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.

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Simplified English story which are not in our Pre-Intermediate Level 1200 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

General Comments on the Story

the golden goose bookOur source for this version of the story was a beautifully illustrated children’s book called The Golden Goose Book by British artist and writer L Leslie Brooke, first published in 1905. There are only four stories in the book, the others being The Three Bears, The 3 Little Pigs and Tom Thumb. It can be downloaded in various e-book forms from Project Gutenberg here. An audiobook is available from Librivox here.

Be prepared for your children to be surprised by some unusual twists in Brooke’s 3 Little Pigs story compared to modern versions. The first two pigs are eaten by the wolf rather than running to the house of the third. Also, the wolf doesn’t climb onto the roof and try to come down the chimney as soon as it finds that it can’t blow the brick house down. Over the next three days it tries a number of tricks to get the pig to come outside. It is only when these don’t work that it decides to come down the chimney… just in time to be boiled and eaten for dinner!

This is an interesting example of how folktales that become well-known children’s stories can change over time. The ending to “The Golden Goose” is another example. The story appears to have gotten longer between 1884 (when it was first translated into English) and 1905. The added part (the three additional things that the Simpleton had to do to marry the princess) occurs almost word for word in a number of other folktales first published around the same time. It is unclear whether this came from a different version of the same folktale, or Brooke simply added it to the original story in order to make his book longer. We have included a copy of the Brothers Grimm translation for anyone interested in comparing the two stories.


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bandage(n: bandage pl bandages) A covering (such as a strip of cloth) that protects or supports part of the body that has been hurt.
(v: bandage, bandages, bandaged, bandaging) To cover or wrap (something) with a bandage. 4000

(n: barrel pl barrels) 1. A large, usually wooden container with round sides and flat ends. 2. A tube in a gun through which a bullet goes when it is fired. 3000

barrels gunbarrel

cellar(n: cellar pl cellars) A part of a building that is below or partly below the ground, often used to store coal or wine. Also called 'the basement'. 4000

delicious(adj: delicious) Having a very nice taste or smell. 6000

feather(n: feather pl feathers) One of the things that grow from a bird's skin that form the covering of its body. 3000

goose(n: goose pl geese) A web-footed bird that swims like a duck, but is larger and has a longer neck. 4000

(n: in-law pl in-laws) A person you are related to because of your marriage; especially the father, mother and brothers and sisters of your husband or wife.

oven(n: oven pl ovens) A closed box-like space, usually part of a cooker or stove, which is heated for baking or roasting food. 3000

palace(n: palace pl palaces) A very large and beautiful house, especially one lived in by a member of a royal family such as a king, queen, sultan, etc. 4000
The picture on the left shows Buckingham Palace in London where the Queen of England lives.

priest(n: priest pl priests) A man who leads people in the worship of a god or group of gods; a man who leads or performs religious ceremonies. 4000

proud(adj: proud, prouder, proudest) 1. Feeling very pleased because of something you have done or own, someone you know, etc. She felt proud as she watched her daughter graduate. 2. Having a too high opinion of oneself; arrogant. She was too proud to talk to us. 2000
(n: pride, noncount) A feeling of pleasure and satisfaction at one's achievements, possessions, family etc. She watched with pride as her daughter graduated. 3000

(n: simpleton pl simpletons) An old-fashioned word for someone who is not very intelligent or who does not have or show a good sense or judgment; a fool. (คนโง่)

(adj: sour, sourer, sourest) 1. Having an acid taste or smell like that of lemon juice or vinegar. (เปรี้ยว) 2. Having the unpleasant taste or smell of food or drink that is in a stage of going bad. (บูด) 5000

tight(adj: tight, tighter, tightest) 1. Fitting very or too closely; [of clothes] fitting very close to your body. These shoes are too tight. (คับแน่น) 2. Flat or firm from being pulled or stretched; not loose. Pull the ribbon tight and make a bow. (ผูกแน่น) 3. Fastened, attached, or held in a position that is not easy to move. The lid is too tight. I can't open it. (แน่นหนา) 2000
(adv: tightly) In a tight way. The shirt fits too tightly around the arms. Hold on tightly to the railing. (แน่น)

waist(n: waist pl waists) The narrow part of the human body between the stomach and hips. (ก้น) 5000

wheat(n: wheat, noncount) A kind of grain that is used to make flour for breads, cookies, etc. (ข้าวสาลี) 5000

whisper(n: whisper pl whispers) A very quiet sound, especially something said. (การกระซิบ; การส่งเสียงเบา ๆ)
(v: whisper, whispers, whispered, whispering) To speak or say something very softly. (กระซิบ) 5000

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