In this English fairytale, a rich and powerful man looks into the future and learns that the fate of his young son is to marry a girl from a very poor family. He wants a high society wife for his son and does everything that he can to stop the marriage, including trying to kill the poor girl twice. A hungry fish ends up teaching him the meaning of a popular 1950s song: Que Sera, Sera (What will be, will be)!
- Original Text with Audio (1190 words)
- Pre-Intermediate English Version
- General Understanding Quiz
- Song: Que Sera, Sera
English Learner Vocabulary Help
General Comments on the Story
Our source for the story was a children’s book called English Fairy Stories by Australian folktale 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.
(n: baron pl barons) 1. A British royal title of the lowest level. 2. An important, powerful person. 6000
(v: beg, begs, begged, begging) To ask (someone) in a very serious and emotional way to give you something such as food, money, etc., or to do something that you need or want very much.
(n: beggar pl beggars) A person who begs, often for a way of making a living. 2000
(n: cliff pl cliffs) A high, steep surface (or 'face') of rock, earth, or ice. 3000
(v: dine, dines, dined, dining) To eat dinner; to have the main meal of the day. 3000
(n: dining room) A room in a house used mainly for eating in.
(n: dining table) A table around which people sit to eat.
(n: fate pl fates) 1. The things that will happen to a person or thing; the future that someone or something will have. The boy disappeared, and his fate was unknown.
(n: fate, noncount) The power that is believed to control what happens in the future; destiny. They thought they would never see each other again, but fate brought them back together. 4000
(v: float, floats, floated, floating) To [make something] stay on the surface of a liquid. 2000
(n: guest pl guests) 1. A visitor who stays in a hotel etc. We have accommodation for 500 guests. 2. A person that you have invited to your house or to a particular event that you are paying for. We are having guests for dinner.
(adj: guest) Describes something kept specially for a guest. guest bedroom/towels, etc. 3000
(n: hut pl huts) A small and simple house or building. 3000
(n: noble pl nobles) Of the highest social class; someone with a royal title.
(adj: noble, nobler, noblest) Having personal qualities that people admire (such as honesty, generosity, courage, etc.); honorable. 5000
(v: punish, punishes, punished, punishing) To make someone suffer for a crime or for something done that is wrong.
(n: punishment pl punishments) The act or way of making someone suffer for a crime or for something done that is wrong. 3000
(n: servant pl servants) Someone who is hired to do household or personal duties [such as cleaning and cooking]. (คนรับใช้) 1000
(n: wedding pl weddings) The act of getting married; marrying. (การแต่งงาน) 2000