which thin the blood. Researchers at Harvard University have carried out experiments that suggest that if you eat chocolate three times a month you will live almost a year longer than those who don’t do it. But it's not all good news - chocolate has much fat, which means that eating too much of it may lead to obesity.
Being very fat, or obese, is linked to many health problems including heart disease and diabetes. The causes of obesity are not yet fully understood. Both genes and the environment play a role. The recent growth of the number of fat people seems to be linked to environmental factors: people are much less active nowadays, fatty and sugary foods like chocolate are cheap, people eat larger portions of food, and the calories per person have increased.
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Types of mass media
Air in danger
World in danger
Danger of smoking
English in schools
Types of travelling
English is very popular nowadays. It’s the language of computers, science, business, sport and politics. English is an amazing language, the language of great literature. Half of the world’s scientific literature is published in English. Nearly half of the world’s business deals in Europe are conducted in English. It’s the language of sports and glamour, being the official language of the Olympic Games and the Miss Universe Competition. English is the official voice of the air and the sea.
Millions of people all over the world spend their holidays travelling. They travel to see other countries and continents, modern cities and the ruins of ancient towns. Some travel to enjoy picturesque places or just for a change of scene. It’s always interesting to try different food, to listen to different musical rhythms. Those who live in the country like to travel to a big city while city-dwellers usually prefer spending a quiet holiday by the sea or in the mountains, with nothing to do but walk and bathe.
Global warming is the term used to describe the relatively dramatic rise in the world’s average temperature during the 20th century. According to some environmentalists, global warming is a result of the industrial revolution and that if it continues, it will destroy civilization as we know it. Global warming is a problem, and people must take any steps they can in order to prevent it.
Speaking English gives people many privileges in society, enabling them to communicate successfully with those who don’t know your mother-tongue. In order to possess these privileges school teachers and methodologists propose to introduce six hours of learning English a week for all Russian schools and introduce this subject from the first year in primary schools. Learning English should become more intensive to make Russian citizens more communicative.
Air pollution is a very serious problem in the world. In Cairo just breathing the air is life threatening – it equals smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The same holds true for Mexico City and 600 cities of the former Soviet Union. Industrial enterprises emit tons of harmful substances. These emissions have disastrous consequences for our planet.
The press, radio, television and Internet are various types of mass media that keep people informed on the topical issues of the day. The mass media do much to excite an interest in every aspect of life and play an important role in reflecting the life of society. The mass media draw the public attention to the most serious political, economic, social and ecological problems.
Last year my brother and I went to Turkey. This trip left the best impression on me. We took advantage of the excellent weather and went on different tours, for example, rafting. We took ourselves by a raft and a kayak through the picturesque mountainous region of Southern Turkey. Besides, we found new places, saw impressive sights and got acquainted with new people.
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HEALTHY SCHOOL MEALS
Children at Southdown Infants School in Bath enjoy tasty homemade meals such as roast turkey with fresh vegetables, chicken, salad and fresh fruit for pudding. Vegetables are 1 _______________________. Instead of crisps, chocolate and sweets, the school canteen serves organic carrots, dried fruit and fresh seasonal fruit in bags for 10p, 2 _______________________.
Southdown's healthy eating initiative began four years ago with the start of a breakfast club.
Now Ms Culley, the head teacher of the school, says that the teachers very clearly see the link between diet and concentration. “Children's concentration and behaviour 3 _______________________.” The teachers would also like to give the children the experience of eating together. It turned out that some children weren't used to that.
Pupils are also encouraged to find out more about where their food comes from by 4 _______________________.
Parents are also involved and are invited in to try school dinners on special occasions, 5 _______________________.
The efforts of staff, pupils and parents to create a healthy eating environment were recognized earlier this month 6 _______________________ the Best School Dinner award.
Ms Culley said: “We are happy to win this award. Healthy eating is at the centre of everything we do. It's really rewarding to see so many children enjoy real food.”
A. such as Easter and Christmas
B. visiting a local farm
C. local, fresh and organic where possible
D. provide good quality food
E. definitely improve after a good meal
F. and about 100 bags are sold each day
G. when the school was awarded
Walking is not enough to keep fit
Walking may not be enough on its own to produce significant health benefits, research suggests. A team from Canada’s University of Alberta compared a 10,000-step exercise programme with a more traditional fitness regime of moderate intensity. Researchers found improvements1 _______________________ were significantly higher in the second group. They told an American College of Sports Medicine meeting that gentle exercise was 2 _______________________. In total 128 people took 3 _______________________. The researchers assessed influence on fitness by measuring blood pressure and lung capacity. They found out the 10,000-step programme did help to get people motivated – and was an excellent way to start4 _______________________. But to increase the effectiveness, some intensity must be added to their exercise. “Across your day, while you are achieving those 10,000 steps, take 200 to 400 of them at a faster pace. You've got to do more than light exercise and include regular moderate activity, and don't be shy to have an occasional period of time at an energetic level.” The researchers were concerned there was too much focus 5 _______________________, rather than on its intensity.
Professor Stuart Biddle, an expert in exercise science at the University of Loughborough, said it was possible that the current guidelines on how much exercise to take were set too low. “However, you have got to find 6 _______________________. The harder you make it, the fewer people will actually do it.” Professor Biddle said there was no doubt that energetic exercise was the way to get fit, but volume rather than intensity might be more useful in tackling issues such as obesity.
A. part in the project
B. taking exercise
C. gave marked health benefits
D. in fitness levels
E. on simply getting people to take exercise
F. not enough to get fit
G. a compromise between physiology and psychology
A double-decker bus is a bus that has two levels. While double-decker long-distance buses are in widespread use around the world,1 _______________________. Double-decker buses are popular in some European cities and in some parts of Asia, usually in former British colonies. Many towns around the world have a few that specialize in short sight-seeing tours for tourists because, as William Gladstone observed, "the way to see London is from the top of a 'bus'".
Double-decker buses are taller than other buses. They are extensively used in the United Kingdom, 2 _______________________, removed from normal service in December 2005 - they still operate on heritage routes. Elsewhere in Europe, double-deckers are used throughout the Dublin Bus network in Ireland, where they are making a comeback on Dublin's outer suburban routes and also the streets of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. They are a common sight in Berlin, where the BVG makes extensive use of them. Double-decker long-distance coaches are also in widespread use throughout Europe.
Most buses in Hong Kong and about half in Singapore are double-deckers as well. The only areas in North America that 3 _______________________ are the western Canadian province of British Columbia and the United States city of Las Vegas. They are currently being tested in Ottawa on the express routes. The city of Davis, California, in the United States uses vintage double-decker buses for public transport. Davis, California is also home to the first vintage double-decker bus converted from diesel gasoline to run on CNG. The city of Victoria, BC, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, and a couple of others use Dennis Tridents. A few are also used as tour buses, especially in New York. Double-deckers are have also been used in Mumbai since 1937.
In Brazil, 4 _______________________, some companies use double-decker buses. Double-deckers are not a good option for use outside the towns (most roads in Brazil are in very poor condition), and 5 _______________________.
Double-decker buses are in widespread use in India in many of the major cities. Some double-decker buses 6 _______________________, with no roof and shallow sides. These are popular for sightseeing tours.
A. double-deckers are adored by thousands of tourists
B. use double-decker buses for public transport
C. double-decker city buses are less common
D. where perhaps the most famous was the London Routemaster
E. their use is being discouraged by transportation authorities
F. have an open upper deck
G. where buses are sometimes the only interstate transport
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ABBY’S TIDY DRAWER
One Saturday morning, Abby’s Mum came upstairs to see Abby in her bedroom. There was a big mess on the floor and Abby sat in the middle of it all reading a book.
“What a mess,” Mum said. “You need to have a clear up in here. Because things get broken or lost when they’re all willy-nilly like this. Come on, have a tidy up now.”
“But I’m very busy,” Abby argued, “and it’s boring doing it on my own. Can’t you help me?”
“No I can’t, I’m busy too. But I’ll give you extra pocket money if you do a good job.”
When Mum came back later all the toys and clothes and books had disappeared.
“I’m impressed,” said Mum. “But I’ll inspect it properly later.”
“It was easy,” said Abby. “Can I have my extra pocket money now?”
“All right. Get it out of my change purse. It’s in the kitchen tidy drawer.”
In the kitchen, Abby went over to the dresser and pulled open the tidy drawer. She hunted for the purse.
“It must be somewhere at the bottom,” Mum said. “Let’s have a proper look.”
She pulled the drawer out and carried it over to the table. Abby looked inside. There were lots of boring things like staplers and string, but there were lots of interesting things as well.
“What’s this?” Abby asked, holding up a plastic bottle full of red liquid.
“Fake blood, from a Halloween party years ago. Your Dad and I took you to that, dressed up as a baby vampire. You were really scary.”
Abby carried on looking through the drawer. She found some vampire teeth, white face paint, plastic witch nails and hair gel. Mum pulled out a glittery hair band. It had springs with wobbly balls on the top that flashed disco colours! Abby found some sparkly hair elastics to match the hair band. She made her Mum put lots of little bunches all over her head so she looked really silly.
“I remember this,” Abby said as she pulled out a plastic bag. “This is from my pirate party.” Inside there was a black, false moustache and some big gold earrings.
“Come here,” Mum said and smeared white face paint all over Abby’s face. She dribbled the fake blood so it looked as if it was coming out of Abby’s eyes and mouth. She put gel all over Abby’s hair and made it stand up into weird, pointy shapes. Abby put in the vampire teeth and slipped on the witch fingers. She made scary noises at Wow-Wow, the cat. He ignored her and carried on washing himself on the seat next to her.
Abby came to sit on her Mum’s knee.
“It’s fun doing this together,” she said.
“Maybe. But we still haven’t found the change purse.”
“Well, you know things will get lost, or broken, when they’re all willy-nilly.”
“You cheeky monkey!” Mum laughed. “But what shall I do with it all?”
“I know, it’s easy,” Abby said and began to remove everything off the table into her arms. She put it all back in the kitchen drawer.
Mum looked at her suspiciously.
“Let’s go and inspect your bedroom, shall we?”
Abby followed her upstairs and into her bedroom. Wow-Wow was sitting in front of her fish tank looking hungrily at the goldfish. He dashed under the bed when he saw Mum and Abby. Mum kneeled down and lifted the bed cover to get him out. Underneath were heaps of Abby’s toys, books, tapes, clothes and shoes, empty plastic cups, wrappers and a half-eaten sandwich on a plate.
“Abby! What’s all this?”
“It’s my tidy drawer,” Abby said. She wrapped her arms around her Mum and gave her a kiss. “Let’s sort this one out together now.”
1. When Mum came to Abby’s room she saw
A) her daughter reading at her table.
B) the cat looking at the fish.
C) a terrible mess all over the place.
D) Abby dressed up as a vampire.
2. Abby agreed to tidy up her room because Mother
A) promised to take her to the Halloween party.
B) offered to give her extra pocket money.
C) promised to help her.
D) said that she would punish her.
3. Where did Abby find many interesting things?
A) In her Mother’s change purse.
B) Under her bed.
C) On the kitchen table.
D) In the tidy drawer in the kitchen.
4. Abby’s parents used most of the interesting things
A) when they dressed themselves up for Halloween parties.
B) as presents for Halloween parties.
C) to dress her up for different parties.
D) when they wanted to play tricks on Abby.
5. Abby put on the vampire teeth, witch nails and other things from the tidy drawer because
A) she wanted to scare the cat.
B) she was going to a Halloween party that evening.
C) she enjoyed dressing up with her Mother.
D) she had to dress up for a pirate party.
6. Abby’s Mother decided to inspect Abby’s bedroom
A) after she had seen Abby tidy up the kitchen table.
B) because she had promised she would do that.
C) before Father came home from work.
D) when they heard some strange noise from it.
7. When Abby’s Mother looked under her daughter’s bed she saw
A) the cat eating a sandwich.
B) the tidy drawer from the kitchen.
C) her change purse.
D) all the Abby’s things.
No one knew how Mr. Sticky got in the fish tank.
"He's very small," Mum said as she peered at the tiny water snail. "Just a black dot."
In the morning Abby jumped out of bed and switched on the light in her fish tank.
Gerry, the fat orange goldfish, was dozing inside the stone archway. It took Abby a while to discover Mr. Sticky because he was clinging to the glass near the bottom, right next to the gravel.
At school that day she wrote about the mysterious Mr. Sticky who was so small you could mistake him for a piece of gravel. Some of the girls in her class said he seemed an ideal pet for her and kept giggling about it.
"I think he's grown a bit," Abby told her Mum at breakfast the next day.
"Just as well if he's going to be eaten up like that," her Mum said, trying to put on her coat and eat toast at the same time. "But I don't want him to get too huge or he won't be cute anymore. Small things are cute aren't they?"
"Yes they are. Now hurry up, I'm going to miss my train."
At the weekend they cleaned out the tank. "There's a lot of filth on the sides," Mum said. "I'm not sure Mr. Sticky's quite up to the job yet."
They took the fish out and put them in a bowl while they emptied some of the water. Mr. Sticky stayed out of the way, clinging to the glass while Mum used the special 'vacuum cleaner' to clean the gravel. Abby cleaned the archway and the filter tube. Mum poured new water into the tank.
"Where's Mr. Sticky?" Abby asked.
"On the side," Mum said. She was busy concentrating on the water.
Abby looked on all sides of the tank. There was no sign of the water snail.
"He's probably in the gravel then," her mum said. She put the fish back in the clean water where they swam round and round, looking baffled.
That evening Abby went up to her bedroom to examine the tank. The water had settled and looked lovely and clear but there was no sign of Mr. Sticky. She went downstairs.
Her mum was in the study surrounded by papers. She looked impatient when she saw Abby in the doorway and even more impatient when she heard the bad news.
"He'll turn up." was all she said. "Now off to bed Abby. I've got masses of work to catch up on."
Abby felt her face go hot and red. It always happened when she was furious or offended.
"You've poured him out, haven't you," she said. "You were in such a rush."
"I have not. I was very cautious. But he is extremely small."
"What's wrong with being small?"
"Nothing at all. But it makes things hard to find."
"Or notice," Abby said and ran from the room.
The door to the bedroom opened and Mum's face appeared. Abby tried to ignore her but it was hard when she walked over to the bed and sat next to her. She was holding her glasses in her hand. "These are my new pair," she said. "Extra powerful, for snail hunting." She smiled at Abby. Abby tried not to smile back.
"And I've got a magnifying glass," Abby suddenly remembered and rushed off to find it.
They sat beside each other on the floor with the tank between them and peered into the water.
"Ah ha!" Mum suddenly cried.
There, perfectly hidden against the dark stone, sat Mr. Sticky. And right next to him was another water snail, even smaller than him.
"Mrs. Sticky!" Abby breathed.
They both laughed. Then Abby put her head on her mum's chest and smiled.
1. Mr. Sticky was
A) a goldfish.
B) a piece of gravel.
C) a snail.
D) a turtle.
2. Abby didn’t want Mr. Sticky to grow too big because
A) there wouldn’t be enough space in the fish tank.
B) he would eat too much.
C) he would leave a lot of dirt on the walls of the fish tank.
D) she found small things to be very pretty.
3. When helping her mother to clean out the tank Abby
A) polished the walls of the tank.
B) used a vacuum cleaner.
C) poured fresh water into the tank.
D) cleaned the filter tube of the fish tank.
4. Abby came to her mother’s study
A) to tell her that Mr. Sticky hadn’t turned up.
B) when she had found Mr. and Mrs. Sticky.
C) because she didn’t want to go to bed.
D) to say goodnight.
5. Abby was angry with her Mum because
A) mother ignored her.
B) mother didn’t like Mr. Sticky.
C) she thought that her mother had poured out Mr. Sticky.
D) mother was very strict.
6. Mother came to Abby’s room to look for Mr. Sticky with
A) her new glasses.
B) a filter tube.
C) a magnifying glass.
D) a vacuum cleaner.
7. Abby felt happy and laughed because
A) mother came to help her look for Mr. Sticky.
B) they found Mr. Sticky in the fish tank.
C) the water in the fish tank was very clear and clean.
D) her mother was trying to make her laugh.