Lesson 13-1

The legend of Brno wheel at the passage of the Old Town Hall in Brno

Once upon a time, there was a wheelwright in the town of Lednice. His job was making and repairing wooden wheels, and he was very good at it. It is said that his name was Jiří Birk. One day, this Birk visited an inn with his friends and they had an argument about their jobs. All of them were traditional craftsmen - a blacksmith, a stonemason, a cabinetmaker, a locksmith, a glassblower, a potter, and a wheelwright. After a while, Birk said that he could cut down a tree, make a wheel out of it, and walk with it to Brno before its gates close – and all of it in one day. Nobody believed him, so they each promised to pay a thaler if he could do it. It all started the next day. Early in the morning Birk and his friends went to a forest and he cut down an elm tree. A few hours later, Birk finished his beautiful wooden wheel and now he only had to get to Brno in time. It was a very long journey – so long, that even Birk thought he couldn’t get there. It was very hot, his head hurt and he was very tired, but he made it! He rushed to the town gate and through the Vegetable Market, and heard the bells on the Petrov Cathedral ring when he stepped into the Old Town Hall. He made it! He asked the mayor for a signature and explained why he needed it. When he came back to his friends, they didn’t believe their eyes, but they paid Birk his reward. There was a big celebration and they drank a lot of wine, but some people said that the devil helped Birk with his task. And so the people were afraid of him and he had no friends any more. Poor Birk. If you visit Brno someday, you can see the wheel in the Old Town Hall.

Exercise 1: What do these words mean? Choose

inn –
craftsmen –
stonemason –
blacksmith –
cabinetmaker –
wheelwright –
locksmith –
glassblower –
potter –
thaler –
signature –
task –
devil –

Exercise 2: Answer

Did Birk win the bet? .
What was Birk’s job? He was a .
Where was he from? He was from .
Where did he travel to? He travelled to .
Who did he meet there? The .

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