To stop him from going to town and getting into trouble there.
The children of our story are having trouble to control their "little" brother.
Working in groups, imagine that each one of you is a different sibling. Propose a solution to the problem from your own perspective, according to your gender, age, personality, etc.
Discuss which solution is the most suitable according to the character and which one would be most effective in the end.
Robert makes some punctures on the tyres of Lamb's bike. Why does he do that?
“¿El menor o el mayor?” es una adaptación de un cuento de la autora inglesa Edith Nesbit titulado “Grown up” de la colección de cuentos Five Children and It (Cinco niños y Eso/ Cinco chicos & esto) ilustrada por H. R. Millar y publicada en Londres en 1902. La editorial Calleja lo publicó en 1923 en la colección Plaga de dragones, que además de otros cuentos, contiene la adaptación de la colección completa de cuentos Five Children and It, con ilustraciones de Federico Ribas. Existen series de televisión y una película de 2004 también basadas en la colección.
The English version of this book is a translation from Plaga de Dragones, a story collection which was published by Saturnino Calleja in 1923. This translation was undertaken collaboratively as part of a crowd translation project which took place at the Spanish distance learning university UNED in 2016, involving translation teachers and students. During the translation process, we tried to reach a balance between being faithful to the Spanish text and bringing it into the 21st century for the enjoyment and learning of modern readers. We feel that the stories are still relevant to you these days and trust that you will find the cultural contrast interesting.
The text has been enriched with a number of annotations including audio, term explanations, and various proposals for activities, which are mainly aimed at young non-native English speakers.
El hado de la arena o genio amigo que les concede deseos aparece también en otros cuentos protagonizados por estos cinco hermanos, como por ejemplo “Los chicos guapos”.
In a way that is not planned; naturally.
Example: When he was in the middle of reading his beautiful composition, everybody applauded spontaneously.
Brothers and/or sisters.
Example: We are a big family; I have five siblings: 2 brothers and 3 sisters.
From what we have just read, do you know what Cyril's opinion about the best wishes is?
Lamb made his father's watch new. What does that expression mean?
So; in that way.
Example: The teacher banged hard on the blackboard, thus letting the students know that they should be quiet.
A spirit with magical powers.
Example: When Aladdin rubbed the lamp, a genie appeared.
To agree to give something to someone.
Example: The teacher granted me permission to go to the bathroom.
Brothers and/or sisters.
Example: We are a big family; I have five siblings: 2 brothers and 3 sisters.
As we can read in the story, Lamb grew magically and became a young man. Do you know any other story or film where this same thing happened?
In our story, Joanna wants to make a proposition to Lamb. Do you know how to propose an idea to somebody without imposing yourself? Useful structures include the following:
"Maybe you could..."
"Do you think it could be a good idea if... ?"
"What about if... ?"
"Let's try to..."
To interrupt; to bother (something or someone).
Example: When we went to talk to him, there was a 'Do not Disturb' sign on the office door, so we walked away.
An expression to say: "It's your choice".
Example: 'You can take the test on Monday or Wednesday. It's up to you', our teacher said; so we all decided to take it on Wednesday.
With all your attention; unable to look away.
Example: The children listened to the fairytale spellbound. You couldn't hear them breathing.
To touch somebody softly, in a way that shows affection.
Example: Cats like to be caressed.
Irritating; upsetting; making somebody a little bit angry.
Example: It is very annoying when people interrupt you when you're talking.
To make a long, deep sound as a sign of unhappiness.
Example: I moaned when I saw my grades; I thought I had a 10 but only got an 8 in Mathematics.
Horrible; very bad.
Example: I had an awful cold and couldn't get out of bed for a whole week!
The part of the head above the eyes and below the hair.
Example: When you get older, you get lines in your forehead.
To become wider, broader.
Example: The local government plans to widen the bike lanes so that they are safer for cyclists.
A little bit.
Example: For him swimming was difficult at first, but it got somewhat easier every summer.
Example: When we were playing hide-and-seek we hid under the bed, but they found us because of our protruding feet.
The children are debating about the wish for that day. Do you know which wish they asked for?
Example: My nose and cheeks get rosy when it is very cold outside.
White; very light.
Example: We have very pale skin; we need to be careful not to get sunburnt.
Soft; not very visible.
Example: When we were packing boxes, we found a faint picture of our old house. We could hardly see the colours on it because it had already started to fade.
Without care; not careful; not paying attention.
Example: We rode our bikes carelessly down the hill, and as we were going too fast, we fell off and hurt our knees.
To softly touch someone in a sensitive part of their body to make them laugh.
Example: When we first took our shoes off, we felt the grass tickling our feet as we walked on it.
A climbing sweet-smelling plant.
Example: The name 'honeysuckle' comes from the sweet nectar in its flowers; hummingbirds love it.
A young, small, thin branch.
Example: There was a little bird staring at a worm from the end of a twig.
A left-over; something that has survived from the past.
Example: Typewriters are now a relic of the past. However, they became a great technological improvement for professional writers in 1874.
A trip on a small boat which is moved by using two oars (long poles with a wide end).
Example: We went for a row in the boat to the other side of the lake.
An accessory to secure a hairstyle.
Example: For dance classes we usually put our hair in a bun and secure it with few pins.
Hiding what you're doing because you want to keep it secret.
Example: We looked at each other furtively in class; we could not talk there so we waited for recess.
In a secretive way; trying not to be seen.
Example: We slyly prepared the surprise party for our teacher; she never suspected it.
The thick rubber rings on the outside of the wheels.
Example: Our mountain bikes need new tyres because we want to ride them this summer.
A small hole made by a sharp object in a tyre.
Example: Last Sunday we couldn't go for a bike ride because one of the bikes had a puncture and all the repair shops were closed.
A small hotel in the countryside.
Example: We stayed at a nice little inn when we were on holiday in the countryside.
To repair; to fix; to make something better again.
Example: The workmen have just mended the school door; now it opens and closes perfectly.
To eat something very quickly.
Example: I was very hungry and gobbled up my dinner in five minutes.
In the time the story was written, it was common in families of high society to have many servants. In the story, we found out there are different house helpers in the children's house: a housekeeper, a maid and a cook.
Working in groups, write down three different tasks each of them do.
Once you are done, each member of the group should write who in his family does all that tasks.
In a shy and quiet way.
Example: Our new classmate looked demurely but didn't speak at all. We thought that she was very shy so we were the first ones to break the ice.
Example: The band changed to a livelier tune and everybody started to dance.
A dishonest person.
Example: He used to be a rogue and wander around in the streets all day, until he decided to change.
A mischievous child (normally used in an affectionate way).
Example: 'These lovely rascals have been playing tricks on me all morning', said the old librarian.
To move around a lot with arms, legs and body; twist around.
Example: The little girl squirmed out of her mother's arms and ran out to play with the other children.
A napkin; a tissue made of cloth.
Example: Before there were paper tissues, everyone used handkerchiefs made from cloth.
To stop someone from moving.
Example: The police restrained the criminal.
Big, tall, and strong.
Example: The strapping youngster helped the old man carry the heavy wooden logs.
Very angry or scary.
Example: The tiger looked fierce.
Uncivilized; a cruel and violent person.
Example: The anthropologist spent a month in the jungle studying a tribe of savages.
To make long, loud cries like a wolf.
Example: Wolves and dogs often howl at the moon, or when they're sad.
In the picture you can see a representation of a 'scalp dance', which some Native Americans used to dance before taking the hair off their enemies.
Can your group think of other tools with blades? You can say one each out loud. Let's see who's the one with the largest vocabulary!
Indians in the story wish to go back to their native forest and after that they disappear. Do you think the Sandy granted them their wish?
As we have read, the children asked to the Sandy if he doesn't want to fulfil his wishes. Do you know about what wish are they talking?
The sharp metal part of a knife.
Example: Careful! The blade is very sharp.
To want something very much.
Example: I yearn for the summer, when days are long and warm and there's no school.
The thick, main part of a tree from which the branches grow.
Example: Planks of wood are cut from the trunk of a tree.
Example: The iron was too hot and scorched the T-shirt.
To return to a normal state after something unpleasant has happened; recuperate.
Example: He is recovering from the cold really well. He doesn't have a temperature anymor
When there is only one piece from a set of two things that are used together.
In the old days, people didn't have a sink; they used a washbasin and a jug filled with water (see the picture). They would fill the jug with water downstairs and then bring the jug upstairs and pour the water in the washbasin. The washbasin and the jug were bought together, as a "pair" or a "set".
Example: The washbasin and the jug were both unpaired; they belonged to different sets. That's why they were so cheap.
To show forgiveness; to be nice to someone who did something wrong.
Example: The king had mercy on the thief and forgave him his crime.
To take somebody to their bed to rest or sleep.
Example: Dad always puts us to bed with a story and a kiss.
Listen to this recording of another story and answer the questions below:
Which story does this fragment belong to? Do you know what's happening in the story you just listened to?
Now you have read the whole story, guess what the proper order of the following images is. Remember they must follow the sequence of events in the story.
At the end of the story, Lamb calls his beloved sister 'Little Panther'. Were you expecting this to happen?
Now that the story is coming to an end, you may be able to answer this question: why is this tale titled ‘The youngest or the eldest'?
Cyril's wish transformed Lamb into a young man. Would you like to be transformed into a young man for a day?
What do you think that the experience would be like? Think of three things that you would like to do and three others that you wouldn't if your wish were granted. Compare your list with those of your partners.
The children of our story are trying to distract Lamb, but they can't manage to do it successfully. What would you do to entertain him as a young adult and as a young baby? Try to use the conditional structure: "If I had to..., I would...".
Imagine that you are transformed for a day into a different person that you already know while s/he is away on a trip! What sorts of things would you do and how would you manage so that the others didn't notice your true identity? Think about this crazy situation and share it with your group. Remember that it wouldn't be fair to do anything during the spell that harmed the other person's reputation!
Lamb was transformed into a young man and the narrator describes the changes he suffered.
Now, draw both versions of Lamb: the younger and the elder, and pinpoint on your drawing the main differences the narrator described. You can use contrastive expressions, like: "While baby Lamb has..., young Lamb has...".
Listen again to the following audio:
Anther uses a special intonation here, when speaking to Lamb. Do you know why?
In our story, there is an inn where they offer "tea for cyclists". What does this sign refer to?
Please note that tea is a polysemic word: it refers to both the drink and also the mid-afternoon meal which involves tea or coffee and a snack. Please note that there are many regional and local variants on this distinction.
In Spain it is very common to stay at the table for a while after a meal. This practice is called "sobremesa". It begins after the dessert and usually lasts around an hour, but in the summer evening it tends to last longer. People use this moment to socialize and chat in an informal, relaxed manner. Another Spanish tradition is 'siesta', which is a short nap after the midday meal. 'Sobremesas' and 'siestas' can be related to sociable and warm countries.
Name one or two traditions from other countries. What do they say about the country?
There is a young lady in the story riding a bike. It might not be surprising for us but it is worth remembering that it was partly thanks to technical developments, such as rubber tyres, that bicycles became very popular at the end of the 19th century. It meant a transformation in the social role of women since bicycles allowed them to have a greater public appearance and involvement in the community.
Can you think of a few technical developments in history that have helped women have a more relevant place in society, other than their domestic duties?
After Lamb was transformed into a young man, the narrator started calling him names other than Lamb. Why do you think it is?
Note that Hillary is a unisex name (it can be used both for girls and boys). Can you think of two other gender-neutral names?
Anther and the young lady have different perceptions of Lamb/Hillary. Think of at least three tests that you, as Anther, would do to prove that the young man is, in fact, a little child. Don't go for the obvious, such as whether he can speak or wears nappies. Try to be really smart!
Anther is trying to warn the young lady about Hillary's spell. Imagine Hillary and the young lady went for a walk and suddenly he transformed into a baby again. How do you think the young lady would react?
Try to write a scene with a funny dialogue between these (and other characters, if you want) and then represent it in front of your group.
This old snake seems to be the king of the other snakes. Many kings in fantastic stories must have done great achievements to be worthy of their position. Can you imagine what this old snake has down to deserve the throne?
Write the story of the old snake's past. Include the place and circumstances of its birth, which obstacles and enemies it encountered and defeated, and its path to the throne.
Let's be careful with our prejudices. The snake in your story does not have to be wicked if you don't want to!
En cuentos y mitos de muchos lugares del mundo aparecen seres que hacen magia y conceden lo que uno desea. Entre los más famosos se encuentran algunos cuentos de Las mil y una noches. Uno de ellos, “Aladino”, muestra a un genio que sale de una lámpara. Aquí puedes escuchar el cuento de “Aladino”. ¿Conoces otros cuentos en los que aparezcan genios que también conceden deseos? ¿Y cuentos en los que algún otro ser conceda deseos? Pregunta a otras personas que conozcas si recuerdan alguno.
Cirilo cree que cuando se piensa en qué se desea durante un tiempo, no se desea nada bueno, pero el genio le dice que lo que se desea de forma espontánea puede que no sea lo que se desea de verdad. ¿Qué piensas tú? ¿Quién tendrá razón? Pregunta a otras personas qué opinan ellas.
El reloj portátil o de bolsillo que llevaba una cadenita colgando (de algún metal normalmente) para sujetarlo, fue un invento del siglo XV que permitió saber siempre qué hora era. Eran mecanismos costosos y un signo de distinción, pues no todo el mundo podía permitírselo. En el siglo XX fueron sustituidos por otros relojes portátiles, como el de pulsera. Los había de diversos metales (oro, plata, etc.).
¿Qué es una fonda en este cuento? Mira todas las opciones que te ofrece el Diccionario de la Real Academia Española y escoge la que te parezca más adecuada:
La madreselva es un tipo de planta con flores olorosas, tallos verdes y bayas (DRAE).
Manducatoria es una forma coloquial de hablar de la comida o sustento (DRAE), viene de una forma antigua de la palabra masticar, manducar.
Lo hizo de manera incauta significa de forma inocente, sin malicia.
Ventorro era un lugar donde se daba alojamiento, cama y a veces comida, como un hostal de la época, pero era pequeño o de mala calidad. Solían estar en el borde de un camino por donde pasaban los viajeros.
Los protagonistas toman té con unos bocadillos de jamón y unas pastas. Esta comida a media tarde la asociamos con Inglaterra, pero el té es una bebida que llegó a Inglaterra desde la India (cuando era colonia inglesa) y a la India llegó desde China. El té es una planta viajera que ha cruzado muchas fronteras. ¿Qué tomas tú para merendar? ¿Sabes de qué lugares vienen esos alimentos? ¿Y qué crees que toman otros niños en el mundo por la tarde o para cenar? Averígualo, pregunta a otras personas que conozcas.
La peseta era la moneda de España antes del euro, desde 1869 a 2002. Con el tiempo cada vez se podían comprar cosas de menos valor por 14 pesetas y una comida con bocadillos habría costado mucho más dinero. Pregunta a los adultos que conoces qué podían comprar ellos con 14 pesetas y qué recuerdan de cómo eran las monedas y billetes de peseta.
Es una mujer joven que se las da de mujer noble o distinguida o de señora que exige un tratamiento de respeto y especial.
“con algunos remilgos” quiere decir que la muchacha contestó haciendo algunos gestos un tanto cursis o amanerados.
Se dispuso o se preparó para algo.
“Tomar cartas en el asunto” es una expresión que quiere decir participar en lo que esté ocurriendo, al igual que en un juego de cartas hay que “tomar” o coger cartas para empezar el juego. Imagina qué podrían hacer los hermanos para parar esta situación y luego sigue leyendo.
¿Cómo crees que continuaría de forma divertida esta historia si el Cordero hubiera recobrado su forma de niño en medio del campo, montado en una bicicleta?
La señorita tiene su versión, pero los niños tienen otra. Cada uno ve la realidad de forma distinta, desde su perspectiva. No sabemos qué sintió o qué pensó para ponerse tan rabiosa. ¿Cómo crees que se sintió y qué historia crees que contó a sus padres? Continúa el relato de ella donde dice “no sé cómo me pude escapar”.
En la época de esta historia era la persona que se ocupaba de las llaves, de la economía de la casa y de organizarla, en casas de personas de clase alta y con mucho dinero.
Marta ve al Cordero como un niño de dos años, pero los niños saben que es un mocetón de bigote, gracias a la magia del genio. Aquí tenemos de nuevo una doble perspectiva y una escena de risa. ¿Por qué crees que provoca la risa y tiene humor la escena? Inventa una pequeña historia en la que un adulto esté obligado a actuar como un bebé. ¿Conoces algún otro relato en el que un personaje se vea de una forma y otros lo vean de otra? Hay otros relatos en los que aparece este recurso, si no lo conoces, lee “El traje nuevo del emperador” del autor danés Hans Christian Andersen.
Un mocetón es una persona joven, alta y corpulenta.
¿Qué piensas ahora sobre lo que deseamos a veces de forma espontánea? ¿Tenía razón Cirilo al principio de esta historia después de lo que les ha pasado?
Los pueblos y ciudades no solo son gobernados por un alcalde o alcaldesa, sino que, en el Ayuntamiento, también trabajan otras personas, que son las que forman el Concejo. A estos empleados se les conoce como «concejales», y se especializan en diversas áreas de gobierno, por lo que existen concejales de cultura, de educación, de sanidad, de medio ambiente y muchos más.
¿Te parece justo para Eufemia y Enrique el final del cuento? Piensa sobre por qué los adultos no agradecen a los niños su hazaña e imagina un final diferente para el cuento. Puedes poner por escrito ese final aquí.