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                      > 小學英語 > 小學英語教材 > 希利爾:美國學生文史經典套裝 >  第116課

                      雙語+MP3|美國學生世界歷史49 世界末日






                      The End of the World

                           WHAT would you do if you knew the world was coming to an end next week, or even next year?
                           The people who lived in the tenth century thought the Bible said something that meant that the world was coming to an end in the Year 1000-which was called the millennium from the Latin word meaning a thousand years.
                           Some people were glad that the world was coming to an end. They were so poor and miserable and unhappy here that they were anxious to go to heaven, where everything would be fine and lovely-if they had been good here. They were particularly good and did everything they could to earn a place for themselves in heaven when this old world should end.
                           Others were not so anxious to have the world come to an end. But, they thought, if it were coming to an end so soon, they might as well hurry up and enjoy themselves here while they still had a chance.
                           Well, the Year 1000 came, and nothing happened. At first people simply thought that a mistake had been made in counting the years-that there had not really been one thousand years since Christ's birth. The years went by, and still people waited for the end. They reread their Bibles and thought perhaps it meant a thousand years after Christ's death, instead of his birth. As time went on, without any change, they began to think the end was delayed for some reason they could not explain. It was not for many years after the millennium that most people came at last to realize that the world was not going to stop after all.
                           Every once in a while someone who thinks he knows more than others says the end of the world is not far off, but we may be quite sure that the world will keep on going long after we have all grown up and died and our children have done the same.
                           At this time, when people were looking for the end of the world, there was in the north of Europe a people who did not become Christians until around the year 1000 and cared nothing about what the Bible said as to the end of the world. They belonged to the same family as the Danes who had come to England in the time of Alfred. They were called Norsemen or Vikings. They were bold seafaring men, as hardy and unafraid as the Phoenician sailors of old. Their boats were painted black and had prows carved with figures of sea monsters or dragons. They sailed the northern seas and went farther westward toward the setting sun than any other sailors that we know about had ever gone. They had discovered Iceland and Greenland, and at last under their chief who was named Leif Ericson they reached the shores of America. About the same year that the Christians in Europe were expecting the end of the world-the Year 1000-the Vikings had gone to what some people thought was the end of the world.
                           The Vikings called this new place Vineland or Wineland because they found grapes, from which wine is made, growing there. They told stories called sagas about their voyages to Vineland, and we can still read these stories. In the sagas, Vineland is described as a beautiful country, rich with grass and timber and wild wheat, with abundant animals and fish, and mild in winter. The Vikings met people living there whom we now call Native Americans.
                           We're not sure exactly where these adventurous people went. We know that they reached Newfoundland, Canada and they may have gone as far south as Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The Vikings did not stay for very long in America, although they continued to sail the North Atlantic. We can only wonder if Columbus knew about the Vineland sagas and their stories about the land across the Atlantic, west of Europe.


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