The Stone Cutter

the stone cutterThis from Japan is about a hard working man who leads a poor but happy life until a mountain spirit decides to grant him some wishes. At first he wishes for riches but then he moves on to wishing for power. He is never satisfied until finally he learns that even a stone cutter can be the most powerful of all.

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

Question 10 of our General Understanding Quiz for this story is as follows:

Which popular children’s game is the story of the stone cutter closest to?

What do you think? To check your answer, you will have to go to the last question of the quiz.

Although we have called this a Japanese folktale, some sources believe that it may have originally came from China. We have classed it as Japanese as this is where our version of the story came from. On the Wikipedia page for the story, there is a suggestion that it may even have a European origin. This seems hard to believe as most European folktales are about people who become rich or marry a prince or princess, rather than someone who wants to be an inanimate object such as the sun, a cloud or a mountain.

crimson fairy bookOur source for the story was The Crimson Fairy Book, one of a series of twelve collections of folk and fairy tales for children edited by Andrew Lang. This is the eighth book in the series, and was first published in 1903. It can be downloaded as an e-book from Project Gutenberg here. An audiobook is available from Librivox here.

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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

(adj) 1. Not thinking of yourself as better than other people. 2. Unimportant; having a low position in society. 5000

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

else(adv, adj: else) Besides; other than that already mentioned; used to refer to a different or additional person or thing. What else can I do? He took someone else's pencil.
(adv: elsewhere) In, or to, another place; somewhere or anywhere else. You must look elsewhere if you want a better job. 1000

hut(n: hut pl huts) A small and simple house or building. 3000

middle(n: middle pl middles)) Equally distant from the ends or sides; halfway between two points. 1000

proud(adj: proud, prouder, proudest) 1. Feeling very pleased because of something you have done or own, someone you know, etc. She felt proud as she watched her daughter graduate. 2. Having a too high opinion of oneself; arrogant. She was too proud to talk to us. 2000
(n: pride, noncount) A feeling of pleasure and satisfaction at one's achievements, possessions, family etc. She watched with pride as her daughter graduated. 3000

(n: purpose pl purposes) 1. The reason why something is done or used; the aim or intention of something. What is the purpose of your visit? 2. the use or function of an object. The purpose of the red button is to stop the machine in an emergency. 1000
(adv: on purpose) In a way that is planned or intended; in a deliberate way. Someone set fire to the house on purpose.

servant(n: servant pl servants) Someone who is hired to do household or personal duties [such as cleaning and cooking]. 1000

sharp(adj: sharp, sharper, sharpest) 1. Having a thin edge that is able to cut things or a fine point that is able to make a hole in things. 2. [of changes in direction] Sudden and quick. A sharp turn. 3. [of speaking] In an angry or unpleasant way. A sharp voice. 4. [of a sound] Loud, short, and sudden. (2000

(n: spirit pl spirits) 1. The inner quality or nature of a person. She has a kind and loving spirit. (น้ำใจ) 2. The force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power. Often thought of as not part of the body and to remain alive (eg as a ghost or able to be born again) when the body dies. He may be dead, but his spirit still lives on. 2. A similar force which some cultures believe to exist in all non-human entities (animals, plants, rivers, mountains, etc.). (จิตใจ) 2000

soul rising spirit house

hide-and-seek(n: hide-and-seek, noncount) A children's game in which a player covers his eyes while the other players hide, and then tries to find them.

rock-paper-scissors(n: rock-paper-scissors, noncount) A hand game where players form one of three shapes at the same time with an outstretched hand. The "rock" beats scissors, the "scissors" beat paper and the "paper" beats rock; if two or more players form the same shape, they are tied and play again until a winner is found.

tag(n: tag, noncount) A children's game in which one player chases the others; the one who is caught becomes the next chaser. (แปะโป้ง) 3000

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