This story by Hans Christian Andersen is about an old man and his loving wife. The only thing they own of any value is a horse, which they decide to sell or trade for something more useful. The man sets off for town, but comes home with nothing to show for the horse but a bag of rotten apples. Andersen called this one of his best tales… but was it really his story?
- Original Text with Audio (2081 words)
- Pre-Intermediate English Version
- General Understanding Quiz
- Gudbrand on the Hill-side
English Learner Vocabulary Help
There is also a word that is in our Pre-Intermediate word list but has a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used. The old man’s wife says: “It is fair day in town today,” and suggests that he rides in to try to sell their horse. She is not talking about the weather or being , but telling him that on that day there is (in this case a large market) being held in the town.
General Comments on the Story
Our source was a children’s book called Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen, available as an e-book from Project Gutenberg here. Like many early children’s writers, some of Andersen’s stories re-told folktales that he had heard as a child. This is almost certainly one of these, as it shows none of the literary quality of Andersen’s original stories. The folktale that inspired it is thought to be Gudbrand on the Hill-side from Norway. We have included a translation of this above for anyone who is interested.
(n: bacon, noncount) Thin strips of salted and smoked meat from the sides and the back of a pig. 4000
(n: bark pl barks) 1. The outer covering of a tree. 2. The loud sound made by a dog when it is angry or excited.
(v: bark, barks, barked, barking) 1. To make a loud sound like that made by a dog when it is angry or excited. The dog barked at the stranger. 2. To shout or say (something) in a loud and angry way. The captain barked orders to his men. 5000
(n: bet pl bets) An agreement in which people try to guess what will happen and the person who guesses wrong has to give something [such as money] to the person who guesses right.
(v: bet, bets, bet, betting) To make a bet; to risk losing something [such as money] if your guess about what will happen is wrong. 1000
(n: butter, noncount) A soft, yellow substance made from milk or cream that is spread on food or used in cooking. 2000
(n: carriage pl carriages) 1. A horse-drawn vehicle with four wheels that is used to carry people. 2. [British] A separate section of a train. A railway carriage. 4000
(n: cattle, plural) A group of cows, bulls, or steers that are kept on a farm for meat or milk. 4000
(n: cattle-dog pl cattle-dogs) A special breed of dog developed in Australia for driving cattle over long distances across rough country.
(n: cluck pl clucks) A short low sound like the call of an adult female chicken (hen). 12000
(n: dust, noncount) A fine powder made up of very small pieces of earth, sand, etc. The furniture was covered in dust.
(adj: dusty; dustier, dustiest) Filled or covered with dust. He cleaned the dusty shelf. 2000
(n: feather pl feathers) One of the things that grow from a bird's skin that form the covering of its body. 3000
(n: goose pl geese) A web-footed bird that swims like a duck, but is larger and has a longer neck. 4000
(n: hen pl hens) An adult female chicken. 3000
(n: herb pl herbs) A plant or a part of a plant that is used as medicine or to give flavor to food. 4000
(v: hug, hugs, hugged, hugging) 1. To put your arms around someone or something, especially as a way of showing love or friendship. 2. To be or stay very close to something. 6000
(n: inn pl inns) A name given to some small hotels in villages or the countryside where people can eat and rent a room to sleep. 3000
(v: roast, roasts, roasted, roasting) To cook food [such as chicken, potatoes, or beef] with dry heat in an oven or over a fire. 4000
(v: rot, rots, rotted, rotting) To be slowly broken down by the natural processes that destroy a dead plant or body.
(adj: rotten) Having been destroyed by natural processes and no longer able to be used, eaten, etc. 3000
(adj: rotten) Having been destroyed by natural processes and no longer able to be used, eaten, etc.
(v: rot, rots, rotted, rotting) To be slowly broken down by the natural processes that destroy a dead plant or body. 3000
(n: stove pl stoves) A flat piece of kitchen equipment used for cooking on. She put the pot on the stove over medium heat. (เตาไฟ) 5000
Often set above an oven [a closed box-like space which is heated for baking or roasting food]. (เตาอบ) 3000
(n: straw, noncount) The dry stems of wheat and other grain plants having many uses, eg as bedding for animals, making mats and other goods etc. (ฟางข้าว) 3000
(adj: fair, fairer, fairest) 1. Treating people in a way that does not favor some over others. A fair election/fight. 2. Not very good or very bad. Fair quality. 3. Quite good but not excellent. They have a fair chance of winning. 4. [of a person's hair or skin] Light colored 5. [of weather] Not stormy or cloudy. 6. [old fashioned] Attractive; pleasing to look at. 1000
(n: fair pl fairs) 1. An [often traveling] public show or event with rides, games, and other entertainment. 2. A large market held at fixed times of the year. A fair is held here every spring. 3. An event at which many people gather to buy things or get information about a product or activity. A book/job/trade fair. 7000