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OK, let’s start the episode.
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 Puss in Boots. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Boots. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Boots. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
Normally I would have conversation at the end of the story. But today, I’m very tired, so there will be no conversation. I am sorry for that. But don’t worry, I am fine, just a bit tired. Thank you for understanding.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
Puss is an old word meaning ‘cat’. Just be careful, because puss sounds like another word which is quite rude. I have used the word ‘puss’ here because this story is always called Puss in Boots.
When you trust someone, you think that they are telling the truth. Usually, you trust your friends and family, but you might not trust a person who you just met. If you do not trust someone, you might think they are lying.
Land is the thing below you. So when you walk outside, you are walking on the land. Plants and trees grow on the land. Land can also mean country. For example, England is a land. Some people own land, for example a house or a business.
A guard is a person who protects a building. If you have a really big bank, you do not want people to steal money. So you have guards there, and if someone comes to steal the money, the guards throw them out, or call the police.
A count is a type of noble. Between kings and common people, there are many ranks of nobility, such as earls, marquises, barons and so on. Count is one of these ranks. So a count is not as powerful as a king, but they own a county. In the UK, there are many different counties—they are a bit like states. The most famous count is Count Dracula, the first vampire.
A feather is a part of a bird. Birds have hundreds of feathers on their body, which keep them warm. When we want to eat a bird, we have to take all the feathers out first. We can use feathers to write—this is what people did before we had pens. You can also put feathers inside pillows or coats to make them warmer.
A sorcerer is a man who uses magic. Sorcerers are like wizards or magicians, but sorcerers are usually bad. They use bad magic. The first Harry Potter book in English is called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but in America they changed the name to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, because they thought children would not know what a philosopher was.
Wheat is a type of cereal or grain. Wheat is used very often in food. We use wheat to make flour, which we can use to make bread and pasta. Wheat grows in fields and is very long. Many British breakfast cereals have wheat in them, for example Shredded Wheat and Weetabix.
When something turns into something else, it changes and becomes something else. For example, if you warm up ice, it turns into water. If you warm up water, it turns into steam. If you put water in a cold place, it turns into ice. And if you take away my chocolate, I turn into an animal—I get very angry!
When you make a decision, you decide something. For example, when you wake up in the morning and go to eat breakfast, you have to make a decision. What will you eat? Will you eat healthy fruit or chocolate cereal? It’s a difficult decision! Personally, I am very bad at making decisions.
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OK, so listen and enjoy!
Puss in Boots
Once there was a young man called Jack. He lived on a farm with his two older brothers and his father. His father made all the decisions on the farm, and as he got older, the farm got smaller. The boys did not like to work, and so many of the animals died or left. Finally, the father died, and he gave his things to his sons.
To the oldest son he gave the house, to the middle son he gave his horse, and to Jack, the youngest son, he gave his cat.
‘That’s not OK!’ said Jack. ‘What can I do with this cat?’
‘Sorry, brother!’ said the other two.
The oldest brother left for the north, and Jack left for the south. He found a small house to live in, but he had very little money.
‘Hmm,’ he said. ‘Maybe I can kill this cat and make a pair of gloves out of him…’
‘Don’t do that!’ said the cat.
‘Wow, you can talk!’
‘Oh yes. You got the best present of all! Now, I think I would make a bad pair of gloves. But I can make you rich!’
‘How?’ said Jack.
‘Trust me. But first, I need a pair of boots.’
‘Boots? Why?’ said Jack.
‘If I have boots, people will think, “Oh, that is a rich cat!” Trust me, it is important.’
So Jack went and spent all his money on a good pair of boots. The cat put them on and started walking around like a person.
‘Give me your hat,’ said the cat.
‘Fine,’ said Jack.
He gave the cat the hat, and now he really did look rich, with his hat and boots.
‘What’s your name?’ he asked the cat. They had never given him a name before.
‘Puss in Boots!’ said the cat. ‘Yes, that will make a nice name. Now, I am going to go and make you rich!’
And the cat left the house. Jack didn’t know what he was going to do. He hoped that Puss in Boots would not run away.
Actually, the cat went to the forest. He had heard that the King liked partridges, a kind of bird.
‘If the King likes partridges, I will bring him the best partridges in the land!’ said Puss.
He went into the forest with a bag. In the bag, he put a piece of cheese. Then he left the bag and went into the trees. Some partridges came and went to eat the cheese. When the bag was full of partridges, Puss in Boots jumped out and closed the bag.
‘Hehe! Now I have a lovely bag of fat partridges.’
He went to the castle and said, ‘I want to see the King!’
The King’s guards said, ‘Huh? But you’re just a cat! Cats can’t go to see the King.’
‘I am not just a cat!’ said Puss in Boots. ‘Look at my lovely boots. I work for the Count of Cattenborough, and I have some partridges for the King.’
So the guards let him in. When the King saw the partridges he was very happy.
‘I have never seen such fat birds!’ he said. The King took the birds out of the bag and filled the bag with gold. ‘Give this to the count.’
So Puss in Boots came home with a big bag full of gold.
‘Wow!’ said Jack. ‘How did you get that? Did you steal it?’
‘Don’t worry, Jack! I am going to make you rich. Trust me. Tomorrow, I will come back with more gold!’
The next day, the cat went into the forest again. He had heard that the King’s daughter, the Princess, wanted a beautiful dress. So again, he put cheese into a bag and waited. Lots of different birds came, and he took one feather from each of them. Then he made a beautiful dress out of the feathers.
Puss in Boots walked to the castle and said, ‘Hello!’
‘You’re here again,’ said the guards. ‘What do you have today?’
‘I have a beautiful dress for the King’s daughter! There are a hundred different kinds of feathers on it.’
So they let Puss inside, and he gave the dress to the King. The Princess was very happy when she saw it. She loved all the different feathers. So she filled up Puss in Boots’s bag with gold.
‘I must meet this Count of Cattenborough,’ said the King.
‘Ah,’ said Puss in Boots. ‘I will tell him that you want to meet him.’
When Puss came home with the money, Jack was very happy. ‘You are the best cat in the world!’
‘Just wait, my boy,’ said the cat. ‘Tomorrow, I will really turn you into a count! I heard the guards say that tomorrow evening they are taking the King to the sea to swim. We will go as well.’
‘But I do not have the clothes of a count!’ said Jack. ‘They will know that I am not a count.’
The cat laughed. ‘Trust me! Just do what I say. I will make all the decisions.’
So the next evening they went down to the sea. Jack went swimming, and Puss in Boots took his clothes away.
When the King arrived, Puss said, ‘Oh, my King, I am so happy you are here! The Count of Cattenborough is swimming, and a man came and took all his clothes. Can you help?’
‘Of course!’ said the King.
He went to the castle and brought some of his clothes. Jack came out of the water and put on the King’s clothes, and he looked very nice.
‘So you are the famous Count of Cattenborough!’ said the King. ‘It is wonderful to finally meet you.’
‘Uh, yes,’ said Jack.
‘And where is your castle?’ said the King.
Jack didn’t know what to say, but Puss in Boots quickly said, ‘To the south, my King.’
‘I suppose a young man like you has a wife?’
‘No, my King!’ said Puss in Boots.
‘Wonderful. Then you should meet my daughter!’
‘He would be very happy to meet your daughter, my King,’ said Puss in Boots.
The King was surprised. The Count of Cattenborough did not talk, and the cat did all his talking for him. He thought that this was a very good idea.
‘Come tomorrow to meet my daughter.’
So the next day, Jack and Puss went to the castle.
‘This is crazy!’ said Jack. ‘I don’t know what to say. I’m not a count!’
‘Just be quiet and I’ll do the speaking. Remember, I make the decisions!’
They ate dinner with the King and Princess, and every time they spoke to Jack, Puss in Boots answered.
‘Yes, the Count would love some potatoes, my King.’
‘Yes, the Count thinks you look very beautiful, my Princess.’
‘Yes, the Count thinks the food is lovely, my King.’
The Princess liked the Count, but she wanted to know more about him.
‘I would like to get married to you,’ she said. ‘But first, I want to see your castle.’
Jack went red, but Puss in Boots said, ‘Of course! We will go there tomorrow.’
The next day, Jack was very afraid.
‘The Princess wants to get married to me! But I am just a normal man. I don’t have a castle! You are a very clever cat, but you cannot make a castle from nothing!’
‘Trust me! Remember, I make the decisions. You go with the King and the Princess. Say very little. I will go and make the castle.’
So Jack went to ride to the castle with the King and the Princess. At the same time, Puss in Boots ran to the south. First he came to a field of grass, where some people were sitting.
‘Hey, you people! Who does this field belong to?’
‘It belongs to the sorcerer!’ said a man.
‘Not anymore! When the King comes here, tell him that the field belongs to the Count of Cattenborough. If you do not, then the King’s men will kill you all!’
Then he ran south, and came to a field of wheat. Some men were working there.
‘Hey, you workers! Who does this wheat belong to?’
‘The sorcerer, of course!’
‘Not anymore! When the King comes here, tell him that the wheat belongs to the Count of Cattenborough. If you do not, then the King’s men will kill you all!’
Then he ran south, and came to a forest. Some women were eating lunch there.
‘Hey, you women! Who does this forest belong to?’
‘It belongs to the sorcerer. Everyone knows that!’
‘Not anymore! When the King comes here, tell him that the forest belongs to the Count of Cattenborough. If you do not, then the King’s men will kill you all!’
Then Puss in Boots ran south, and came to the castle of the sorcerer. It was a beautiful castle, but the sorcerer was a very bad man. But Puss in Boots was not afraid.
There were no guards, so he went inside and said, ‘Hey! Does a sorcerer live here?’
There was a POOF and the sorcerer was suddenly there.
‘What do you want, you horrible little cat?’ said the sorcerer.
‘I have heard that you are an amazing sorcerer. I wanted to see your magic. I hear that you can turn into animals: you can turn into dogs, cats, horses… But those are all normal animals. I want to see a big animal! Can you turn into an elephant?’
‘Hah!’ said the sorcerer. ‘Of course I can.’
And he snapped his fingers and turned into an elephant.
‘Wow!’ said the cat. ‘That really is amazing. But I think it is harder to turn into something small. Can you turn into a mouse?’
‘Hah!’ said the sorcerer. ‘Of course I can.’
He snapped his fingers and turned into a mouse. Then Puss in Boots jumped on him and ate him up.
‘Mmm, I love mice!’ he said.
While he did all this, the King, the Princess and Jack travelled south. First they came to the field of grass, and the men said that it belonged to the Count of Cattenborough. Then they came to the field of wheat, and the workers also said that it belonged to the Count of Cattenborough. Finally, they came to the forest, and the women also said that it belonged to the Count.
‘My, my!’ said the King. ‘I did not know that you had so much land, Count.’
Jack also didn’t know he had so much land!
Then they came to the castle, and they found Puss in Boots waiting there.
‘Come in, come in!’ said the cat. ‘I made a fire. What would you like to eat?’
The King and the Princess liked the castle very much. The Princess said, ‘I think I will get married to you today!’
So Jack and the Princess got married, and he became the King of Cattenborough. He was a good king, but really, Puss in Boots made all the decisions for him.
They lived happily ever after, and when Jack died, Puss in Boots became king.
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