How Much Land Does a Man Need?

how much land does a man needThis story by Leo Tolstoy is a based on a Russian . In the story a peasant thinks: “Our only trouble is that we haven’t enough land. If I had a lot of land, I shouldn’t fear the Devil himself!”. The Devil ‘s’ this and puts the man to the test by helping him get land. The more land the man has, the more he wants until, in the last paragraph of the story, we learn the answer to the question.

Pre-Intermediate Vocabulary Help / Exercises

The words and expressions in our Pre-Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1200 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

Intermediate Vocabulary Help / Exercises

The words and expressions in our Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1800 word list are: acre, , , cart, , commune, crop, , devil, , hay, horizon, , , , , , , peasant, plenty, , ruble, sow, spade, steppe, , vest, and wheat.

There is also a word that is in our Intermediate word list but has a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used. In fact, the word is used with both of its meanings in the story. The narrator uses the fine a number of times with its normal meaning (good). However, he also talks about land-owners charging fines to people whose animals came onto their land. When used as a noun or verb, the word means money that must be paid for breaking a rule or law.


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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

(v: overhear, overhears, overheard, overhearing) To hear (something that was said to another person) by accident; to hear what one was not intended to hear. She overheard two people talking in the next room. (ได้ยินโดยไม่ตั้งใจ) 6000

(n: acre pl acres) A measure of land area in certain English-speaking countries, equal to 4046.86 square meters.
(n: acreage pl acreages) An area of land measured in acres. 4000

breath(n: breath pl breaths) The air that you take into your lungs and send out from your lungs. His breath smells like garlic. 3000
(idiom: hold your breath) To stop breathing for a short time, such as when you dive into water.
(idiom: take a deep breath) To take a lot of air into your lungs.

breathe(v: breathe, breathes, breathed, breathing) To move air into and out of your lungs; to inhale and exhale. He was breathing hard from running.
(phrasal verb: breathe deeply) To take a lot of air into your lungs. 3000

bury(v: bury, buries, buried, burying) To place in the earth and cover with soil. 3000

cart(n: cart pl carts) A vehicle with two wheels that is pulled by an animal such as a horse or donkey. The farmer packed the vegetables into his cart to take them to market. 3000

chief(n: chief pl chiefs) The person who is the leader of a group of people, an organization, etc. A police chief, a fire chief, an Indian chief, a village chief, etc. 2000

commune(n: commune pl communes) 1. A group of people living together and sharing everything they own. 2. In 18th century Russia, a self-governing community of peasant families that elected its own officials and controlled local forests, fisheries, hunting grounds, and land that wasn't privately owned. 9000

crop(n: crop pl crops) A plant or plant product that is grown by farmers. This year the farmer grew a fine crop of rice. 3000

devil(n: devil pl devils) The most powerful spirit of evil; The ruler of Hell; Satan. 3000
(adj: devilish) Looking or acting like a devil; wicked, evil.

forward(v: forward, forwards, forwarded, forwarding) to send (letters, e-mails etc) on to another address. I have asked the post office to forward my mail. (ส่งต่อไปยังที่อยู่อื่น)
(adj: forward) 1. Moving or directed ahead or toward the front. A sudden forward movement. (โดยไปข้างหน้า) 2. Near or belonging to the front part of something. The forward part of a ship is called the 'bows'. (โดยอยู่ข้างหน้า)
(adv: forward or forwards) Moving towards the front. (ก้าวหน้า) 1000

fur(n: fur pl furs) 1. (noncount) The hairy coat of an animal, especially when it is soft and thick. 2. (noncount) The fur of an animal used for clothing. He was wearing a fur hat.) (ขนสัตว์) 3. A piece of clothing (such as a coat) made with fur. Her new fur is a full-length mink coat.
(adj: furry) 1. Covered with fur. A furry animal. (ที่ปกคลุมด้วยคนสัตว์) 2. Like fur. Furry material. (เหมือนขนสัตว์)
(n: furrier pl furriers) A person who sells furs. (เสื้อโค้ทหรือเสื้อผ้าที่ทำจากขนสัตว์) 3000

hay(n: hay, noncount) Grass or other plants, cut and dried for use as food for farm animals etc. (หญ้าแห้ง) 3000

horizon(n: horizon pl horizons) The line where the earth or sea seems to meet the sky. (ขอบฟ้า) 5000

peasant(n: peasant pl peasants) A poor farmer or farm worker who has low social status. This land was farmed by peasants for hundreds of years. (ชาวนา) 6000

plenty(pronoun: plenty) 1. A large number or amount of something. He's got plenty of land. (จำนวนมากมาย) 2. A number or amount of something that is enough or more than enough for a particular purpose. (เพียงพอ) "There's plenty of food for everyone. Would you like more pie?" "No, thanks. I've had plenty." (เพียงพอ) 2000

(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? (วัตถุประสงค์) 2. the use or function of an object. The purpose of the red button is to stop the machine in an emergency. (หน้าที่) 1000
(adv: on purpose) In a way that is planned or intended; in a deliberate way. Someone set fire to the house on purpose.

rent(v: rent, rents, rented, renting) 1. To pay money in return for being able to use something that belongs to someone else. 2. To allow someone to use something that you own in return for payment. We rent this flat from Mr Smith. Mr Smith rents this flat to us. (เช่า) 2000

(n: ruble pl rubles; British rouble) The basic unit of money of Russia. One ruble is made up of 100 kopecks.

soil(n: soil pl soils) The top layer of earth in which plants grow. This kind of plant grows well in sandy soil. (ดิน) 3000

sow(v: sow, sows, sowed, sown or sowed, sowing) To plant seeds in an area of ground. Every year we sow corn. The farmer sowed his fields with corn. (หว่าน) 4000

spade(n: spade pl spades) A tool with a metal blade attached to a long handle, used for digging. (พลั่ว) 4000

steppe(n: steppe pl steppes) A large, flat area of land with grass and very few trees, especially in eastern Europe and Asia. (ที่ราบกว้างใหญ่ซึ่งไม่มีต้นไม้) 12000

tent(n: tent pl tents) A movable shelter that is used outdoors, is made of cloth [such as canvas or nylon], and is held up with poles and ropes. We will put up our tent here. (เต็นท์) 3000

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

bargain(v: bargain, bargains, bargained, bargaining) To discuss or argue about the price of something, where one party wants to make it lower. I bargained with him and finally got the price down. 3000

(n: bark pl barks) 1. The outer covering of a tree. 2. The loud sound made by a dog when it is angry or excited.
(v: bark, barks, barked, barking) 1. To make a loud sound like that made by a dog when it is angry or excited. The dog barked at the stranger. 2. To shout or say (something) in a loud and angry way. The captain barked orders to his men. 5000

tree bark barking dog

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.

custom(n: custom pl customs) An action or way of behaving that is usual and traditional among the people in a particular group or place. It is the custom for the woman to wear a white dress on her wedding day. 3000

(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

grave grave look

(n: in-law pl in-laws) A person you are related to because of your marriage; especially the father, mother and brothers and sisters of your husband or wife. (ญาติที่เกิดจากแต่งงาน)

inn(n: inn pl inns) A name given to some small hotels in villages or the countryside where people can eat and rent a room to sleep. (โรงแรมเล็กๆ) 3000

jealous(adj: jealous) 1. Feeling or showing that you want to be like another person or have something that another person has; envy. (อิจฉา) 2. Feeling or showing unhappiness or anger because you think that someone you love (such as your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.) likes or is liked by someone else. (ขี้หึง) 4000

kumiss(n: kumis kumiss or koumiss, noncount) A mildly alcoholic drink made from fermented horse's milk; popular with the nomadic peoples of the Central Asian steppes.
(n: steppe pl steppes) A large, flat area of land with grass and very few trees, especially in eastern Europe and Asia. (ที่ราบกว้างใหญ่ซึ่งไม่มีต้นไม้) 12000

ox(n: ox pl oxen) A bull that has had its sex organs removed, once widely used on farms to pull carts, plows (ploughs) etc. (วัว; โค) 7000

pasture(n: pasture pl pastures) A large area of land where animals feed on the grass. The horses were put out in the pasture. (ทุ่งเลี้ยงสัตว์) 6000

(n: plow or plough pl plows or ploughs) A piece of farm equipment that is used to dig into and turn over soil, especially to prepare a field for planting. He attached a plow to the back of the tractor. (คันไถ)
(v: plow, plows, plowed, plowing) To turn over (the soil) with a plow. He used the tractor to plow the field. (ไถ) 3000

plow plowing

(n: trunk pl trunks) 1. The thick main stem of a tree from which the branches grow. (ลำต้น) 2. A large strong box that can be locked and used for holding clothes or other things, especially when traveling. (หีบใส่ของ) 3. The long nose of an elephant. (งวงช้าง) 4000

tree trunk wardrobe trunk elephant trunk

(n: adjective pl adjectives) A word that describes a noun or a pronoun. 7000

fine(adj: fine, finer, finest) 1. Very good. A fine idea. 2. Satisfactory; OK. That's fine with me. 3. Well or healthy. I feel fine. 4. [of weather] Sunny and pleasant. A fine day 5. Made up of very small parts, pieces, etc. Fine sand/mist/print/powder. 1000
(n: fine pl fines) Money that you must pay for breaking a law or rule. A parking fine. 3000

The Mystery Theater radio series was broadcast from 1974 to 1982. This 42 minute radio play is episode 905. An American Indian chief offers the deal of a lifetime to a greedy white man. For the sum of one hundred pounds, he can purchase as much land as he can travel around in one day. To download the mp3, click here.

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