Windmill in Trouble
About the passage
A. Read to understand
1. Choose the correct options.
a. The name given to Piet’s windmill is a reference to
i. the whooshing sound made by its moving arms.
ii. the speed with which its arms moved in the wind.
iii. the similarity between its arms and the wings of a bird.
b. The function of the dikes is to
i. block the water from the North Sea from entering the land.
ii. scoop up the water from the land and push it into the North Sea.
iii. allow the water from the North Sea to enter little canals and irrigate the land.
c. It was important to pull the brake rope to stop the windmill because there was the possibility that
i. it would get swept away in the storm.
ii. its arms would become locked in the storm.
iii. it would start pumping water into the meadow.
2. Answer these questions.
a. What does the name ‘the Netherlands’ tell us about the country? (Hint: Find out what ‘nether’ means.)
Ans. Nether means lower in position. "Netherlands" literally means "lower countries", influenced by its low land and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above sea level. One-half of the Netherlands lies below sea level — but since medieval times, the Dutch have used a clever and comprehensive system of dikes and levees to keep the country relatively dry.
b. Why are dikes and windmills important to the Dutch?
Ans. Dikes – Dikes block the water from the North Sea from entering the land.
Windmills – As it rains a lot in the Netherlands, so the windmills are used to pump the water out and keep the land dry enough for farming.
c. What special system of communication is described in the passage?
Ans. People in the region have worked out a special way of talking to each other through the windmills. When a windmill’s arms are stopped and put in a particular position, it means that the owner of the mill is resting. When the arms are in another position, it signals that the owner and his family are not at home. There is one position to indicate danger and another to signal that everything is all right.
d. What was the ‘special reason’ that Piet had for watching Groot Vogel?
Ans. The ‘special reason’ that Piet had for watching Groot Vogel was that he was made the in charge of it as his parents were gone to town.
e. What did Piet observe when he looked out of the window after being woken up by the moaning Groot Vogel?
Ans. When he looked out of the window after being woken up by the moaning Groot Vogel, Piet observed that a high wind was blowing from the sea, the trees were bent, the meadow grass lay flat, other windmill were dead still and their arms were locked in the position of danger.
B. Read to infer
1. Why did Piet find it difficult to get hold of the brake rope at first?
Ans. Piet found it difficult to get hold of the brake rope at first because wind blew against him and knocked him down.
2. Piet, through his quick thinking and bravery, saved not only the windmill but also himself. Support this statement.
Ans. Piet could feel the mill was shaking but he did not think much about it. He pushed himself inch by inch along the trembling side of Groot Vogel. He grabbed at brake rope but missed it three times. Then, the wind caused the rope to scrape across his face and he grabbed the rope with both hands and pulled with all his might. Slowly, the huge arms of the windmill came to rest. This way he, through his quick thinking and bravery, saved not only the windmill but also himself.
3. ‘As he waited for them, he felt very big’. Explain this line.
Ans. He felt very big because through his quick thinking and bravery, he saved not only the windmill but also himself.
Look up this web page and read yet another story of a Dutch boy like Piet.
What similarities or differences do you find between this story and the passage you just read? Discuss in class.
(Do it yourself)