A1 French Reading Challenge

Week Six: Lancelot

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Contents: 

Week One: Introduction

 

Week Two: The Nutcracker / EFR 1

Week Three: The Black Tulip / EFR 2

Week Four: Fables / EFR 3

Week Five: Beauty and the Beast / EFR 4

Week Six: Lancelot / EFR Revision

 

Week Seven: A1 DELF Exam papers (for weird fun)

(EFR= Easy French Reader)

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Week Five

Week Seven: A1 DELF Exam papers (for weird fun)

 

WELCOME to the last reader in our challenge- Lancelot! This action-packed tale of Medieval chivalry and suspense will have you dressed up as a thirteenth-century knight quicker than you can say round table.

 

In this post, like all others in the A1 French Reading Challenge series, I’ll summarise each chapter and provide a short glossary of words that I felt necessary to look up*. If I make a mistake, please be kind! I’m setting this French challenge up as a personal challenge to improve. I’m no expert! 

 

Summary (SPOILERS!) and Vocabulary

 

Chapter One: Le défi

 

In the kingdom of Logres, in King Arthur’s Court, the king, the queen Guenievre, the royal officers and a host of revellers are enjoying a sumptuous feast in the hall. Suddenly, the arrogant Méléagant enters from the enemy kingdom of Gorre. He tells he will release them, but only under the condition that the king’s bravest knight defeats him in a duel. To complicate affairs, the chosen knight is instructed to take Guenievre with him to the fight, but if he loses, Méléagant will keep the queen and the prisoners. The high officer, Keu, demands that he be chosen to fight Méléagant. 

The party leave for the woods when they come across Lancelot who is on foot. Lancelot wants to save the queen, but must make a decision whether or not to ride a chariot reserved for criminals. As he’s in love with the queen, he chooses to be dishonoured and ride the chariot. 

On route, they come across Keu’s injured horse, and the fact that Keu lost his battle with Méléagant is revealed.

 

  1. le défi: challenge

  2. un nain: dwarf

  3. supplice: torture, execution

  4. blessé: injured

  5. la selle: saddle

  6. brisée: broken

 

Chapter Two: La promesse d’une damoiselle

 

Lancelot and co. arrive at a castle. From the tower, they see Méléagant and Guenievre far away. The give chase but can’t catch up. They ask a passer by where they are going and he replies that they are going towards the Kingdom of Gorres. Lancelot and Gauvain are in hot pursuit, but can only reach them by choosing one of two dangerous crossings. The team splits up. Lancelot comes across an obstinate guard who challenges him to a dual. They fight.  

 

  1. au crépuscule: at dusk

  2. rattrapent: catch up

  3. carrefour: crossroads

  4. immergé: underwater

  5. étroit: narrow

  6. tranchant: sharp

  7. épée: sword

  8. au bord: at the edge

  9. sorti de ses rêves: come out of his dreams

  10. écu: shield

 

Chapter Three: Le cimetiére du futur

 

Lancelot arrives in a field with a church in the middle. He asks a monk what is behind it and the monk takes him to a cemetery. He sees that inscriptions on the gravestones are familiar names; people who haven’t yet died! He cannot view the most splendid gravestone properly unless he lifts a huge stone slab. He does effortlessly it and astonishes the monk. The inscription says that the gravestone belongs to he who can free the prisoners.

The news of Lancelot’s heroic feat spreads and the prisoners are overjoyed that they will be free. A man on horseback takes Lancelot to his house as a guest. The host explains that Lancelot is now a prisoner as no one can escape the Kingdom of Gorre as everyone who enters the kingdom becomes a slave. Lancelot protests and leaves. Hi comes across Sword Bridge.

 

  1. un pré: a field

  2. il ressort: he goes out again

  3. reposera: rest

  4. soulever: lift

  5. dalle: slab, block

  6. saisit: grab

  7. la nouvelle se répand: the news spreads

  8. épaisse: dense

 

Chapter Four: Le Pont de L’Épée

 

Lancelot reaches Sword Bridge- a huge sword that spans two sides of the river. On the other side, lions await him. He crawls along on his knees, cutting himself several times before he gets to the other side. Fortunately, the lions have left. The king witnesses Lancelot’s indomitable spirit and urges his son to surrender the queen, but Méléagant refuses. Lancelot demands to fight Méléagant immediately, but the king stalls for time. 

The following day, they fight, but Lancelot, seriously injured, cannot defeat Méléagant. Suddenly, he sees the queen and invigorated, defeats him. Lancelot spares his life and the king announces him victorious. Méléagant, furious, cannot admit defeat and challenges Lancelot to another duel in one year’s time. 

 

  1. coule: flow

  2. renouncer: give up

  3. enlève: take off

  4. souliers: shoes

  5. seller: to saddle

  6. auprès: nearby

  7. soigner: nurse

  8. une foule: a crowd

  9. au milieu: in the middle

  10. fer: iron

  11. s’élancent: dash forward

  12. brisent: break

  13. écus: shields

  14. se retrouvent: find themselves

  15. reculer: turn back

  16. tuer: kill

  17. supplie: beg

  18. fou: mad

  19. serment: vow

  20. décrète: declare

 

Chapter Five: Le disparition de Lancelot

 

Lancelot is celebrated as a hero for defeating Méléagant and freeing the prisoners and queen. They begin the long journey back to Logres. Lancelot and a few others set off alone when the small party come across a dwarf who asks him to follow. Lancelot follows alone, but doesn’t return. The others begin to worry. They give up trying to find him and find Gauvain instead, who is lying unconscious. Gauvain slowly comes round and they return to the castle. They receive a letter and are overjoyed to learn that Lancelot is safe and sound with King Arthur. They reach King Arthur’s court a week later, where they find out that the letter was false and Lancelot has been kidnapped. 

 

  1. joie: joy

  2. plutôt: rather

  3. attrapant: catch

  4. je ferai: I will do

 

 

Chapter Six: Le Tournoi

 

Lancelot is imprisoned in Méléagant’s tower. He hears of a tournament in which the best fighters from all over the world will participate. In protest, he refuses to eat or drink. A woman agrees to free him so he can join in the tournament on the condition that he return. 

Lancelot arrives at the tournament and begins to defeat his opponents one by one. Queen Guenievre catches sight of the mysterious fighter and asks her maid to order him to fight badly. At once, Lancelot begins to lose his battles. The queen is delighted as only Lancelot would publicly humiliate himself for her. Then, she has a young boy tell him to fight well. Lanelot begins to easily defeat every opponent in sight. He wins the tournament, but returns back to the tower as promised. 

 

  1. parmi: among

  2. serment: oath

  3. selon: according to

  4. il frappe: he strikes 

  5. la honte: the shame

  6. bonheur: joy

  7. en selle: in the saddle

 

Chapter Seven: Le retour de Lancelot

 

Méléagant learns of Lancelot’s escape and builds a bigger tower to imprison him in. He then boasts to the king that Lancelot, the best fighter all the kingdoms, is in hiding because he is too afraid to fight him. Gauvain offers to fight on Lancelot’s behalf if he doesn’t show up in two months. The king’s daughter goes to find Lancelot and finds him after one month and nurses him back to health.

Two months pass and Méléagant arrives at Arthur’s court to challenge Lancelot (knowing that he will not be there). Gauvain prepares to fight in his place when Lancelot enters. Lancelot fights Méléagant and kills him by chopping off his head. Nice

 

  1. rivage: shore

  2. fleuves: rivers

  3. Hélas! Alas!

  4. rappelez-vous: remember

  5. accordé: granted

  6. attrape: catch hold of

  7. glisser: to slide

  8. soigner: to nurse

  9. muet: silent

  10. tranche: slice through 

 

Five books! You’ve done it! You’ve completed the last book in the A1 series! Congratulations are in order. Next week, get ready for an A1 DELF exam and a few notes to finish off, including next steps. 

See you there!

 

Geek Corner:

The book, excluding exercises, has roughly 518 lines of text. By reading it ten times, we have read 5180 lines of French. This, plus the previous lines in the challenge, gives us a total count of 22430 lines of text, or almost a quarter of our second goal (100,000 lines of input). Not bad!

 

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*This glossary won’t be extensive as I don’t believe it’s necessary to look up every unknown word. See challenge introduction here.

*This glossary won’t be extensive as I don’t believe it’s necessary to look up every unknown word. See challenge introduction here.

Please share and post your comments below

Here are the books we are using for the challenge.

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Easy French Reader

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Week One

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Week Two

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Week Three

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Week Four

About Me

My name is Neil and I have been teaching English professionally for almost 20 years, the last ten of which at my language school. 

Apart from a diploma in teaching English as a foreign language (Cert Tesol), I have a BA in modern and Classical Chinese. I also speak Spanish, Italian, and French, and read Latin. 

Besides continuing my daily studies of these languages, I have also set myself a language goal of one new language a year. I’m looking forward to starting Japanese or German on the 1st January 2021.

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