All for the sake of an apple.

Are you ready for the first saga? I think it’s time. We are going to take the next six stories to tell the saga of the Greek and Trojan war at Troy. It will start today. We’re going to be introduced to the Trojans and, of course, Helen. Who was not of Troy at first. Along the way, many characters you may already familiar with by name are going to join us. This is a story that has been told many times.

Spartans at Plataea during Trojan Wars
Trojan War

As in most of the stories we come across in Greek mythology, this one also contains names we now use, at least in part, in our language today. Take the brief mention of the ‘Muses’. These were nine sisters who were goddesses who had the duty of overseeing the arts. How often do we say we might follow a muse when involved in an artistic endeavour? Or what of the word ‘Museum’ which in Greek is the place the Muses studied their arts and is still where we study the arts today? ‘Music’ comes from a Greek word that meant Belonging to the Muses.

The Muses

The city of Troy was a very real place. It was located on the western coast of what is now Turkey. To the Greek, this city was called Ilium. When Homer wrote down the poem of these events he called the poem the Iliad, in reference to the city. Around 1250 B.C. this Trojan war was a ten-year event of which we learn specifics of the final year.

City of Troy.jpg
City of Troy

For now, let’s start with Paris of Troy. And that will lead us to the story itself. This story comes from a book I highly recommend picking up if you enjoy Greek mythology. It is best served as a primer for a younger audience although I’ve found it highly entertaining myself. ‘Classic myths to read aloud‘ by William F. Russell.

Paris and Helen


Tim R.

It is a privilege to read to the world.

Oh what, oh what shall be required?

I may have mentioned it before, and if so then I do again because it bears repeating; a child should be exposed early and often to the best works there are to offer. Why do we wait so long to expose our children to Benjamin Franklin, or Alexander Dumas, or Robert Frost? It has been proven time and again that the mind of a child is more accepting of information and learns faster than the mind of an adult. Shall we not teach them earlier than later in that case?

This point will be almost a reprinting of the Friday before the last post, only this post will have with it the specific requirements that the ten-year-old must adhere to. What they are supposed to learn and to what depth. Again this is from the ‘Appleton’s 1878 Fourth Reader‘.

4th reader

For Preparation: I – Allusions, historical, geographical, and literary. II – Spelling and pronunciation; words to be copied, and marked with diacritical marks, hyphens, and accents. III – Language Lesson. IV – Words and phrases to be explained in the pupil’s own words, giving the meaning as used in the lesson (not the general definition). V – Style and thought. Numbers I and V to suggest topics of conversation on the reading lesson; numbers II, III, and IV to be prepared by the pupil. There may be some points in numbers I and V that are too difficult for many of the pupils for whom the reader is intended. The teacher will use his discretion in selecting topics from these numbers for explanation to his class.

I. Benjamin Franklin, an eminent American philosopher and statesman, born at Boston, Mass., January 17, 1706. His father was a soap and candle maker. Benjamin learned the printer’s trade and moved to Philadelphia. He discovered the identity of lightning and electricity. His efforts secured the alliance of the French with America in the Revolution. He also assisted in making important treaties, and in forming the Constitution of the United States.

We The People

II. Write out and mark the pronunciation of Friends, Filled, Whistle, Laughed, Unnecessary, Neglecting. (See Webster’s diacritical marks on page 98, and in the introduction to the spelling lessons of the Appendix.)

III. “Children” – what change is necessary to make this word refer to only one? What meaning does ‘ing’ give to the word ‘whistling’? Find other words in which it makes the word refer to continued action. Dr. Franklin wrote “says I” for, “said I” – why incorrect?


IV. ‘Coppers’ – what coin does this mean? What does ‘Charmed’ mean? ‘Voluntarily’? (willingly, or of his own accord.) ‘Disturbing’ means what? Who is ‘Cousin’? What is a ‘Bargain’? What is ‘Folly’? – ‘Vexation’? “Impression continuing on my mind”? (i.e., I remembered it.) “Ambitious of the favor of the great”? “Fond of popularity”? (in this case desiring the people’s votes.) Who is a ‘Miser’? What is the meaning of ‘Esteem’? – ‘Benevolent’? – “accumulating wealth”? – ‘Comfortable’? – “contracted debts”? (ran in debt.) “Ended his career” means what? “False estimates they had made of the value of things”? (i.e., made mistakes about the worth of things.)

Do you think of any other examples to add to these of Dr. Franklin? in which people have “given too much for this whistle”? Write out such a case in your own words. What is meant by “the great”? How can they bestow “favor”?

Look at the depth of information required. Would we not be better able to have our children pronounce things correctly if they understood ‘diacritical marks’? Would they not better understand the words we ask them to know how to spell? Idioms are such a huge part of our language and yet they stopped teaching them from the time period I just presented to you, and now. That’s all just touching on the surface.

Growing mind

There is so much more that we have come to leave out of school than include. We don’t need to make things easier for our children. We don’t need participation trophies and/or grades. What is needed is for our children to be challenged in ways that will actually engage their minds and help them grow.

What are your thoughts on our current education system and how it affects our children?

Tim R.

It is a privilege to read to the world.

The itsy bitsy spider, Arachne

Let’s go to ancient Greece again. I’m reading from the book ‘Classic Myths to Read Aloud‘ by William F. Russell. They had so many wonderful stories. One of the best parts of Mythology is knowing the stories were meant as a way to explain the world. Take this story of Arachne. In it, we learn how the ancient Greeks explained such

Continue reading “The itsy bitsy spider, Arachne”

What shall we learn today?

To continue of the depth of education that we touched on last week, the first lesson from the Appleton’s Fourth Reader will here be presented. I would urge you to read through the entire content and then let us discuss its merits.

4th reader

I.-The Whistle

  1. When I was a child, seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pockets with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and, being charmed with the sound of a whistle that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my money for one. 
  2. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but distr=urbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth.
  3. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and they laughed at me so much for my folly that I cried with vexation.
  4. This, however, was afterward of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, “Don’t give too much for the whistle”; and so I saved my money. 
  5. As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.
  6. When I saw any one too ambitious of the favor of the great, wasting his time in attendance on public dinners, sacrificing his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, “This man gives too much for his whistle.”
  7. When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in politics, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect, “He pays, indeed,” said I, “too much for this whistle.”
  8. If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, “Poor man,” said I, “you do indeed pay too much for your whistle.”
  9. When I met a man of pleasure, sacrificing the improvement of his mind, or of his fortune, to mere bodily comfort, “Mistaken man,” said I, “you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure: you give too much for your whistle.”
  10. If I saw one fond of fine clothes, fine furniture, fine horses, all above his fortune, for which he contracted debts, and ended his career in prison, “Alas!” said I, “he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.”
  11. In short, I believe that a great part of the miseries of mankind were brought upon them by the false estimates they had made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles. 


Adapted from Benjamin Franklin


This is a piece that has a lot of implication in it while still being direct. There is a repetition which emphasizes the main point. There is a moral to the story and it is one of personal responsibility. Can you say our ten-year-olds today are given the same? What do you get from this piece? Think back or go take a look at the preparatory notes from last Friday.

Next Friday we will cover the specific notes for this piece as presented in the reader and go just that next step.

Tim R.

Hair or Hammer?

The good news is, this is all mythology and so may be told in any fashion seen fit by the teller. They’re just stories. The bad news is, the dominant thoughts currently held as to some of Norse mythology are propagated by comics. As such they are not exactly true to the stories told traditionally. I suppose it’s a matter of what you find enjoyable in the end. Continue reading “Hair or Hammer?”

Which one will you travel?

The Road Not Taken‘ is a poem by one of the United States most acclaimed poets, Mr. Robert Frost.


When I was in school most of my siblings and I were required to take Choir. As it turns out this was far and away the best subject to be in. Somehow my voice didn’t resemble amphibian wildlife. In any case, one of the pieces that the director had picked up an arrangement for was a version of this poem. While I cannot remember who did the arrangement, nor what it was titled, I do remember the message I received while reading the words. It is a message many of us receive when reading, reciting, or signing this poem.

frost book.jpg

The odd part is there is speculation as to whether the author of this piece, Mr. Frost, intended for the message that is taken from this by most, to actually be the message he was trying to convey. That will be left in the air though as art is interpretive. Take from it what you will and may it benefit your life for good.


A Fair Trade…?

Yggdrasil. To be perfectly fair I have no idea how to actually pronounce this word. That won’t stop me from trying though. This is the world tree, and along with it comes the structure of the worlds for the Norse. The theme of self-sacrifice is one that seems to be prevalent in Norse mythology. That one must give something up to gain or grow. I’m rather fond of that idea as it does reflect what we all deal with on a daily basis.


Norse mythology has gained a resurgence of popularity with the Marvel movies having come out showing Hollywood depictions of Thor, Odin, Loki, and many others from Asgard. While the stories are butchered from actual mythology that has been around for ages, I find it interesting that comics and videos should be the catalyst for a renewed interest in the subject in general. I hope it lasts as there are some great stories to be told.


Today I’ll be sharing one last piece of the intro, on Yggdrasil as I have already mentioned, but also the great mystery as to how Odin really lost his eye. Do you think it was a fair deal for him?

One for the other

‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling

Blogging is a fairly new venture for me and I’m still learning just what I can do. This is going to be a one-off post where the attempt is to add some youtube content. Awhile back I had generated some content for a youtube channel and there are a couple of pieces I am pleased with that would fit here.

Rudyard Kipling


is best known for ‘The Jungle Book‘, of Mowgli and Baloo fame. However, it turns out he was quite the prolific author. Below is one of my favorite poems. It is an instruction that while given as a father talking to his child, holds inspiration for all of us in how to hold ourselves high in this little adventure we call life.


Let’s see if you get this:

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