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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #1

    Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    Could you please check over another story about Aesop?


    Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!


    Xanthus was giving a party and got very drunk. At that moment, one of the guests asked him a philosophical question, "Is it true that man's abilities are unlimited?". "There can be no doubt about it," replied Xanthus. "Do you think a man can drink a sea?", went on the guest. "Piece of cake. I can do it easily," boasted Xanthus, and they made a bet. The next morning Xanthus woke up, feeling a terrible hangover, and was told by Aesop, his slave, that unless he drank up the sea, his property would be taken away from him. Xanthus, seized with fear, began to beg Aesop to think of a way out. Finally Aesop told him what to do. When a crowd had gathered by the sea, Xanthus walked out to them and said, "You are waiting for me to drink up the sea, aren't you?". "Yes", echoed the crowd. "Only the sea?", asked Xanthus. "Yes", confirmed the crowd. "All right. As is known there are many rivers that flow into the sea. To make sure that I'd be drinking only the water of the sea and not that of the rivers I demand that all the rivers be separated first. Only then I will carry out my commitment." That's how Xanthus won the bet.


    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 92
    #2

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    Xanthus was giving a party and got very drunk. At that moment, one of the guests asked him a philosophical question, "Is it true that man's abilities are unlimited?"
    "There can be no doubt about it," replied Xanthus.
    "Do you think a man can drink a sea?" the guest went on.
    "Piece of cake. I can do it easily," boasted Xanthus, and they made a bet.
    The next morning Xanthus woke up, feeling a terrible hangover, and was told by Aesop, his slave, that unless he drank up the sea, his property would be taken away from him. Xanthus, seized with fear, begged Aesop to think of a solution. Finally Aesop told him what to do.
    When a crowd had gathered by the sea, Xanthus walked out to them and said, "You are waiting for me to drink up the sea, aren't you?"
    "Yes," echoed the crowd.
    "Only the sea?" asked Xanthus.
    "Yes," confirmed the crowd.
    "All right. As is known there are many rivers that flow into the sea. To make sure that I'd be drinking only the water of the sea and not that of the rivers I demand that all the rivers be separated first. Only then I will carry out my commitment."
    That's how Xanthus won the bet.
    That is a good story. Did you come up with it yourself?


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #3

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    Once again, your command of English is impeccable...just some more fine tuning needed.

    Aesop's fables are light-hearted and 'colloquial' in speech, but not flippant. "Piece of cake' is too modern and 'flip'. There are times when you stray from the 'style' of an Aesop's fable. I'll give you my version, which does not mean that yours is not correct - just that it seems you are currently mixing 'styles'.

    Xanthus was giving a party and got very drunk.

    At that moment, : What is that 'moment', that 'very instant' at which one changes from 'merry' or 'a bit drunk', to 'drunk' and/or 'very drunk'?
    A 'time phrase' is not appropriate. However, if the phrase is omitted, then we have two short sentences, which gives a 'staccoto' effect rather than getting this story 'flowing'. How about we pad the sentence:


    One of the guests turned to him and asked the philosophical question, "Is it true that man's abilities are unlimited?"

    Why did I change 'a' to 'the' there?

    "There can be no doubt about it," replied Xanthus.
    "Do you think a man can drink a sea?", the guest went on.

    "Piece of cake. : the troublesome idiom. Xanthus is drunk, in an expansive mood: I can imagine him saying (without straying from the style):

    "Indubitably. I can do it easily," boasted Xanthus; and they made a bet.

    The next morning, Xanthus woke up (omit comma) feeling a terrible hangover, and was told by Aesop, his slave, that unless he drank up the sea, his property would be taken away from him. Xanthus, seized with fear, begged Aesop to think of a way out.

    Finally : did they argue back and forth? Did Xanthus have to twist his arm to make him come up with 'a way out'? In this context, 'finally ' has a sense of 'with some reluctance, but he was forced to' by Xanthus.
    You need something to do with 'he reflected/thought about/ pondered' and then:

    Aesop told him what to do.

    When a crowd had gathered by the sea, Xanthus walked out to them and said, "You are waiting for me to drink up the sea, aren't you?"

    "Yes," echoed the crowd.: What you mean is, 'echoed the cry of the crowd'.
    now, 'echoed' would not normally be appropriate as it stands, because of the real meaning of 'echo'. However, you could get away with it - and in fact, the choice adds to your writing - because the question is retorical. It is the natural response to the question, and therefore, it is as if the question and the answer are so linked, the response IS an echo.. That's my take on it though - you're on safer ground with my first suggestion.

    "Only the sea?" asked Xanthus.
    "Yes," confirmed the crowd.
    "All right. As is known, there are many rivers that flow into the sea.

    To make sure that I'll be drinking : 'I'd' is the conditional. He is making it quite clear, 'sure', that he 'will' be drinking only the sea i.e. Future tense with a strong intention.

    only the water of the sea and not that of the rivers, I demand that all the rivers be separated first.
    (the green needs a little thought - I'll come back on that one.)
    Only then will I carry out my commitment."
    That's how Xanthus won the bet.
    Last edited by David L.; 09-Aug-2008 at 16:16.


    • Join Date: Aug 2008
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    #4

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Xanthus was giving a party and got very drunk.

    At that moment, : What is that 'moment', that 'very instant' at which one changes from 'merry' or 'a bit drunk', to 'drunk' and/or 'very drunk'?
    A 'time phrase' is not appropriate. However, if the phrase is omitted, then we have two short sentences, which gives a 'staccoto' effect rather than getting this story 'flowing'. How about we pad the sentence:
    Yes, I was also going to suggest something along these lines. Good points.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #5

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    Thanks, David. I really enjoy your comments. To develop a feeling for style is the most difficult thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post

    Why did I change 'a' to 'the' there?

    I think "question" here is used as a close apposition, and in this function (with a few exceptions) the noun takes the definite article: e.g. the noun "bread", the painter Turner, etc.

    Xanthus, seized with fear, begged Aesop to think of a way out. Aesop felt sorry for his master and told him how to resolve the situation. (?)



    I demand that all the rivers be separated first.

    I demand that all the rivers should be separated first. (?)


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #6

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    I do warn you, in my responses, that what I offer is one person's 'fine tuning'. Some people will read what you write and get the meaning, the essential story line.
    Aim higher, for the discerning reader; so learn to play and create with language.

    A man is banished from his own country by the king. Does he say, " Well, he's the king. He's got the power to do it. But am I, nothing, to be treated so lightly?"

    When the author writes the man's response as, "Such is the breath of kings", it leaves you staggered.

    So, little me, all staggered - and you;
    and

    One of the guests turned to him and asked the philosophical question, "Is it true that man's abilities are unlimited?"

    Why did I change 'a' to 'the' there?


    With 'a', it becomes, 'oh yes, a question, and philosophical' (usual, when one is drunk!)
    Understand: the reader 'anticipates' - is slightly ahead of you- but is also re-digesting what has just gone before in the light of what he is now reading. When the man says, "...a philosophical question.", it has the meaning, ' oh, yes, some idle question (but I, the reader, can't see the relevance or where this is taking us - it must be something to do with how he (Xanthus) responds to the question.)
    As the author, that is not your intended meaning, nor the direction you (purposefully) wish to take the reader's mind.
    When you write, "...asked the philosophical question..." - hey, there's has been no previous mention, reference, or quote, of this question, yet it is being 'specified', picked out from all the possible questions that could have been asked. To the reader it means, this is no ordinary question - something is coming. This is a pointed question, asked by someone with more than a quest for another person's viewpoint - this person has a motive in asking this particular question. When we jump from the innocuous, "Is it true that man's abilities are unlimited?", to the ridiculous "Do you think a man can drink a sea?", we see that in his drunken state, Xanthus has been set up. The use of 'the' points us to the realization of this: that the seemingly innocent question was specifically asked to get Xanthus exactly in the impossible position where the speaker wanted him.

    All that, on whether 'a' or 'the'. Such is the meaning I find in words.
    Last edited by David L.; 09-Aug-2008 at 20:29.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #7

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    One of the guests turned to him and asked the philosophical question, "Is it true that man's abilities are unlimited?"
    Why did I change 'a' to 'the' there?[/COLOR]
    I guess because the question itself is specified. If we remove the part in quotation marks, then it will be "a question": One of the guests turned to him and asked a philosophical question. The man was interested to know Xanthus' opinion as to whether man's abilities were limited or not.
    Am I right?


    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 92
    #8

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    With 'a', it becomes, 'oh yes, a question, and philosophical' (usual, when one is drunk!)
    Understand: the reader 'anticipates' - is slightly ahead of you- but is also re-digesting what has just gone before in the light of what he is now reading. When the man says, "...a philosophical question.", it has the meaning, ' oh, yes, some idle question (but I, the reader, can't see the relevance or where this is taking us - it must be something to do with how he (Xanthus) responds to the question.)
    As the author, that is not your intended meaning, nor the direction you (purposefully) wish to take the reader's mind.
    When you write, "...asked the philosophical question..." - hey, there's has been no previous mention, reference, or quote, of this question, yet it is being 'specified', picked out from all the possible questions that could have been asked. To the reader it means, this is no ordinary question - something is coming. This is a pointed question, asked by someone with more than a quest for another person's viewpoint - this person has a motive in asking this particular question. When we jump from the innocuous, "Is it true that man's abilities are unlimited?", to the ridiculous "Do you think a man can drink a sea?", we see that in his drunken state, Xanthus has been set up. The use of 'the' points us to the realization of this: that the seemingly innocent question was specifically asked to get Xanthus exactly in the impossible position where the speaker wanted him.

    All that, on whether 'a' or 'the'. Such is the meaning I find in words.
    I don't know. I believe I could argue the same with the following sentence structure:

    One of the guests turned to him and asked a philosophical question: "Is it true that man's abilities are unlimited?"

    All I have done here is replace 'the' with 'a' and added a colon. I believe the semantics of the sentence are identicle.

    Note: I am not disagreeing with your post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    I guess because the question itself is specified. If we remove the part in quotation marks, then it will be "a question": One of the guests turned to him and asked a philosophical question. The man was interested to know Xanthus' opinion as to whether man's abilities were limited or not.
    Am I right?
    In your case it would not work to use 'the'.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #9

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    The use of 'the' points us to the realization of this: that the seemingly innocent question was specifically asked to get Xanthus exactly in the impossible position where the speaker wanted him.
    Now I understand how limited standard grammar rules are. So much information in just an article!


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #10

    Re: Xanthus, Drink up the Sea!

    I don't know. I believe I could argue the same with the following sentence structure:

    Monty Mike: I would enjoy savouring another person's reasoned perspective...and commenting.

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