Although this story was described as an “Australian” when published in 1910, Australia is too young a nation to have folktales of its own. This is an Australian folktale. 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.
- Original Text with Audio (789 words)
- Elementary Level Story
- Pre-Intermediate Level Story
- General Understanding Quiz
Elementary Vocabulary Help
There is also a word that is in our Elementary word list but has a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used. The fish tribe decide to rest by the steep bank of a river. The word here has nothing to do with money, but means the higher ground along the edge of the river.
Pre-Intermediate Vocabulary Help
General Comments on the Story
Our source for the story was The Lilac Fairy Book, one of a series of twelve collections of folk and fairy tales for children edited by Andrew Lang. This is the last book in the series, and was first published in 1910. It can be downloaded as an from Project Gutenberg here. An is available from Librivox here.
(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: 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
(n: ash pl ashes) The soft gray powder that remains after something has been completely burned and destroyed by fire. Cigarette ash. The ashes of a campfire. 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
(v: blow, blows, blew, blown, blowing) 1. [of a current of air] To be moving. The wind blew more strongly. 2. To cause air or something carried by air to move. Please blow into this tube!
(n: blow pl blows) 1. A hard hit using a part of the body or an object. 2. A sudden event that causes trouble, damage, sorrow, etc. 1000
(n: flame pl flames) The hot, yellow colored gas that can be seen when a fire is burning. 3000
(v: glow, glows, glowed, glowing) 1. To give out heat or light without any flame. (แสงแวววาว) 2. To have pink cheeks because of heat, cold, emotion etc. (คุแดง) 3. To look happy or excited about something. (อิ่มเอิบ) 3000
(v: kneel, kneels, knelt, kneeling) To move your body so that one or both of your knees are on the floor. (นั่งคุกเข่า) 5000
(n: match pl matches) 1. A short thin piece of wood with a special tip that produces fire when it is rubbed against something else. He lit a match. (ไม้ขีดไฟ) 2. Someone or something that is equal to or as good as another person or thing. She has finally met her match at arguing. (คนที่เท่าเทียมกัน) 3. A contest between two or more players or teams. A soccer match. (การแข่งขัน) 1000
(v: rub, rubs, rubbed, rubbing) To move something [such as your hand or an object] back and forth along the surface of something else while pressing. (คลึง) 2000
(adj: steep, steeper, steepest) [of a mountain, hill, stairs etc] Almost straight up and down; rising or falling very sharply. (สูงชัน) 3000
(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
(adj: worse) Comparative form of 'bad'. 1. Lower in quality; less pleasant, attractive, appealing, effective, useful, etc. Her second book was worse than her first one. (แย่ลง) 2. More unpleasant, serious or severe. Her first book was bad, but her second one is even worse. Waiting for exam results is worse than sitting the exams. (แย่กว่า) 3. In poorer health than before; not so well. I feel worse today than I did yesterday. (ไม่ค่อยดี) 1000
(n: bank pl banks) 1. A business where people keep their money, borrow money, etc., or the building where such a business operates. 2. The higher ground that is along the edge of a river, stream, etc. 1000
(v: crackle, crackles, crackled, crackling) To make a series of short, sharp noises, like paper being crushed or a wood fire burning. 8000
(n: desert pl deserts) An area of very dry land that is usually covered with sand and is very hot. Many settlers died while trying to cross the desert. 3000
(n: e-book pl e-books) A book whose contents are in an electronic format so that it can be downloaded and read.
(n: audiobook pl audiobooks) A book that is read out loud and recorded on a CD or as a computer file so that it can be listened to.