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Read and Understand Stories from Other Cultures: 'The Merchant's Purse'

In this worksheet, students read the tale of 'The Merchant's Purse' and answer questions based on the story.

'Read and Understand Stories from Other Cultures: 'The Merchant's Purse'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:  Increase Range of Texts

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

This is an old Jewish tale. Read it and then answer the questions. Remember that you can look back at the story as often as you like by clicking the Help button.

 

 

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The Merchant's Purse

One day, a poor beggar named Buki found a leather purse that someone had dropped in the market place. A group of four ragged children formed a circle round him to see what was inside. Opening it, Buki discovered that it contained a hundred agorots, which gleamed and twinkled in the sunlight. Buki's heart raced. 'I will never go hungry again!' he thought. Then his conscience started to disturb him, like a little shadow. 'What if another unfortunate person has to go hungry?' Buki asked himself.

 

At that moment, he heard a wealthy merchant shout, 'My leather purse is lost! A reward to the person who brings it to me!'

 

Buki knew that the merchant was not poor. However, with the ragged children following him, he went to the merchant and handed the purse to him saying, 'Here is your purse.' The merchant took it and hurried on his way. Buki followed him and, when they were close to the Synagogue, Buki said, 'May I have my reward now?'

 

"Reward?" scoffed the merchant, greedily counting his agarots. "Don’t trouble me now, for I am a holy man and I am on my way to pray in the Synagogue. So Buki went to the entrance of the Synagogue and the children wandered off. Buki waited on the steps outside until the merchant came out.

 

'Now may I have my reward please, Sir?' Buki asked.

 

'Reward?' scoffed the merchant. 'Why, the purse I dropped had two hundred agorots in it. You've already stolen more than the reward! Go away or I'll have you thrown into prison.'

 

'I'm an honest man,' said Buki defiantly. 'Let us take this matter to the court.'

 

So Buki arrived in court, bringing the four ragged children who had seen him opening the purse. 'I have brought some witnesses,' he said. The court judge patiently listened to both sides of the story. He asked the children how much money Buki had found in the purse.

 

'A hundred agorots, Sir,' said the ragged children.

 

The judge thought hard. Then he said, 'Justice must be done! Merchant, you stated that the purse you lost contained two hundred agarots. That, indeed, is a considerable loss.'

 

'Indeed it is, Your Honour,' said the merchant, with a bow.

 

'But,' said the judge, 'the purse this beggar found had only hundred agorots in it. Therefore, it cannot be the one you lost.' And, with that, the judge gave the purse and all the coins to the beggar. Buki gave some coins to each of the children, then went cheerfully on his way.

 

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Why was Buki excited when he found the purse?

He knew there would be a reward.

He could use the money to buy food.

He wanted to buy himself new clothes with the money.

Why did his conscience start to bother him?

He thought he might be sent to prison.

He thought he had been seen picking up the purse.

He thought that the purse might belong to another poor person who would go hungry without the money.

What reason did the merchant give for not giving Buki his reward?

He pretended that he was poor himself.

He said that he never promised a reward.

He said that Buki had already taken some money out of the purse.

How did the merchant try to frighten Buki into going away?

He said he would have him thrown into prison.

He said he would hurt him.

He said that Buki could have the reward if he came back later.

What did the judge decide to do?

He shared the money between Buki and the merchant.

He gave the money to Buki.

He gave the money to the merchant.

Why did the judge decide that Buki should have the purse?

He knew that the merchant had enough money already.

He knew that the merchant was lying about the amount of money in the purse.

He thought that it was a different purse from the one the merchant lost.

What did Buki do with the money?

He kept it all.

He gave it all away.

He gave some to the children and kept the rest.

Match up the following words from the story with their meanings.

Column A

Column B

wealthy
rich
unfortunate
great
considerable
unlucky
scoffed
mocked

The four ragged children were witnesses in the story. What does the word witness mean?

a friend of the main character

someone who sees something happen

someone who asks for money to help another person

The judge said, 'Justice must be done'. Which of the words in the list is closest in meaning to the word justice?

reward

fairness

punishment

anger

  • Question 1

Why was Buki excited when he found the purse?

CORRECT ANSWER
He could use the money to buy food.
  • Question 2

Why did his conscience start to bother him?

CORRECT ANSWER
He thought that the purse might belong to another poor person who would go hungry without the money.
  • Question 3

What reason did the merchant give for not giving Buki his reward?

CORRECT ANSWER
He said that Buki had already taken some money out of the purse.
  • Question 4

How did the merchant try to frighten Buki into going away?

CORRECT ANSWER
He said he would have him thrown into prison.
  • Question 5

What did the judge decide to do?

CORRECT ANSWER
He gave the money to Buki.
  • Question 6

Why did the judge decide that Buki should have the purse?

CORRECT ANSWER
He knew that the merchant was lying about the amount of money in the purse.
EDDIE SAYS
Although the judge said to the merchant that it must be a different purse, he knew really that it was the merchant's purse but that the merchant was lying about the amount of money in it.
  • Question 7

What did Buki do with the money?

CORRECT ANSWER
He gave some to the children and kept the rest.
  • Question 8

Match up the following words from the story with their meanings.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

wealthy
rich
unfortunate
unlucky
considerable
great
scoffed
mocked
  • Question 9

The four ragged children were witnesses in the story. What does the word witness mean?

CORRECT ANSWER
someone who sees something happen
  • Question 10

The judge said, 'Justice must be done'. Which of the words in the list is closest in meaning to the word justice?

CORRECT ANSWER
fairness
---- OR ----

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