old man tree mortar

The Cherry Trees



tug bark (2) couple (2)
grub trousers dig/dug/dug
base set off hit/hit/hit
coin spot (2) bite/bit/bitten
carve wander as it happened
shout field (2) throw/threw/thrown
rock get out begin/began/begun
deep multiply certainly
toad borrow lead/led/led
axe section chop down
grief ground lie/lying (2)
sob end up overcome
chop try/tried fortune (2)
grain mortar make/made/made
arrest amount delicious
taste call on turn into
hole scatter give/gave/given
worm rotten pick up (3)
ashes basket see/saw/seen
shed precious stink/stank/stunk
gust wind (2) blow/blew/blown
bare branch sell/sold/sold
climb show (2) withered
arrive follow trunk (3)
castle bloom bright (2)
lord appear pound (3)
regain at once imposter
sense court (3) speechless
honor gather present (3)
item bestow leaf (leaves)
spade burst (2) approach
shout splendid met/met/met
bloom take out imprison


An Old Couple

Long ago there lived an old couple in a village. Though they were childless, they had a pet dog named Snow.

Snow Barked

One day Snow barked at the old man. He bit and tugged his trousers, and led him to one of the trees in his garden. There Snow began to dig at the base of the tree.

“Snow what are you doing?” asked the old man . . . He then returned home, got his spade, and began digging on that spot.


After a while he hit an old wooden box. Opening the lid he found — gold and silver coins!

“What good fortune!” the old man said. “Thank you Snow!”

The Neighbor

Now as it happened, the old man’s neighbor had been watching everything. In the past, whenever Snow would wander into the neighbor’s garden or field, he would shout at the dog to get out, or throw rocks at him.

A few days later the neighbor came to the old man’s house and asked if he could dig around the same tree.

“You certainly can,” replied the old man.


And so the neighbor went to the tree with his spade and began digging around the base.

He dug a deep hole, but found nothing…except worms, grubs, and toads. He then dug other parts, but ended up with the same things.

The neighbor got his axe — and chopped the tree down.

Chopped Down Tree

The next day, the old man saw his tree lying on the ground.

“Oh, what has happened to my beloved tree?” sobbed the old man.

After overcoming his grief, he took a section of the tree trunk, and began to carve out a mortar.

The Mortar

When he finished, he and his wife put some rice grains into the new mortar to make rice cakes.

However when the the old man began pounding them, they multiplied — ten times the original amount — and turned into cakes by themselves.

The couple tasted them. “Ummm! Delicious!” they said.

With so many rice cakes, they sold or gave most of them away.


The neighbor, upon hearing this, called on the old man and borrowed his mortar.

After a week, the old man went to his neighbor to pick up his mortar.

But it was nowhere to be seen.


“When I pounded the rice in the mortar, they become rotten and stank,” explained the neighbor. “So I chopped up and burned the mortar.
“I am very sorry about that. Please give me the ashes, as a remembrance of my tree,” said the old man.


And so he took home a basket full of ashes.

It was late in autumn and all trees had shed their leaves. As the old man was about to enter his house, a gust of wind blew. It picked up some of the ashes and scattered them on the bare branches of the trees in his garden.


They immediately blossomed; there were bright, colorful flowers everywhere!
It looked like springtime.
People from all over came to see his trees.

A Knight

One day a knight appeared at the garden. He told the old man that his lord had a favorite cherry tree that was withered.

“Could you make it bloom?” asked the knight.
“I can try,” replied the old man.

The old man thus took some of his ashes in a bag and went with the knight to the lord’s castle.

The Castle

When they arrived, the lord greeted the old man and showed him his favorite tree.

The old man climbed on the tree. Then he took out some ashes, and scattered them on the branches.

At once the tree burst into full bloom.

The lord and his court stood speechless.

After regaining his senses, the lord presented the old man with silver and gold and other precious items, and bestowed great honor upon him.

Days Later

Days later, the neighbor learned about this. He then gathered the remaining ashes from the burnt mortar, and set off for the lord’s castle.

As he approached the castle, he shouted: “Here comes the wonderful old man who can make withered trees blossom!”

The neighbor entered the castle and met the lord.

“I have returned to make your other trees blossom!” said the neighbor.
“Splendid!” said the lord.

The Garden

They all went into the garden, and came to another tree, one nearing death. The neighbor took out his ashes, and began scattering them over the tree.

But nothing happened.


Indeed the wind blew some ash into the lord’s eyes.

“Ahhhh! You are not the old man who made my trees blossom! You are an imposter!” he cried.

His knights then arrested the neighbor and imprisoned him for several months.

The old man, his wife, and dog, meanwhile, lived happily ever after.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *



1. Describe the main characters. Describe the family.

2. One day, the dog chased a cat. True or false? What did the dog do one day? One day the dog…

3. Did the old man find anything? What did the old man find? The old man found . . .

4. One the old man knew about this. True or false? What did the neighbor do? Did the same thing happen to him?

5. What happened to the tree? Did the Old Man sue his neighbor?

6. The neighbor minded his own business. Is this correct or incorrect? What did the neighbor do?

7. The Old Man scattered all the ashes in his garden. Is this right or wrong? What happened with the ashes?

8. Did the old invite himself to the regional castle? Why did the old man go to the castle?

9. In the end,

10. What is the moral or lesson of the story?
A. I have fruit trees in my garden. Yes or no?

B. Have treasures been found in your city, region or country?

C. In my neighborhood (school, company) there are good people and bad people. What do you think?

D. Have you read or heard similar stories before?

E. Will anything change in the future?

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