He found the tinder-box, but (1) no sooner had he struck a few sparks from the flint and steel, than the door flew open and the dog with eyes as big as teacups, whom he had seen while down in the tree, stood before him, and said, “What orders, master?”

“Hallo,” said the soldier; “well this is a pleasant tinderbox, if it brings me all I wish for.”

“Bring me some money,” said he to the dog.

He was gone in a moment, and presently returned, carrying a large bag of coppers in his month. The soldier very soon discovered after this the value of the tinder-box. (2) If he struck the flint once, the dog who sat on the chest of copper money made his appearance; if twice, the dog came from the chest of silver; and if three times, the dog with eyes like towers, who watched over the gold.

Source : The tinder-box by Hans Christian Andersen

At (1), how many times had he struck the spark after all?

My dictionary says that "no sooner ~ than = after".

According to (2), for there had been a few sparks, all three dogs had to make their appearances, but only one dog had appeared.

I don't understand well. Please tell me what I'm missing.

1 Answer 1


This isn't really about English, but about how you light a fire with a flint and steel...

A flint and steel are struck together, over some tinder, or easily combustible material. When the right sort of stone strikes the right sort of metal, sparks fly, and if one falls on the tinder, the tinder may catch fire.

Each strike can scatter several sparks.


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