This story by Frank O’Connor takes place during the Irish War of Independence of 1919-1921. Two young Irishmen become friends with two English prisoners they are guarding. They suffer lasting effects when they are ordered to take part in the execution of the two men. The story illustrates the brutality of war, and how soldiers must sometimes choose between duty and morality.
- Original Text (4603 words)
- Pre-Intermediate Level Story
- Intermediate Level Story
- General Understanding Quiz
Pre-Intermediate Vocabulary Help
Intermediate Vocabulary Help
The words and expressions in our Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1800 word list are: , , , bog, , capitalist, chum, , , , , , , , grave, , headquarters, hostage, , lantern, , , , , , revolver, , , shed, , , temper, and .
There are also five words which are in our word list but have a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used:
- When people were speaking to Donovan, “he would rock from toe to heel and back”. In this case, to means to move gently backwards and forwards.
- The Englishmen were passed on to them by the Second Battalion “when the search for them became too hot“. The word here has nothing to do with the weather. It means difficult to deal with because of the danger.
- Bonaparte tells us that “it was a treat to see how Belcher got on with the old woman”. As a , the word means something out of the ordinary that gives pleasure.
- The word “match” is used with two meanings in our Intermediate story. Bonaparte tells us that Hawkins, who liked to argue, “met his match in the old woman”. When they come inside after killing the prisoners, Noble uses a match to light the lamp. To “meet your match” means to find someone who is as good at doing something as you are.
- The old woman tells Hawkins that World War One was caused by “the Italian Count who took that statue of a god from a temple in Japan”. When used in a person’s name, the word is a European noble title.
(n: bog pl bogs) An area of soft, wet land. 3000
(n: capitalist pl capitalists) 1. A rich person who uses his money, property, etc., to produce more money. 2. A person who believes that the best economic system is one where the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individuals and companies rather than the government. 4000
(n: chum pl chums) An old-fashioned word for a close friend; a pal. They were talking together like a couple of old chums. 6000
(v: complain, complains, complained, complaining) To say or write that you that you are unhappy or not satisfied with something or are sick, uncomfortable, etc. 2000
(n: complaint pl complaints) A statement that you are unhappy or not satisfied with something. 2000
(n: duty pl duties) 1. An action or task requiring to be done, especially as part of a job. His main duty at the event is to take attendance. 2. Something that you must do because it is morally right or because the law requires it. He has a duty to support his children. 2000
(v: forgive, forgives, forgave, forgiven, forgiving) To stop being angry with someone who has done something wrong or caused something bad to happen. (ยกโทษให้) 2000
(n: grave pl graves) A piece of ground, or the hole dug in it, in which a dead person is buried. (หลุมศพ)
(adj: grave, graver, gravest) To look serious and formal in what you are doing. (ตรึงเครียด) 4000
(n: handkerchief pl handkerchiefs or handkerchieves) A small usually square piece of cloth used for wiping your face, nose, or eyes. (ผ้าเช็ดหน้า) 4000
(n: headquarters, plural) A place from which something (such as a business or a military action) is planned and directed. (กองบัญชาการ) 4000
Usage Note: Although headquarters is plural, it can be used with both plural and singular verbs. The company's headquarters is/are in Atlanta.
(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)
(n: heel pl heels) 1. The back part of your foot that is below the ankle. (ส้นเท้า) 2. The part of a shoe or sock that covers the heel of your foot. (ส่วนที่เป็นส้นเท้าของถุงเท้า) 3. The part of the bottom of a shoe or boot that is under the heel of your foot. (ส่วนที่เป็นส้นเท้าของรองเท้า) 3000
(n: hostage pl hostages) A person who is captured by someone who demands that certain things be done before the captured person is freed. The terrorists demanded a plane and a pilot in exchange for the hostages. (ตัวประกัน) 5000
(n: joke pl jokes) Something said or done to cause laughter. She meant it as a joke, but some people took her seriously. I heard a funny joke yesterday. (เรื่องตลก) 2000
(n: lantern pl lanterns) A light for outdoors that has a glass covering to protect it from the wind, rain, etc. and can be carried by a handle. (ตะเกียง) 8000
(adj: lonely, lonelier, loneliest) 1. Sad from being apart from others. He felt lonely without his wife and children. (หงอยเหงา) 2. Not visited by or traveled on by many people. A lonely country road. (ไม่มีคนอยู่)
(n: loneliness, noncount) The quality or state of feeling lonely. (ความเหงา) 3000
(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
(n: paperwork, noncount) 1. Routine work that involves writing letters, reports, etc. He spent most of the morning doing paperwork. 2. The official documents that are needed for something to happen or be done. She did not file the paperwork on time. (งานเอกสาร) 3000
(v: pray, prays, prayed, praying) 1. To speak to God or someone or something that has special powers in order to express thanks or ask for something. 2. To hope or wish very much for something to happen. (สวดมนต์) 2000
(n: prayer; pl prayers) The words spoken to God when you give thanks or ask for something. (การสวดมนต์; การภาวนา) 2000
(n: priest pl priests) A man who leads people in the worship of a god or group of gods; a man who leads or performs religious ceremonies. (นักบวช) 4000
(n: religion pl religions) 1. A belief in, or the worship of, a god or group of gods. (ความเชื่อในศาสนา) 2. A particular system of belief or worship. (ศาสนา)
(adj: religious) 1. Of or relating to religion. 2. Deeply concerned with the beliefs and practice of a religion. (เกี่ยวกับศาสนา) 2000
(n: revolver pl revolvers) A hand gun with a container for bullets that turns after the gun is fired and puts another bullet into position to be fired next. (ปืนพกลูกโม่) 7000
(v: shake, shakes, shook, shaken, shaking) To move back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements. (สั่น) 2000
(v: shake, shakes, shook, shaken, shaking your head) To turn your head from side to side as a way of answering “no” or of showing disagreement or that you will not do something. (ส่ายหัว)
(n: shed pl sheds) A usually small building for working in, or for storage. a wooden shed; a garden shed (โรงเก็บของ) 2000
(n: shock pl shocks) A sudden usually unpleasant or upsetting feeling caused by something unexpected. (อาการตกใจสุดขีด) 2000
(n: silence, noncount) 1. [A period of time] when there is no sound. The teacher asked for silence in the room. I find it hard to sleep unless there is complete silence. (ความเงียบ)
(adj: silent) Used to describe someone or something that is not making noise. (เงียบ)
(adv: silently) In a silent way. (อย่างเงียบ ๆ) 3000
(n: temper, singular) The way that a person is feeling at a particular time; mood. He is in a pleasant/bad temper. (อารมณ์) 3000
(adj: bad-tempered) Someone who easily gets angry when things don't happen as they want.
(v: lose one's temper) [idiom] To suddenly get angry about something. (โกรธ)
(n: unit pl units) 1. A single thing, individual etc within a group. The building is divided into twelve units. (หนึ่งหน่วย) 2. A group of people organized for a particular purpose. An army unit (กลุ่มคน) 3. An amount or quantity that is used as a standard in a system of measuring or currency. The dollar is the standard unit of currency in America. (หน่วยวัด) 4. The smallest whole number, 1, or any number between 1 and 9. In the number 23, 2 is a ten, and 3 is a unit. (เลขหลักหน่วย) 1000
(n: accent pl accents) A way of pronouncing words that occurs among the people in a particular region or country. She spoke with an American accent. 2000
(n: bastard pl bastards) 1. An offensive word for a person whose parents were not married to each other; an illegitimate child. 2. (informal) A very bad or unpleasant man; a man who you strongly dislike or hate. You dirty bastard! 3. (informal) A man who you think is lucky, unlucky, etc. Congratulations on getting the job, you lucky bastard! His wife left him, the poor bastard. 4000
(n: battalion pl battalions) A large organized group of soldiers. Typically made up of 300-800 men, comprising a headquarters unit and two or more companies. 7000
(n: bucket pl buckets) An open container with a handle that is used especially to hold and carry water and other liquids; a pail. 3000
(n: communist pl communists) A person who is a member of a political party that supports communism or believes that communism is the best kind of government. 4000
(n: communism, noncount) A system of government under which there is little or no private ownership of industry or property, with most things being state-owned. 5000
(adj: cruel, crueler, cruelest) Used to describe: 1. someone who hurts others and does not feel sorry about it; 2. something that causes or helps to cause pain or suffering.
(n: cruelty pl cruelties) 1. Something which causes pain or suffering. 2. The quality or state of being cruel. 3000
(adj: curious) 1. Interested and wanting to learn or know more about something or someone. I'm curious to find out whether he passed his exams. 2. Strange, unusual, or unexpected. She found a curious old clock in the attic. 3000
(v: curse, curses, cursed, cursing) 1. To wish or say magic words so that trouble or bad luck may fall upon someone or something. 2. To use bad or violent language; to swear.
(n: curse pl curses) Something or someone believed to bring trouble or bad luck. 4000
(v: disturb, disturbs, disturbed, disturbing) 1. To stop (someone) from working, sleeping, etc.; to interrupt or bother someone or something. 2. To worry or upset someone; to trouble emotionally or mentally. 3000
(n: drought pl droughts) A long period of time during which there is very little or no rain. The drought was so bad that the river dried up. 5000
(n: fist pl fists) A tightly closed hand, with its fingers bent down into the palm. 4000
(n: hammer pl hammers) 1. A tool with a heavy metal head at one end, used for driving nails into wood, breaking things apart etc. 2. The part of a gun that strikes a bullet, causing the gun to shoot. (ค้อน) 3000
(n: instant pl instants) A very short period of time; a moment. For an instant, I forgot where I was. (ชั่วระยะหนึ่ง)
(adj: instant; adv: instantly) Happening or done without delay; immediate. His latest play was an instant success. He went to bed and instantly fell asleep. (ทันที; โดยทันที) 3000
(adj: nasty, nastier, nastiest) 1. Very unpleasant to see, smell, taste, etc. (กลิ่นเหม็น) 2. Wicked; evil; very bad or unpleasant. (ร้าย ; เลว) 2000
(n: nonsense, noncount) Foolishness; words or ideas that are foolish or untrue. (การพูดสิ่งไร้สาระ) 3000
(n: overcoat pl overcoats) A long coat worn over other clothes to keep a person warm during very cold weather. (เสื้อคลุมใหญ่) 7000
(adj: queer, queerer, queerest) Odd, strange or unusual. I woke up because I heard queer noises in the middle of the night. (แปลกประหลาด) 5000
(n: reprisal pl reprisals) Something that is done to hurt or punish someone who has hurt you or done something bad to you; vengeance. The allies threatened economic reprisals against the invading country. (การแก้แค้น) 11000
(n: sake pl sakes) The benefit or interest of someone or something. Used in phrases with 'for' to say that something is done to help a particular person or thing (e.g. We must do it for the sake of our country). (เป็นประโยชน์)
(interj) Used in phrases with 'for' to express anger, annoyance, surprise, etc. (e.g. For God's sake! For goodness sake! For Heaven's sake! ) 2000
(adv: scarcely) 1. Almost not at all; hardly. He could scarcely control his joy. 2. By only a small amount of time, space, etc.; barely. I had scarcely closed the door when the phone rang. (แทบจะไม่) 5000
(n: statue pl statues) A figure usually of a person or animal that is made from stone, metal, etc. (รูปปั้น) 6000
(v: stroke, strokes, stroked, stroking) To rub gently and repeatedly in one direction along or over something, especially as a sign of affection. (ลูบ)
(n: pl strokes) One of a series of repeated movements of your arms in swimming or rowing that you make to move you or the boat through the water. (พายจังหวะ) 3000
(adv: through thick and thin) [idiom] No matter what happens; through many difficult times over a long period. She stayed with me through thick and thin. (ไม่ว่าจะเกิดอะไร)
(n: rock pl rocks) 1. (noncount) The hard, solid material that the surface of the Earth is made of. The ship struck a rock and sank. (โขดหิน) 2. A piece of rock; a large stone. The climber was killed by a falling rock. (ก้อนหิน) 2000
(v: rock, rocks, rocked, rocking) To move someone or something gently backwards and forwards or from side to side. (โยก) 5000
(adj: hot, hotter, hottest) 1. Having a very high temperature. That water is hot. (ร้อน) 2. Very warm; (of food) Heated to or served at a hot or warm temperature. I was feeling hot and tired. (อบอุ่น) 3. (of food) Having a spicy or peppery flavor. (เผ็ด) 4. (informal) Dangerous and difficult; difficult to deal with because of danger. Criminals often leave town when things get too hot for them. (อันตราย) 1000
(n: noun pl nouns) A word or group of words that is used as the name of something, such as a person, animal, place, thing, quality, idea, or action. (นาม)
(v: treat, treats, treated, treating) 1. To deal with or think about someone or something in a particular way. (ปฏิบัติ) 2. To give medical care to a person or animal. (รักษา) 3. To pay for someone's food, drink, or entertainment. (ซื้อให้)
(n: treat pl treats) Something out of the ordinary that gives pleasure [such as an outing or some special food]. He took the children to see a movie as a treat. (อาหารที่น่ารับประทาน ของน่าทาน)
(n: treatment pl treatments) An act or manner of treating. This disease requires urgent treatment. (การดูแล) 1000
(n: count, noncount) An act or process of adding people or things together to find the total number. According to the last count, he was 100 votes behind.
(n: Count pl Counts) A nobleman in some European countries who has a high rank similar to a British earl.