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Топик Beauty Through Pain - Красота требует жертв

Beauty Through Pain - Красота требует жертв

Beauty Through PainMany people (especially women) dream of being beautiful and they can go far to become more attractive. Some of us are not quite satisfied with our bodies, some want to become taller or slimmer, some would like to improve their features. There are different ways to achieve perfection: cosmetics, creams, lotions, beautiful clothes, etc. But in search of perfection many of us forget about health risks connected with our overwhelming desire to be fashionable and beautiful. Can we harm ourselves by improving and decorating our bodies? Of course we can.

Let us remember the past. Wishing to achieve the feminine ideal and to have a wasp waist many women wore the corset. Its origin is lost in remote antiquity. The early Egyptian women are believed to wear corsets. The corset was used in France and England as early as the 12th century. The corset became extremely fashionable in the 16th century, during the reign of Catherine de Medici of France and Queen Elizabeth of England. A lady could not consider her figure ideal unless she could span her waist with her two hands. To reduce their natural waist size women wore a strong rigid corset night and day. In the 18th century respectable women of all classes in society wore the corset (or a pair of 'stays'). The stays were made from several layers of stout fabric, such as linen or cotton. Strips of whalebone or metal frames were used to stiffen the garment. A larger strip of bone or wood was slipped in at the centre front to keep the wearer's posture absolutely rigid.

Many doctors warned women of the dangers of lacing corsets too tight and some advised not wearing the corset at all. One famous rent against the corset in 1874 enumerated 97 different diseases produced by stays and corsets. The alleged symptoms ranged from impaired breathing and circulation to heightened hysteria and melancholy. Many Victorian women's fainting fits were caused not by their excessive sensitiveness but by insufficient oxygen. The corset could lead to miscarriage or deformed offspring. Besides the bones or steels of the corset could break and injure the woman who wore it.

But women continued wearing rigid corsets in spite of all health risks and obvious physical inconveniences. Why did the do it? The answer is quite simple. The fact is that physical beauty was associated with virtue. An upright posture and a slender waist became a sign of modesty, discipline and refinement. Loose clothes meant loose morals and those women who refused to wear the corset were considered to be lazy and immoral. The corset did not disappear but nowadays it is absolutely different from the corsets women wore a few centuries ago. It doesn't lead to distortion and feebleness any more. Modern corsets have very little influence on the wearer's body.

Many women of fashion don't wear corsets nowadays but they should never forget that there are still many articles of clothing that can be dangerous to their health. All women like wearing high-heeled shoes because they make their legs longer and more slender. Doctors say that high-heels cause severe foot problems and foot pain. They can also lead to foot deformities and knee diseases. After all, a woman wearing high-heels may fall down and sprain her ankle.

Some people cover their bodies with tattoos. Tattooing is popular in many parts of the world and it is practiced for decorative, religious or other reasons. Julia Gnuse (known by the nickname The Illustrated Lady') is the world's most tattooed woman, having coverage of 95% of her body. Doctors warn people against possible dangers of tattooing including infection and allergic reactions.

Many people think that cosmetics and clothes can't help them become more beautiful and they resort to plastic surgery. Reconstructive surgery techniques were performed in India in 2000 ВС. Plastic surgery developed greatly during the 20th century in the US. The world record for plastic surgery is held by Cindy Jackson, a singer and writer born in Ohio in 1955. Cindy tried to achieve the Barbie Doll look but she also wanted 'to look convincingly natural'.

Many young people decorate their bodies with piercing. Elaine Davidson holds the Guinness Record for being the most pierced woman in the world. The total weight of her jewelry is about 3 kilograms and Elaine has no intention to stop at what has been accomplished. Body piercing is a painful and risky procedure: it can cause allergic reactions and bacterial infection. Infection due to piercing of the tongue can be fatal!

Before experimenting with your body think twice. Is the game worth the candle? Remember that health and beauty are inseparably linked. That is why don't turn yourself into an invalid for the sake of beauty, fashion or fame.

Смотреть далее | 25.03.2016 | Отправить ссылку друзьям

Synopsis of the films about artificial intelligence - Краткое содержание фильмов об искусственном интеллекте

Synopsis of the films about artificial intelligence - Краткое содержание фильмов об искусственном интеллекте

Artificial Intelligence

Read the synopsis of the following films about artificial intelligence. Answer the questions below.
  1. Robot
    In 2035 humanoid robots have become common. They are considered to be absolutely safe as the Three Laws are integrated into their minds:
    1. A robot may not harm a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being come to harm.
    2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
    NS-5s are new robots with an uplink to V.I.K.I. (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence), allowing them to receive updates wirelessly. But there is a robot which greatly differs from others. Its creator has named it Sonny. The robot is unique as it can display emotions, experience dreams, keep secrets and disobey the Three Laws. Sonny has been created without an uplink to VI.K.I. that is why when other robots revolt against humans and attack them Sonny helps people destroy V.I.K.I. At the end of the film Sonny gets freedom and becomes the main characters' friend.
  2. Terminator
    The Terminator is a cyborg assassin. It is very b, has no emotions and feels no pain. The robot has been sent to the past to prevent a human resistance against the machines in the year 2029. It has a mission to kill and nothing can stop the Terminator to accomplish it. The robot is indistinguishable from humans as it is covered with living tissue. It has been invented by highly intelligent robots which have the aim to take over and destroy the human race. So the Terminator is very dangerous as it is programmed to kill mercilessly. Fortunately at the end of the film the robot is destroyed.
  3. WALL-E
    WALL-E is a robot which has been designed to clean up a polluted Earth. WALL-E has been performing its duties for several centuries and after many years of prolonged activation it has evolved and become more human-like. WALL-E is fond of collecting interesting knick-knacks which it finds among the rubbish. The robot has made friends with a cockroach. It often watches an old videotape of Hello, Dolly! and learns about human emotions including love. WALL-E falls in love with another robot named EVE which is cold and indifferent at first but warms up to WALL-E a little later. Thanks to WALL-E's brave and adventurous nature people return to Earth.

1) What adjectives can you choose to characterize the robots from each film (b, funny, adventurous, powerful, dangerous, harmless, helpful, merciless, clumsy etc.)?
2) What are the relations between robots and humans in these films? Are clever machines people's friends/servants/exterminators?
3) What is the main idea of each film?
4) When do the robots begin to experience human feelings? Why?

Смотреть далее | 24.03.2016 | Отправить ссылку друзьям

Топик Artificial Intelligence - Искусственный интеллект

Artificial Intelligence - Искусственный интеллект

Artificial IntelligenceArtificial intelligence (AI) is invading the world. In the 90s and early 21st century AI achieved its greatest success. There are more and more jobs which humans leave to robots such as exploring another planet, defusing bombs, exploring inside a volcano or just doing boring household chores like cleaning. Computers can perform a lot of functions: they can control cars and planes, give us the news, play chess and football or compose music. Many factory jobs are performed by industrial robots nowadays. It has led to cheaper production of various goods, including automobiles and electronics. Industrial robots have little resemblance to a human being.

Artificial intelligence has successfully been used in a wide range of fields including medical diagnosis, stock trading, robot control, law, scientific discovery and toys. Industrial robots are also used for packaging of manufactured goods, transporting goods around warehouses or hospitals or removing tiny electronic components with great accuracy, speed and reliability. Robots can move around, sense and manipulate their environment, predict the actions of others and exhibit intelligent behavior. Scientists are interested in designing robots that resemble a human.

Are robots our best friends or are they dangerous? It is still very difficult to answer this question. Some futurists believe that artificial intelligence will fundamentally transform society. Ray Kurzweil has calculated that desktop computers will have had the same processing power as human brains by the year 2029, and that by 2045 artificial intelligence will have reached a point where it is able to improve itself. Other futurists and science fiction writers have predicted that human beings and machines will merge into powerful cyborgs - humans with significant mechanical enhancements. Many people fear that highly intelligent robots may take over and destroy the human race. There are a lot of books and films about people losing control over clever machines which begin to kill their creators. But maybe it is early to worry as robots are still clumsy and not very intelligent.

But of course there are some reasons to worry about robots. The use of robots in industry leads to unemployment as many jobs are performed by machines. Besides industrial robots can be dangerous and cause harm to human workers. So much attention must be paid to security.

There are a number of competitions and prizes to promote research in artificial intelligence. Many large companies have created robots which can perform specific functions in the manner of a man. Here are some of them:

  • Hitachi created its second humanoid robot EMIEW2 in 2008. EMIEW2 weighs 13kg and can move on wheels as well as two legs. The robot is 80cm tall, a height for looking over desk tops. It has 14 microphones which enable it to recognize human voice and sounds. The robot can distinguish voices even when three people are speaking at the same time and it can recognize voices spoken as far as 2m away.
  • ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) is a humanoid robot created by Honda Motor Company. The robot is 130 cm tall and weighs 54 kilograms. It can walk or run on two feet at speeds up to 6 km/h. The robot can perform various functions. ASIMO can follow the move¬ments of people with its camera, follow a person, or greet a person when he or she approaches. ASIMO can also recognize when a person offers him a handshake and other people's movements. The robot can sense the environment and avoids hitting people and other objects. It can respond to its name, face people when being spoken to, and recognize sudden, unusual sounds. ASIMO is also able to respond to questions, either by a brief nod, a shake of the head or a verbal answer. The robot has the ability to recognize 10 different faces. By accessing information via the Internet, ASIMO can provide news and useful information.
  • Wakamaru is a Japanese domestic robot made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The robot has been created to provide companionship to elderly and disabled people and to make their life easier. The robot is yellow, lm tall, and weighs 30 kilograms. Wakamaru can connect to the Internet, and has limited speech and speech recognition abilities. It can say, 'Welcome back!', 'Let me search the Internet' and other simple phrases. The functions it can perform include reminding the user to take medicine on time, and calling for help if it suspects something is wrong. When its batteries run out, Wakamaru recharges itself.
  • Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute of Korea has developed a robot with four human senses such as seeing, hearing, touching, and smelling. POMI (Penguin rObot for Multimodal Interaction) can move the eyebrow, eye lid, eye ball and lips. It also uses various colors to show face expressions. POMI has two kinds of built-in scent sprays to express happiness, sadness, and joy. It also has a heartbeat device which makes people feel like the robot's heart really beats up when they put the hands on the left chest of the robot. It also can talk to people through a built-in speaker.
Смотреть далее | 23.03.2016 | Отправить ссылку друзьям

A Vital Part of Daily Life: Mobile Phones - Важная часть повседневной жизни: Мобильные телефоны

A Vital Part of Daily Life: Mobile Phones - Важная часть повседневной жизни: Мобильные телефоны

Mobile PhonesMobile phones have changed people's lives. They give us an opportunity to stay in touch and to be reachable everywhere. If you are going to be late, you can just call your relatives, friends or colleagues or send them a text message. It is very easy and comfortable, especially for the busy modern lifestyle. So a mobile phone has become a vital part of our daily lives and it is difficult to imagine how people lived without mobile phones in the past.

The modern mobile phone is a more complex version of the two-way radio which was a very limited means of communication. As soon as the callers moved out of range of each other's broadcast area, the signal was lost. In the 1940s, scientists began using a number of radio masts located around the countryside to pick up signals from two-way radios. A user would always be within range of one of the masts. If he moved too far away from one mast, the next mast would pick up the signal. Scientists called each mast's reception area a separate 'cell'; this is why mobile phones are also called 'cell phones'.

However, 1940s technology was still quite primitive, and the 'telephones' were enormous boxes which had to be transported by car. In 1973 Dr Martin Cooper invented the first practical mobile phone for handheld use in a non-vehicle setting. Using a modern, if somewhat heavy portable handset, Cooper called his rival, Dr. Joel S. Engel, to announce his success.

Until the early 1990s, most mobile phones were too large to be carried in a pocket, so they were typically installed in vehicles as car phones. Since digital components became miniature and more sophisticated batteries were developed, mobile phones have become smaller and lighter. So the large plastic bricks of the 80s turned into smooth little objects that could be put into pockets and bags. In the mid-90s almost everyone had a mobile phone.

Over the last few years mobiles have become more and more advanced. Modern mobile phones may support many additional services, and accessories, such as SMS, email, packet switching for access to the Internet, gaming, Bluetooth, personal organiser, camera with video recorder, MMS for sending and receiving photos and video, MP3 player, radio, GPS navigation, etc.

Nowadays the mobile phone is often called the Fourth Screen (after cinema, TV and PC screens as the first three). It is also called the Seventh of the Mass Media (with Print, Recordings, Cinema, Radio, TV and Internet as the first six).

The most commonly used data application on mobile phones is Short message service (SMS). It is a wireless service that enables to send and receive short messages to and from mobile telephones. It is interesting to know that the first SMS text message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone in 1992 in the UK, while the first person-to-person SMS from phone to phone was sent in Finland in 1993. SMS messages have a number of advantages. Firstly, SMS is a rather cheap and quick method of communication. Secondly, SMS messages are non-intrusive. In comparison with a call they do not interrupt a person if he or she is in the middle of a meeting and can't answer you right now.

The 160-character limit on text messages has led to a new, abbreviated version of English similar to a rebus. There are no standard rules for writing SMS messages, and a lot of words can be shortened. Sending SMS messages can be time consuming. The objective of SMS is to convey a comprehensible message as quickly as possible. That is why traditional rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation are largely ignored when you are hurriedly typing to your friend that you are going to be late.

Some people say that mobile phones deprive them of privacy and it is almost impossible to have a rest with your mobile phone on. Many people are also worried about the harmful influence of mobile phones on their health. Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range. Scientists persuade that there is no significant health effect from mobile phone radiation. But still it is better not to use your mobile phone too often.

Смотреть далее | 22.03.2016 | Отправить ссылку друзьям

What People Say About Their Hobbies - Что люди говорят о своих увлечениях

What People Say About Their Hobbies - Что люди говорят о своих увлечениях

What People Say About Their Hobbies

Emily, 41, bank manager
I can say that my hobby is dog training. I have a dog Jerry and we are best friends. Jerry follows all my commands and performs some simple tricks. We understand each other perfectly. I spend 2-3 hours a day training Jerry and it takes me a lot of effort but it's so much fun! Dogs are very devoted and understanding creatures and it is a great pleasure and entertainment to communicate with them. When Jerry is disobedient I never punish him but ignore his bad behaviour. And I often give him sweets and cookies as a reward.

Nicholas, 53, cook
My favourite pastime is amateur astronomy. When a school boy I liked physics and astronomy and dreamt of becoming astronaut. Observing and studying celestial objects is very interesting and romantic. Viewing the night sky you can see stars, the Moon, planets, comets and meteor showers. Of course you won't see much looking at the sky with the naked eye, that's why I use optical telescopes. I often keep records of my observations and share useful information with other amateur astronomers. Now my dream is to discover a new comet and to make some useful contribution to astronomy.

William, 67, pensioner
I started collecting milk-jugs 12 years ago. At first my collection was small but today I have more than 200 items in it. I like drinking tea with milk and I have all sorts of milk-jugs in my collection. Most of them are attractively displayed on the shelves in my living-room. My relatives and friends know about my passion and they often add to my collection. My granddaughter often travels abroad on business and for pleasure and she always presents milk-jugs to me. I also collect antique clocks and icons, but my collection is still very small.

Alexander, 21, messenger
Parkour teaches you to move quickly and efficiently and to overcome obstacles such as concrete walls, high fences or rocks. It has no set of rules or competitiveness. Parkour helps me develop my body and mind and gives me much energy. I learn to trust myself and to be b. Parkour teaches me to overcome everyday difficulties and to approach problems differently. My friends and I practice in parks and abandoned structures. We try to avoid injuries but of course everything happens. You need no particular equipment: just a T-shirt, light trousers and comfortable athletic shoes. I think parkour has changed my life and my attitude to everything.

Смотреть далее | 21.03.2016 | Отправить ссылку друзьям

A Hobby Makes Your Life Much More Interesting - Хобби делают нашу жизнь намного интереснее

A Hobby Makes Your Life Much More Interesting - Хобби делают нашу жизнь намного интереснее

Hobby Makes Your Life Much Interesting Our life would be hard without rest and recreation. People have quite different ideas of how to spend their free time. For some of them the only way to relax is watching TV or drinking beer. But other people use their spare time getting maximum benefit from it. If you enjoy doing some activity in your free time, than you have a hobby. A person's hobbies are not connected with his profession, but they are practiced for fun and enjoyment. A hobby gives one the opportunity of acquiring substantial skill, knowledge and experience. A hobby is a kind of self-expression and the way to understand other people and the whole world. A person's hobbies depend on his age, intelligence level, character and personal interests. What is interesting to one person can be trivial or boring to another. That's why some people prefer reading, cooking, knitting, collecting, playing a musical instrument, painting, photography, fishkeeping or playing computer games while others prefer dancing, travelling, camping or sports.

Collecting things is a very popular hobby and it may deal with almost any subject. Some people collect stamps, coins, badges, books, clocks or toys. Other people collect beer cans, key rings, stones, matchboxes, thimbles and all sorts of things. Once you've got a small collection you keep adding to it. Some people don't even remember how their collection started but now their house is crammed full of different knick-knacks which they can't use but keep for the sake of having them. But some people collect valuable and rare things as they consider it to be a good investment of their money.

If you are active and tired of town life, if you long for changes and want to get away from civilization, than camping is for you. It is a cheap way to rest, to improve your health, to train yourself physically and to enjoy nature. Some people prefer more extreme camping when they have to survive out-of-doors, orient themselves, obtain food from the wild, build shelters and adapt themselves to extremely cold weather. They learn to overcome any obstacles and become strong and self-reliant.

Ecotourism is becoming popular and fashionable all over the world, especially with people who try to damage the environment as little as possible. Tourists visit places of natural beauty and they usually travel on foot, by bicycle or boat so that there is no pollution. They stay in local houses or hotels and eat local food. Their aim is to enjoy nature, to experience the local culture and to get unforgettable impressions without polluting and wasting or destroying natural resources. They must keep places that they visit clean and safe. The principles of eco-tourism are 'Leave nothing behind you except footprints and take nothing away except photographs' and 'Take as much care of the places that you visit as you take of your own home'. If people remember these simple rules, we will be able to save our planet and to conserve the wildlife.

A hobby plays a very important educational, simulational and psychological role, makes you stronger physically and mentally, helps you escape from reality, improve your knowledge, broaden your mind, develop your skills and gain a better understanding of how the world works.

Смотреть далее | 20.03.2016 | Отправить ссылку друзьям

Places of Interest in Russia - Достопримечательности России (рассказ)

Places of Interest in Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world. It has a long and interesting history. The country is famous for its numerous places of interest.

The capital of Russia is Moscow, and it’s the biggest city in the country. Another big and famous city in Russia is Saint Petersburg. It has once been a capital of the country. These two cities have the majority of Russian sights. For example, the Kremlin, which is situated in the heart of Moscow, the Bolshoi Theater, which is also in Moscow and many others. Saint-Petersburg is famous by its magnificent architecture. Almost every building in the city looks like a rare masterpiece.

Many people take trips along some Russian cities, called Golden Ring. The Golden Ring of Russia includes such cities as Ivanovo, Vladimir, Suzdal, Yaroslavl and many others. These cities are famous for their rich history and ancient churches. Also, tourists can take part in some authentic festivals when visiting these cities.

Another famous sight in Russia is situated in the center of Asia. It’s called Altay. Many tourists want to see this amazing region, which is known for its crystal clear lakes, high mountains and other natural wonders. The deepest lake in the world, Baikal, is also situated in Russia, in the East Siberian region.

[ перевод на русский язык ]

Достопримечательности России

Россия – самая большая страна в мире. Она имеет долгую и интересную историю. Страна славится своими многочисленными достопримечательностями.

Столицей России — Москва, и она же является самым большим городом страны. Еще один большой и знаменитый город в России - Санкт-Петербург. Он однажды являлся столицей страны. В этих двух городах расположена большая часть русских достопримечательностей. Например, Кремль, расположенный в самом сердце Москвы, Большой театр, который также находится в Москве и многие другие. Санкт-Петербург славится своей величественной архитектурой. Почти каждое здание в городе выглядит как редкий шедевр.

Многие люди едут путешествуют по российским городам, называемых Золотым кольцом. Золотое кольцо России включает такие города, как Иваново, Владимир, Суздаль, Ярославль и многие другие. Эти города знамениты своей богатой историей и старинными церквями. Также, туристы могут поучаствовать в некоторых оригинальных фестивалях, во время посещения этих городов.

Другая знаменитая достопримечательность России расположена в центре Азии. Она называется Алтай. Многие туристы хотят увидеть этот удивительный регион, который знаменит своими кристально-чистыми озерами, высокими горами и другими природными чудесами. Самое глубокое озеро в мире, Байкал, также расположено в России, в Восточно — Сибирском регионе.

Смотреть далее | 16.03.2016 | Отправить ссылку друзьям

Письмо о любимом виде спорта - футбол

Письмо о любимом виде спорта - футбол

Dear Jeremy,

I am in receipt of your letter today. You asked me to write you about my favorite sports game. My favorite game is football. This game is full of life. Whenever a broadcast football games, I just sit in front of the TV and watch the match from start to finish.
I am loyal fan of the team "Barcelona", the team with unparalleled spirit of winning. Cristiano Ronaldo is my favorite player.
Now I'm looking forward to the European Football Championship.

Convey my regards to your parents.
Yours sincerely,

[ перевод на русский язык ]

Дорогой Джереми,

Я получил твое письмо сегодня. Ты просишь меня написать о моей любимой спортивной игре. Моя любимая игра футбол. Эта игра полна жизни. Всякий раз, когда транслируют футбольные матчи, я просто сижу перед телевизором и смотрю матч от начала до конца.
Я верный поклонник команды "Барселона", команды с непревзойденным духом победы. Криштиану Роналду мой любимый игрок.
Сейчас я с нетерпением жду чемпионата Европы по футболу.

Передавай привет своим родителям.
С искренним уважением,

Смотреть далее | 16.03.2016 | Отправить ссылку друзьям

Сказка The Wise Little Girl - Мудрая девочка

Сказка The Wise Little Girl - Мудрая девочка

Once upon a time...in the immense Russian steppe, lay a little village where nearly all the inhabitants bred horses. It was the month of October, when a big livestock market was held yearly in the main town. Two brothers, one rich and the other one poor, set off for market. The rich man rode a stallion, and the poor brother a young mare.

At dusk, they stopped beside an empty hut and tethered their horses outside, before going to sleep themselves on two heaps of straw. Great was their surprise, when, next morning they saw three horses outside, instead of two. Well, to be exact the newcomer was not really a horse. It was a foal, to which the mare had given birth during the night. Soon it had the strength to struggle to its feet, and after a drink of its mother's milk, the foal staggered its first few steps. The stallion greeted it with a cheerful whinny, and when the two brothers set eyes on it for the first time, the foal was standing beside the stallion.

"It belongs to me!" exclaimed Dimitri, the rich brother, the minute he saw it. "It's my stallion's foal." Ivan, the poor brother, began to laugh.

"Whoever heard of a stallion having a foal? It was born to my mare!"

"No, that's not true! It was standing close to the stallion, so it's the stallion's foal. And therefore it's mine!" The brothers started to quarrel, then they decided to go to town and bring the matter before the judges. Still arguing, they head ed for the big square where the courtroom stood. But what they didn't know was that it was a special day, the day when, once a year, the Emperor himself administered the law. He himself received all who came seeking justice. The brothers were ushered into his presence, and they told him all about the dispute.

Of course, the Emperor knew perfectly well who was the owner of the foal. He was on the point of proclaiming in favor of the poor brother, when suddenly Ivan developed an unfortunate twitch in his eye. The Emperor was greatly annoyed by this familiarity b y a humble peasant, and decided to punish Ivan for his disrespect. After listening to both sides of the story, he declared it was difficult, indeed impossible, to say exactly who was the foal's rightful owner. And being in the mood for a spot of fun, and since he loved posing riddles and solving them as well, to the amusement of his counselors, he exclaimed:

"I can't judge which of you should have the foal, so it will be awarded to whichever of you solves the following four riddles: what is the fastest thing in the world? What is the fattest? What's the softest and what is the most precious? I command you to return to the palace in a week's time with your answers!" Dimitri started to puzzle over the answers as soon as he left the courtroom. When he reached home, however, he realized he had nobody to help him

"Well, I will just have to seek help, for if I can't solve these riddles, I will lose the foal!" Then he remembered a woman, one of his neighbors, to whom he had once lent a silver ducat. That had been some time ago, and with the interest, the neighbor now owed him three ducats. And since she had a reputation for being quick-witted, but also very astute, he decided to ask her advice, in exchange for canceling part of her debt. But the woman was not slow to show how clever she really was, and promptly demanded that the whole debt be wiped out in exchange for the answers.

"The fastest thing in the world is my husband's bay horse," she said. "Nothing can beat it! The fattest is our pig! Such a huge beast has never been seen! The softest is the quilt I made for the bed, using my own goose's feathers. It's the envy of all my friends. The most precious thing in the world is my three-month old nephew. There isn't a more handsome child. I wouldn't exchange him for all the gold on earth, and that makes him the most precious thing on earth!"

Dimitri was rather doubtful about the woman's answers being correct. On the other hand, he had to take some kind of solution back to the Emperor. And he guessed, quite rightly, that if he didn't, he would be punished.

In the meantime, Ivan, who was a widower, had gone back to the humble cottage where he lived with his small daughter. Only seven years old, the little girl was often left alone, and as a result, was thoughtful and very clever for her age. The poor man too k the little girl into his confidence, for like his brother, he knew he would never be able to find the answers by himself. The child sat in silence for a moment, then firmly said:

"Tell the Emperor that the fastest thing in the world is the cold north wind in winter. The fattest is the soil in our fields whose crops give life to men and animals alike, the softest thing is a child's caress and the most precious is honesty.";

The day came when the two brothers were to return before the Emperor. They were led into his presence. The Emperor was curious to hear what they had to say, but he roared with laughter at Dimitri's foolish answers. However, when it was Ivan's turn to spea k, a frown spread over the Emperor's face. The poor brother's wise replies made him squirm, especially the last one, about honesty, the most precious thing of all. The Emperor knew perfectly well that he had been dishonest in his dealings with the poor br other, for he had denied him justice. But he could not bear to admit it in front of his own counselors, so he angrily demanded:

"Who gave you these answers?" Ivan told the Emperor that it was his small daughter. Still annoyed, the great man said:

"You shall be rewarded for having such a wise and clever daughter. You shall be awarded the foal that your brother claimed, together with a hundred silver ducats. But...but..." and the Emperor winked at his counselors:

"You will come before me in seven days' time, bringing your daughter. And since she's so clever, she must appear before me neither naked nor dressed, neither on foot nor on horseback, neither bearing gifts nor empty-handed. And if she does this, you will have your reward. If not, you'll have your head chopped off for your impudence!"

The onlookers began to laugh, knowing that the poor man would never to able to fulfill the Emperor's conditions. Ivan went home in despair, his eyes brimming with tears. But when he had told his daughter what had happened, she calmly said:

"Tomorrow, go and catch a hare and a partridge. Both must be alive! You'll have the foal and the hundred silver ducats! Leave it to me!" Ivan did as his daughter said. He had no idea what the two creatures were for, but he trusted in his daughter's wisdom.

On the day of the audience with the Emperor, the palace was thronged with bystanders, waiting for Ivan and his small daughter to arrive. At last, the little girl appeared, draped in a fishing net, riding the hare and holding the partridge in her hand. She was neither naked nor dressed, on foot or on horseback. Scowling, the Emperor told her:

"I said neither bearing gifts nor empty-handed!" At these words, the little girl held out the partridge. The Emperor stretched out his hand to grasp it, but the bird fluttered into the air. The third condition had been fulfilled. In spite of him self, the Emperor could not help admiring the little girl who had so cleverly passed such a test, and in a gentler voice, he said:

"Is your father terribly poor, and does he desperately need the foal?"

"Oh, yes!" replied the little girl. "We live on the hares he catches in the rivers and the fish he picks from the trees!"

"Aha!" cried the Emperor triumphantly. "So you're not as clever as you seem to be! Whoever heard of hares in the river and fish in the trees!" To which the little girl swiftly replied:

"And whoever heard of a stallion having a foal?" At that, both Emperor and Court burst into peals of laughter. Ivan was immediately given his hundred silver ducats and the foal, and the Emperor proclaimed:

"Only in my kingdom could such a wise little girl be born!"

Emperor - император
precious - драгоценный
dusk - сумерки
fulfill - выполнять
counselor - консультант
partridge - куорпатка
foal - жеребенок
steppe - степь
stallion - жеребец
quarrel - ссора
tether - привязь
stagger - шатаются
judge - судья
twitch - дергаться
amusement - развлечение
ducat - монета, дукат

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