Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.
I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for beginners. The name of the story is Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Bears. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Bears. There, you can also download the episode as a PDF.
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and so on. As this is a beginner episode, I will tell the story, and then talk a bit afterwards. So keep listening after the story to hear my conversation.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
If you break the law, if you do something like stealing or attacking someone, you will go to court. Court is the place where they decide if you should go to prison, or if you should go free. The judge is the person who decides that. Judges sit on a chair above everyone else, they bang their gavel, their hammer, and they say, ‘Order in the courtroom!’ In the UK, judges wear white wigs – white hair that is not their own hair. Judge Judy is a famous American judge who has a TV show.
In the morning, the sun rises, the sun goes up in the sky. At night, the sun sets, it goes down and everything is dark. Sunrises and sunsets can be very beautiful, and people often watch them. In the UK, in winter, the sun rises very late and sets very early.
Someone who is lonely is alone, and is sad because they are alone. People are often lonely if they have no friends or family near them. For example, if you move to another country and you don’t know anyone, then you will probably feel lonely.
Smell is when you go [sniff sniff]. The past tense is smelled or smelt. You smell with your nose. Usually, you smell without thinking. If food smells very bad, you shouldn’t eat it. If a person smells very bad, you shouldn’t kiss them!
Porridge is a type of food that you usually eat for breakfast. You take small white things called oats and boil them in water or milk. In Scotland, porridge is more popular than in England. Traditionally, Scottish people eat porridge with butter and salt, but most people now like eating porridge with sweet things, like honey, sugar or fruit.
Normal-sized means not big and not small. Another way of saying ‘normal-sized’ is ‘average’. If you have a normal-sized house, then people will probably not think that you are rich. But if you have a very big house, then people will probably think you are rich.
If you have never eaten a type of food before, you might try it. When you try food, you eat a bit to see if you like it. For example, I had never tried durian before. Durian is a fruit that is eaten in Southeast Asia, that smells very strongly. Recently, I bought a durian cake and tried it. I have to say… I did not like it. But I still want to try fresh durian. Maybe I will like it!
When you shout, you talk like this! Shouting is not very nice, as it is very loud. If you shout a lot, then your throat will hurt. But some people shout all the time…
When you owe someone money, you have to give them money but you have not given it yet. For example, if you lend your friend five pounds, then they owe you five pounds. Maybe two months later they still owe you the money. Maybe they aren’t your friend anymore! Or maybe you owed them ten pounds before you lent them five pounds, but you forgot.
Fur is the hair that animals have on their bodies. Animal fur is often thick and warm. So in the past, it was popular to wear fur coats, coats made with animal fur. Now, many people don’t like fur coats, because they think animals shouldn’t be killed just to make fur coats. I don’t know if I agree with this myself, because we kill animals to make meat all the time. I also really hate ‘fake’ fur coats, fur coats made with plastic, because plastic is really bad for the environment, and a good fur coat can last for a very long time. Still, fur coats are very expensive, so I probably won’t ever have one!
A swan is a big white bird that lives on rivers. Swans have very long necks and they are not very nice. If you get near a swan, they often hiss. Swans mainly eat plants that grow under the water. There is a story called The Ugly Duckling about a baby duck who is very ugly – not beautiful – but then one day he turns into a beautiful swan.
If you enjoy the podcast and want to support me, you can join my Patreon. If you give $2 a month and become a Hard Worker, then you get exercises with each episode, and for $5, you can be one of my Star Students and watch my monthly videos. Go over to Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish and join today. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.
A big thank-you to my new patrons, as well as patrons who have increased their pledge. I’m recording this episode in advance, and I haven’t had time to mention the new patrons here, but I will in the next episode.
And a special thank-you to my Teacher’s Pet patron: Vera Kaufmann.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Hello, Mr. Judge. My name is Goldilocks. I’m called Goldilocks because I have golden hair. Well, my mum says it’s golden. I just think it’s yellow.
You probably know me. Everyone knows me in our village. So you’ll probably believe my story, as well.
One day, I woke up very early. I had a terrible dream, and I couldn’t sleep again. I didn’t want to wake up Mum and Dad. Mum and Dad have to work so hard, you know. Dad works at the clothes factory, and Mum cooks food for me and all my brothers and sisters, and she cleans the house, and she washes our clothes—oh, it’s all so much!
But I didn’t want to stay in bed. You see, I had a dream about a bear, a big, brown bear, that lived under my bed. And of course I knew that there wasn’t really a bear under my bed, but I didn’t want to stay in bed, because I kept thinking about the bear in the dream…
So I went into the garden. I thought the night air would help me feel better. Mum always says that fresh air can make anything feel better. I went out, and it was such a beautiful night. The stars were all there, and the moon was so big… I decided to go for a walk – Mum always says, if some fresh air doesn’t help, then what you need is a walk!
While I walked, I thought a lot. Oh, I can think so much! Dad always says I live in my head while everyone else lives in the real world. I walked and walked, and then the sun began to rise, and I realised it was morning already! ‘Oh no,’ I thought. ‘I must be home soon, or Mum and Dad will worry about me!’
But I was lost! All I saw was trees, and I didn’t know where I was… So I walked some more, and finally I found a little field. And in this field, all I could see was a little house. Oh, it was such a nice house! I thought it must belong to a nice old lady, or a kind but lonely man, and he would look after me while I waited for Mum and Dad to come find me… You see? I really do live in my head!
Then I smelt something that stopped my thinking. It was so sweet! It smelled so warm and nice, so I went closer to the house, and I saw a little bowl by the window. It was a bowl of porridge! And the sweet smell was honey. Oh, it looked so nice… And then my stomach made a horrible noise. Grrr grrr! It sounded like the bear from my dream.
And then I realised I was so hungry! I wanted to eat the porridge very much. The window was open a bit, but I couldn’t open it more, so I couldn’t get the porridge. I went and knocked on the door. ‘Hello!’ I said. Nobody answered, but the door opened, and I thought, ‘Well, I’m sure that the nice old woman or kind but lonely man who lives here won’t want me to be hungry. They will want me to go inside and eat the porridge.’
So I went inside and into the kitchen. There, by the window, were three bowls of porridge: a big bowl, a normal-sized bowl and a little bowl. I tried the big bowl first, but oh! It was too hot! Oww!! So then I tried the normal-sized bowl, but oh! It was too cold! Brr!! So then I tried the little bowl, and it was just right. Yum! Perfect!!
But I couldn’t eat standing up! Mum always says you must sit down to eat. So I took the bowl and put it on the table. There were three chairs: a big chair, a normal-sized chair and a little chair. I tried sitting in the big chair first, but oh! It was so hard! Oof!! So then I tried sitting in the normal-sized chair, but oh! It was too soft! Bah!! So then I tried sitting on the little chair, and it was just right. Yay! Lovely!!
I sat down on the little chair and I ate my porridge – I ate all of it, because Dad always says you must eat all your food. But then the chair broke! Ah!!
Now I felt very bad. I had come into the house of this nice old woman or kind but lonely man, and I had eaten his porridge and broken his chair. ‘What a bad girl you are, Goldilocks!’ I thought. And then I felt bad, because I did not want to be a bad girl.
I felt so sad, but I had walked for so long, and the chair breaking was such a surprise… Now I was tired and I wanted to sleep. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘I am sure that the kind but lonely man –’ I was sure now that it was a kind but lonely man who lived here ‘– I am sure that the kind but lonely man won’t want me to be tired. So I will go and sleep, and when the kind but lonely man comes home, I can explain everything, and oh, we will laugh so much! Ha ha ha!’
So I went upstairs, and I found a room with three beds. Now, you might think, ‘Well, Goldilocks, would a kind but lonely man have a room with three beds? He lives alone! Maybe it is not a kind but lonely man who lives here.’ But I thought, ‘Oh, this man is so kind and so lonely that he has three beds, so that two visitors can come and stay with him!’ And I felt so sad, because I thought that maybe the kind but lonely man had never had a visitor.
Anyway, one of the beds was big, one was normal-sized, one was little… I tried the big bed first. But oh! It smelled! The bed smelled of animals! And I thought, ‘That’s strange, because I had a dream about a bear under a bed, and this bed smells like a big bear…’ Then I tried the normal-sized bed, but oh! It smelled! It smelled of perfume! ‘That’s strange,’ I thought, ‘because the kind but lonely man doesn’t have visitors… But maybe he puts perfume on the bed so it smells like a visitor.’ And then I felt very sad again.
Finally, I tried the little bed, and it was just right. It didn’t smell! Yay! And I closed my eyes and slept.
Well, when I woke up… Oh! It was horrible! I woke up and saw three bears! And I thought, ‘I must be dreaming again,’ but no, I wasn’t dreaming!
The bears were very angry, and I couldn’t understand why the kind but lonely man had bears in his house. ‘Maybe the bears ate him!’ I thought.
And the big daddy bear, he shouted, ‘You ate my son’s porridge, you broke my son’s chair, you slept in my son’s bed.’ And I couldn’t believe it. Bears don’t make porridge, or have chairs, or sleep in beds!
Well, I did the only thing I could. I ran away! I jumped out of the bed and ran out of the house. But oh, the bears also ran! They ran after me! They tried to take me and eat me! They wanted to make Goldilocks porridge!
But I’m a fast girl, and I had eaten and slept well. So of course, I ran away, and I found the way home. Phew! But oh, after that day… I have horrible dreams every night. I know now that the house belongs to those bears, but what could I do? I needed that food and I needed to sleep. But the bears tried to eat me.
So, don’t you think those bears owe me some money? They almost killed me!
Mummy Bear’s Story
Mr. Judge, I will keep my story short. This girl has already spoken long enough.
I woke up before sunrise. I always wake up before sunrise. While Daddy Bear and Baby Bear slept, I made our porridge for breakfast. Yes, bears do eat porridge. And our house does belong to us. Many animals have houses these days.
I made the porridge and woke up Daddy and Baby, but the porridge was too hot to eat. So I said, ‘Let’s go for a walk.’ We often go for a walk in the morning sun, and it is lovely.
While we walked, there was a horrible smell. It was the smell from that clothes factory, where Miss Goldilocks’ father works. Actually, in that factory they make fur coats out of dead bears. So it is really quite horrible for us to smell that factory. Baby Bear always wants to know what that smell is, but I never tell him.
Well, we went for a long walk, so we could get away from the smell of fur. When we came back, we found the door open, the porridge eaten, the chair broken, and the beds slept in. Oh, Daddy Bear and Baby Bear made a lot of noise: ‘Who’s been eating my porridge?’ ‘Who’s been sitting in my chair?’ ‘Who went into my bed?’ and ‘Somebody ate all my porridge!’ ‘Somebody sat in my chair and broke it!’ ‘Somebody went into my bed and is still sleeping there!’
Of course, I was sad as well. A mother does not want to find all these things. But I do not like to get angry. When we found the girl, I asked her why she was in our house. Well, I tried to ask her, but Daddy Bear got angry and shouted. You can understand why. But the girl started crying and then she ran away. We only wanted to talk to her. We did not try to eat her. But we had to know why she had come to our house. So of course we ran after her. But she was faster than us. And if we went into the village, some people might have killed us and made us into fur coats.
So, Mr. Judge, as you can see, Goldilocks has made many problems. She broke our chair and now our son is very afraid. He won’t go outside. He is not having bad dreams because he cannot sleep! So don’t you think that girl and her family owe us some money?
The Judge’s Decision
The judge did not know what to say. He was very glad that he had not worn his fur coat that day. But Mummy Bear was looking at him, and he felt afraid. She could eat him so easily…
He cleared his throat.
‘It is clear that something very strange happened on that day. We cannot know what is true. But Goldilocks is just a child. And her family is poor. They owe you money, yes, but they do not have the money. The factory only pays enough to buy some bread and cheese, you know. If they gave you the money, they would not have enough food… I can’t do that.’
‘Huh!’ said Daddy Bear. ‘You people always help each other. People are more important than animals, huh?’
‘Shh!’ said Mummy Bear.
‘But we live in a country of magic. And someone has used magic here. I –’
‘Hey, I didn’t use magic!’ shouted Goldilocks. ‘Only bad girls use magic!’
‘Are you saying that because we are talking bears, we must be using magic?’ said Mummy Bear coldly.
‘No,’ said the judge. ‘I did not say that. But, well, most animals don’t talk. Animals who can talk have magic in the family. Your mother or your grandmother was magic, wasn’t she?’
Mummy Bear said nothing, but looked down. ‘Ah,’ thought the judge, ‘so it’s true.’ Goldilocks laughed and Daddy Bear quickly looked at her. She stopped laughing.
‘So, we will do this with magic. Goldilocks, you will go and live in a castle until you are eighteen. A magic castle, of course. But some strong boy will come and find you. And Mummy Bear, you, or your husband, must drink a magic drink that will make you a swan.’
‘A swan? How can a swan cook porridge? Mr. Judge, this is –’
‘A castle?’ said Goldilocks. ‘But how will I see my brothers and sisters? I’ll be so bored! And I don’t want a strong boy, I want a kind but lonely –’
‘That’s enough!’ said the judge. He banged his hammer. ‘All this talk about porridge has made me hungry. I’m going for lunch.’
Well, it’s 2023! As I record this – as I speak into the microphone – it is still 2022, so I can’t tell you how my Christmas and New Year were, but I think they were probably great. If they weren’t great, then I will tell you about it in another episode!
As you might know, in 2022 I took a long break from the podcast. But when I came back, I found there were lots of new listeners waiting for my stories. And it’s amazing how many people have started listening! As I record this, the podcast has almost ten million downloads. That’s crazy!
By the way, you might remember that we had an episode about New Year’s eve in June last year. The story was called A Lucky New Year. I wrote it just before I took the break from the podcast. So, if you’re feeling like you want a New Year’s eve story now, you can go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Year and listen to A Lucky New Year. That is why I decided to not do a New Year’s eve story at the start of this year.
Taking the break was really great for me, and I’m doing really, really well now. My health is better and I have lots of energy and excitement. After taking the break, I was able to try lots of new things with the podcast. I wrote more original episodes, instead of rewriting fairy tales, I tried doing very short and very long stories, I started making YouTube videos again, and I started replying to emails again!
If you didn’t know about the YouTube videos, I now upload all the podcast episodes to the Easy Stories in English YouTube page, and I also started making videos once a month for Patreon supporters. I then post the video one month later on YouTube for everyone to see. So far, I have done videos about ‘Why Do British People Carpets?’, ‘My Relationship with Nature’, ‘Is It the Best Time to Be Alive or the Worst?’, my favourite books that I read in 2022 and ‘How to Make Mince Pies’, which are a dessert we eat at Christmas in the UK. I’ve put a lot of work into these videos, and I’m very proud of them, so go over to YouTube and check them out!
Last year, I also talked about starting on ADHD medication. At the time I’m recording this, I’m still in the process of titration. Basically, I have started the medication but I am working with my doctor to find the right dose – the right amount – for me. However, it is working very well so far, and I have felt great over the past week! I hope that this will continue, as then I’ll be able to bring you lots more exciting projects in 2023.
So that’s my new year update. Thank you all for listening, and I’d love to hear how your holidays were. Go over to the transcript at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Bears and leave a comment at the bottom.
If you enjoyed the story and want to say thank you, you can buy me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Just go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com and click the orange button that says Buy me a coffee! Or you can write me a nice review on Apple Podcasts, or follow me on Instagram and Twitter, @arielgoodbody. Thank you for listening, and see you in two weeks!