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Most people know about Spanish bullfighting. Less commonly known is the pastime called "bull-baiting", which is done before the fights, mainly for fun but also to test the character of the bulls. In the incident described below, the Marques, the owner of the bulls, brings some friends and relatives to try out this pastime.

Dona Sol put spurs to her horse, which had been plunging about in terror of the bulls. The Marques wanted to go with her, but she would not let him. No, she would rather have Gallardo, who, after all, was a matador, a professional bullfighter. Gallardo took his place beside her. They galloped together straight towards the herd. Gallardo waved his garrocha, roaring loudly at the bulls. It was easy enough to cut off one animal from the herd. It was a white bull with sharp pointed horns. It galloped to the far end of the enclosure. Dona Sol galloped after it, followed by Gallardo.

"Take care, Senora," Gallardo shouted. "It's an old bull, and may be tricky ! Be careful it doesn't turn on you ?"

This was exactly what happened. As Dona Sol was preparing to make the same stroke as her uncle's, turning her horse at an angle so as to plant the garrocha in the bull's rump, the bull suddenly doubled back and faced its attacker. It started to charge forward !

Dona Sol's horse was rushing on at such a pace that she could not control it, with the bull charging at her -- no longer pursued, but pursuing. Dona Sol had no thought of flight. Thousands of people were watching her ! She had no intention of looking foolish. Anyway, Dona Sol had never in her life believed that she would be the loser in any situation. She reined back her horse and confronted the bull. She drove her garrocha into the neck of the animal s it rushed forward bellowing, with lowered head. A stream of blood reddened the bull's shoulders, but still it rushed forward, till it got its horn under the horse's belly, and lifted it off the ground.

The rider was thrown from her saddle and a cry of horror was heard from the hundreds of onlookers. The horse forced itself from the horns, and galloped away, with its stomach stained with blood. The bull turned to follow it; but at that very moment something nearby attracted its attention. It was Dona Sol, who had got to her feet, picked up her garrocha and was bravely preparing to challenge the bull once more. It was an action of insane courage, but her thoughts were on her audience. Better death, rather than the ridicule of the crowd ! the crowd stood paralyzed in terrified silence.

The bull was already lowering its head to attack the small figure who dared to threaten it. One blow of those horns and all would be over. But, at this moment, a fierce roar distracted the bull's attention and something red passed before its eyes.

It was Gallardo, who had thrown himself of his horse and dropped his garrocha so as to snatch the coat from his saddlebow.

"Eeeh ! Come on !"

The bull came on. It found the crimson coat-lining a worthier adversary than the small figure in purple and black, still standing there.

"Don't be afraid, Dona Sol. I've got him now," said the matador. With no other weapon but his coat, he played the bull, gradually drawing it away from the lady, and avoiding its furious attacks by twisting and turning his body.

The crowd forgot its recent alarm and began to applaud loudly. The matador forgot Dona Sol and everything else, concentrating entirely on defending himself. The infuriated beast, finding that the man had again slipped away unharmed from between its horns, turned and charged again, only to come up against the shield of red cloth. At last, tired out, it stood still on trembling legs, with its head hanging and muzzle covered in foam. Gallardo took advantage of its bewilderment to take off his hat and lay it between the horns.

From paragraph 1 :
  1.

Why did Dona Sol refuse to allow the Marques to go with her ?

   

From paragraph 4 :

  2.

(a) Although the bull was pursuing her, Dona Sol did not run away. Give two reasons why she made this decision.

(b) Give evidence that shows that Dona Sol was successful in stabbing the bull.

(c) What effect did this stabbing have on the bull ?

    From paragraph 5 :
  3.

Find a word in this paragraph which means "unable to move due to being terrified".

    From paragraph 6-9 :
  4.

How was Gallardo able to attract the bull's attention away from Dona Sol ? Give two ways.

    From paragraph 10-11 :
  5.

(a) Quote evidence that shows the bull was tired out from Gallardo's actions.

(b) Explain how Gallardo made the bull tired.

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Answers
 

1.

She preferred Gallardo as he was a matador.

 

2.

(a) Firstly, thousands of people were watching her and she had no intention of looking foolish. Secondly, Dona Sol had never ever believed that she would be the loser in any situation.

(b) "A stream of blood reddened the bull's shoulders"

(c) It had no effect; it still rushed forward.

 

3.

Paralyzed

 

4.

He roared fiercely at it and he waved his red cape at it.

 

5.

(a) " ... it stood still on trembling legs, with its head hanging and muzzle covered in foam"

(b) He made it charge at him again and again

 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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