Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare I by Edith Nesbit Stories from Shakespeare I by Edith Nesbit    

Lesson 9: As You Like It

Performer: Librivox - Charlene V. Smith

There was once a wicked Duke named Frederick, who took the dukedom that should have belonged to his brother, sending him into exile. His brother went into the Forest of Arden, where he lived the life of a bold forester, as Robin Hood did in Sherwood Forest in merry England.

The banished Duke's daughter, Rosalind, remained with Celia, Frederick's daughter, and the two loved each other more than most sisters. One day there was a wrestling match at Court, and Rosalind and Celia went to see it. Charles, a celebrated wrestler, was there, who had killed many men in contests of this kind. Orlando, the young man he was to wrestle with, was so slender and youthful, that Rosalind and Celia thought he would surely be killed, as others had been; so they spoke to him, and asked him not to attempt so dangerous an adventure; but the only effect of their words was to make him wish more to come off well in the encounter, so as to win praise from such sweet ladies.

Orlando, like Rosalind's father, was being kept out of his inheritance by his brother, and was so sad at his brother's unkindness that, until he saw Rosalind, he did not care much whether he lived or died. But now the sight of the fair Rosalind gave him strength and courage, so that he did marvelously, and at last, threw Charles to such a tune, that the wrestler had to be carried off the ground. Duke Frederick was pleased with his courage, and asked his name.

"My name is Orlando, and I am the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys," said the young man.

Now Sir Rowland de Boys, when he was alive, had been a good friend to the banished Duke, so that Frederick heard with regret whose son Orlando was, and would not befriend him. But Rosalind was delighted to hear that this handsome young stranger was the son of her father's old friend, and as they were going away, she turned back more than once to say another kind word to the brave young man.

"Gentleman," she said, giving him a chain from her neck, "wear this for me. I could give more, but that my hand lacks means."

Rosalind and Celia, when they were alone, began to talk about the handsome wrestler, and Rosalind confessed that she loved him at first sight.

"Come, come," said Celia, "wrestle with thy affections."

"Oh," answered Rosalind, "they take the part of a better wrestler than myself. Look, here comes the Duke."

"With his eyes full of anger," said Celia.

"You must leave the Court at once," he said to Rosalind. "Why?" she asked.

"Never mind why," answered the Duke, "you are banished. If within ten days you are found within twenty miles of my Court, you die."

So Rosalind set out to seek her father, the banished Duke, in the Forest of Arden. Celia loved her too much to let her go alone, and as it was rather a dangerous journey, Rosalind, being the taller, dressed up as a young countryman, and her cousin as a country girl, and Rosalind said that she would be called Ganymede, and Celia, Aliena. They were very tired when at last they came to the Forest of Arden, and as they were sitting on the grass a countryman passed that way, and Ganymede asked him if he could get them food. He did so, and told them that a shepherd's flocks and house were to be sold. They bought these and settled down as shepherd and shepherdess in the forest.

In the meantime, Oliver having sought to take his brother Orlando's life, Orlando also wandered into the forest, and there met with the rightful Duke, and being kindly received, stayed with him. Now, Orlando could think of nothing but Rosalind, and he went about the forest carving her name on trees, and writing love sonnets and hanging them on the bushes, and there Rosalind and Celia found them. One day Orlando met them, but he did not know Rosalind in her boy's clothes, though he liked the pretty shepherd youth, because he fancied a likeness in him to her he loved.
'The Mock Marriage of Orlando and Rosalind' by Walter Deverell

"There is a foolish lover," said Rosalind, "who haunts these woods and hangs sonnets on the trees. If I could find him, I would soon cure him of his folly."

Orlando confessed that he was the foolish lover, and Rosalind said--"If you will come and see me every day, I will pretend to be Rosalind, and I will take her part, and be wayward and contrary, as is the way of women, till I make you ashamed of your folly in loving her."

And so every day he went to her house, and took a pleasure in saying to her all the pretty things he would have said to Rosalind; and she had the fine and secret joy of knowing that all his love-words came to the right ears. Thus many days passed pleasantly away.

One morning, as Orlando was going to visit Ganymede, he saw a man asleep on the ground, and that there was a lioness crouching near, waiting for the man who was asleep to wake: for they say that lions will not prey on anything that is dead or sleeping. Then Orlando looked at the man, and saw that it was his wicked brother, Oliver, who had tried to take his life. He fought with the lioness and killed her, and saved his brother's life.

While Orlando was fighting the lioness, Oliver woke to see his brother, whom he had treated so badly, saving him from a wild beast at the risk of his own life. This made him repent of his wickedness, and he begged Orlando's pardon, and from thenceforth they were dear brothers. The lioness had wounded Orlando's arm so much, that he could not go on to see the shepherd, so he sent his brother to ask Ganymede to come to him.

Oliver went and told the whole story to Ganymede and Aliena, and Aliena was so charmed with his manly way of confessing his faults, that she fell in love with him at once. But when Ganymede heard of the danger Orlando had been in she fainted; and when she came to herself, said truly enough, "I should have been a woman by right."

Oliver went back to his brother and told him all this, saying, "I love Aliena so well that I will give up my estates to you and marry her, and live here as a shepherd."

"Let your wedding be tomorrow," said Orlando, "and I will ask the Duke and his friends."

When Orlando told Ganymede how his brother was to be married on the morrow, he added: "Oh, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes."

Then answered Rosalind, still in Ganymede's dress and speaking with his voice--"If you do love Rosalind so near the heart, then when your brother marries Aliena, shall you marry her."

Now the next day the Duke and his followers, and Orlando, and Oliver, and Aliena, were all gathered together for the wedding.

Then Ganymede came in and said to the Duke, "If I bring in your daughter Rosalind, will you give her to Orlando here?" "That I would," said the Duke, "if I had all kingdoms to give with her."

"And you say you will have her when I bring her?" she said to Orlando. "That would I," he answered, "were I king of all kingdoms."

Then Rosalind and Celia went out, and Rosalind put on her pretty woman's clothes again, and after a while came back.
'As You Like It Act 5 Scene 4'

She turned to her father--"I give myself to you, for I am yours."

"If there be truth in sight," he said, "you are my daughter."

Then she turned to Orlando, "I give myself to you, for I am yours." "If there be truth in sight," he said, "you are my Rosalind."

"I will have no father if you be not he," she said to the Duke, and to Orlando, "I will have no husband if you be not he."

So Orlando and Rosalind were married, and Oliver and Celia, and they lived happy ever after, returning with the Duke to the kingdom. For Frederick had been shown by a holy hermit the wickedness of his ways, and so gave back the dukedom of his brother, and himself went into a monastery to pray for forgiveness.

The wedding was a merry one, in the mossy glades of the forest. A shepherd and shepherdess who had been friends with Rosalind, when she was herself disguised as a shepherd, were married on the same day, and all with such pretty feastings and merrymakings as could be nowhere within four walls, but only in the beautiful green wood.

    Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare I by Edith Nesbit Stories from Shakespeare I by Edith Nesbit    

Lesson 9: As You Like It

Performer: Librivox - Charlene V. Smith


Study the assigned Shakespeare story over the week.

Over the week:

  • Read or listen to the story.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary words.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


Wicked Duke Frederick banishes his older brother, Duke Senior, but allows his niece, Rosalind, to stay at Court with his daughter, Celia. When Rosalind spots Orlando at a wrestling match, she falls in love with him. Their love is thwarted when Duke Frederick banishes Rosalind without explanation. Loyal Celia decides to leave with Rosalind. To protect themselves, Rosalind dresses as a man and calls herself Ganymede, and Celia takes the name of Aliena. Ganymede and Aliena move to the forest and buy a shepherd's house and flock. Meanwhile, Orlando's brother, Oliver, attempts to kill him, so Orlando also retreats to the forest, where he meets the exiled Duke Senior. Orlando also meets Ganymede and Aliena and takes a liking to Ganymede, who reminds Orlando of Rosalind. Ganymede and Orlando become friends and spend much time together. One day, Orlando comes across his sleeping brother about to be killed by a stalking lioness. Even though Oliver tried to kill him, Orlando kills the lioness and saves his brother. Oliver begs Orlando's forgiveness and later falls in love with Aliena. In the end, Orlando and Rosalind marry, Oliver and Celia marry, and Duke Frederick repents and returns Duke Senior to his rightful place.


Exile: The state of being barred from one's native country, typically for political or punitive reasons.
Forester: A person or animal living in a forest.
Banish: Send (someone) away from a country or place as an official punishment.
Inheritance: A thing such as money, property, or a title that is received upon the death of the previous holder.
Shepherd: A person who tends and rears sheep.
Flock: A number of domestic animals, especially sheep, goats, or geese, that are kept together.
Sonnet: A poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes.
Folly: Lack of good sense; foolishness.
Repent: Feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin.
Monastery: A building or buildings occupied by a community of monks living under religious vows.


Activity 1: Recite the Story Information

  • Before and after reading or listening to the story, recite aloud the title and author of the play.

Activity 2: Narrate the Story

  • After reading or listening to the story, narrate the events aloud in your own words.

Activity 3: See the Playwright and Poet William Shakespeare

  • Study the controversial 'Cobbe portrait' below, which may be a real-life portrait of Shakespeare.
  • The portrait contains the Latin phrase 'Principum amicitias!' which means 'The alliances of princes!'

Activity 4: Map the Play

  • The play, 'As You Like It,' is set in a French duchy (land ruled by a Duke/Duchess).
  • Find France on the map of Europe.
  • Point to the location of France on the map of the world.

Activity 5: Can You Find It?

During the week, zoom in to study the painting, 'Shakespeare: As You Like It. Act V, Scene IV,' by William Hamilton. Find the following:

  • Rosalind (Reaching for Orlando)
  • Orlando
  • Hymen (God of Marriage) bearing Wings and a Torch
  • 2 Dogs
  • Fallen Hat
  • Gnarled Tree
  • Staff
  • Black Horn
  • Hats on Heads with Feathers

Activity 6: Rehearse the Play Scenes   

  • Use your theater, props, and characters to rehearse the two abbreviated scenes on pages 53-54 of 'Third Grade Shakespeare Theater Pages.'

Activity 7: Hold Opening Night

  • Enact a live performance for family members and/or friends.
  • Instructors may need to prompt children to say their lines.
  • Important Note – Keep your actors, actresses, and set props safe for future productions.


  1. 'William Shakespeare.' Wikipedia. n.p.
  2. 'Cobbe portrait.' Wikipedia. n.p.