|Directions: Your teacher may ask
you to write your own version of this story, in class, in as much detail
as you can, without looking at the text. You should therefore read the
story more than once. You can make a list of the names of people and places.
You can use that list when you write your version of the story.
About four hundred years ago
there lived an Italian sailor, named Christopher Columbus. In those days
people supposed that there were no continents in the world besides Europe,
Asia, and Africa, but Columbus believed there was a great country across
the ocean that had never been discovered. He felt a burning desire to sail
in search of this land, but as he was a poor man he had not the money with
which to get the necessary ships and men. For some time he wandered from
place to place trying to induce others to help him carry out his plan,
but he was only laughed at and called a fool and a madman. At length he
obtained an interview with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.
At first they refused to give him any assistance, but afterwards the Queen
said she would pledge her jewels to raise the needful money.
So in the month of August, Columbus
sailed away upon his voyage of discovery, his little fleet consisting of
three small vessels. For four weeks they sailed on over the dark and stormy
waters, during which time Columbus had much trouble with his sailors, who
grumbled and complained unceasingly. When at length they found themselves
alone on the vast unknown seas, with no sign of land, they became panic-stricken,
and implored Columbus to take them home again. He reproved them for their
want of courage. Then for a little while they showed a braver spirit, but
before long they again broke out into rebellion; but Columbus was so strong-minded
and courageous that he succeeded in quelling the mutiny.
Thus days passed, until one night, in the middle of October, as Columbus
was walking on deck he suddenly saw a light ahead which told the sea-weary
mariners that the longed-for land must lie not far distant. When at last
dawn came it showed an island lying in the blue waters before them. A boat
was at once lowered, in which Columbus and a party of his men landed upon
the unknown shore. Groups of dark-skinned natives crowded to the water
side, gazing in fear and wonder at the strange white men. Then, with the
Spanish royal flag in one hand and his sword in the other, he took possession
of the island in the name of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Having
visited other islands, Columbus returned in triumph to Spain, where he
was greeted as a hero.