horse plough

This is a story about a farmer, his son, and their horse.


mare sole (2) Kentucky
plow income field (2)
rear rear up break/broke/broken (2)
luck run off break away
wow moral be able to
crop harvest thing (2)
wild studly strapped
hook capture hook up
pull source one-quarter
drag spook fall in love
while attend attention
hilltop foothill


Listening Extract



There once was a farmer, who farmed in the hills of Kentucky with his son.

Their sole source of income was plowing the fields with a plow-horse they’ve had for many years.

One day as the son was plowing the field, the plow-horse reared up, broke away from the plow, and ran off into the foothills of Kentucky.

The neighbors said, “Wow, that’s bad luck. Now you are not able to plow your fields, harvest your crops and feed yourself.

The old farmer said, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

Five days later, the plow-horse, being strong and studly from plowing the fields for so long, returned with five wild mares.

The farmer and the son captured all the horses, and hooked them all up to the plow.


Now they were able to plow the fields in one-quarter of the time, and harvest that many more crops.

The neighbors all said, “Wow, that’s good luck, you got all those horses!”
The old farmer said, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

One day as the son was strapped in the plow, all six horses pulling him through the field, the wild mares got spooked, reared up, and dragged him through the field, breaking both his arms and both his legs, and putting him in the hospital.

The neighbors said to the farmer, “Ooh, that’s bad luck.”

The farmer said, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

While in the hospital, the son was attended to, by a beautiful, young, sweet nurse. They fell in love. The got married.

And if you’ve ever been married, good luck, bad luck, who knows?


1. Where did the farmer live?

2. The farmer and his son raised and sold horses. True or false?

3. What happened one day?

4. What did the neighbors say?

5. Did the farmer cry?

6. What happened several days later?

7. Was this good for the farm and farmer? Did the neighbors say anything?

8. Did something similar happen later?

9. It was a total disaster for the son. Yes or no?

10. What is the moral or lesson of the story?

A. Have you heard of similar stories from real life?

B. What can you say about the following: 1) Gary meets a very beautiful woman. 2) Milton has failed his chemistry exam. 3) Tina has won $1 million in the lottery. 4) Bradly was fired from his job. 5) Melissa’s boyfriend is going out with another woman.

C. Do you believe in luck?

D. What are some good luck and bad luck that you have experienced?

E. Are some people (born) lucky or unlucky? Do you know any people who seem to be lucky or unlucky? Who is the luckiest person that you know? Give examples.

F. What are some lucky charms or symbols? What are some bad luck charms or symbols?

G. Give examples of folk celebrations or customs regarding luck.

H. Is it possible to “increase your luck”?

I. Thomas Jefferson was once asked if he believed in luck. He replied, “Yes, I believe in luck: The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

J. What can you say about the following:
black cat, broken mirror, eclipse, four-leafed clover, full-moon, Friday the 13th, rabbit’s foot, the color red, the number seven, thirteen, three sixes (666), opening an umbrella indoors, lion-dragon dance with fireworks.

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