What the Old Man Does is Always Right

what the old man does is always rightThis 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?

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 .

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

fairy tales of hans christian andersenOur 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.


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bacon(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

tree bark barking dog

bet(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

butter(n: butter, noncount) A soft, yellow substance made from milk or cream that is spread on food or used in cooking. 2000

carriage(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

cattle(n: cattle, noncount) 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

dust(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

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. (ห่าน) 4000

hen(n: hen pl hens) An adult female chicken. (แม่ไก่) 3000

herb(n: herb pl herbs) A plant or a part of a plant that is used as medicine or to give flavor to food. (สมุนไพร) 4000

hug(v: hug, hugs, hugged, hugging) 1. To put your arms around someone or something, especially as a way of showing love or friendship. (กอด) 2. To be or stay very close to something. (เข้าใกล้) 6000

inn(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. (โรงแรมเล็กๆ) 3000

roast(v: roast, roasts, roasted, roasting) To cook food [such as chicken, potatoes, or beef] with dry heat in an oven or over a fire. (ย่าง ; อบ) 4000

rot(v: rot, rots, rotted, rotting) To be slowly broken down by the natural processes that destroy a dead plant or body. (ทำให้เน่าเปื่อย)
(adj: rotten) Having been destroyed by natural processes and no longer able to be used, eaten, etc. (เน่าเปื่อย) 3000

rotten(adj: rotten) Having been destroyed by natural processes and no longer able to be used, eaten, etc. (เน่าเปื่อย)
(v: rot, rots, rotted, rotting) To be slowly broken down by the natural processes that destroy a dead plant or body. (ทำให้เน่าเปื่อย) 3000

stove(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

straw(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

fairness(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

fair(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

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