Introduction You can listen to a recording of this story at: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/stories/broken-mirror-black-cat-and-lots-good-luck This support pack contains the following materials: • a pre-reading activity • the story that you can listen to • a comprehension activity based on the story • a word-building activity Before you read Activity 1 Writein the past simple and past participle forms of the verbs in the table below:
past simple break bring buy fall leave lose put tell think win
Read the story The broken mirror, the black cat, and lots of good luck by Chris Rose Nikos was an ordinary man. Nothing particularly good ever happened to him, nothing particularly bad ever happened to him. He went through lifeaccepting the mixture of good things and bad things that happen to everyone. He never looked for any explanation or reason about why things happened just the way they did. One thing, however, that Nikos absolutely did not believe in was superstition. He had no time for superstition, no time at all. Nikos thought himself to be a very rational man, a man who did not believe that his good luck or bad luckwas in any way changed by black cats, walking under ladders, spilling salt or opening umbrellas inside the house. Nikos spent much of his time in the small taverna near where he lived. In the taverna he sat drinking coffee and talking to his friends. Sometimes his friends played dice or cards. Sometimes they played for money. Some of them made bets on horse races or football matches. But Nikosnever did. He didn’t know much about
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Stories – The broken mirror…
sport, so he didn’t think he could predict the winners. And he absolutely didn’t believe in chance or luck or superstition, like a lot of his friends did. One morning Nikoswoke up and walked into the bathroom. He started to shave, as he did every morning, but as he was shaving he noticed that the mirror on the bathroom wall wasn’t quite straight. He tried to move it to one side, to make it straighter, but as soon as he touched it, the mirror fell off the wall and hit the floor with a huge crash. It broke into a thousand pieces. Nikos knew that some people thoughtthis was unlucky. “Seven years bad luck” they said, when a mirror broke. But Nikos wasn’t superstitious. Nikos wasn’t superstitious at all. He didn’t care. He thought superstition was nonsense. He picked up the pieces of the mirror, put them in the bin, and finished shaving without a mirror. After that he went into the kitchen to make himself a sandwich to take to work for his lunch. He cut twopieces of bread and put some cheese on them. Then he thought he needed some salt. When he picked up the salt jar, it fell from his hand and broke on the floor. Salt was everywhere. Some people, he knew, thought that this was also supposed to bring bad luck. But Nikos didn’t care. He didn’t believe in superstitions. He left the house and went to work. On his way to work he saw a black cat running awayfrom him. He didn’t care. He wasn’t superstitious. Some builders were working on a house on his street. There was a ladder across the pavement. Nikos thought about walking around the ladder, but he didn’t care, he wasn’t superstitious and didn’t believe in superstitions, so he walked right underneath the ladder. Even though Nikos wasn’t superstitious, he thought that something bad was certain tohappen to him today. He had broken a mirror, spilled some salt, walked under a ladder and seen a black cat running away from him. He told everybody at worked what had happened. “Something bad will happen to you today!” they all said. But nothing bad happened to him. That evening, as usual, he went to the taverna. He told all his friends in the taverna that he had broken a mirror, spilled the salt,...