Actually, what's interesting is that the imagery and its purpose vary a fair amount. If you look at the first paragraph of the story, you see fairly realistic and straightforward description, almost a dignified travelogue. However, soon after that, the imagery becomes more vivid, makes more judgments, and creates almost a fairy tale feeling;
"…the woman could lay hands on she hid away: a hen could not cackle but she was on the alert to secure the new-laid egg. Her husband was continually prying about to detect her secret hoards…"Look at how physical that is, and how greedy. It's a world of intense emotion and moral judgment.