In this story by Arthur Quiller-Couch, a very old man almost freezes to death outside a rich man’s house. The rich man takes the old man in and has him cared for. But the old man has a mysterious power. He begins to suck the life out of the rich man, turning him into an old man as he becomes younger..
English Learner Vocabulary Help
There is also a word that is in our Pre-Intermediate word list but has a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used. We are told that when the old man was found he was too weak to get up, and crying for help in his foreign tongue. The word here means a language.
General Comments on the Story
We are not given the names of any of the characters in this story. When the narrator describes how the old man looked as he became younger, he uses the : It was Aeson renewed and thankless. This gives a clue to the title, which can also be found at the beginning of Act 5 in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice:
In such a night
Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Aeson.
In Greek mythology Aeson was the father of Jason, the hero of Argonauts story fame. Aeson was king of Iolcus, but had the crown taken from him by his half-brother Pelias. When Jason returned from his adventures, he found his father alive but very old and frail. Medea, a sorceress who Jason had married while on his journey, made Aeson young again by giving him a magic potion. Unfortunately, from then on, none of these people could be described as having lived “happily ever after”. But that is another story!
(n: beggar pl beggars) A person (often homeless or disabled) who lives by asking others to give them money, food, etc. 2000
(n: cheek pl cheeks) One of the parts of the face below each eye and to the side of the nose and mouth. 3000
(n: demon pl demons) An evil spirit; a devil. Demons from Hell. 4000
(v: flow, flows, flowed, flowing) To move in a steady and continuous way; to move along in the way that water does. The river flowed into the sea. The traffic was flowing freely. 2000
(n: guest pl guests) 1. A visitor who stays in a hotel etc. We have accommodation for 500 guests. 2. A person that you have invited to your house or to a particular event that you are paying for. We are having guests for dinner.
(adj: guest) Describes something kept specially for a guest. guest bedroom/towels, etc. 3000
(n: item pl items) 1. A separate object, article etc, especially one of a number named in a list. He ticked the items as he read through the list. 2. A separate piece of information or news. Did you see the item about dogs in the newspaper? 1000
(n: merchant pl merchants) A trader, especially one who buys goods from producers in large amounts and sells them to other sellers in smaller amounts. 3000
(n: miracle pl miracles) An unusual or wonderful event that cannot be explained and is believed to be caused by the power of God. 3000
(n: mystery pl mysteries) 1. Something that is not known or is difficult to understand or explain. The cause of the illness remains a mystery to doctors. 2. Something that cannot be, or has not been, explained. How the universe was formed remains a mystery.
(adj: mysterious) Used to describe something difficult to understand or explain. 3000
(n: servant pl servants) Someone who is hired to do household or personal duties [such as cleaning and cooking]. 1000
1. (v: spoil, spoils, spoiled or spoilt, spoiling) To damage or ruin; to make bad or useless; to reduce the quality or value of. (ทำให้เสีย) 2. To give (a child etc) too much of what he or she wants and possibly make his or her character, behavior etc worse by doing it. (ตามใจจนเสียคน) 3000
(v: suck, sucks, sucked, sucking) 1. To have something in your mouth and use your tongue, lips, etc to pull on it or to get liquid, air, etc out of it. Young animals learn to suck milk from their mothers. 2. To pull something somewhere using the force of moving air, water, etc. The vacuum cleaner sucked up all the dirt from the carpet. (ดูด) 3000
(v: suffer, suffers, suffered, suffering) 1. To experience pain, illness, or injury. He died instantly and did not suffer. (ทนทุกข์ทรมาน) 2. To experience something unpleasant such as defeat, loss, or damage. Our country suffered a great deal during the war. (ประสบความทุกข์) 2000
(n: thief pl thieves) Someone who takes (something) from the owner in a way that is wrong or against the law; a robber. The thief got away with all my money. (ขโมย) 3000
(v: warn, warns, warned, warning) 1. To tell (someone) about possible danger or trouble. I was warned about the dangerous dog. (เตือน) 2. To tell (someone) to do or not to do something in order to avoid danger or trouble. I warned him to be careful. (เตือน; บอกให้รู้)
(n: warning, warnings) 1. Something that warns. A warning sign. (สัญญาณเตือน) 2. A statement that bad or wrong behavior will be punished if it happens again. The failing students got a final a warning. (คำเตือน) 2000
(n: weight, weights) 1. A measurement that indicates how heavy a person or thing is. Please indicate your height and weight on the form. 2. A heavy object that is lifted during exercising. A 10-pound weight. (หน่วยวัดน้ำหนัก) 3. Something that causes worry or sadness. When I heard he was safe, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my mind. (น้ำหนัก) 1000
(adj: wise, wiser, wisest) Having gained a lot of knowledge from books or experience or both and able to use it well. (ฉลาด)
(n: wisdom; noncount) 1. The knowledge gained from books or experience. 2. The quality or state of being wise. (ปัญญา; สติปัญญา) 2000
(n: youth pl youths) 1. The state of being young, especially before becoming adult. He got into a lot of trouble in his youth. (วัยหนุ่มสาว) 2. A boy of fifteen to twenty years old approximately. Two youths were kicking a football in the park. (เด็กหนุ่มสาว) 3. Young people in general. Today's youth has/have no sense of responsibility! (พลังหนุ่มสาว)
(adj: youthful) 1. Of youth. Youthful pleasures. (อ่อนวัย) 2. Energetic, active, young-looking etc. Exercise will keep you youthful. (ความเป็นหนุ่มสาว) 2000
(n: tongue pl tongues) 1. The soft, movable part in the mouth that is used for tasting and eating food and in human beings for speaking. (ลิ้น) 2. A language. English is his mother/native tongue. He speaks with a foreign tongue. (ภาษา) 3000
(n: metaphor pl metaphors) A comparison between two unlike things that share similar qualities. A word or phrase for one is used to refer to the other in order to show or suggest that they are similar. The comparison is indirect in that it does not use the words "like" or "as". He was drowning in paperwork. He's a tiger when he's angry. 7000