This story by W. Somerset Maugham takes its name from a famous Aesop fable. The fable carries the message that hard work is rewarded while laziness is punished. The story presents a more realistic view of the world. Sometimes good things do happen to lazy or even quite bad people, causing them to end up better off than those of us who work hard all our lives.
- Original Text with Audio (1531 words)
- Pre-Intermediate English Version
- General Understanding Quiz
- Aesop Fable
English Learner Vocabulary Help
(n: ant pl ants) A small insect that lives in an organized social group called a colony, thought of as hard-working. 6000
(v: charm, charms, charmed, charming) To cause (someone) to like you or to do what you want by being nice, friendly, etc. She charmed everyone with her warm smile. 3000
(adj: charming) Very pleasing or delightful; attractive. 3000
(v: cheat, cheats, cheated, cheating) 1. To break a rule or law, usually to gain an advantage at something. She was caught cheating in a test. 2. To take something from someone by lying or breaking a rule. He cheated his brother out of his share of their parents money. 3000
(adj: cheerful) 1. Feeling or showing happiness. 2. Causing good feelings or happiness. 4000
(n: club pl clubs) 1. A heavy wooden stick used as a weapon. 2. A group of people who meet to participate in an activity or a place where such people meet. 1000
(n: fable pl fables) A short story that usually is about animals and teaches a lesson about human behavior. 7000
(v: forgive, forgives, forgave, forgiven, forgiving) To stop being angry with someone who has done something wrong or caused something bad to happen. He forgave her for stealing his watch.
(n: forgiveness, noncount) The act of forgiving. He asked for forgiveness. 2000
(v: gamble, gambles, gambled, gambling) 1. To play a game in which you can win or lose money or other things you own. 2. To bet money or other valuable things on an outcome, such as a horse race. 3000
(n: grasshopper pl grasshoppers) A plant-eating insect that has long legs used for jumping. 12000
(n: habit pl habits) A usual way of behaving; something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way, often without needing to think about it. She had a habit of biting her fingernails when she was nervous. 3000
(n: honor pl honors; British honour) 1. Respect given to someone or something that is admired. We 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. He has received many honors for his research into cancer. 3. The quality of being honest. He is a man of honor. 2000
(adj: honorable or honourable) Having or showing honesty and good moral character; deserving or winning honor and respect. 2000
(n: jewelry, noncount; British jewellery) Decorative objects [rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc.] that people wear on their body.
(n: jeweler pl jewelers; British jeweller) A person that makes, repairs, or sells jewelry. 3000
(n: morals, plural) Proper ideas and beliefs about how to behave in a way that is considered right and good by most people. 2000
(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
(adj: respectable) Considered to be good, correct, or acceptable; decent or correct in character, behavior, or appearance. 1000
(n: reward pl rewards) A benefit that someone gets or is offered for doing good work, good behavior etc. 3000
(adj: selfish) Having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people. 1000
(v: upset, upsets, upset, upsetting) To make someone feel unhappy or a little angry. (เศร้า) 2000