A Treasury of Literary Classics -
Chinese Fables and Tales Series (1)


    Read the Chinese story and answer the following questions.

The Old Man Who Lost His Horse

Click here to read the text.

1. What did Sai Weng do for a living?

A. He took care of horses.
B. He raced horses.
C. He rode horses.
D. He trained horses.

Your answer:

Read paragraph 1.

There used to be an old man who raised horses for a living. Everyone called him Sai Weng."

2. In paragraph 2, “When the neighbours learnt about the misfortune of Sai Weng, they all came to comfort him so that he would not feel too sad…” What does “misfortune” mean? It means ...

A. a pleasant event.
B. an unlucky event.
C. an annoying event.
D. a funny event.

Your answer:

Read the paragraph 2.

Read the sentence carefully. Why did the neighbours comfort Sai Weng?

3. Which of the following adjectives best describes Sai Weng when he knew he lost one of his most valuable horses?

A. Upset
B. Brave
C. Worried
D. Calm

Your answer:

Read paragraph 2.

“Unexpectedly, Sai Weng was not sad at all. He simply smiled and said, ‘Although my horse is lost, it might be a good thing.’

4. How did the old man's friends and neighbours feel when they knew that the old man's lost horse returned with another fine horse?

A. Peaceful
B. Jealous
C. Joyful
D. Scared

Your answer:

Read paragraph 3.

“When the neighbours heard about this, they ran to Sai Weng's house to congratulate him, ‘Congratulations, my old friend! You are so lucky to have your lost horse back and gain another nice one,’ exclaimed the old man’s neighbours.”

5. What happened to the old man's son when he went out for a ride on the fine new horse?

A. He had gone missing with the new horse.
B. He fell from the horse and broke his leg.
C. He went to the neighbouring country.
D. He met his friends and neighbours.

Your answer:

Read paragraph 4.

"One day, he went out for a ride on the fine new horse. However, the new horse got frightened by a wild animal and threw him from her back. Having broken his leg badly, he was not able to walk again.”

6. When Sai Weng’s son got injured, Sai Weng said it might be a good thing. What did his neighbours think about this?

A. They agreed with what Sai Weng said.
B. They appreciated that Sai Weng had a positive mind.
C. They found it difficult to understand.
D. They were sad about what Sai Weng said.

Your answer:

Read paragraph 4.

“Unexpectedly, Sai Weng said to everyone calmly, ‘Although my son broke his leg, it might be a good thing.’ Everyone found it inexplicable. They thought Sai Weng must be too sad and confused."

7. An interjection is a word that is used to show a short sudden expression of emotion. For example, “Alas, how unfortunate to lose such a fine horse!” The word “alas” is used to express sadness or pity when one feels sorry about something.

Read the following descriptions. Fill in each blank with an interjection from the list given. Each option can be used once only.

A. Oh B. Phew C. Wow D. Ouch
Description Interjection
7a. " ______________! What a beautiful horse! You are so lucky to have your lost horse back and gain another nice one," exclaimed the old man's friends and neighbours.
7b. " _______________! My leg is very painful! Please help!" shouted the old man's son.
7c. " _________________ ... We are so sorry to hear that your son has lost his leg at such a young age," the old man's friends and neighbours sighed.
7d. " __________________! I don't have to join the army. How lucky I am!" said the old man's son.

A. "Oh" is used to show emotions such as surprise, sadness and pleasure.

B. "Phew" is used when you are happy and relieved that something difficult or dangerous has finished or is not going to happen.

C. "Wow" is used to show surprise or pleasure.

D. "Ouch" is used to show sudden physical pain.

8. The old man’s son didn’t need to join the army because…

A. he was too young.
B. he didn’t know how to fight.
C. he was too sick.
D. he was not able to walk.

Your answer:

Read the paragraph 5.

“Soon after, the emperor’s army recruited all able-bodied young men to fight a war… Sai Weng’s son didn’t join the army because of his injury.

9. Read paragraph 6. What does "a blessing in disguise" mean? It means that ...

A. people cannot stop the passsing of time, and therefore should not delay doing things.
B. we should be grateful for the good things in our lives and stop being too unhappy about the bad things.
C. we should be optimistic about ups and downs in our lives as something that seems bad at first may result in something good later.
D. something that seems good at first, but results in something bad happening later.

Your answer:

Read paragraph 6.

"Meanwhile, don’t be too negative and pessimistic when you encounter frustrations and setbacks as they may turn out to be good and advantageous. They may be a blessing in disguise.”

The Old Man Who Lost His Horse

Score Sheet

Questions Results
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7a
Question 7b
Question 7c
Question 7d
Question 8
Question 9

10. What is the moral lesson of the story? Based on the story, which Chinese saying can you think of?

11. Have you ever experienced any seemingly bad situation but it turned out to be something good for you? Think of one incident and share it with your parents or classmates.

Extension Activity

Watch the video clip "The Keys to Making a Piano", which is about how a small town called Luoshe and its 10,000 people transformed their piano manufacturing industry into a global centre for music.

Acknowledgements: The China Current


Loushe traditionally dealt with piano wholesalers. However, most of the companies turned their business to offering products directly to end-use consumers during the pandemic. The change has helped the town to become a centre of classical music. What have you learnt from the people there? Think and share your ideas or experiences with your parents or classmates.