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[word-lover] 【整理】2008-07-27 Words and Their Stories

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Now the VOA Special English, Words and Their Stories.

 

Today's word "pan" takes us back to the days of the Gold Rush in California.

 

 On January 24th, 1848, a man named James Villsom Marsh discooverd gold in the territory of California. The news spreaded quickly. Thousands rushed west. They traveled on foot, by horseback and by boat to reach the gold fields.

 

By 1849, the Great Gold Rush was on. Towns and cities grew over night. Through out the territory, in the mountains along the streets and rivers, thousands of people searched for the gold. They had food to eat, and blankets to cover them. They also had mules to ride, picks and pans to search for gold. Some found areas of mountain rocks thick with gold. These men got rich. But such areas were filled and quickly claimed by the first man to find them. Others searched for the gold in the rivers comind down the mountains. They were after pieces of gold that the rains had washed down from above.

 

The only way to find this gold was by penny. First, a gold miner put a dirt in a medal pan and added water. Then he shot the pan so that the water would wash the dirt. Slowly, he poured the water out of the pan. If he was a lucky miner pieces of gold would remain.

 

 Across the nation, newspapers carried the stories of gold being found. One told how thousands of people climbed the mountains looking for gold. Some storied told how others followed the rivers and streams with pans. Each one hoped that the place that he clained panned out well, had some gold. For many, gold mining did not pan out. For a few, it panned out well.

 

But in time, huge machines were built that could wash many tons of dirt at a time, penny died out. The word, however, remained in the language. The day, Americans still say it panned out well when something they have done pleased them. A business, a discovery or a simple event pans out well, if it is successful. Unhappily, sometimes things do not pan out. In recent years, the word “pan” has taken on another meaning. Today, it also means to critise.

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