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.

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Simplified English story which are not in our Elementary Level 800 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

General Comments on the Story

english fairy storiesOur source was a children’s book called English Fairy Stories by Australian collector Joseph Jacobs, first published in 1890. The book can be downloaded in various e-book forms from Project Gutenberg here. An audiobook is available from Librivox here.

As is often the case, there are several folktales from other countries with similar stories to Fairy Ointment. For interest, we have included an Irish version by the name of “The Fairy Nurse”. This is longer and involves the rescue of a neighbor who had been kept prisoner by the pixies. It was recorded in The Lilac Fairy Book, one of a series of twelve collections of folk and fairy tales for children edited by Scottish writer Andrew Lang. This is the last book in the series, and was first published in 1910. The book can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg here. An audiobook is available from Librivox here.


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cling(v: cling, clings, clung, clinging) 1. To hold onto something or someone very tightly. The children clung to their father as he said goodbye. 2. To stick to something or someone. The shirt clung to his wet shoulders.
(adj: clingy, clingier, clingiest) Used to ​describe something or someone that clings. A clingy dress/child. 4000

eyelid(n: eyelid pl eyelids) Either one of the two movable pieces of skin that cover your eye when it is closed. 7000

healthy(adj: healthy, healthier, healthiest) Well; not sick or injured; having good health. 1000

naughty(adj: naughty, naughtier, naughtiest) Behaving badly; used especially to describe a child who does not behave properly or obey a parent, teacher, etc. 2000

neat(adj: neat, neater, neatest) Tidy, with everything in the right place; well-ordered; not messy. 3000

nightdress(n: nightdress pl nightdresses) A loose dress that is worn in bed, especially by women and girls; also called a nightgown. 8000

of course(adv: of course) 1. Used to say yes to a question or that something is true in a way that shows you are very certain about it. "May I borrow this book?" "Of course!" 2. Used to show that what is being said is very obvious or already generally known. She was late and rude, so of course she didn't get the job.

ointment(n: ointment pl ointments) A smooth, creamy substance that is rubbed on the skin to help heal a wound or to reduce pain or discomfort. 6000

pixie(n: pixie or pixy pl pixies) An imaginary creature that looks like a small person, has magical powers, and likes to play tricks on people. 10000

stall(n: stall pl stalls) A small open counter or partially enclosed structure where things are displayed for sale. (แผงขายของ) 2000

(v: stick your nose into) [idiom] To get involved in or want information about something that does not concern you.

ugly(adj: ugly, uglier, ugliest) Unpleasant to look at; not pretty or attractive. (น่าเกลียด) 4000

(v: wonder, wonders, wondered, wondering) To have interest in knowing or learning something. (รู้สึกกังขา)
(n: wonder, noncount) A feeling caused by seeing something that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc. (ความพิศวง)
(adj: wonderful) 1. So surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc. as to create a feeling of wonder. (อัศจรรย์) 2. Beautiful, excellent, etc. (งดงาม) 1000

wondering wonderful

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

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