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The Three Army-surgeons

There were once three army-surgeons who reckoned that they had nothing more to learn about the art of surgery. They were on their travels., and stopped for the night at an inn. The landlord asked them where they had come from and where they were going, and they answered, "We're on our travels and living by our skill." "Well, just show me what you do," said the landlord. The first said he would cut off his hand and put it back on again next morning and make it heal; the second said he would tear out his heart and put it back in again next morning so that it would heal; the third said he would gouge1 out his eyes, and they too would heal when he replaced them next morning. "If you can do that," said the landlord, "then you've nothing more to learn." Now they had with them an ointment2 which was able to close and heal any wound they smeared4 it on, and they always carried the flask5 containing it wherever they went. So they cut from their bodies the hand and the heart and the eyes as they had said they would, put them all together on a plate and gave it to the landlord; and the landlord gave it to a maidservant, telling her to put it aside in the larder6 and keep it carefully. But this maidservant secretly had a sweetheart who was a soldier. So when the landlord and the three surgeons and everyone else in the house were asleep, the soldier came and asked her for something to eat. So the girl opened the larder and brought in something from it, and she was so much in love with him that she forgot to close the larder door. she sat down with her sweetheart at the table and they had a good chat, but as she sat there without a care in the world the cat came creeping in, found the larder open, snatched the hand and the heart and the eyes that belonged to the three surgeons and made off with them. So when the soldier had finished eating and the girl got up to clear away the dishes and lock the larder, she saw at once that the plate the landlord had given her to look after was empty. She took fright and said to her young man: "Oh, heaven save me, what am I to do? The hand's gone, and the heart and the eyes are gone, whatever will happen to me tomorrow morning!" "Stop crying," he said, "I'll get you out of this. There's a thief hanging on the gallows7 out there, and I'll cut his hand off; which hand was it?" "The right hand." So the girl gave him a sharp knife and he went outside, cut the poor sinner's right hand off and brought it in. Then he seized the cat and gouged8 out its eyes; now all that was needed was the heart. "Haven't you just slaughtered9 some pigs and put their carcasses in the cellar?" "Yes," said the girl, "Well, that's all right then," said the soldier, and he went down to the cellar and came back with a pig's heart. The maid put all the things together on a plate and left it in the larder: then her sweetheart took his leave and she went to bed thinking all was well.

When the three surgeons got up next morning, they told the maid to fetch them the plate with the hand and the heart and the eyes. So she fetched it out of the cupboard, and the first surgeon held the thief's hand in place and smeared the join with his ointment, whereupon the hand at once grew back on to his arm. The second took the cat's eyes and fitted them into his head, and the third put the pig's heart in place. The landlord stood and watched their skill with admiration10, saying that he had never seen such a thing in his life and that he would praise and recommend them to all and sundry11. Then they paid their bill and travelled on.

As they were walking along, the one who had the pig's heart kept on leaving the others; every time they passed some corner he would trot12 over to it and root around in it like a pig. The other two tried to hold him back by the coat tails, but it was no good, he kept running off to wherever the filth13 was thickest on the ground. The second of them also began to behave strangely, rubbing his eyes and saying to the other: "My dear fellow, what's the matter with me? These aren't my eyes, I can't see a thing, for heaven's sake one of you hive me your arm or I'll fall." And they struggled on till evening, when they came to another inn. They all went into the parlor14, and there in one corner a rich gentleman was sitting at the table counting money. The surgeon with the thief's hand sidled round behind him, his arm twitched15 a few times and finally, when the gentleman had his back turned, he reached out and snatched a handful of coins from the pile. One of the others saw this and said: "My dear fellow, what are you doing? It's wrong to steal, you ought to be ashamed." "Yes, but I can't stop myself," said his friend. "My hand keeps twitching16 and just has to help itself whether I want to or not." Then they went to bed, and as they lay there it was so dark that you couldn't have seen your hand in front of your face. Suddenly the one with the cat's eyes woke up, wakened the others and said: "My dear friends, look at this, do you see all these white mice running about?" The other two sat up in bed but couldn't see a thing. Then he said: "There's something wrong with us: we didn't back our own parts, that landlord cheated us and we must go back to him." So next morning they set off back and told the landlord that their right organs hadn't been returned to them: one of them had a thief's hand, the second cat's eyes and the third a pig's heart. The landlord said that it must be the maid's fault and was going to call her, but when the girl had seen the three surgeons returning she had fled through the back door, and she didn't reappear. Then the three of them told the landlord that unless he paid them a great deal of money they'd make a bonfire of his house; so he gave them all he had and all he could raise, and off they went with it. It was enough to keep them for the rest of their lives, but they'd still rather have had their own organs back.


I. Translation for Reference(参考译文)






II. Exercise Choose the correct answer to the following questions.

1). What did the three surgeons think of themselves?

A) They thought they know nothing about the art of surgery.

B) They thought they had nothing to learn about the art of surgery.

C) They thought they hadn't known enough to be great surgeons.

D) They thought they just knew a little about the art of surgery.

2). How could the surgeons replace their hand, heart and eyes and make them heal?

A) They were so great surgeons that they could operate on themselves.

B) They asked a mysterious surgeon to help them.

C) They had a kind of medicine to take.

D) The had a kind of ointment to smear3 on the wound.

3). How did the hand, heart and eyes get lost?

A) The maidservant didn't close the larder door from beginning.

B) The soldier stole them without being noticed by the maidservant.

C) A dog snatched them when the maidservant sat there without a care in the world and with the larder door open.

D) A cat snatched them when the maidservant sat there without a care in the world and with the larder door open.

4). What kinds of organs did the maidservant and the soldier change?

A) The thief's left hand, the cat's eyes and the pig's heart.

B) The thief's left hand, the dog's eyes and the pig's heart.

C) The thief's right hand, the cat's eyes and the pig's heart.

D) The thief's right hand, the dog's eyes and the pig's heart.

5). Which word has the same meaning with the word "cupboard" which is in the third paragraph?

A) larder

B) cup

C) board

D) box

6). What's wrong with the one who had the cat's eyes?

A) He kept on leaving the others when they were walking alone.

B) He couldn't see anything in the day but see clearly at night.

C) He couldn't see anything at night but see clearly in the day.

D) He couldn't see anything entirely17.

7). Which statement is not right?

A) The three surgeons were very modest.

B) In the evening, they were aware that they were cheated.

C) The maidservant fled away and didn't reappear.

D) The landlord gave the three surgeons all his money at last.


III. New Words and Expressions 生词和词组

ointment n. 软膏

gallows n. 绞台

sinner n. 罪人

organ n. 器官


Key to Exercise(练习答案)

1:B 2:D 3:D 4:C 5:A 6:B 7:A


1 gouge Of2xi     
  • To make a Halloween lantern,you first have to gouge out the inside of the pumpkin.要做一个万圣节灯笼,你先得挖空这个南瓜。
  • In the Middle Ages,a favourite punishment was to gouge out a prisoner's eyes.在中世纪,惩罚犯人最常用的办法是剜眼睛。
2 ointment 6vzy5     
  • Your foot will feel better after the application of this ointment.敷用这药膏后,你的脚会感到舒服些。
  • This herbal ointment will help to close up your wound quickly.这种中草药膏会帮助你的伤口很快愈合。
3 smear 6EmyX     
  • He has been spreading false stories in an attempt to smear us.他一直在散布谎言企图诽谤我们。
  • There's a smear on your shirt.你衬衫上有个污点。
4 smeared c767e97773b70cc726f08526efd20e83     
弄脏; 玷污; 涂抹; 擦上
  • The children had smeared mud on the walls. 那几个孩子往墙上抹了泥巴。
  • A few words were smeared. 有写字被涂模糊了。
5 flask Egxz8     
  • There is some deposit in the bottom of the flask.这只烧杯的底部有些沉淀物。
  • He took out a metal flask from a canvas bag.他从帆布包里拿出一个金属瓶子。
6 larder m9tzb     
  • Please put the food into the larder.请将您地食物放进食物柜内。
  • They promised never to raid the larder again.他们答应不再随便开食橱拿东西吃了。
7 gallows UfLzE     
  • The murderer was sent to the gallows for his crimes.谋杀犯由于罪大恶极被处以绞刑。
  • Now I was to expiate all my offences at the gallows.现在我将在绞刑架上赎我一切的罪过。
8 gouged 5ddc47cf3abd51f5cea38e0badc5ea97     
v.凿( gouge的过去式和过去分词 );乱要价;(在…中)抠出…;挖出…
  • The lion's claws had gouged a wound in the horse's side. 狮爪在马身一侧抓了一道深口。
  • The lovers gouged out their names on the tree. 情人们把他们的名字刻在树上。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
9 slaughtered 59ed88f0d23c16f58790fb11c4a5055d     
v.屠杀,杀戮,屠宰( slaughter的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The invading army slaughtered a lot of people. 侵略军杀了许多人。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Hundreds of innocent civilians were cruelly slaughtered. 数百名无辜平民遭残杀。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 admiration afpyA     
  • He was lost in admiration of the beauty of the scene.他对风景之美赞不绝口。
  • We have a great admiration for the gold medalists.我们对金牌获得者极为敬佩。
11 sundry CswwL     
  • This cream can be used to treat sundry minor injuries.这种药膏可用来治各种轻伤。
  • We can see the rich man on sundry occasions.我们能在各种场合见到那个富豪。
12 trot aKBzt     
n.疾走,慢跑;n.老太婆;现成译本;(复数)trots:腹泻(与the 连用);v.小跑,快步走,赶紧
  • They passed me at a trot.他们从我身边快步走过。
  • The horse broke into a brisk trot.马突然快步小跑起来。
13 filth Cguzj     
  • I don't know how you can read such filth.我不明白你怎么会去读这种淫秽下流的东西。
  • The dialogue was all filth and innuendo.这段对话全是下流的言辞和影射。
14 parlor v4MzU     
  • She was lying on a small settee in the parlor.她躺在客厅的一张小长椅上。
  • Is there a pizza parlor in the neighborhood?附近有没有比萨店?
15 twitched bb3f705fc01629dc121d198d54fa0904     
vt.& vi.(使)抽动,(使)颤动(twitch的过去式与过去分词形式)
  • Her lips twitched with amusement. 她忍俊不禁地颤动着嘴唇。
  • The child's mouth twitched as if she were about to cry. 这小孩的嘴抽动着,像是要哭。 来自《简明英汉词典》
16 twitching 97f99ba519862a2bc691c280cee4d4cf     
  • The child in a spasm kept twitching his arms and legs. 那个害痉挛的孩子四肢不断地抽搐。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • My eyelids keep twitching all the time. 我眼皮老是跳。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
17 entirely entirely     
  • The fire was entirely caused by their neglect of duty. 那场火灾完全是由于他们失职而引起的。
  • His life was entirely given up to the educational work. 他的一生统统献给了教育工作。
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