A Pretzel Is A Little Reward


Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • legend: a story from long ago that may or may not be true
  • monk: a religious leader
  • concentrate: to focus on a task
  • bribe: to offer a reward in exchange for an action
  • leftover: not used or needed
  • tie the knot: to get married

A Pretzel Is A Little Reward

The legend of the pretzel dates back to about 1,400 years ago. There was once an monk who was frustrated with his students. He wanted the children to memorize Bible verses and prayers, but they were concentrating. The monk decided to bribe the young students with snacks. He used leftover bread dough and it into shapes that looked like arms crossed in prayer. The monk baked the snacks and gave them to his students if they worked hard. The snacks were called “pretiola”, meaning little reward in Latin. Other accounts suggest that the shape of the pretzel was meant to look like a knot. The English expression “to tie the knot” may be related to pretzels. The tradition of breaking a pretzel in half and eating it for began in Switzerland in the 1600s.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What is the origin of the word “pretzel”?
  2. According to the legends, what two shapes might a pretzel represent?
  3. What does the expression “to tie the knot” have to do with pretzels?

Discussion Questions: Do you think it is wise to reward or bribe children with food? Why or why not?

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