The Rocking-Horse Winner

rocking-horse winnerSome s have said that this story by D. H. Lawrence is an example of the perfect short story. It tells of a boy whose parents love money and their social position more than their children. The boy desperately wants his mother’s love and , and would seemingly go to any lengths to win it.

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(n: critic pl critics) Someone, usually an expert, whose job it is to give opinions about books, movies, or other forms of art. 2000

(n: approval pl approvals) The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable; a good opinion of someone or something 2000

Unto Dust

unto dustIn this story by Herman Bosman, a farmer and die together while fighting each other in a war. When the Boer’s friends come to his body, they find that the bones of the two are all mixed up. The men must try to sort them so their friend doesn’t have to lie forever among a black man’s bones. A yellow ‘kafir’ dog judges the result.

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(n: Boer pl Boers) A white South African who is associated with Boer culture and whose first language is Afrikaans. The Boers were originally farmers from a number of European countries who settled the Transvaal region of South Africa in the 17th century. In the mid-1800s, gold and diamonds were found in the Transvaal and the Boers found themselves under attack from Britain. This lead to a series of conflicts which came to be known as the Boer Wars. Britain won these, and South Africa became part of the British Empire.

(n: Xhosa, noncount) A Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa which migrated south from the Great Lakes region. They farmed animals rather than hunted for a living, pushing out the traditional hunter-gatherers of the area. They are the second largest of the Bantu people (after the Zulus), the most notable Xhosa leader in modern times being Nelson Mandela.

warrior(n: warrior pl warriors) A soldier or skilled fighting man, especially in primitive societies. The Indian chief called his warriors together. (นักรบในสงคราม) 6000

(v: recover, recovers, recovered, recovering) 1. To become healthy after an illness or injury; to return to normal health. 2. To get back something stolen or lost. 2000

Oysters

crab-frogAnton Chekhov wrote hundreds of short, humorous stories like this one to put himself through medical school. Interestingly, this is said to be the first story that he wrote after becoming a doctor. A young boy, who is so weak from hunger that he can barely stand up, sees a sign in a restaurant advertising oysters. He knows that oysters are some kind of seafood, but not what they look like. In his hunger-affected mind the boy imagines himself eating creatures half-way between a crab and a frog. He then pictures himself eating up everything around him, until he is suddenly brought back to earth when two rich “gentlemen” introduce him to real oysters.

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The Drover’s Wife

the drover's wifeIn this story by Henry Lawson a woman remembers the many hardships and few good times in her life as she sits up all night with only a dog to help protect her and her children from a deadly snake. This is the second story we have presented which deals with the difficult and often lonely life faced by women in mid-nineteenth century Australia. In our earlier story, The Chosen Vessel, the dangers that the woman must face are of the two-legged kind.

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outback(n: outback, noncount) The country areas in Australia a long way away from the coast and cities. 13000

Donkey Skin

donkey skinThe lessons taught by many folktales are just as important today as they were hundreds of years ago. Donkey Skin deals with sexual in the form of . A powerful king wants to marry his daughter, as this is the only way he can keep a promise he made to his dying wife. Fortunately, the brave girl and her fairy godmother have other ideas. I find it interesting that the king’s actions are shown to be wrong, but there seems to be no problem with a handsome prince who thinks it is OK to women through key holes.

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abuse(v: abuse, abuses, abused, abusing) 1. To treat (a person or animal) in a bad or harmful way. He physically abused his wife. 2. To use or treat (something) wrongly or in a way that causes damage. Alcohol abuse is bad for you. 3. To attack (someone) in words; to insult or speak roughly to. The fans were abusing the referee. 2000

paternal(adj: paternal) Of or relating to a father. He offered them some paternal [=fatherly] advice. 13000

(n: incest, noncount) Sexual intercourse between people who are too closely related to marry, as between a parent and child or brother and sister. 5000

spy on(phrasal verb: spy on) To watch (someone) secretly. He spies on his neighbors. Have you been spying on me? (เฝ้าดูอย่างลับ ๆ)

The Tell-Tale Heart

the tell-tale heart“The Heart” is a short horror story by Edgar Allen Poe. In it, the describes how cleverly and carefully he or she has planned and carried out a murder. The narrator’s purpose in telling the story is to convince the audience that he or she is not . There are a number of aspects to the story, perhaps the greatest being that in trying to prove his or her sanity, the narrator clearly demonstrates the opposite.

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tell-tale(adj: tell-tale also telltale) Indicating that something exists or has occurred (often something a person would not wish to be known). She found lipstick on his shirts - the telltale sign that he had another girlfriend.
(n: tell-tale pl tell-tails) A device or object that automatically gives a visual indication of the state or presence of something.

dracula book cover(adj: gothic) Used to ​describe writing or ​films in which ​strange things ​happen in ​frightening ​places. Common characteristics are depressing settings (haunted houses and other dark or mysterious places), supernatural beings (ghosts, vampires, zombies, etc), and high emotions (isolated or fallen heroes, romance, tragedy, madness, etc). 8000

narrator(n: narrator pl narrators) Someone who tells a story; a storyteller. 7000

insane(adj: insane) 1. Not sane, mad; having or showing severe mental illness. The murderer was found to be insane. 2. (informal) Very foolish. It was insane to think he would give you the money. 4000
Note: Nowadays, some people consider this word to be offensive. The phrase mentally ill is preferred.

(adj: ironic) 1. Used to describe a result or situation which is the opposite of what was intended or expected. It is ironic that the robber's car crashed into a police station. 2. Using words that mean the opposite of what you really think, especially in order to be funny. “What a beautiful view,” he said, as he looked out the window at a brick wall. 3000

How Suan Became Rich

how suan became richIn this Tagalog folktale from the Philippines a poor man named Suan asks a rich friend if he has a pole so that he can build himself a house. Some adventures begin when Suan’s house turns out to be bigger than that of his friend. In the end, the roles are d and Suan becomes the richest man in town.

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(adj: spare, sparer, sparest) 1. Not needed by you and available to be shared or given to someone else. Do have any spare cash/change? (ว่าง) 2. [of time etc] Available to be used in whatever way you want. He likes to read in his spare time. (ยามว่าง) 2000

(v: reverse, reverses, reversed, reversing) 1. To move backwards or in the opposite direction to normal. He reversed the car into the garage. 2. To put into the opposite position, state, order etc. My mother and I reversed our roles. Now I'm taking care of her. 3. To change a decision, rule etc to the exact opposite. He was originally found guilty, but the High Court reversed the decision. 2000

Last Night

last nightPreparing for death is a sensitive topic, especially the question of changing the law to allow euthanasia for those for whom the last days of life are becoming unbearable. James Salter‘s short story “Last Night” was built around this theme. As the plot develops we see that the main character is not the loyal and loving husband that we first thought. He turns out to be a heartless adulterer who rapes his mistress as his wife lies upstairs on her death bed. However, he is in for a surprise the next morning as the title of the story takes on a new meaning.

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Lamb to the Slaughter

lamb-to-the-slaughterThe title of this story by Roald Dahl is a wonderful play on words. On the one hand a lamb (or rather a frozen leg of lamb) is used by a woman to murder her husband. On the other, we are left wondering how the title might relate to the English Like a lamb to the .” Which of the two (the husband, the wife or both) could be described as a gentle person who goes calmly and ly about their business, not knowing that something very unpleasant is about to happen to them?

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(n: idiom pl idioms) An expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but has a meaning of its own which is generally understood by the native speakers of a language. It's a piece of cake. [= It's very easy.] It costs an arm and a leg. [= It's very expensive.] He has kicked the bucket. [= He is dead.] 8000

slaughter(v: slaughter, slaughters, slaughtered, slaughtering) 1. To kill [an animal] for food. Slaughter cattle/sheep. (ฆ่าสัตว์เพื่อเป็นอาหาร) 2. To kill in a cruel or violent way, especially in large numbers. Hundreds of people were slaughtered by the invaders. (สังหารหมู่) 3. To defeat [someone or something] easily or completely. Our team got slaughtered in our last game. (การแพ้อย่างราบคาบ) 4000

innocent(adj: innocent) 1. Not guilty of a crime or other wrong act. She was found innocent of all charges. 2. Not deserving to be harmed; not intended to cause harm or trouble. An innocent victim/bystander/question. 3. Not having experience with the world and the bad things that happen in life. An innocent child
(adv: innocently) In an innocent way. She smiled innocently at him. 4000

Cat in the Rain

cat in the rainOn the surface, this is a simple story about an American couple spending a rainy afternoon in a hotel room during an Italian holiday. However, in typical Ernest Hemingway style, there is a lot more to the story than the words on the page. The wet weather and an empty square outside the hotel reflect the couple’s relationship, and different readers will see different reasons for the problems between them.

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The 13-Carat Diamond

13-carat diamondThere must be hundreds of thousands of wonderful short stories like this that for one reason or another haven’t received the literary attention they deserve. Khin Mya, who wrote under the Khin Myo Chit, is one of a small number of great Burmese (now Myanmars) authors who wrote in English as well as their native tongue. The story is set during World War Two at the time Burma was under Japanese rule. It tells of the humorous experiences of a young couple who are finding it hard to . They come up with a grand plan to become rich overnight by finding someone who has a 13-carat diamond which they are willing sell.

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pen name(n: pen-name pl pen-names) A name used by a writer instead of his or her real name.

make ends meet(idiom: make (both) ends meet) To pay for the things that you need to live when you have little money; to earn enough money to meet your basic needs. We had a hard time making ends meet.

The Romance of a Busy Broker

busy brokerThis humorous but rather unlikely story by William Porter, better known by the O. Henry, takes place in a single morning in the office of a busy but forgetful New York stockbroker. It is a bad day on the , and half way through it we are left wondering whether the title of the story might be a clever play on words.

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pen name(n: pen-name pl pen-names) A name used by a writer instead of his or her real name.

stock market(n: stock market pl stock markets) A place where stocks and shares in companies are bought and sold. (ตลาดหุ้น) 8000
Here the words 'stock' and 'share' mean certificates that make the people who buy them part owners of a company and which can be bought, sold, or traded as an investment. (หุ้น) 2000

Cap O’ Rushes

cap o' rushesThe beginning of this folktale has been likened to that of Shakespeare’s King Lear. A rich man asks his daughters how much they love him. One answers in a way that he doesn’t understand, making him think she doesn’t love him. He throws her out of the house, which leads to some “Cinderella-like” adventures. There is no magic fairy godmother in this story, but the girl still manages to turn her bad luck into a “happily ever after” type of ending.

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Idyll

idyllThis little known story from Guy de Maupassant is about a man and woman who meet and become friends during a long train journey. The woman is a and has not had a baby to her breast in the last two days. Because of this she is in great pain. The man offers to help her, and in doing this solves a problem of his own.

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wet-nurse(n: wet-nurse pl wet-nurses) A woman who cares for and breast-feeds other people's babies as a job. (เป็นแม่นมเลี้ยงเด็กทารก)

Misery (The Lament)

miseryGood stories don’t just tell us how a character feels using adjectives like “happy”, “sad”, or “excited”. They help readers to feel the emotions for themselves by describing an event in which the character experiences them. Many of Anton Chekhov‘s stories deal with grief and suffering, but the story of Iona Potapov is about more than misery. Another translation of the title is “The “. It tries to answer the question: What could be worse than living in misery? Chekhov’s answer: To feel so lonely and cut off from the world that you have no one to talk to about it”.

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lament(v: lament, laments, lamented, lamenting) To feel or express great sadness, disappointment, or unhappiness about something.
(n: lament pl laments) 1. A show or expression of sorrow, etc. 2. A song or poem that expresses sorrow for someone who has died or something that is gone. 7000

Tom Tit Tot

tom tit totIn this fairytale, a woman lies to a king about her daughter being good at using a spinning-wheel. For some reason this is just the kind of girl the king wants to marry. Unfortunately, the poor girl isn’t good at anything except eating and needs the help of a strange creature in order to keep her head. Then, to avoid an even worse fate, she must guess the creature’s name. In his book “English Fairy Tales”, Joseph Jacobs wrote: “The story of Tom Tit Tot …is one of the best folk-tales that have ever been collected, far superior to any of the continental variants of this tale with which I am acquainted.” I am afraid that we can’t agree. To learn why, we suggest that you read the story and then have a look at our comments below.

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The Ghost upon the Rail

fisher's ghostThis story by John Lang is set in Australia in the early 1800s. John Fisher had come to Australia as a convict. He worked hard, won his freedom and became rich. One day a neighbor tells everyone that Fisher has returned to England. He says that Fisher asked him to sell all he owns and send the money to him. They all believe this until Fisher’s ghost turns up and spoils the neighbor’s day.

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The Interlopers

the interlopersThe British writer H. H. Munro, also known by the pen-name Saki, is well-known for surprise endings. This story has perhaps the shortest surprise ending of all. It is just a single word, and doesn’t come until the last line of the story. Two families have been fighting for years over the use of a poor piece of forest land. The heads of the families find themselves facing a difficult situation together. This helps them see how silly they have been, and they promise to be friends for life. But just as they are looking forward to a future without fighting, some unexpected visitors spoil it all.

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A Fish Story

a fish storyAlthough this story was described as an “Australian” folktale when published in 1910, Australia is too young a nation to have folktales of its own. This is an Australian . Like those of many other ancient cultures, it tries to explain the meaning of every-day things in the world: in this case how fish got into rivers, and why rivers always feel warmer if you swim in them on a cold day.

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aborigine(adj: aboriginal) Of or relating to the people and things that have been in a region from the earliest time. Used especially when referring to the native peoples of Australia.
(n: aborigine pl aborigines) 1. A member of the original people to live in an area. 2. A member of any of the native peoples of Australia. 9000

myth(n: myth pl myths) 1. A story based on tradition or legend which continues to have a deep symbolic meaning within a cultural group, especially one dealing with gods, heroes etc. 2. An idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true. It's a myth that money brings happiness. 5000
(n: mythology, noncount) A collection of myths. We have been studying Greek mythology. 7000

2 B R 0 2 B

2BR02BKurt Vonnegut liked to write about imaginary worlds. Some time ago we featured Harrison Bergeron, a story of his about a n world. In 2BR02B, Earth enjoys a n future. There are no poor, no slums, no prisons, no wars. There is no madness, disability or disease. Even aging has been cured. Everything is perfect… unless of course you want to bring a child into the world.

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(n: dystopia pl dystopias) An imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly.
(adj: dystopian) Of or like a dystopia.

(n: utopia pl utopias) An imaginary place in which the government, laws, and social conditions are perfect. ( ดินแดนในอุดมคติ)
(adj: utopian) 1. Of or like a utopia. 2. [of plans for benefiting mankind] Desirable, but idealistic and impossible. Utopian schemes. (เกี่ยวกับดินแดนในอุดมคติ) 9000

Christmas Day in the Morning

christmas day in the morningIt is almost the season again, and this story by Pearl S. Buck tells how doing something special to show how much you love someone can be the greatest Christmas gift of all. An old man remembers a Christmas when, as a boy, he first learned how much his father loved him. He decided that the cheap tie he had bought his father was not good enough, and came up with another gift which they both remember for the rest of their lives.

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festive(adj: festive) 1. Cheerful and exciting; happy, as if celebrating or on holiday. She was in a festive mood. It was a festive occasion. 2. [British] Of or relating to Christmas. The festive season: the period immediately leading up to Christmas and ending just after New Year. 6000

Diamond Cuts Diamond (Indian Folktale)

diamond cuts diamondIn this Indian a man travels to a far off land to his fortune. He is successful and decides to return home. As he nears home, a ‘friendly’ merchant tells him that there are many thieves on the road ahead. He leaves his riches in the care of the merchant, and travels on to bring back help. When he returns, the merchant tries to cheat him. To get his riches back, he needs the help of someone who is an even bigger cheat.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

seek(v: seek, seeks, sought, seeking) 1. To try to find someone or something. The prince is seeking a wife. 2. To try to get something. She sought help form a neighbor. 3. To make an attempt to do something; to try. The builders sought to make the bridge stronger. 2000

The Pale Man

the pale manThis short horror story by little known author Julius Long (1907-1935) is about a man suffering from nerves. He is told to spend a long holiday somewhere quiet, and checks into a hotel in a small town. But the hotel is a little too quiet, and he is puzzled by a tall, pale man staying in another room who has some very strange ways.

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Mr Miacca

mr miaccaMr Miacca is an English folktale of the type, where adults tell stories of imaginary beings to frighten children into being good. In the story, a boy does something wrong twice and finds himself about to be cooked for Mr Miacca’s dinner. He gets away the first time by tricking Mrs Miacca, but the second time Mr Miacca has other ideas.

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(n: bogyman pl bogymen) An imaginary monster or bad person, used by adults or older children to frighten bad children into good behavior. 12000

The Heart of a Monkey

heart of a monkeyIn this Swahili a shark offers a monkey a ride on its back to see the wonders under the sea. Little does the monkey know that this is because the shark’s king needs a monkey’s heart to cure an illness. The monkey tricks the shark into returning by saying that he left his heart at home. He then explains to the shark why he won’t go back to sea by telling a story about a hare, a lion and a washerman’s donkey.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

The End of Something

the end of somethingThis story by Ernest Hemingway is about change. The lumber town of Hortons Bay dies and falls into ruin when there are no more trees to cut down. But this results in a new beginning as “second growth” forest establishes itself. Nick Adams breaks up with his girlfriend Marjorie because “it isn’t fun anymore”. Will Nick’s new beginning be with another girl, or is his decision to break up because of something else?

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Kate Crackernuts

kate crackernutsWhat’s this? A where a wicked queen doesn’t come to a terrible end! And two step-sisters don’t hate each other but love one another so much that they give up everything and run away together when one of them has a problem! Where is the fun in that? This is also a “reverse” version of the Brothers Grimm tale Twelve Dancing Princesses. Here it is a prince who goes out to dance all night and a princess who saves him. But the princesses danced all night because they loved to. Why does the prince dance all night when it is slowly killing him? The answers to these questions could be found in a so-called “corrupt” version of the story. There is more information about this in our Comments below.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

Can-Can

can-canThe protagonist in this very short story by Arturo Vivante appears to be a happily married family man with a loving, trusting wife. When his wife dances the for one of their children, we can see that he also still finds her attractive. He knows she won’t question his going out alone for a long drive, even though this is out of character and she will surely think that he is up to something. But he has made plans to commit adultery with another woman. It is clear that he has no real love for this woman, which leaves the reader with a question: “Why would a man put his marriage and family life at risk like this?”

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can-can(n: can-can, singular) A type of high-kicking dance traditionally performed by a group of female dancers who wear costumes with long skirts, petticoats, and black stockings.

The (Diamond) Necklace

the diamond necklaceThis story by Guy de Maupassant is about a beautiful woman who is not happy with her position in life. She has a loving husband with a secure government job, but in her eyes he is just a “little” clerk. They have enough money to hire a girl to do the harder housework for her, but she dreams of being admired by richer and more important men. An invitation to a ball and borrowed necklace lead to ten miserable years in which she learns not only how lucky she was, but also what it means to be very poor.

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Yellow Moepels

moepels on a treeIn this story by Herman Bosman a young South African soldier riding off to fight the British promises the girl he is engaged to that he will be home when the fruit are ripe. The girl visits a native witch-doctor who also tells her that her lover will be home when the moepels are yellow… but there is something important that he did not tell her.

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moepel(n: moepel pl moepels) An Afrikaans word for the Transvaal Red-Milkwood Tree, or its yellow fruit which are sweet and high in vitamin C.

Three Elephant Power

three elephantsToday we have a story by A. B. “Banjo” Paterson, a famous Australian writer best known for his poems and stories about about life in Australia’s and in the late 1800’s. the title, this story has very little to do with elephants. It is about cars and their drivers, and is a wonderful example of Australian in the lead up to the country’s independence from Britain in 1900.

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countryside(n: countryside, noncount) Land that is outside big towns and cities. 2000

outback(n: outback, noncount) The country areas in Australia a long way away from the coast and cities. 13000

despite(prep: despite) Without being prevented by; in spite of something. Used to say that something happens or is true even though there is something that might have prevented it from happening or being true. 2000

(n: humor, noncount; British humour) 1. Jokes, funny stories, etc., of a particular kind. 2. The ability to be funny or to be amused by things that are funny; also called 'sense of humor'. 3000

The Voice of Death

the voice of deathIn this Romanian a man who becomes very rich thinks how terrible it would be to die and have to leave all of his money behind. He sets out to find a land where people do not die, and finally comes across a country where the word death is unknown. He moves there with his wife and family, only to learn the truth of the English : Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

(n: proverb pl proverbs) An old but well-known saying that either gives advice about how people should live, or expresses an idea that is generally thought to be true. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A rolling stone gathers no moss. 6000

A Good Man is Hard to Find

a good man is hard to findFlannery O’Connor is a master at coming up with stories in which almost every main character has some kind of flaw. In this story, it is hard to like any of the dysfunctional family of six (except maybe the baby!) as they cruise down Highway 441. When their car overturns into a ditch beside a deserted road, they attract the attention of a crazed killer who calls himself “The Misfit”. As the rest of the family are being murdered, the grandmother tries to convince the Misfit that deep inside he is one of those hard to find men.

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The Shifty Lad

the shifty ladThis Scottish is about a boy who likes to play tricks on people and wants nothing more than to grow up to be a thief. His mother doesn’t like the idea, and tells him that if he does become a thief he will get caught one day and be hung from the Bridge of Dublin. When the boy won’t give up on the idea, she arranges for him to learn under the best thief in the district. He proves to be very good at the job, and the two of them become very rich. Being such a nice lad, the boy then kills the man who trained him. He goes on to become so famous a thief that the king sends soldiers to try to catch him. When this doesn’t work, a series of unlikely events follow which end with the boy marrying the king’s daughter. Luckily, there is still justice in some folktales and the Shifty Lad is soon lying dead under the Bridge of Dublin.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

The Pig That Went to Market

the pig that went to marketThis children’s story by Enid Blyton tells of a man who is so forgetful that he is always leaving his kitchen door open. His pig takes advantage of this and spends most of its time sitting inside in front of the fire. One day the man finds that he has no money, and decides that selling the pig is a much better idea than working for a living. However, his forgetfulness causes him all sorts of problems in taking the pig to market. And when he finally does get it there, he receives a beating for his trouble. In the end, he decides that it might be easier to keep the pig and get a job.

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The Gift of the Magi

gift of the magiHave you ever thought long and hard about what would be the prefect Christmas gift for someone you love? This story by William Porter, better known by the O. Henry, is one of the most famous Christmas stories of all time. It has featured in movies, TV specials, musicals, an opera and several cartoon series. It tells how a poor couple each sell their most valuable possession in order to buy a Christmas present that they feel is good enough for the one they love.

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pen name(n: pen-name pl pen-names) A name used by a writer instead of his or her real name.

The Moonlit Road

the moonlit roadIt will soon be again, so here is another famous ghost story. In this one by Ambrose Bierce, a rich man has a loving wife who he doesn’t trust. He sets a trap that leads to her murder, and her unfortunate ghost accidentally sets off events that ruin the lives of both the rich man and their only son.

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halloween(n: Halloween pl Halloweens) A festival celebrated on October 31 each year in the United States, Canada, and the Britain where children go to houses dressed up as ghosts, witches, monsters, etc. and ask for candy. 7000

The Last Night of the World

last night of the worldThis story by Ray Bradbury opens with a question: “What would you do if you knew this was the last night of the world?” A happily married American couple learn that the world is going to end sometime during the coming night. They decide that the best thing to do is accept the fact and go through their evening routines as usual. They even manage to share a joke and go to bed laughing. What would you do?

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The False Prince and True

the false prince and trueThis Portuguese folktale starts off with a king learning about an argument between his son and a young noble on a tennis court. The prince spoke rudely to the noble, who lost his temper and hit the prince. This is punishable by death, but the king is more angry at the prince than the noble because his son did not fight back. The only person who can help the noble is a very ugly, very old woman. However, she will not tell him what he must do in order to save his life unless he agrees to marry her. As is often the case in folktales, there is a lot of magic around and many things turn out to be different to the way they first appeared.

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There is a Reaper

there is a reaperIt’s month again so today we are bringing you the short horror story “There is a Reaper” by Science Fiction writer Charles de Vet. In English, death is often referred to using the the ““. This name is also given to the or of Death who comes to collect a when someone dies. Our story begins with the following words: Doctors had given him just one month to live. A month to wonder, what comes afterward? There was one way to find out – ask a dead man!

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halloween(n: Halloween pl Halloweens) A festival celebrated on October 31 each year in the United States, Canada, and the Britain where children go to houses dressed up as ghosts, witches, monsters, etc. and ask for candy. 7000

(n: idiom pl idioms) An expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but has a meaning of its own which is generally understood by the native speakers of a language. It's a piece of cake. [= It's very easy.] It costs an arm and a leg. [= It's very expensive.] He has kicked the bucket. [= He is dead.] 8000

Grim Reaper(idiom: Grim Reaper) The representation of death in the form of a cloaked man or skeleton carrying a farm tool used for cutting grass, grain, etc.
In English literature, giving human qualities to a general idea like this is called personification.

angel(n: angel pl angels) 1. A messenger or attendant of God. 2. A person (such as a child) who is very good, kind, beautiful, etc. Your son is such an angel! Be an angel and get me a cup of tea, would you?
(adj: angelic) Like an angel. 4000

devil(n: devil pl devils) The most powerful spirit of evil; The ruler of Hell; Satan. 3000
(adj: devilish) Looking or acting like a devil; wicked, evil.

soul(n: soul pl souls) The spirit; the non-physical part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever. (วิญญาณ) 3000

A Hanging

a hangingThis story by George Orwell is a about an execution in 1920s Burma. By describing only what happened during the hanging and not telling us the prisoner’s crime, Orwell cleverly supports his : that capital punishment, and indeed the taking of a human life under any circumstances, is wrong.

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(n: narrative essay) A story about something that happened in the past, often a real event in the life of the author, that includes and supports a thesis [an opinion that the author wishes to discuss or prove].

thesis(n: thesis pl theses) 1. An opinion that someone wishes to discuss or prove. New evidence supports his thesis. (หลักฐาน ข้อเสนอสนับสนุนการสรุปสมมติฐาน) 2. A long piece of writing on a particular subject that is done to earn a degree at a university. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the effects of global warming. (วิทยานิพนธ์) 6000

Edward and Charles

rowboat under treeThis story by early 19th century children’s writer follows the common “lesson about life” plot of two brothers who are very different. Edward behaves badly and is suitably punished when his father hears about it. Charles, on the other hand, is almost unbearably good and finds himself well rewarded.

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The author Elizabeth Semple (who also wrote under the pen-name Dame Truelove) is an enigma. We are all used to finding almost any information we want through search engines these days. So how (as of October, 2014) could someone who published at least ten children's books in the early 19th century not have any kind of biographical information on the Internet? The only reason I can think of is that it was a very powerful person of yet another name who wanted to hide the fact that they were the writer. If any of our readers can shed any light on this, I would love to hear from you.

The Town Musicians of Bremen

bremen musiciansThe Town Musicians of Bremen is a folktale recorded by the Brothers Grimm. It is about four animals who have worked hard all their lives. They are now too old to work and face either being badly treated or killed by their owners. One by one they leave their homes and set out together to become musicians in the town of Bremen. However, they never reach Bremen because of something that happens on the way.

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Parker’s Back

parker's backU.S. writer Flannery O’Connor was a deeply religious woman. Many of her stories deal with man’s sometimes violent struggle against, and toward, the power of God. The main character in this story is a simple minded, poorly educated farm worker. He is selfish, doesn’t believe in God, and says that he hates his wife. His one love in life is tattoos, through which he seeks to prove his manhood. After a series of events he learns how important his wife really is to him and almost finds religion. Then his wife, who is a religious bigot, spoils it all. In the process, she may well have ruined both their lives.

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Indian Camp

indian campThis story by Ernest Hemingway tells how a young boy “comes of age” as he witnesses the saving of a woman’s life, the birth of her baby, and the death of her husband… all over the space of just a few hours. A feature of Hemingway’s short stories is that important details are often left unexplained. In this story we come away wondering why the woman’s husband killed himself. Some people suggest that the boy’s Uncle George may have had something to do with it. You can read more about this in our Comments below.

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Do What You Can

do what you canThis very short children’s story is about a raindrop. It sees a farmer having a bad day and decides to bring him a moment of happiness. Although published in a book of stories meant to be read to preschool children, the story has a powerful message for people of all ages… how a single act of kindness can sometimes make a big difference.

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Sweet Porridge

sweet porridgeIn this folktale (also known as “The Magic Porridge Pot”), a poor but good little girl looking for something to eat is given a magic pot by a kind old woman. When someone said some special words, the pot cooked sweet porridge. The only problem was that special words were also needed to make the pot stop cooking. There are a number of other folktales with similar themes, as well as a poem which inspired a short piece of orchestral music that has since become famous thanks to a 1940 Disney movie.

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A Vendetta

a vendettaThe French writer Guy de Maupassant is said to be one of the fathers of the modern short story. This story is about an old widow who lives in a small village in Southern Italy with her only son and his dog. One evening, the son is murdered. The mother is so saddened by this that she promises a vendetta against the killer. Every day, she sits by the window and wonders how she, a weak old woman with no-one to help her, can carry out her promise. Finally, she comes up with an idea and has her revenge.

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Wise Folks

wise folksIn this folktale, a mean farmer is angry at his foolish wife who allowed a man to cheat her out of two cows while he was away visiting friends. He had promised to beat her until she was black and blue if she did not get a good price for the cows. However, he decides to save the beating for another time if he can find someone more foolish than she is. He soon finds such a person: a widow who is worried about how well her dead husband is doing in Heaven. The farmer then makes up for losing the two cows by cheating the widow out of a purse full of money and stealing a fine horse from her son. At the end of the story, he seems to think that it is OK to take advantage of simple minded people.

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Fairy Ointment

fairy ointmentIn this folktale, a strange looking little old man asks a nurse to come to his house to help his sick wife look after their baby boy. The man’s wife gives the nurse some ointment to put on the baby’s eyes. Being curious, the nurse puts some of the ointment on one of her own eyes. The family seemed normal enough up to this point. However, the ointment helps the nurse to learn their secret.

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At Dead Dingo

outback pubThis story by Australian poet and writer Henry Lawson takes place in an pub. There were only three people drinking one hot New Years Day, and one of them won a sheep-dog in a card game. At the end of the story the reader is left with a question. Who really owned the dog?

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outback(n: outback, noncount) The country areas in Australia a long way away from the coast and cities. 13000

Hamlet

hamlet poster“Hamlet” is the longest and most performed Shakespeare play. The original did not come from Shakespeare. It is based on what was an already popular English play at the time, which in turn was based on European . What Shakespeare did was to turn this story into what many critics say is the most powerful in English literature. There are no happy endings here. How many other stories do you know where all of the main characters end up either killing themselves or being killed?

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(n: plot pl plots) The series of events that form the story in a movie, novel, play, etc. 3000

legend(n: legend pl legends) A story from the past that is believed by many people but cannot be proved to be true.
(adj: legendary) 1. Mentioned etc in legend. King Arthur is a legendary hero. 2. Very famous because of being very great, good etc. He was a legendary football player. 6000

(n: tragedy pl tragedies) 1. A very bad event that causes great sadness and often involves someone's death. (เหตุการณ์ร้ายแรง) 2. A play, movie, etc. that is serious and has a sad ending such as the death of the main character. (โศกนาฏกรรม) 3000

Harrison Bergeron

harrison BergeronThis story by science-fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut is one of several that he wrote about future worlds in which people’s lives are controlled and everyone is made equal. In this one the strong must carry heavy weights, the beautiful must wear masks, and the clever must wear radio earphones through which sharp sounds are played to stop them thinking too clearly. As is usual in such worlds, at least some of those in government aren’t forced to be equal… in this case the Handicapper General and her “H-G” men.

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The Fir Tree

the fir treeThis story by the Danish poet and writer Hans Christian Andersen is about a tree that grows up never being satisfied with what it looks like or what it is doing. There is only one day in the tree’s life (a Christmas ) that it feels truly happy. The tree doesn’t see until too late that there were many other days in its life that it also should have enjoyed. This leads to a sad ending which is enough to make you never want to have a real Christmas tree!

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(n: Eve pl Eves) The day or evening before a special holiday or festival, such as Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, etc. 3000

Haircut

haircutThis story by Ring Lardner shows how can be used to point out problems in society. A small town barber talks about a dead customer who he says “had a kind heart, but just liked to have fun with people.” We hope you can see that the man was not kind at all!

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(n: satire, noncount) A way of using humor (through irony, sarcasm, ridicule, etc.) to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc. 7000

The Three Wonderful Beggars

the three wonderful beggarsIn this folktale from Serbia, a young girl stops her rich but mean father from turning his dogs on three men who come begging to his door. The next day he learns that the men were not beggars at all, but . They were heard saying that to the rich man, a new born baby boy will one day own all of his money and land. He tries several times to kill the boy, starting by throwing him off a cliff. In the end the boy does get the rich man’s money and land, and the rich man is forced into a life that is even worse than being a beggar.

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fairy(n: fairy pl fairies) An imaginary creature having magical powers. 4000
In early literature, fairies could change themselves into any form. Thanks to Walt Disney, most people today think that they all look like the picture on the left.

punish(v: punish, punishes, punished, punishing) To make someone suffer for a crime or for something done that is wrong.
(n: punishment pl punishments) The act or way of making someone suffer for a crime or for something done that is wrong. 3000

The Return

the returnIt is month again so today we have a short horror story by Argentinean writer Fernando Sorrentino. At first it reads like a “campfire” horror story about a dead beggar who returns to take revenge on a mean man who accidentally killed him. However, the has cleverly created the character of the narrator so that if readers look a little harder they might question if this is what really happened. After you have read the story, you might like to read our comments below.

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halloween(n: Halloween pl Halloweens) A festival celebrated on October 31 each year in the United States, Canada, and the Britain where children go to houses dressed up as ghosts, witches, monsters, etc. and ask for candy. 7000

(adj: typical) Normal for a person, thing, or group; average or usual. (ตามแบบฉบับ) 2000

author(n: author pl authors) The person who has written something; someone who writes books or stories, especially a person who has written many books or stories. I enjoyed the book, but I can't remember the name of its author. 3000

The Golden Goose

the golden gooseThe Golden Goose is a fairytale first recorded by the Brothers Grimm. It is about a kind but not very clever young man who one day shares his food with a hungry old man. The old man tells him where to find a goose that has feathers of gold. The king has a daughter who has never laughed, and has promised that she will marry the first man to make her laugh. The goose helps the young man to do this. However, the king tells him there are three more things that he must do to marry the girl.

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Molly Whuppie

molly whuppieAt first, this Scottish folktale may look like a simple story. The heroine (Molly) is more clever than the bad guy (a giant), and does things which lead to her marrying a prince. But it is also a story of hope where three children rise above their difficult beginnings. A possible lesson? We all have the power to improve our situation if we make the most of every chance that comes along.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

the secret life of walter mittyWalter Mitty, the character created by James Thurber, could be said to be the world’s best known er. He is the subject of two movies, several radio plays and a successful musical. The story’s main character is a , , man who leads a boring an life. The poor guy also has to put up with a , ging wife. His way of dealing with this life without going is to escape whenever he can into imaginary worlds where he does ic things.

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(n: daydream pl daydreams) Pleasant thoughts about your life or future that you have while you are awake. 10000
(n: daydreamer pl daydreamers) Someone who daydreams a lot.

(adj: meek, meeker, meekest) Having or showing a quiet and gentle nature; not wanting to fight or argue with other people. 10000

(adj: middle-aged) Of or relating to middle age; the period in a person's life from about age 45 to about age 65.

suburb(n: suburb pl suburbs) An area of houses located outside a central city area from which many people travel each day to work in the city. (ชานเมือง)
(adj: suburban) Of or from the suburbs. (นอกเมือง) 5000

(adj: dominating) Someone or something that has or likes to have control or exercise power over others. 3000

nag(v: nag, nags, nagged, nagging) To annoy someone by often complaining about his or her behavior, appearance, etc.
(n: nag pl nags) A horse that is old and usually in bad condition. 6000

crazy(adj: crazy, crazier, craziest) 1. Mentally ill; affected with madness or insanity. 2. Very foolish or unreasonable. 3000

hero(n: hero pl heroes) A person admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. Although the term 'hero' is now commonly used to refer to both men and women, it strictly should used only for men. The word for a woman who is admired for being brave is 'heroine'.
(adj: heroic) Used to describe a hero or the brave acts that heroes do. 3000

Thong Proi the Rich Girl

thong proi the rich girlHave you ever wished that you were rich and could have anything you wanted? There are many such people in Thailand, and this story by the remarkable Thai writer M.R. Kukrit Pramoj is about one of them. It is one of 12 stories in a book called “Many Lives”, which we highly recommend to anyone trying to better understand Thai culture. The only thing the people in the book have in common is that they all died at the same time in a boat that sank in a storm. To see if Thong Proi died happy or sad, you will need to read our story.

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The Three Sillies

the three silliesNot all folktales are designed to teach or explain something. Some, like the English folktale “The Three Sillies”, have been handed down over the years for their entertainment value. In this story, a rich young man finds that the woman he loves and her father and mother are not very clever. He says that he will only marry the poor girl if he can find three other people who are sillier than they are. He soon learns that there certainly are some very silly people in the world.

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(adv: purely) Completely or entirely; only. They met purely by accident. He reads purely for enjoyment. [=he reads only because he enjoys reading] 2000

The Lottery

the lotteryShirley Jackson had no idea of the angry reaction that her short story “The Lottery” would cause when it first appeared in New Yorker Magazine in 1948. This ing story tells of how a group of otherwise “normal” people can be so influenced by collective or mentality that they do inhuman things. This was shortly after World War Two, as Americans were learning of the horrors of German , Japanese in the Asia Pacific, and their own use of the . The story suggests that such things could also happen in a small American town. Was the problem that this was too close to the truth for the U.S.A.’s South?

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disturb(v: disturb, disturbs, disturbed, disturbing) 1. To stop (someone) from working, sleeping, etc.; to interrupt or bother someone or something. 2. To worry or upset someone; to trouble emotionally or mentally. 3000

mob(n: mob pl mobs) A large group or crowd of people who are angry or violent or difficult to control. 5000

concentration camp(n: concentration camp pl concentration camps) Prisons where large numbers of people who are not soldiers are kept during a war and are usually forced to live in very bad conditions.

(n: atrocity pl atrocities) Very cruel or terrible acts or actions. 9000

atomic-bomb(n: atomic-bomb pl atomic-bombs) A bomb that produces a very powerful explosion when atoms are split apart.
A bomb is a device that is designed to explode in order to injure or kill people or to damage or destroy property.

(adj: typical) Normal for a person, thing, or group; average or usual. (ตามแบบฉบับ) 2000

(adj: racist) A person or group of people who believe that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
(n: racism, noncount) 1. The belief that some races of people are better than others. 2. Poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race, usually involving the idea that one’s race is superior and has the right to control others. 3000

The Two Frogs

the two frogsThis short Japanese folktale could be used to teach some important lessons in life. Possible s? If you really want to do something, find out as much as you can about it before you start so that you know what to expect along the way. Also, don’t look for reasons to give up in the middle of something you really want to do. They are too easy to find and, if you do give up, you may be sorry later.

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moral(n: moral pl morals) The lesson to be learned from something that happens or from a story.
(adj: moral) Concerning what is right and wrong in human behavior. A moral person is always does what they believe to be the right thing to do. 2000

Farewell to a Ghost

farewell to a ghostAlthough one of the main characters is a ghost, this is not a horror story. Indian writer Manoj Das shows how common s once played an important part in traditional village culture. He also shows how these s, which helped communities together, are being lost to modern ideas.

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(n: superstition pl superstitions) 1. A belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck. (ความเชื่อในผีสางเทวดา) 2. A belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck, such as the old English superstition that breaking a mirror can bring 7 years of bad luck. (ความเชื่องมงาย) 7000

(n: belief pl beliefs) Something believed or accepted as true without proof. 3000

bond(n: bond pl bonds) 1. Something used for tying someone up or stopping them from moving freely. 2. Something (such as an idea, interest, experience, or feeling) that is shared between people or groups and helps form a connection between them. A bond of friendship. 3000

The Selfish Giant

the selfish giantThe Irish writer Oscar Wilde is known today for his plays (most notably The Importance of Being Earnest), his famous novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and his short stories such as “The Canterville Ghost”. He also wrote a number of children’s stories. One of the best known of these is “The Selfish Giant”. The two main s of the story are greed sharing, and Christian love. However, if you look at the story in terms of the of the songs below (taken from the 1971 Video), you will see that the story carries some other important lessons for people of all religions.

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(n: theme pl themes) In literature, a central idea that is communicated in a story. Note that a theme may be an idea that the writer wishes to convey, or another idea that a reader or group of readers interpret into the story. Most themes are implied through the plot rather than stated directly. (หัวข้อ) 4000

(prep: vs; abbreviation for 'versus') Against; used to indicate the two people, teams, etc., that are fighting or competing against each other or two different things, choices, etc., that are being compared or considered. (ต่อสู้กับ) 3000

(n: lyrics, plural) The words of a song. 5000

The Verger

the vergerIn this story by W Somerset Maugham, a man who has worked hard in a church for 16 years is told that he must leave the job because he cannot read or write. He soon proves that you don’t need a good education to become rich. All you need is the ability to think creatively, and the to back your ideas.

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courage(n: courage, noncount) The ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous; bravery. The soldier showed great courage in battle.
(adj: courageous) Having or showing courage. A courageous soldier. 3000

The Chosen Vessel

swagman on roadThis story by Barbara Baynton is culturally important in that it paints a graphic picture of the isolation and dangers faced by women living in the Australian “” during the 19th century. A woman whose husband is away working is visited by a traveling . She does not like the way he looks at her, and decides to lock herself and her baby in their house. The man does not get inside, but still gets the better of her.

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outback(n: outback, noncount) The country areas in Australia a long way away from the coast and cities. 13000

swagman(n: swagman pl swagmen) In Australia, a usually poor or homeless man who travels around looking for work carrying his personal possessions in a 'swag'.
(n: swag pl swags) A bundle containing a person's food and belongings, often wrapped up in a blanket to make it easy to carry. 12000

The Open Window

the open windowThe British writer H. H. Munro, also known by the pen-name Saki, is considered the master of both the very short story and unexpected endings. The Open Window actually takes place around a door and not a window. In the story, a young woman plays a joke on an unfortunate visitor. Most readers also find themselves taken in by the joke. What about you?

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cruel(adj: cruel, crueler, cruelest) Used to describe: 1. someone who hurts others and does not feel sorry about it; 2. something that causes or helps to cause pain or suffering.
(n: cruelty pl cruelties) 1. Something which causes pain or suffering. 2. The quality or state of being cruel. 3000

Toads and Diamonds

toads and diamondsThis story by Charles Perrault is about a bad-ed, greedy and her two daughters. One girl is ugly, rude and selfish but much loved by her mother. The other girl is beautiful, polite and kind but treated badly. With the help of a fairy, the kind daughter marries a prince and the selfish daughter dies alone in the forest. Readers are left wondering if the fairy’s gift was truly a good one. What kind of life could the girl have with diamonds falling out of her mouth every time she opened it? Also, did the prince really love her or only marry her for her diamonds?

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temper(n: temper, singular) The way that a person is feeling at a particular time; mood. He is in a pleasant/bad temper. (อารมณ์) 3000
(adj: bad-tempered) Someone who easily gets angry when things don't happen as they want.
(v: lose one's temper) [idiom] To suddenly get angry about something. (โกรธ)

widow(n: widow pl widows) A woman whose husband has died. (แม่ม่าย) 3000

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

a midsummer night's dream“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works. Although some people claim that it has too much adult and/or , I don’t share this view. It is a wonderful which looks at the difficulty of love and the difference between appearance and reality. Note that our story only includes the main . We haven’t included the “play within the play” by the six actors from Athens. This is not important to the main story, and needs to be seen acted out (badly, as in the play) in order to how funny it is.

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(adj: immoral) Not morally good or right; morally evil or wrong. 6000
The prefix 'im' often means 'not' or 'the opposite of' the word that comes after it. The word moral is concerned with the principles of right and wrong. A moral person is someone who always does what they believe to be the right thing to do. An immoral person does things that they know to be wrong.

(n) The ideas, facts, or images that are in a book, article, speech, movie, etc. 2000

comedy(n: comedy pl comedies) A play, movie, television program, etc., that is meant to make people laugh. 3000

(n: plot pl plots) The series of events that form the story in a movie, novel, play, etc. 3000

(v: appreciate, appreciates, appreciated, appreciating) 1. To be grateful or thankful for something. 2. To value someone or something highly. 3. To understand or be aware of something. 4. To increase in value. 2000

The Twelve Months

the twelve monthsThis folktale is another “Cinderella style” story. However, there are some interesting differences compared to similar versions. Instead of a helpful fairy, she is assisted by the Gods of the twelve months of the year. And the story doesn’t end with her marrying a handsome prince and living an easy life in a palace. She falls in love with a kind man and the two of them have a happy and peaceful life together taking care of her family farm. As nice as it seems, this is not what most people would call a “fairytale” ending!

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(adj: Slavic) Of the people of eastern Europe and Asian Russia who speak a Slavonic language. (เกี่ยวกับชาวสลาฟ) 12000

How Much Land Does a Man Need?

how much land does a man needThis story by Leo Tolstoy is a based on a Russian folktale. In the story a peasant thinks: “Our only trouble is that we haven’t enough land. If I had a lot of land, I shouldn’t fear the Devil himself!”. The Devil ‘s’ this and puts the man to the test by helping him get land. The more land the man has, the more he wants until, in the last paragraph of the story, we learn the answer to the question.

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(v: overhear, overhears, overheard, overhearing) To hear something that was said to another person by accident; to hear what one was not intended to hear. She overheard two people talking about her in the next room. 6000

The Philanthropist’s Christmas

the philanthropist's christmasJ.W. Linn taught English at the University of Chicago. He wrote a well-known of his famous aunt Jane Addams, but very little fiction. In this story, a rich man who helps people by giving a lot of money to charity learns an important lesson about the real joy of giving when he becomes part of a poor family’s Christmas.

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(n: biography pl biographies) The story of a real person's life written by someone other than that person. 6000
(n: biographer pl biographers) A person who writes someone's biography. 10000
(n: autobiography pl autobiographies) The story of a person's life written by himself. 6000

The Fish and the Ring

the fish and the ringIn this English fairytale, a rich and powerful man looks into the future and learns that the fate of his young son is to marry a girl from a very poor family. He wants a high society wife for his son and does everything that he can to stop the marriage, including trying to kill the poor girl twice. A hungry fish ends up teaching him the meaning of a popular 1950s song: Que Sera, Sera (What will be, will be)!

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That Evening Sun (Go Down)

girl with washing basketIn this story by William Faulkner, three children observe the of concern shown by their parents for the possible danger faced by an African-American woman who has washed the family clothes for many years. The woman fears that her husband is going to kill her because she is carrying a white man’s child. At the end of the story, we are left wondering whether he succeeds.

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(v: lack, lacks, lacked, lacking) To have too little or none of. He lacked the courage to join the army.
(n: lack, noncount) The state of not having any or enough. The lack of food meant that we always went to bed hungry. 2000

The Veldt

the veldtAlthough written over 60 years ago, the “The Veldt” by science fiction writer Ray Bradbury raises some interesting points about how we live our lives today. After reading the story, stop and ask yourself how many people you know seem to be building their whole lives around Facebook, YouTube and their computer or i-whatever; just like the children and their high technology play room in Bradbury’s HappyLife home. So how about we all turn off our computers, get up, and go outside and do something different with family or friends.

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Lazy Jack

lazy jackThis English folktale, which is told here in the form of a Children’s Story, is about a boy (Jack) who isn’t very bright and doesn’t like the idea of work. However, thanks to faithfully following the advice of his mother, he ends up marrying a rich girl and, one imagines, never having to work again. Possible s? For children: Always do what your parents tell you and you will have a happy life. For parents: Teach your children to work hard and they will take care of you in your old age. For the rich girl: Sometimes laughter is the best medicine of all.

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moral(n: moral pl morals) The lesson to be learned from something that happens or from a story.
(adj: moral) Concerning what is right and wrong in human behavior. A moral person is always does what they believe to be the right thing to do. 2000

The Monkey’s Paw

the monkey's pawThis is our second Halloween month on xpressenglish.com, so today we are bringing you “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs. This is one of the most famous horror stories of all time. It was first published in 1902, and has since appeared in many different forms such as live plays, movies, TV shows, radio plays, books, s and cartoons (including a !). But first a word of advice. If you haven’t read “The Monkey’s Paw” before, don’t try to do it now if you are at home alone on a dark and stormy night !!!

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comic(n: comic pl comics) A book made up of sequences of drawings telling a story. 4000

simpsons(n: The Simpsons) A very popular American cartoon series.

(n: episode pl episodes) A radio or television show that is part of a series. 5000

Shooting an Elephant

shooting an elephantThis story by George Orwell is a which discusses some of the wrongs of British Imperialism. A young officer in the British Police in the early 1920’s describes an experience with an elephant that had killed a villager. He tells how he felt forced to do something that he believed was wrong in order to please a large crowd of local people.

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(n: narrative essay) A story about something that happened in the past, often a real event in the life of the author, that includes and supports a thesis [an opinion that the author wishes to discuss or prove].

(adj: colonial) Of or relating to a colony.
(n: colony pl colonies) 1. An area that is controlled by or belongs to a country and is usually far away from it. 2. A group of people sent by a country to live in such an area. 4000

Frederick’s Holidays

frederick's holdidaysIn this story by early 19th century children’s writer , a young boy thinks he will have more fun spending his holidays with his aunt in the city than staying on the farm of a family friend. He thinks country life is boring and plans to spend the days with two school friends who live near his aunt. When he gets to the city, he finds that his friends have been sent to stay at the farm he had just left. I am sure you can guess who has the better holidays.

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The author Elizabeth Semple (who also wrote under the pen-name Dame Truelove) is an enigma. We are all used to finding almost any information we want through search engines these days. So how (as of October, 2014) could someone who published at least ten children's books in the early 19th century not have any kind of biographical information on the Internet? The only reason I can think of is that it was a very powerful person of yet another name who wanted to hide the fact that they were the writer. If any of our readers can shed any light on this, I would love to hear from you.

Man from the South

man from the southThis story by Roald Dahl is about , greed, and ““. A young man accepts what appears to be an easy to win bet. If he is successful, he will win an expensive car. If he loses, he must give up a body part. Many s suggest that the English girl is unimportant to the story. I disagree. We can see that the young man was at first unhappy with the bet. If he was alone at the time, he could well have walked away. But this is not what you would expect of a young sailor who is out to win a girl!

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gambling(v: gamble, gambles, gambled, gambling) 1. To play a game in which you can win or lose money or other things you own. 2. To bet money or other valuable things on an outcome, such as a horse race. 3000

face(n: face pl faces) The front part of the head that has the eyes, nose, and mouth on it. His face is familiar but I can't remember his name.
(n: face, noncount) How other people see you; your level of respect in the eyes of others. 1000
(idiom: lose face) To cause other people to have less respect for you; to lose other people's respect.

(n: review pl reviews) A report that gives someone's opinion about the quality of a book, performance, product, etc. 4000

The Frog

the frogMost “frog” stories involve a frog prince or at the very least a male frog. However, in this folktale from Italy a female frog makes friends with a young man and helps him in his search for a wife. Possible morals? Sometimes we don’t appreciate those around us. Often the thing we are looking for is right under our noses. Or how about the English : “beauty is only skin deep”.

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(n: idiom pl idioms) An expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but has a meaning of its own which is generally understood by the native speakers of a language. It's a piece of cake. [= It's very easy.] It costs an arm and a leg. [= It's very expensive.] He has kicked the bucket. [= He is dead.] 8000

Last Day at School

last day at schoolThis story describes the feelings of a teacher on his last day at school. He is not only leaving his school, but moving on to a different . It was written by Italian teacher-turned- Giovanni Mosca, and may talk about his feelings on leaving teaching in 1936.

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(n: career pl careers) An occupation that requires special training and offers advancement. 2000
An unskilled occupation that does not offer advancement, such as a taxi driver, would normally be called a 'job', rather then a career.

(n: journalist pl journalists) A writer of news stories for newspapers, magazines, radio or TV. 5000

A Municipal Report

a municipal reportW. S. Porter, who is better known by the pen-name O. Henry, wrote over 600 short stories. Some s consider “A Report” to be not only his best ever work, but a in the art of short story writing. The involves what happens between the and three main characters: Azalea Adair, a self-educated, gentle lady of the old South; Major Caswell, the husband who treats her badly; and Uncle Caesar, a kind African American man with a royal bearing who tries to help Azalea.

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(n: critic pl critics) Someone, usually an expert, whose job it is to give opinions about books, movies, or other forms of art. 2000

(adj: municipal) To do with a Municipality (a district, town or city able to make its own laws for local government). 7000

masterpiece(n: masterpiece pl masterpieces) A great book, painting, piece of music, movie, etc; one of the best examples of creative or artistic work of its kind. 7000

(n: plot pl plots) The series of events that form the story in a movie, novel, play, etc. 3000

narrator(n: narrator pl narrators) Someone who tells a story; a storyteller. 7000

cruel(adj: cruel, crueler, cruelest) Used to describe: 1. someone who hurts others and does not feel sorry about it; 2. something that causes or helps to cause pain or suffering.
(n: cruelty pl cruelties) 1. Something which causes pain or suffering. 2. The quality or state of being cruel. 3000

The Legend of Nai Raeng

Hua Nai RaengThis folktale from Southern Thailand is about a man who was so big when he was born that his parents named him Nai Raeng (in Thai “raeng” means strength, energy or power). The first part of the story is quite as the boy eats so much that his poor parents cannot feed him, but not so the end where Nai Raeng orders that his own head be cut off and placed above a buried .

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amusing(adj: amusing) Funny; providing enjoyment; pleasantly entertaining. An amusing story. 3000

treasure(n: treasure pl treasures) 1. Something valuable (such as money, jewels, gold, or silver) that is hidden or kept in a safe place. (ขุมทรัพย์) 2. Something very special, important, or valuable. (ของมีค่า) 2000

The Nightingale

the nightingaleThis story by the Danish poet and writer Hans Christian Andersen is about an Emperor who discovers that there is a bird in his garden that, although plain to look at, sings so beautifully that it is famous all over the world. He falls in love with its song and keeps it in a cage until he receives a toy bird covered in jewels which can sing just as well. He replaces the original bird with the toy one, and does not realize until lying on his deathbed years later that the song of the real nightingale is the true treasure.

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In the Withaak’s Shade

under the withaak treeThe short story writing style of South African author Herman Bosman has been likened to that of the great American humorist Mark Twain. This story about a farmer’s unlikely meeting with a leopard as he was lying down under a withaak tree while busily searching for some lost cattle is a wonderful example of this. Both writers made extensive use of satire. Twain used it to attack problems he saw in mid-19th century American society. Bosman used it to draw attention to the conflicting forces and ideas in South African society during the first half of the 20th century.

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The Bet

the betThis story by Anton Chekhov is about a strange bet between a wealthy banker and young lawyer. It all started with a discussion about . The banker claimed that the death penalty was kinder than life in prison; the lawyer disagreed. To prove his point, the banker bet the lawyer two million s that he could not survive being locked up for fifteen years with no contact with the outside world other than through books. At the end of the fifteen years the banker was much wiser but also much poorer… but not because he lost the bet.

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capital punishment(n: capital punishment, noncount) Punishment by death; the practice of killing people as punishment for serious crimes.

(n: ruble pl rubles; British rouble) The basic unit of money of Russia. One ruble is made up of 100 kopecks.

The Master Thief

the master thiefThis Norwegian is about a boy whose poor father sends him out into the world to earn a living. He joins a group of robbers, and proves to be so good at stealing that he becomes their leader. The Master Thief returns home a rich man and decides to marry the Governor’s daughter. But the Governor has other ideas, and sets the Master Thief a series of s in order to win the girl. To meet the final challenge, the Master Thief uses the body of another thief who had been hung for his crimes. This raises the question of why the Governor did not immediately hang the Master Thief when he found out who he was. Could a of the story be that it is OK to be a thief as long as you are clever enough not to get caught?

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

(n: challenge pl challenges) 1. A difficult task or problem; something that is hard to do. 2. The act of questioning someone's power, a statement etc. 3. An invitation to compete in a game, fight, etc. 2000

moral(n: moral pl morals) The lesson to be learned from something that happens or from a story.
(adj: moral) Concerning what is right and wrong in human behavior. A moral person is always does what they believe to be the right thing to do. 2000

Mr Know-All

mr know-allThis story by W Somerset Maugham is about culture, manners, outward appearances, values and – most importantly of all – . Prejudice exists because it is human nature to people we meet based on race or how they look before getting to know them. The of the story can be summed up by the English : “You should not judge a book by its cover”.

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(n: prejudice pl prejudices) An unfair opinion about or feeling of dislike for a person or group when it is not reasonable or logical, especially when formed because of race, sex, religion, etc. 4000

(n: stereotype pl stereotypes) An often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic. (ทำให้เป็นกฎตายตัว) 5000

moral(n: moral pl morals) The lesson to be learned from something that happens or from a story.
(adj: moral) Concerning what is right and wrong in human behavior. A moral person is always does what they believe to be the right thing to do. 2000

(n: proverb pl proverbs) An old but well-known saying that either gives advice about how people should live, or expresses an idea that is generally thought to be true. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A rolling stone gathers no moss. 6000

The Loaded Dog

the loaded dogThis is one of the best known short stories by Henry Lawson, the great Australian poet and writer. It takes place in the late 1800s and involves three men and their big, lovable retriever pup. The men are working together digging for gold and like to go fishing in their free time. When the fish stop biting they decide to try to catch them by making a bomb and exploding it in the water. The pup picks up the the bomb, accidentally lights the fuse as he runs past the campfire, and has great fun chasing the men around the gold fields trying to give it back to them.

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George the Giant

happy giantThis is another Elementary Level Children’s Story. It tells of the last member of a race of giants. The giants were quiet, peaceful beings up until the time that a bad king ordered that they all be hunted down and killed. Only George survived. He came to hate all humans and would kill any who came near him. Many years later his life changed when he learned the calming power of music and the joy of helping others.

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The Merchant of Venice

the merchant of veniceWe have decided to add a new section to xpressenglish.com that provides Simple English stories from famous Shakespeare plays, designed especially for children. Our first story is the “The Merchant of Venice”. As well as being one of my Shakespeare favorites, it is also one of his most popular plays for performance and study at high-school and university.

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romantic(adj: romantic) 1. Of, relating to, or involving love between two people. 2. Not realistic or practical; imaginary.
(n: romance pl romances) 1. The relationship, actions etc of people who are in love. 2. A feeling of mystery or excitement. 5000

comedy(n: comedy pl comedies) A play, movie, television program, etc., that is meant to make people laugh. 3000

Tam and Cam

tam and camYou might be surprised to know that there are hundreds of folktales around the world that have the same central plot as the English children’s story “Cinderella”. This Vietnamese fairytale is longer and continues after the girl becomes Queen. The story after this could only happen in a folktale from a country where people believe that after we die we can be born again in non-human form.

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The Three Questions

the three questionsThe great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy is perhaps best known for his epic novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”. However, he also wrote many short stories. This story is about a king who wanted to find the answers to what he considered the three most important questions in life. The first thing he wanted to know was when was the right time to begin every action. The second was who were the best people to have around him. The third was what was the most important thing to spend his time doing. If you want to know the answers, you will have to read our story.

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Christmas Every Day

christmas every dayOur featured Christmas story this year was written in 1892 by W. D. Howells. In the story a father tells his demanding daughter a story about a little girl who made a selfish Christmas wish. The wish came true but in so doing caused major problems for almost everyone in the world. Although told in an amusing way, you could call this a kind of Christmas horror fairytale.

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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

celebrated frogThis story was the first success of famous American writer Samuel Clemens, better known by the Mark Twain. It is about a man who loved to so much that he would bet on anything. He finds a frog and trains it to jump so well that he thinks it can further than any other frog in Calaveras County. He keeps the frog in a wooden box and often brings it into town to find people to bet with. One day a passing stranger agrees to bet against the frog, provided the man can find another frog to jump for him. The man learns an expensive lesson when the new frog wins easily.

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commercial(adj: commercial) Having to do with the buying and selling of goods and services. A commercial building/vehicle. 2. [likely to be] profitable. A commercial success. 3. Paid for by advertisements. Commercial radio/TV.
(n: commercial pl commercials) A paid advertisement on radio or TV. 2000

pen name(n: pen-name pl pen-names) A name used by a writer instead of his or her real name.

gamble(v: gamble, gambles, gambled, gambling) 1. To play a game in which you can win or lose money or other things you own. 2. To bet money or other valuable things on an outcome, such as a horse race. 3000

leap(v: leap, leaps, leapt or leaped, leaping) 1. To jump from a surface. The cat suddenly leaped into the air. 2. To jump over something. The dog leaped over the wall. 3. To move quickly. She leaped out of bed when the fire alarm went off. 3000

The Magic Ring

the magic ringThe Magic Ring is a fairytale written by English writer Dinah Craik. It is about a good king who listens to bad advice and becomes a selfish and mean ruler. He learns the of his ways and the meaning of the English : “A kind act is always rewarded”.

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(n: error pl errors) Something that is not correct; a wrong action or statement. 3000.
(idiom: error of one's ways) To see, recognize, acknowledge, etc., 'the error of your ways' is to admit that you have been doing something wrong or behaving badly and to stop doing it.

(n: proverb pl proverbs) An old but well-known saying that either gives advice about how people should live, or expresses an idea that is generally thought to be true. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A rolling stone gathers no moss. 6000

The Butler

the butlerThis story by Roald Dahl is about a newly rich man who tries to buy his way up the social ladder. He employs an expensive butler and French chef and has many dinner parties. He also buys some of the world’s best wines and learns a lot about wine but not how to enjoy it. The butler takes advantage of this, and puts an end to the rich man’s high society plans.

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A Sound of Thunder

a sound of thunderThis story by Ray Bradbury is one of the most popular Science Fiction stories of all time. What is the most dangerous thing about time travel in the distant past? According to this story, it is not being eaten by a dinosaur but doing some small thing that may change the future. In the story five men travel back in time to kill a T-Rex. One of them s when he sees the huge monster and steps off a specially prepared path. Because of this, they return to a very different world. The last thing the man hears is a sound of thunder.

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(n: panic pl panics) A state or feeling of great fear that makes someone unable to act or think normally. 3000

Hudden and Dudden and Donald O’Neary

hudden and duddenNo one can make fun of themselves like the Irish. This quite funny folktale is about about two rich but stupid farmers who will do anything to get their hands on a small piece of land between their two farms that is owned by a poor but clever farmer named Donald O’Neary. Of course, in the end good wins over evil at the expense of Donald’s greedy neighbours. Or does it?

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“War of The Worlds” Radio Play

war of the worldsAs a special Halloween treat, today we are bringing you a Simplified English version of a Radio Play that is said to have frightened over a million people on Halloween , 1938. “War of The Worlds” is perhaps the most famous English Radio Play of all time. Phone lines were as people called police and radio stations. Reports say that thousands took to their cars to try to get away from cities. Was it an accident that so many people were scared? Was it one of the world’s greatest publicity s? Or was there another purpose? Read our story and the information below to find out.

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(n: Eve pl Eves) The day or evening before a special holiday or festival, such as Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, etc. 3000

(n: stunt pl stunts) Something (often unusual or spectacular) that is done to get attention or publicity. (การแสดงโลดโผน) 6000

(adj) When talking about phone lines, this means that so many people are trying to reach a number that most cannot get through. (ติดขัด)

Little Red Riding Hood

red riding hoodWe don’t normally simplify popular children’s stories. An important part of is reading for overall meaning, even if you don’t know all the words. With well-known stories, this may not take place. We are making an exception with this story from the “father” of modern children’s stories Charles Perrault, to show how such stories can change over time. Both the action in the grandmother’s bedroom and the ending were changed by the famous Brothers Grimm to create a more socially acceptable story for children.

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Extensive reading is exactly the same kind of reading that a learner would normally do for enjoyment in their own language – but in English and at a level where he/she can easily understand what they read. It requires reading long conversations and passages in English without using a dictionary. Much as in real life, being able to understand the overall meaning of what you read is more important than understanding every word.

The Law of Life

the law of lifeJack London, who wrote “The Law of Life”, is said to be one of the best authors in a writing style called “naturalism”. Such stories describe the unstoppable power of nature and mankind’s struggle for survival. The life of Koskoosh, the old Indian in this story who is left by his to die in the snow, is one of the best ever examples of naturalism.

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tribe(n: tribe pl tribes) A group of people that includes many families and relatives who have the same language, customs, and beliefs. (เผ่า เผ่าพันธุ์) 6000

The Killers

the killersThe Killers by Ernest Hemingway is about two “” who come to a restaurant in a small town near Chicago, Illinois to shoot a man as a favor to a friend. Some s go as far as to say that this is one of best short stories of all time. This is all the more given that Hemingway said that he wrote The Killers in just one morning in a hotel room in Madrid, Spain. , his did not see a need to change a single word of the story before it was published. Since then, the has been the basis for three movies, a performed by two academy award winning actors, and a book.

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(n: hit man pl hit men) A killer who is paid to murder someone, usually using a gun.

(n: critic pl critics) Someone, usually an expert, whose job it is to give opinions about books, movies, or other forms of art. 2000

(adj: impressive) Deserving attention, admiration, or respect; making a good impression.
(n: impression pl impressions) The effect or influence that something or someone has on a person's thoughts or feelings.
(v: impress, impresses, impressed, impressing) To make someone admire or be interested in you in some way. 2000

moreover(adv: moreover) In addition to what has already been said; furthermore. 7000

(n: editor pl editors) Someone who decides what goes into a newspaper, magazine or book and is responsible for making sure that the material printed is correct in facts, spelling and grammar. 2000

(n: plot pl plots) The series of events that form the story in a movie, novel, play, etc. 3000

(n: radio-play pl radio-plays) A special version of a story designed to make entertaining listening on the radio. Sometimes the story may be changed slightly, and often extra bits will be added to make it fit the amount of time the program is on the air.

comic(n: comic pl comics) A book made up of sequences of drawings telling a story. 4000

The Best Thing for a King

the best thing for a kingOur first Children’s story is specially written for Beginner level learners. It tells of an aging king who sends his three sons out into the world to bring back the best thing they can find to give to a king. The winner gets to be the next king, as well as to keep the things that his brothers bring back. Can you guess what the winning thing will be?

This story is very useful for lower level readers because it contains all of the important . Children’s stories are a great way to learn these words because they usually appear more often than in other kinds of writing. Over 80% of the words in this story are forms of Dolch Sight Words.

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(n: Dolch Sight Words) Way back in 1936, researcher Dr Edward Dolch came up with a list of 220 "service words" that are essential for children to recognize immediately in order to achieve reading fluency. These words, many of which cannot be 'sounded out', normally represent over 50% of any given text. Because the most basic vocabulary of the English language has not changed over the years, this list is still commonly used today as a basis for teaching early stage reading.

The Last Leaf

the last leafThis story by William Porter, better known by the pen-name O. Henry, is one of those rare stories that most readers never forget. Two young women trying to make a name for themselves as artists share an apartment in New York City. One of them becomes very sick, and makes up her mind that she will die when the last leaf falls from an ivy plant growing on the wall opposite her bedroom window. An unlikely figure living in the same building helps to save her. He is an old, alcoholic, failed artist who rarely has a nice word for anyone. However, his act of kindness comes at a very high cost.

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The Stone Cutter

the stone cutterThis from Japan is about a hard working man who leads a poor but happy life until a mountain spirit decides to grant him some wishes. At first he wishes for riches but then he moves on to wishing for power. He is never satisfied until finally he learns that even a stone cutter can be the most powerful of all.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

(adj) 1. Not thinking of yourself as better than other people. 2. Unimportant; having a low position in society. 5000

The Story of an Hour

story of an hourThis famous story by Kate Chopin got a lot of good and bad comments when it was first published. It supported equality for women in what was then a male controlled world by saying that a wife could feel “free, free, free” and have a look of “ in her eyes” after thinking for an hour about her husband’s death. It was a good thing that the decided to have the poor woman die at the end of the story from “joy that kills”. One has suggested that the story would not have been published if the woman had then lived happily ever after.

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triumph(n: triumph pl triumphs) 1. A great victory or success. (ชัยชนะ) 2. The very happy and joyful feeling that comes from victory or success. (ความยินดีจากชัยชนะ) 5000

author(n: author pl authors) The person who has written something; someone who writes books or stories, especially a person who has written many books or stories. I enjoyed the book, but I can't remember the name of its author. 3000

(n: critic pl critics) Someone, usually an expert, whose job it is to give opinions about books, movies, or other forms of art. 2000