Saturday, 12 September 2009

a test of crying

Fill in the gaps with the correct phrase from below and ONLY THEN click on the “gap” box to check your answer.

be a far cry from
cry off
cry over spilt milk
cry wolf
hue and cry

The story goes that when Clavineta was born, the midwife gently slapped the soles of her feet and she started to cry. However, Clavineta did not cry tears, but tiny seeds - exquisite little apple pips, in fact.
This was unusual, but not so unusual for the far north where unusual things happened every day. It was so cold that some days words froze in mid air, and the light was so bright in the summer it made a sound like a tortoise who has bells for teeth chewing lettuce.
Certainly Clavineta's parents did not seem to care. 'There's no use,' they said. 'She is healthy in every other way.' And they loved her so much that she hardly ever shed a tear anyway.
One day, when Clavineta was ten years old, she was playing ball with a baby seal and a penguin around the back of her house at the end of the village when she heard a from the front.
'What can the commotion be?' she wondered, idly.
When she got to the front of the house a horrible sight greeted her eyes. A huge crack had split a small iceberg off from the mainland on which her parents had been standing. Clavineta watched in horror as they clung onto the iceberg, drifting out into the cold cruel sea.
'We love you!' they shouted, before they disappeared.
Now an orphan, Clavineta had to go and live with her her aunt. It the loving home she had shared with her parents.
'You can call me Miss Splittle,' said her aunt. 'You will earn your keep here. I have no room for lazy-bones, girl.'
At this, the lonely and bereaved little Clavineta began to cry. However, instead of seeds, out came tears made of coal. They left little black trails down her cheek.
Clavineta's aunt watched her, somewhat taken aback for a minute. 'What have we here?' she asked herself, collecting some of the miniature lumps of coal in her hand. She sniffed them and then licked them. 'Coal!' she exclaimed. 'Lovely coal to keep me warm!'
As soon as Clavineta's aunt realised that Clavineta cried coal, she resolved to keep the poor girl as miserable as possible so that she would never have to go without her precious fire ever again.
She shouted at Clavineta, called her names, told her she was stupid, made her work all day long, and, worst of all, said bad things about her parents. Clavineta was almost permanently distraught.
Many years passed like this until one day, when Clavineta was outside sweeping the front porch with a hair brush, as ordered by her aunt, she saw a polar bear coming towards her.
Clavineta banged on the door. 'Let me in please Miss Splittle!' she yelled.
'Let you in?' exclaimed Clavineta's aunt. 'You'll stay outside until you're so cold you cry me some of that precious coal of yours.'
Clavineta banged on the door again. 'But Miss Splittle - there's a polar bear coming! I'll be eaten!'
Worried that she might lose her endless supply of coal, Clavineta's aunt relented and decided to let her in. 'You'd better not be, girl,' she warned Clavineta, opening the door.
As she did so, Clavineta turned round to see the bear pouncing. She instantly fainted, dropped to the floor and the bear flew straight over her and landed on her aunt instead, biting her head clean off.
When Clavineta came to, she saw the polar bear lying asleep next to her, a pile of her aunt's bones beside it.
Clavineta was so happy she couldn't but help hug and kiss the polar bear for ending her eight years of misery. As soon as she did so, the bear stirred, changing shape and shedding its fur coat to reveal a handsome young man with thick blond hair.
When they looked into each other's eyes, there was no doubt it was love at first sight.
'Thank you,' he said. 'I have been under the curse of an evil witch for many years. You have saved me.'
'Me too,' said Clavineta, so happy that, for the first time in her life she began to cry tears of joy. But this time it wasn't coal that she cried, but diamonds, dozens and dozens of twinkling diamonds.
'I must go and fetch horses,' said the man. 'We will travel a long way from here.'
'Yes,' said Clavineta, but she was wracked by doubt while she waited for the man. What if he? Nothing good had happened to her for so long she could scarcely bring herself to believe that something so good was happening now.
But it was. As promised, the man came back with the horses and they travelled the world together, living happily ever after on love and diamonds.

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Collocation of the Week by Dr Myers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.