Grammar Video Lesson: Robin Hood As Direct Object
Little John, staff in one hand and open grammar in the other, made his way one fine morning along the stout log that bridged the Little Tawny. In the middle he met Robin Hood, who also carried a staff--but no grammar. The log (for the purposes of this story) was too narrow to permit Robin Hood and Little John to pass. With two such strong characters, this had all the makings of a situation.
"Give way!" cried Robin Hood. "Retrace thy steps."
"Why?" asked Little John, not unreasonably, looking up from the reading of his grammar and noting Robin's unimpressive size.
"So that a better man may pass. Or," said Robin, always grumpy before breakfast, "because I love thou not."
"Tch, tch," clucked Little John. "Never say thou after a transitive verb. Say thee, man; use the objective."
"And what, prithee, be ye maundering about? Verb I know, but transitive hath a strange and Latin sound. Latin likes me not, except it be in church. Speak plain. Give me the Saxon of it."
"Nay better," answered Little John, his eyes glinting, "I'll show thee. My grammar knocks thy pate." And he took Robin a smart blow o' the head with his book. "Knocks is a transitive verb. That is to say, its action 'transits,' goes over into a receiver; to wit, thy pate. Didst note how thy pate received the action? Pate is called the direct object and is in the objective case, the case of the receiver of the action."
By this time Robin, though dazed, had regained his balance.
"What, man!" continued Little John, noting the dullness of Robin's eyes, "'tis a most unintelligent look thou hast. I give thee another ensamble: The brook cools a hothead." Saying this, he thrust his staff between Robin's shanks and toppled him into the Little Tawny.
"Note," he said as Robin, spluttering, trod water, "note that cools is here a transitive verb. Its action goes over into a receiver; to wit, hothead; to wit, thyself. In a manner of speaking, then, thyself art the receiver in the objective case, and shouldst know all about it. Dost thou take my meaning, sirrah? Speak."
"Ah," sighed Little John, "thou'rt a hopeless dullard, and I waste my time. Peruse this at thy leisure." He flung the grammar, accurately, at Robin's nose and sauntered off, singing "Oh, what a beautiful morrow! Oh, what a beautiful day!"