Assignment 4: The lighter side of life

This is a reading comprehension and writing assignment. You must read the story below, and understand it. Then you must answer the following questions. Write your answers using full sentences and good grammar. Your submission should be about 1 page long. Submit your assignment to me in the usual way.


  1. Guirec and his chicken, Monique, lived together for four years as they sailed around the world. Monique is now nine years old. Was it unkind to take her on the boat in the ice and snow?

  2. What can you say about Guirec? Was he, brave, foolish, kind, lonely, wrong to try to sail around the world ? What would say to him if you met him. What question would you ask him?

  3. Guirec is free to do what he wants. He has a wife and a baby. Do you think he will be a good husband and a good father to his baby?

  4. Can you describe a crazy adventure that you would you like to go on? You can use your imagination and your answer does not have to be realistic!

Reading: The true story about Guirec and his chicken who sailed around the world.


Guirec is a young man who lives in France. His father gave him a present of a sailing boat. He learned how to sail. He set off to an island near France. He was on his own and was lonely. He thought he should have a friend to sail with him, perhaps a cat or a dog. In the end he saw a chicken. He thought a chicken could give him eggs to eat, so he bought a chicken and named her “Monique”. She was very friendly and very happy to live on the boat. Guirec bought a sack of seeds for Monique to eat and they set off across the Atlantic ocean. He said:

I just had a compass which showed me, North, South, East and West. I kept going North and came to Greenland. We landed and I ‘phoned my father back in France. I bought more chicken food and a gun because as we neared the North Pole we might meet polar bears. We sailed North again as the snow began to fall. We could not turn back and sail home to France. I ‘phoned my father to say how happy I was with Monique. My father said he was very proud of me and hoped we could sail West to Canada.

The very next day a villager sailed out for hours to bring me the news. My father had died of a heart attack. I knew there was no way we could go home. It was just too far to go back to France. I just had to keep going. I had to face my sadness and be strong. I was just telling myself I am not on my own anymore. I have Monique… but Monique is a chicken. It was very hard for me. I wanted to be back home with my family, but it was just not possible.

In the Arctic winter there is no sun for 70 days. We could not sail when ice surrounded the boat. We could not sail on. Monique understood me. I was very happy to have her and to have eggs too. I only had a sack of rice, but because of the ice I could not catch fish. I survived because Monique gave me the eggs and she gave me a lot of love. She gave me 106 eggs in the 130 days we were stuck in the ice. I was told that Monique would be stressed and not give me any more eggs. This was not the case. I think she’s the best chicken in the world. I think she is the happiest chicken in the world too. I built her a small cabin inside the boat and I knitted a warm jumper for her to wear to keep warm. It was her Christmas present. I made a sledge for me, and made a small sledge for her, tied to mine.


When the sun appeared, we were so happy. The ice started to break up but the wind was very strong. The wind was terrible. We were scared when the wind blew us towards icebergs. As I said before, we had 70 days with no sun when it was very dark. We had to break the ice all around the boat every day. We could have given up, but we had to stay happy and strong. We could not give up. We were crying when it looked too hard to survive. But what we did, we did together. She does sound like being more than a chicken. OK, I have to say yes. She is more than just a chicken for me. We stopped at a small village named Pointland. The Canadian coast guards asked me some questions. They asked if I had drugs, guns or animals on the boat. I said no. They said, then we will come aboard and see. They found my gun and Monique. They did not like it. I had lied. They said they would take my boat and I would go to jail. I was put in jail for 6 hours. I said I am not a bad person. They gave me someone on the phone and found out I was just a Frenchman trying to sail around the world. They gave my rifle back saying I might need it because of polar bears if I sailed through the Northwest Passage. They found out I was not a terrorist, just a young man with his pet just wanting to have fun and to discover the world. They were then very nice to me and to Monique. We saw polar bears and one swam alongside the boat, but I never needed to use the gun.

The northwest passage is very terrifying to sail. I was the youngest person ever to navigate it and Monique was the first chicken ever to sail between the Atlantic ocean into the Pacific ocean through the Northwest Passage. Sailing into the northwest passage was quite difficult. The chart (the map) is not very accurate and not many people ever sail that way. On our own we had nobody to help steer the boat. Monique sometimes came to help me steering but she’s not so helpful. We were close to the North Pole. It was very difficult to sleep. I put the boat on to autopilot when I did. Sometimes I had hallucinations thinking there were people on my boat because I didn’t sleep. I was so tired.

Going South along the coast of Canada, we started to feel warmer. We stopped to tell people our story and people gave us money to carry on. We sailed all the way South to Antarctica and from there to Cape Town and then north to the Caribbean and finally back home to France.

We set out to cross the Atlantic but ended up covering 45,000 miles over four years. I mean some marriages don’t last that long and I have spent all this time with Monique. In the beginning we didn’t know so much where we would go, or how much time it will take. We just kept going. We discovered everything we could. All through this journey I was taking photos and posting them on social media. I was getting a huge following of people. They are just delighted with what we’re up to. We saw polar bears, we saw whales, and in the South to Antarctica we saw penguins. I think my best picture is Monique working on the ice next to the boat in Greenland. I can tell when Monique is happy. Just one time she was not very happy. I was in San Francisco and had to leave Monique for a few weeks. She was depressed because she didn’t see me. She was in a bad mood but when I came back she was much better. I told I will show you an island in Brittany in France. I’m sure she does like the island. She likes to be with other chickens on the beach. I have a wife and a baby now. Monique is fine and 9 years old. She is not jealous of the baby and comes into the house when she wants. She is enjoying being retired now.


Guirac Soudée set off at the age of 21.

This story by David Ireson for the school.