Reactions of the Masters
Learners will analyze what causes someone to make the mistake of fatally misjudging the character of another, even one that is well-known. Such a mistake turns a heroic sacrifice into an unnecessary tragic loss in the folktale "Beth Gellert." In the folktale "Evil Allures, But Good Endures," learners will understand that an evil act does not require a person to return evil with evil.
The learner will:
- use the geographic themes of location, place and human-environment relations to describe settings and cultures represented in a folktale.
- research background information that enables a folktale to be placed in a historical setting.
- identify the type of folktales represented by the stories.
- analyze why one character’s actions led to the climactic result.
- determine whether someone acting according to his character can still produce a philanthropic act.
- describe how one person can atone for his or her act.
- analyze what would allow a person to forgive the evildoer after an act of malice.
Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Share the folktale "Beth Gellert" with a member of the family. Ask if they have strong feelings about pets and what they mean to a family. Discuss what the addition of a pet means to a family and whether or not it changes family dynamics. Can a family pet make others more generous? Share the folktale "Evil Allures, But Good Endures" with a member of the family. Ask if it is believable that the master would have acted the way he did. Analyze other examples where a person acted in a similar manner. What made those examples believable?
- "Beth Gellert." Jacobs, Joseph. Originally published in 1892 in Celtic Fairy Tales.
- Discovering Greyhounds and Adoption of Louisville, "Characteristics of Greyhounds", 16 June 2005, http://www.louisvillegreyhounds.org/characteristics.htm (16 June 2005) [no longer available]
- "Evil Allures, But Good Endures." Tolstoy, Leo. 1885.
- Go Britannia! Wales: Facts About Wales & the Welsh, "The Prince (Princess of Wales) is not Welsh." 16 June 2005, https://www.britannia.com/celtic/wales/facts/facts4.html (16 June 2005)
Put the phrase "man’s best friend" on the board. Without recording the responses, let the learners brainstorm for two minutes about the inferences of the words.
Explain that it is important to understand people and their environment when studying folktales. The story "Beth Gellert" is a Welsh folktale. The story "Evil Allures, But Good Endures" is a Russian folktale. On a map, locate Wales and Russia and give their absolute locations (longitude and latitude) and relative locations (general descriptors of where the places are located).
In a brainstorming session, have the learners describe Wales and Russia as a place by listing recognizable physical characteristics (landforms, water bodies, climate, soil, natural vegetation, animal life) and human characteristics (inhabitants, settlement patterns, languages, religions, government, how inhabitants make a living).
Before reading the first story, split the learners into two groups. Ask one group to research the greyhound breed of dogs (the oldest breed known) and the other group to research Prince Llewelyn ap Iorwerth of Wales who became the ruler of the kingdom of Gwynedd in 1200. Let each group report their information.
Read the story together. Identify what type of folktale it is (fairy tale, myth, legend/epic, tall tale, fable, religious story/parable).
What character traits did Gellert reveal in the story? Did he ever act outside a greyhound’s characteristics in this folktale? Why didn’t Prince Llewelyn give Gellert the benefit of the doubt before he made the grave mistake of misjudging his dog? When do people forget to give others the benefit of the doubt before misjudging them or their actions?
Although the second should never have occurred, Gellert gave two "gifts" to his master. The most obvious one was that he saved the life of the heir. What exactly was the second gift/lesson? Was Gellert’s act philanthropic or was he just acting according to character?
Prince Llewelyn was grief-stricken over misjudging his dog and killing it. How did he atone for his action? Although this story took place in Wales, it could have happened member of royalty, what might be a way to atone for such an action? What associations are dedicated to greyhound rescue?
Read "Evil Allures, But Good Endures" together. Identify what type of folktale it is (fairy tale, myth, legend/epic, tall tale, fable, religious story/parable).
Put the following chart on the chalkboard or overhead projector:
Divide the learners into four groups and assign one column to each group. After forming small groups and discussing their assigned character, let each group fill the chart with characteristics that describe their character. Besides the obvious qualities, encourage them to also make inferences which provide further insight to their characters.
Have the learners discuss what they feel gives the master the ability to hold his anger and act in such a virtuous manner. Do they feel this is a believable conclusion?
Compare/contrast the masters in the two stories using a Venn Diagram.
Ask the learners to reflect on Gellert and the lesson this folktale expressed. Distribute Assessment (Handout One) to the learners and direct them to fill in the outline of the greyhound with terms that describe his character and the moral of the story. Pair the learners and ask them to rename the two stories using terms that match the idea of "Generosity of Spirit."
As an extension of the lesson, a speaker from a nearby animal shelter or greyhound rescue organization may be invited to speak to the class. If the group wishes, a fund-raiser can be organized for the organization.
Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.