Wise Folks

wise folksIn this folktale, a mean farmer is angry at his foolish wife who allowed a man to cheat her out of two cows while he was away visiting friends. He had promised to beat her until she was black and blue if she did not get a good price for the cows. However, he decides to save the beating for another time if he can find someone more foolish than she is. He soon finds such a person: a widow who is worried about how well her dead husband is doing in Heaven. The farmer then makes up for losing the two cows by cheating the widow out of a purse full of money and stealing a fine horse from her son. At the end of the story, he seems to think that it is OK to take advantage of simple minded people.

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 .

General Comments on the Story

household talesOur source for the story was a book called “Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm” from British writer and translator Margaret Hunt. The book, which was first published in 1884, contains translations of all 200 Grimm folktales plus 10 s. It can be downloaded in various e-book forms from Project Gutenberg here.


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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.

heaven(n: heaven, singular) In some religions, the place where God or the gods live, and where good people go when they die. Also known as 'Paradise'. (สวรรค์) 2000
(n: heavens) Used informally by itself or in phrases to make a statement or question more forceful or to express surprise, etc. “Have you ever to prison?” “Heavens, no!”; Good heavens! Have you won the lottery again?; Heaven's above, I haven't seen you in years. (คำพูดเมื่อประหลาดใจ)

honor(n: honor pl honors; British honour) 1. Respect that is given to someone or something that is admired. We must fight for the honor of our country. 2. Something (such as a title or medal) that is given to a person as a sign of respect and admiration. He has received many honors for his research into cancer. 3. Something that shows that other people have respect for you. It is a great honor to be asked to address this meeting. 4. The quality of being honest. He is a man of honor. (ศีลธรรม) 2000

hurry(v: hurry, hurries, hurried, hurrying) To [cause to] to move, act, or go quickly. I must hurry or I will be late for the train. (รีบ) 2000

receive(v: receive, receives, received, receiving) To get or be given (something). (รับ) 1000

stable(n: stable pl stables) A building in which large animals are kept. (คอก สัตว์) 5000

tailor(n: tailor pl tailors) A person who makes men's clothes [such as suits, jackets, shirts] that are specially made to fit a particular person. (ช่างตัดเสื้อ) 5000

wagon(n: wagon pl wagons; British waggon) A four-wheeled vehicle for carrying heavy loads or passengers, usually pulled by animals. (รถสี่ล้อที่มีเครื่องยนต์หรือลากด้วยม้า) 3000

wheat(n: wheat, noncount) A kind of grain that is used to make flour for breads, cookies, etc. (ข้าวสาลี) 5000

legend(n: legend pl legends) A story from the past that is believed by many people but cannot be proved to be true. (ตำนาน)
(adj: legendary) 1. Mentioned etc in legend. King Arthur is a legendary hero. (ในตำนาน) 2. Very famous because of being very great, good etc. He was a legendary football player. (เป็นตำนาน) 6000

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