Thursday, February 25, 2010

"The Underground Advenure", from Edcon Publishing.

Anne and Jack were almost too excited to eat breakfast. This was the day they were to explore a cave about forty miles away. They had visited a famous cave last year. Today's expedition would be entirely different, Dad told them. He said that they should be prepared to rough it. Everyone hurried, and soon they were on their way. Near the cave, Dad stopped the car to pick up Jim, the guide he had hired. Jim got into the car, bringing with him special supplies they would need for their expedition.

Because it was summer, the air in the cave would be cooler than the air outside. In winter, the opposite was true. The temperature inside the cave remained almost the same during the entire year. Their state had over a thousand caves. This was one of the smaller ones. It did not attract the number of visitors that the larger ones did.
When they reached the cave, they put on raincoats, hats, and boots in order to remain dry. Jim entered the cave, followed by Dad and the children. Several bats that had been resting inside were disturbed and started flying around. Everyone was startled except the guide. Bats often live in caves, and Jim was used to them.

They walked through several rooms. Then they crawled through a tunnel. It was difficult crawling and carrying things at the same time. The children couldn't help wondering where all this was leading. Jim had purposely not mentioned that this tunnel would connect with the most interesting chamber of the cave.

Before long, they all stood in an enormous room. Jim shone his special light. He explained that this chamber had been formed over thousands of years. Like most caves, it had developed as water dripped through cracks in limestone. As the cracks widened, the rock was washed away. Tunnels, small rooms, and even enormous rooms developed.
Jack asked why there were large, carrot-shaped stones hanging from the ceiling and coming up from the floor. Jim explained that these shapes are often formed in limestone caves. As water drips from the roof, matter is left behind. In some places the drops of water hit the floor, and as the water dries, matter is left behind. From the matter in the water drops, stone pillars start to form. Sometimes their tops and bottoms grow large enough to join together and form a wall.

A small stream flowing through the center of the chamber caught Anne's interest. Jim mentioned that it contained fish. He said that the skins of the fish were white. He added that the fish had eyes, but they were blind. This happened, Jim explained, because a cave did not have enough light for fish to be able to see. After many generations, fish could no longer see even when there was light. Many tunnels branched in all directions from this room, and Jim led the group to one of them. Anne stayed behind a moment, trying to see the fish with her flashlight. She yelled for everyone to wait, but no one heard her. The stream was too noisy. She quickly moved to a tunnel and ran inside to catch up with the others. She chose the wrong tunnel.

When Jack discovered that Anne was not with the group, he turned back to find her. He, too, chose a wrong tunnel, and soon he was lost. Somehow, after an interval of about an hour, Anne and Jack found each other. In some ways they were fortunate. They still had water. Their flashlights still worked. Jack's lunch had disappeared, but Anne still had hers. They did not want to exhaust their water supply and decided to wait as long as possible before having a drink. They did not want to exhaust their flashlight batteries, either, and decided to use only one flashlight. They were too frightened to feel hungry.

Yelling together as loudly as they could, they tried to attract Dad's attention. Both felt relief when they heard an answer. Their relief vanished when they realized it was only an echo they had heard. They walked for hours, searching for a tunnel that would connect with the chamber that had the stream. Jack and Anne were certain they could find their way from there. Finally they found a room that was even larger and more beautiful than the one Jim had shown them. But they were too tired to enjoy its beauty.

First, Jack tried to convince Anne that they would be found. Then, Anne tried to convince Jack that they would be found. They took turns encouraging each other.
Meanwhile, Dad and Jim had left the cave and gone for help. They were joined by many people willing to search for the lost children. After an interval of two days, Anne and Jack were found in the enormous chamber they had discovered. Not even Jim had known about this room.

Television crews anxiously waited near the cave's opening. Anne and Jack had become famous during the time they were lost. The cave became more famous because of the newly discovered area. It began to attract more visitors. And, in honor of its discoverers, the new area became known as the ' 'Anne and Jack Chamber."

1. The temperature inside a cave is ______
a. always colder than the temperature is outside.
b. always warmer than the temperature is outside.
c. always the same as the temperature is outside.
d. about the same in summer and winter.

2. Jim was not startled by bats because ______
a. bats are often found in caves.
b. bats are never found in caves.
c. bats are always found in caves.
d. bats don't eat very much.

3. Stones form on the ceilings and floors of caves because ______
a. it is cold inside caves.
b. it is dark inside caves.
c. matter is left behind by water drops.
d. stones can be found in many places on the earth.

4. The fish found in caves _______
a. do not have eyes.
b. have eyes, but are blind.
c. see very well in the dark.
d. can only see when there is light.

5. Anne didn't stay with the group because ________
a. her shoelace was untied.
b. she was frightened by the bats.
c. she was tired of going through tunnels.
d. she wanted to see the fish.

6. Anne and Jack were fortunate because _______
a. their Dad found them in an hour.
b. they had a good supply of food.
c. they liked to explore caves.
d. they had flashlights, water, and food.

7. When the children yelled, ______
a. they heard an answer.
b. there was only silence.
c. someone answered.
d. they heard an echo.

8.The children got lost because ________
a. they did not stay with the group.
b. the stream made too much noise.
c. their flashlights didn't work.
d. they decided to explore on their own.

9. Another name for this story could be ______
a. "All About Caves."
b. "An Unusual Expedition."
c. "Jim, the Cave Guide."
d. "Forty Miles Underground."

10.This story is mainly about _______
a. two children who got lost.
b. the animals found in a cave.
c. what a cave looks like.
d. some strange fish.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Short Story: "Doctor Heidegger's Experiment" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

"The Fountain of Youth"


Now, the VOA Special English program, AMERICAN STORIES.


We present the short story "Doctor Heidegger's Experiment" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Here is Barbara Klein with the story.



That very unusual man, old Doctor Heidegger, once invited four friends to meet him in his office. There were three white-bearded gentlemen, Mister Medbourne, Colonel Killigrew, and Mister Gascoigne. And, there was a thin old lady whose husband had died, so she was called the Widow Wycherly.

They were all sad old creatures who had been unfortunate in life. As a young man, Mister Medbourne had lost all his money in a badly planned business deal. Colonel Killigrew had wasted his best years and health enjoying the pleasures of women and drink. Mister Gascoigne was a ruined politician with an evil past.

As for the Widow Wycherly, tradition tells us that she was once a great beauty. But shocking stories about her past had led the people of the town to reject her. So, she lived very much alone.

It is worth stating that each of these three men were early lovers of the Widow Wycherly. And they had once been on the point of killing each other over her.

"My dear old friends," said Doctor Heidegger, "I would like your help in one of my little experiments." He motioned for them to sit down.


Doctor Heidegger's office was a very strange place. The dark room was filled with books, cobwebs, and dust. An old mirror hanging between two bookcases was said to show the ghosts of all the doctor's dead patients.

On another wall hung a painting of the young woman Doctor Heidegger was to have married long ago. But she died the night before their wedding after drinking one of the doctor's medicines. The most mysterious object in the room was a large book covered in black leather. It was said to be a book of magic.

On the summer afternoon of our story, a black table stood in the middle of the room. On it was a beautiful cut-glass vase. Four glasses were also on the table.

Doctor Heidegger was known for his unusual experiments. But his four guests did not expect anything very interesting.

The doctor picked up his black leather book of magic. From its pages he removed a dried-up old rose.

"This rose," said the doctor, "was given to me fifty-five years ago by Sylvia Ward, whose painting hangs on this wall. I was to wear it at our wedding. Would you think it possible that this ancient rose could ever bloom again?"

"Nonsense!" said the Widow Wycherly with a toss of her head. "You might as well ask if an old woman's lined face could ever bloom again."

"See!" answered Doctor Heidegger.

He reached for the vase and threw the dried rose into the water it contained. Soon, a change began to appear. The crushed and dried petals moved and slowly turned from brown to red. And there was the rose of half a century looking as fresh as when Sylvia Ward had first given it to her lover.

"That is a very pretty trick," said the doctor's friends. "What is the secret?"

"Did you ever hear of the Fountain of Youth?" asked Doctor Heidegger. "The Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon went in search of it centuries ago. But he was not looking in the right place. If I am rightly informed, the famous Fountain of Youth is in southern Florida. A friend of mine has sent me the water you see in the vase."


The doctor filled the four glasses with water from the Fountain of Youth. The liquid produced little bubbles that rose up to the silvery surface. The old guests agreed to drink the water, although they did not believe in its power.

"Before you drink, my friends," the doctor said, "you should draw up a few general rules as guidance before you pass a second time through the dangers of youth. You have had a lifetime of experience to direct you. Think what a shame it would be if the wisdom of your experiences did not act as a guide and teacher."

The doctor's four friends answered him with a laugh. The idea that they would ever repeat the mistakes of their youth was very funny.

"Drink, then," said the doctor. "I am happy that I have so well chosen the subjects of my experiment."

They raised the glasses to their lips. If the liquid really was magical, it could not have been given to four human beings who needed it more. They seemed as though they had never known youth or pleasure. They looked like they had always been the weak, unhappy creatures who were bent over the doctor's table.

They drank the water.

There was an almost immediate improvement among the guests. A cheerful glow like sunshine brightened their faces. They looked at one another imagining that some magic power had really started to smooth the lines on their faces.

"Quick! Give us more of this wondrous water!" they cried. "We are younger, but we are still too old!"

"Patience!" said Doctor Heidegger who watched the experiment with scientific coolness. "You have been a long time growing old. Surely you could wait half an hour to grow young!"

Again he filled their glasses. The four guests drank the liquid in one swallow. As the liquid passed down their throats it seemed to change their whole systems. Their eyes grew clear and bright. Their hair turned from silver to darker shades.

"My dear widow, you are lovely!" cried Colonel Killigrew, who watched as the signs of age disappeared from her face.

The widow ran to the mirror.

The three men started to behave in such a way that proved the magic of the Fountain of Youth's water.

Mister Gascoigne's mind turned to political topics. He talked about nationalism and the rights of the people. He also told secrets softly to himself.

All this time Colonel Killigrew had been shouting out happy drinking songs while his eyes turned towards the curvy body of the Widow Wycherly.

Mister Medbourne was adding dollars and cents to pay for a proposed project. It would supply the East Indies with ice by linking a team of whales to the polar icebergs.

As for the Widow Wycherly, she stood in front of the mirror greeting her image as a friend she loved better than anything in the world.

"My dear old doctor," she cried, "please give me another glass!"

The doctor had already filled the glasses again. It was now near sunset and the room was darker than ever. But a moon-like light shined from within the vase. The doctor sat in his chair watching. As the four guests drank their third glass of water, they were silenced by the expression on the doctor's mysterious face.

The next moment, the exciting rush of young life shot through their blood. They were now at the happy height of youth. The endless cares, sadness, and diseases of age were remembered only as a troubled dream from which they had awoken.

"We are young!" they cried.

The guests were a group of happy youngsters almost crazy with energy. They laughed at the old-fashioned clothing they wore. They shouted happily and jumped around the room.

The Widow Wycherly - if such a young lady could be called a widow - ran to the doctor's chair and asked him to dance.

"Please excuse me," answered the doctor quietly. "My dancing days were over long ago. But these three young men would be happy to have such a lovely partner."

The men began to argue violently about who would dance with her. They gathered around the widow, each grabbing for her.

Yet, by a strange trick owing to the darkness of the room, the tall mirror is said to have reflected the forms of three old, gray men competing for a faded, old woman.

As the three fought for the woman's favor, they reached violently for each other's throats. In their struggle, they turned over the table. The vase broke into a thousand pieces. The Water of Youth flowed in a bright stream across the floor.

The guests stood still. A strange coldness was slowly stealing over them all. They looked at Doctor Heidegger who was holding his treasured rose. The flower was fading and drying up once more.

The guests looked at each other and saw their looks changing back. "Are we grown old again so soon?" they cried.

In truth they had. The Water of Youth had powers that were only temporary.

"Yes, friends, you are old again," the doctor said. "And the Water of Youth lies wasted on the ground. But even if it flowed in a river at my door, I still would not drink it. This is the lesson you have taught me!"

But the doctor's four friends had learned no such lesson. They decided at that moment to travel to Florida and drink morning, noon, and night from the Fountain of Youth.



You have heard the American Story "Doctor Heidegger's Experiment" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Your storyteller was Barbara Klein. This story was adapted into Special English and produced by Dana Demange. Listen again next week for another American Story in VOA Special English.

1. Doctor Heidegger had water from __________

a. a large lake.
b. the fountain of youth.
c. the Mississippi River.
d. the Atlantic ocean.

2. All four of the people in the experiment had led __________ lives

a. unfortunate
b. wealthy
c. eventful
d. satisfying

3. Sylvia Ward was the doctor's __________

a. sister.
b. aunt.
c. fiancee.
d. widow.

4. The magic water made the guests young again for __________

a. many years.
b. a few minutes.
c. two weeks.
d. an entire summer.

5. The full effect of the magic water occurred after the guests drank __________

a. several glasses.
b. only one glass.
c. the entire fountain.
d. only a tiny sip.

6. When the three men were young again, they became __________ each other

a. friendly with
b. violent with
c. afraid of
d. very interested in

7. The idea that they might repeat the same mistakes again made them __________

a. unhappy.
b. crazy.
c. laugh.
d. desperate.

8. When the Widow Wycherly became young again, she was most impressed by her __________

a. sharp intellect.
b. handsome ex lovers.
c. own curvaceous body.
d. her ability to dance.

9. Another name for this story could be __________

a. "The Happy Youngsters"
b. "The Strange Experiment"
c. "The Mad Doctor"
d. "The Fountain of Youth"

10. This story's message is that, if some people could live their lives over again, they would __________

a. change their ways.
b. repeat their mistakes.
c. do things differently.
d. find the love of their dreams.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Voice of America explores the history and industry of chocolate.

"Chocolate Has a History as Rich as Its Taste."


I'm Bob Doughty.


And I'm Shirley Griffith with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today we travel around the world exploring the history of chocolate. Its story begins with a plant whose scientific name, Theobroma cacao, means "food of the gods." For centuries, people have been enjoying the rich flavor of chocolate, a product made from this plant.

Join us as we tell about the history of chocolate and how it is produced. We will also meet Jane Morris, a chocolate maker in Washington, DC.



Cacao fruit with the seeds inside
Most people today think of chocolate as something sweet to eat or drink than can be easily found in stores around the world. It might surprise you that chocolate was once highly treasured.


Historians believe the Maya people of Central America first learned to farm cacao plants around two thousand years ago. The Maya took the cacao trees from the rainforests and grew them in their gardens. They cooked the cacao seeds, then crushed them into a soft paste. They mixed the paste with water and flavorful spices to make an unsweetened chocolate drink. The Maya poured the chocolate drink back and forth between two containers so that the liquid had a layer of bubbles, or foam.

Cacao and chocolate were an important part of Maya culture. There are often images of cacao plants on Maya buildings and art objects. Ruling families drank chocolate at special ceremonies. And, even poorer members of society could enjoy the drink once in a while. Historians believe that cacao seeds were also used in marriage ceremonies as a sign of the union between a husband and wife.

Aztecs making chocolate as part of a religious ceremony
The Aztec culture in current day Mexico also prized chocolate. But, the cacao plant could not grow in the area where the Aztecs lived. So, they traded to get cacao. They even used cacao seeds as a form of money to pay taxes or give as holy offerings to the gods.

Only the very wealthy people in Aztec societies could afford to drink chocolate because cacao was so valuable. The Aztec ruler Montezuma was believed to drink fifty cups of chocolate every day.

Some experts believe the word for chocolate came from the Aztec word "xocolatl" which in the Nahuatl language means "bitter water." Others believe the word "chocolate" was created by combining Mayan and Nahuatl words.


Hernando Cortes
The explorer Christopher Columbus brought cacao seeds to Spain after his trip to Central America in fifteen oh two. But it was the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes who understood that chocolate could be a valuable investment. In fifteen nineteen, Cortes arrived in current day Mexico. He believed the chocolate drink would become popular with Spaniards. After the Spanish soldiers defeated the Aztec empire, they were able to seize the supplies of cacao and send them home. Spain later began planting cacao in its colonies in the Americas in order to supply the large demand for chocolate.

The wealthy people of Spain first enjoyed a sweetened version of the chocolate drink. Later, the popularity of the drink spread throughout Europe. The English, Dutch and French began to plant cacao trees in their own colonies. Chocolate remained a drink that only wealthy people could afford to drink until the eighteenth century. During the period known as the Industrial Revolution, new technologies helped make chocolate less costly to produce.



Farmers grow cacao trees in many countries in Africa, Central and South America. The trees grow in the shady areas of rainforests near the Earth's equator. But these trees can be difficult to grow.

They require an exact amount of water, warmth, soil and protection. After about five years, cacao trees start producing large fruits called pods, which grow near the trunk of the tree. The seeds inside this pod are harvested to make chocolate.

There are several kinds of cacao trees. Most of the world's chocolate is made from the forastero tree. But farmers can also grow criollo or trinitario cacao plants. Cacao trees grown on farms are much more easily threatened by disease and insects than wild trees are.

Growing cacao is very hard work for farmers. They sell their harvest on a futures market. This means that economic conditions beyond their control can affect the amount of money they will earn.

Today, chocolate industry officials, activists, and scientists are working with farmers. They are trying to make sure that cacao can be grown in a way that is fair to the farmers and safe for the environment.


To become chocolate, cacao seeds go through a long production process in a factory. Workers must sort, clean and cook the seeds. Then they break off the covering of the seeds so that only the inside fruit, or nibs, remain. Workers crush the nibs into a soft substance called chocolate liquor. This gets separated into cocoa solids and a fat called cocoa butter.

Chocolate makers have their own special recipes in which they combine chocolate liquor with exact amounts of sugar, milk and cocoa fat. They finely crush this "crumb" mixture so it is smooth. The mixture then goes through two more processes before it is shaped into a mold form.


Chocolate making is a big business. The market value of the yearly cacao crop around the world is more than five billion dollars. Chocolate is especially popular in Europe and the United States. For example, in two thousand five, the United States bought one point four billion dollars worth of cocoa products. Each year, Americans eat an average of more than five kilograms of chocolate per person. Specialty shops that sell costly chocolates are also very popular. Many offer chocolate lovers the chance to taste chocolates grown in different areas of the world.
Cadbury workers in London protest the takeover by Kraft.
The British company Cadbury has been selling chocolate products for over one hundred eighty years. It has been in the news over the past months during a disputed takeover negotiation with the American company Kraft Foods.

This month, a majority of Cadbury shareholders approved a purchase agreement by Kraft worth about nineteen billion dollars. Under the deal, Kraft will become one of the largest candy makers in the world.

But many people in Britain have fiercely protested the takeover by an American company. For many Britons, Cadbury's products, such as Crème Eggs and Dairy Milk bars, represent a treasured part of British history and food culture.



Jane Morris is a chocolate maker in Washington D.C. She owns the company J Chocolatier. Here is her opinion on why people like chocolate so much:

JANE MORRIS: "Well, scientists tell us that we all love chocolate because there's a chemical response that takes place in our brains. But I like to think that people love chocolate because everybody has an experience that they can relate to eating chocolate, and usually it's a good one. It's a memory from childhood or it's eating something that you know you weren't supposed to, but you did it anyway and really enjoyed it. And chocolate marries well with almost any ingredient from any corner of the globe. It really is a perfect food."


Examples of Jane Morris’ chocolate creations
Jane Morris can give you an entire lesson on different kinds of chocolate. She can give you a taste of a blended chocolate that contains cacao from around the world. Or, she can let you try a "single origin" chocolate grown in only one area of the world.

For example, one fine chocolate made with cacao grown in Madagascar has a very interesting sour taste. While another chocolate grown in Venezuela has a very different taste.

JANE MORRIS: "Some people tell me when they taste this chocolate from El Rey that they can taste what they imagine the rainforest would smell like."

Miz Morris uses these chocolates to make her own unusual creations.

JANE MORRIS: "Sometimes I look for inspiration in professional books. That's always a good starting place. Then I also think about what I eat and what flavors work well together."

Her most popular chocolate is called Montezuma.

JANE MORRIS: "People love this. It's a chocolate with chipotle spice and Vietnamese cinnamon."

You may think it is just a normal chocolate until you begin to taste the deep and rich heat of these special spices.


For another chocolate creation, she uses Earl Grey Tea to give it a flavor of the bergamot fruit. And, these chocolates are as nice to look at as they are to eat.

Jane Morris sells her chocolates in a shop in the Georgetown area of Washington. She also sells them in local wine, candy and gift stores. Jane says she does not use any preservative chemicals in her products, so they only last about two or three weeks. But, she says she believes this is the way chocolate should be eaten.

We asked her if there was anything she wanted to tell Special English listeners. It might not surprise you she suggested that everyone should eat chocolate!



This program was written and produced by Dana Demange. I'm Bob Doughty.


And I'm Shirley Griffith. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, Join us again next week for EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tombstone, Arizona: 'The Town Too Tough to Die.' From Voice of America


Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Bob Doughty.


And I'm Barbara Klein. The United States has thousands of "ghost towns." These are communities that once were successful but all the population moved to other places. Today on our program, we visit a town in the western state of Arizona that was saved from being a ghost town by a violent history. It is called Tombstone.



Ed Schieffelin in Tombstone in 1880

The town that is now Tombstone, Arizona was first a mining camp. Silver miner Ed Schieffelin named the town. In eighteen seventy-seven, Mister Schieffelin was searching for silver in the Arizona territory. The area at the time was extremely dangerous. Apache Indians considered it to be their land and were all too ready to fight for it.

Ed Schieffelin used the army's Camp Huachuca as a base for his search for silver. The soldiers there once asked him why he went out into Apache country every day. He answered: "To collect rocks." One soldier then told him: "You keep fooling around out there amongst them Apaches and the only rock you'll find will be your tombstone!" A tombstone is the stone that marks a person's grave in a large burial place.

One day not long after, Ed Schieffelin finally did discover valuable silver ore in the area. He decided to call his claim "Tombstone" because of the soldier's warning. Soon, people heard about his silver discovery and arrived in the area. Others found more silver and established other mines. And they used the name Tombstone for the town they built nearby.


The area around Tombstone became well known for its silver mines. And more people came to the town. Some were settlers, storekeepers and miners. But others were looking for easy money. These were gamblers and thieves who drank too much alcohol and settled their disagreements with their guns.

By the end of eighteen eighty-one, the town of Tombstone had a population of more than five thousand. It also had five local newspapers, at least two theaters, a courthouse, hotels and many local drinking places. And a gunfight had already taken place that would forever include Tombstone among the famous stories told about the American Wild West.


Gunfight at The OK Corral.

That was called "The Gunfight at the OK Corral".



The famous gunfight took place on October twenty-sixth, eighteen eighty-one between the town's top lawman, or marshal, and his deputies on one side and an outlaw group called the Cowboys on the other.

Stories from people who saw the fight led to newspaper reports, more stories, books and later movies and television shows. Not all these stories are exactly true. For example, the gunfight did not really take place in the OK Corral, but near it in a field just off a main street in town. Here is one generally accepted story.


Wyatt Earp

The town marshal in Tombstone was Virgil Earp. His brothers, Wyatt and Morgan, also lived in the town. In fact, Wyatt was deputy city marshal, and Morgan had been named a special policeman. The Earps had a long-standing dispute with the Cowboys. They had tried to arrest group members in the past for crimes such as robbery and murder. Members of the group included Billy Claiborne, Ike Clanton, Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury.

On the day of the famous fight, those men were gathered near the OK Corral, an enclosed area used to keep horses and other animals. They were armed, in violation of a town ban against carrying guns. They were also drinking alcohol and threatening to kill the Earp brothers.

Virgil Earp decided that it was his duty to disarm them. His two brothers and a friend, the gunfighter Doc Holliday, went along to help. The four walked down the street toward the corral. Virgil Earp told the cowboys to surrender their weapons. Billy Claiborne ran away. And the fight began.


It did not last long. Historians say thirty-two shots were fired in the space of about twenty-three seconds. No one really knows who fired first. But Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton died of gunshot wounds. Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday were wounded but survived. Only Ike Clanton and Wyatt Earp were not hurt.

A nineteen ninety-three movie called "Tombstone" is one of the most recent attempts to tell this story. Listen to its recreation of the famous fight. Sam Elliott is Virgil, Kurt Russell is Wyatt and Stephen Lang plays Ike Clanton.

(SOUND - "Tombstone")

Virgil: "We're here to disarm you. Throw up your hands."

Virgil: "Hold it. It's not what I want."

Wyatt: "Oh…my….God."

Ike: "Please…please!!! Stop! No! No! Don't shoot. I got no gun. Please. Don't shoot me. I got no gun!"

Wyatt: "Ike…get to fightin' or get away."


The Earps and Doc Holliday were arrested for murder and tried in the courthouse. A judge decided they had acted within the law. Wyatt Earp spoke in his own defense at the trial. Here is part of the local newspaper's report of what he said:


"…I believed then, and I believe now…that these men…had formed a conspiracy to murder my brothers Morgan and Virgil and Doc Holliday and myself. I believe I would have been legally and morally justified in shooting any of them on sight, but I did not do so or attempt to do so; I sought no advantage. When I went as deputy marshal to help disarm and arrest them, I went as part of my duty and under the direction of my brother, the marshal.

I did not intend to fight unless it became necessary in self-defense and in the performance of official duty. When Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury drew their pistols I knew it was a fight for life, and I drew and fired in defense of my own life and the lives of my brothers and Doc Holliday."


Doc Holliday
Some people still dispute this. They say the Earps and Doc Holliday did not fire in self-defense, but used the law as an excuse for murder. Experts say one of the reasons the gunfight is so interesting to many people is that no one knows who shot first or why. But we do know that the violence between the Earps and the Cowboys did not end at the OK Corral.

Two more attempts to kill the Earp brothers took place after the famous fight. The first injured Virgil; the second killed Morgan. Wyatt, Doc Holliday and others decided to hunt down and kill those members of the Cowboys they felt were responsible.


Today, the gunfight at the OK Corral brings visitors from all over the world to the small town of Tombstone. The latest information from the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce says the town has a population of about one thousand five hundred people. But it welcomes between one hundred thousand and four hundred thousand visitors each year.

Every day at the OK Corral, actors recreate the famous gunfight. But other gunfighters are remembered in Tombstone, too. An outdoor restaurant called "Six Gun City" recreates some of the other real gunfights that took place in Tombstone.

For example, one recreation plays out the gunfight that killed Billy Claiborne, a member of the Cowboys gang who ran from the OK Corral. He was killed by gunfighter Frank Leslie on the main street in Tombstone. In fact, a marker near the spot tells what happened. It says:"Buckskin Frank Leslie killed Billy Claiborne here on November fourteenth, eighteen-eighty-two."


A tombstone on "Boot Hill"

Gunfighters and others who died in those early Tombstone years are buried in the local graveyard, "Boot Hill." It was named "Boot Hill" because many of those buried there died violently, or, as the saying goes, "with their boots on." Burials there ended after eighteen eighty-four, but the cemetery was restored in the nineteen thirties. Only a few headstones survive, but small metal signs mark the graves. Many simply say "unknown," but others include short sayings. One that has been repeated many times says: "Here Lies Lester Moore, Four Slugs from a Forty-Four, No Les, No More."


People from all over the world visit Tombstone to experience a small part of the old American West. They want to imagine what it would have been like to live in a place like Tombstone. It does not really matter if all the old stories are true or not. The people of Tombstone are only too happy to welcome them to a place known as "The town too tough to die."



Our program was written by Nancy Steinbach and produced by Caty Weaver. Doug Johnson was our reader. I'm Barbara Klein.


And I'm Bob Doughty. Join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.


1. The town of Tombstone is located in _____________________.
a: Georgia 
b: New Mexico
c: Arizona
d: Mexico
2. Tombstone is located in territory formerly claimed by_______________.
a: Arapaho Indians
b: Apache Indians
c: the Mormon Church
d: the Catholic Church
3.The founder of the town was searching for __________________ .
a: buried treasure
b: gold
c: silver
d: Shangri-La
4. In mining towns like Tombstone, there were a lot of ________________ .
a: guns 
b: disco parties
c: radio stations
d: amusement parks
5. What happened at, or near, the O.K Corral? ____________________.
a: Ed Schiefflien discovered silver 
b: Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holiday had a gunfight with the Cowboys gang.
c: The town built a modern cemetery
d: A famous pizza restaurant opened
6. Tombstone’s Boot Hill ____________________________.
a: is a poor part of town where Italian immigrants live 
b: is home to the North American shoe factory and retail outlet stores of both Kenneth Cole and Ferragamo
c: is a cemetery where many gunshot victims are buried
d: is made of silver
7. Buckskin Frank Leslie ____________________.
a: killed one of the Claiborne brothers
b: was killed by one of the Claiborne brothers
c: killed 1,000 buffalo in one afternoon
d: owns a restaurant named Six Gun City
8. Silver was originally discovered in Tombstone, Arizona ________________.
a:  in the late nineteenth century
b: by Ponce de Leon
c: in the late twentieth century
d: by Junious Tombstone
9. Not included among the reasons for violence in Tombstone is ___________
a: an absence of established law
b: lots of easy money
c: a lot of gamblers, thieves, and other dubious characters
d: the town church
10. Tombstone is known as a town __________________________ .
a: where everybody knows your name
b: where you can raise your children
c: where there is no pity
d: that's too mean to die

11. "A long-standing dispute" means __________________________________ .
a: a disagreement that has existed for a long time
b: a battle where fighters stand up for a long time
c: an argument where neither fighter is willing to make the first move
d: the kind of argument where neither fighter dies

Bodie, California: A wordless video essay with eerie music about this California ghost town near the border with Nevada.

Read about Bodie, California in Wikipedia.

Map of Bodie, California:

View Larger Map