Do you enjoy the podcast, but you want someone to speak to in English? After all, you’ve learned all these cool new words and phrases, and now you want to put them into practice!
Well, I’d like to recommend italki. italki is the world’s biggest online language learning website. On italki you can take classes with teachers from around the world, at a time that works for you. You get personal, one-to-one lessons from excellent teachers, and it’s much cheaper than in-person classes.
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If you use that link and buy a class, you’ll even get $10 for free to spend on more classes! Plus, I get a bit of money, too. Thanks!
So that’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/italki.
To those of you interested in booking a class with me, I AM taking on new students on italki right now, but it won’t be for long. Go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Classes to find more information.
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 intermediate learners. The name of the story is Butcher Boy George. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Boy. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Boy. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
So I have a really exciting announcement to make! The first Easy Stories in English books are coming out on the 19th of July. That’s right, I’m releasing some books!
There are going to be four of them, and they are going to be called Easy Stories in English for Beginners, Easy Stories in English for Pre-Intermediate Learners, Easy Stories in English for Intermediate Learners and Easy Stories in English for Advanced Learners. I know, very original!
The idea is that these books contain the same 10 stories, but in the different levels. So if you’ve ever thought, ‘Ooh, I really enjoyed that episode of the podcast, but I wish I could read it in a different level,’ now you can! You can reread the same story four times and get all the different levels and really improve your vocabulary along the way. Because you already know the story and the structure, you will really be able to take in the new words.
Nine of the stories have already appeared on the podcast, and one of them is completely original. However, I have added material to all of them, I have made them better, and in the advanced levels, there’s often a few more jokes and a bit more story. So they really are much better than what you’ve heard before.
The books will be available as ebooks—that’s electronic books—and paperbacks, so physical books. They will be available on Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, Bookshop.org and all other online stores.
Unfortunately, they won’t be available in physical stores for now, but maybe in the future, if they do well? Maybe I’ll sign a few deals. Who knows?
In preparation for launching the books on the 19th of July, I am going to be doing so many things. I’m going to be doing an email giveaway. So if you join my email list, you have a chance to win a copy of the books. I’m going to be doing live streams for four weeks in a row, and then I’m going to do a big launch party on the day of release with lots of games and giveaways, and it’s going to be super fun.
Also, if you go over to the transcript for today’s episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Boy, you can see the cover of the book. So you can get an idea of what it looks like before it comes out. The covers are really beautiful. I hired a professional cover designer and they have our favourite friends on the front, Doggo and Kitty! So I really recommend going and checking that out.
In other news, I’ve seen a lot of posts on our Telegram group recently about people struggling with English, people saying, ‘Oh, I’m always going to be a beginner, I get really really nervous when I speak English,’ so I decided to record a little pep talk.
A pep talk is basically a talk or a speech used to motivate someone, to give someone lots of courage and energy. I did the pep talk over on Elevenses with Ariel, which is my conversational podcast for intermediate learners that I do on my Patreon.
But I thought maybe some of you are interested in Elevenses with Ariel, but you’re not really sure what it is, and I thought this episode would be useful for everyone. So I decided to include it in today’s episode!
So, in a moment, you will hear my pep talk, and if you decide, ‘Yeah, I really like this! I want to hear more things like this,’ go over to Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish and support me for $5 a month.
There will be no transcript for this pep talk because I don’t do transcripts for Elevenses with Ariel, but if you join on the Patreon, you can get a list of all the hardest vocabulary from this episode.
So, listen and enjoy!
[Elevenses with Ariel Episode]
I hope you found that pep talk useful!
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
When you do something with your bare hands, you do it without using any tools or weapons to help you. We usually use this for killing. For example, if you are very strong, you might be able to kill a lion with your bare hands. That would be impressive.
When something glows, it gives out a bright, shiny light. When you have a fire and it dies down, the coals often glow for a long time. Children often put glow-in-the-dark stars on their ceilings. These are stars that glow green even in the dark. Some small insects, like glow worms, can produce a natural glow.
Belly is an informal word for your stomach. If you eat a lot of food, your belly will get bigger. If you have a big, round belly, we sometimes call it a beer belly, because you usually get it from drinking lots of beer.
Your pinky finger is the smallest finger on your hand, at the end of it. We don’t use our pinky fingers much. People sometimes say that to be polite in England, you should stick up your pinky finger while drinking a cup of tea, but this isn’t really true.
When something pops up, it appears very quickly. For example, when you are on a website and an advert appears out of nowhere, we call that a pop-up ad. Pop up shops and restaurants, which appear quickly in a city and are only usually there for a few months, are more and more popular these days.
When something is crooked, it is bent and not straight. For example, if you break your nose, it will be crooked, and your glasses will look crooked as well. If you don’t look after your teeth well, you’ll have crooked teeth.
A demon is a type of monster that is in all religions. Demons usually live underground, or in hell, and they like to make humans miserable. In some stories, people can summon demons, they can call the demons up from hell. Then the demons have to use their magic for the person who summoned them. In Christianity, Satan, or the Devil, is the king of the demons.
A duel is a special kind of fight, where two people fight to the death. People usually duel with swords or guns. These days, duels do not happen really, but in the past, people challenged each other to duels.
In Christianity, the symbol of the cross, an X-shape, is very important. This is called the sign of the cross. Christians often make the sign of the cross on their head or body using their hands. Sometimes, the sign of the cross is carved into a surface as well.
A witch is an evil woman, a very bad woman, who does magic. Witches go [cackle]. They have black cats as pets, they have big black hats and they fly on broomsticks. In Harry Potter, Hermione is a very successful witch. The musical Wicked, which is one of my favourite musicals, is about witches.
If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support me on Patreon. For just $2 a month you can get exercises with each episode, and for $5, you get an extra story every month, as well as Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners. Last week I talked about waffles, digestion problems, exciting plans for my upcoming book and how to hug someone. You can support the show and get all the extra content at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.
A big thank-you to my new patrons: Biologika Polska, Lucie Klausova, kasia witkowska, Valentina Costamagna, Santiago Armendariz Gomez and Vera Kolbe. Thank you so much. Your support really means a lot to me.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
Butcher Boy George
Once there was a person named Butcher Boy George. You could travel through seventy villages, and you’d never find someone like him. He was as strong as a bull, and he could kill one with his bare hands!
But he didn’t, because he was a soft and gentle man, with skin like silk. When he sang, his voice rang out like the purest bell, and people and animals came from all the surrounding villages to hear.
People often couldn’t tell if George was a man or a woman. Yes, he was the softest person you ever met, but also, his body was broad and thick, and he had a thin moustache on his upper lip.
Still, it didn’t matter, because he was the favourite of all the villages around.
One day, George decided he was tired of the quiet life in his village, so he said goodbye to his dear mother and father, took his walking stick, and headed out into the world.
For seven days he wandered through the land, meeting people and animals, crossing great fields and winding rivers, until he finally arrived at a dark forest.
As he walked through the shadows of the trees, he saw an orange glow in the distance, shining like a star. It was a fire, and at once he headed towards it, as his feet were cold and his belly was empty.
‘But wait!’ thought Butcher Boy George. ‘What if that fire was built by evil thieves, who wish to beat me and rob me in the night? I cannot fall for such a trap!’
Of course, Butcher Boy George could have easily beaten any thief with just his pinky finger, but he had never been outside his village before, so he thought the thieves in this part of the land might be as strong as mountains.
He turned away from the fire and kept walking. But no less than three steps later, he saw another orange glow, from another fire in the distance.
This worried Butcher Boy George. His feet were cold, and his belly was empty, but he would not fall for any traps. So he turned left again, but there another fire popped up, so he turned right, and yet another fire popped up. He turned left and right, left and right, and it seemed like a fire popped up in every part of the forest where he stopped.
‘I can’t take it!’ he cried. ‘I am not a foolish sheep. I am Butcher Boy George! I won’t run anymore.’
And he turned towards one of the fires and headed for it.
Next to the fire, he did not find a group of horrible thieves, but instead an old woman, warming her hands.
‘Dear old woman!’ said Butcher Boy George. ‘How can it be that you are out here alone?’
‘I am not alone!’ cried the old woman. ‘I live here, you see.’
And she pointed to her house, which was hidden among the trees.
‘Do you seek a warm meal and bed for the night, dear boy?’ said the old woman.
Butcher Boy George was surprised, but he supposed that his cold feet and empty belly must have looked obvious to her.
‘Yes, kind lady. Are you offering?’
The old woman gave a crooked smile and said, ‘I can offer you a bed and some old bread, but be warned. Every night, demons try to enter the house. It’s very inconvenient.’
Butcher Boy George couldn’t remember what a demon was, but he supposed it was a kind of animal, and since all animals were friends to him, he saw no problem in this.
‘I can look after myself fine, I think!’ he said.
And so the woman showed him to the bed, gave him the old bread and left him to sleep.
His feet warm and his belly full, Butcher Boy George quickly fell asleep. But only a few hours later, he was woken up by a tapping on the window. He opened his eyes to see lots of horrible red faces staring at him through the glass.
Oh, the demons were nasty! They banged on the walls and tapped on the windows. They danced around the house and climbed on the roof. Butcher Boy George soon understood that these were no ordinary creatures, and he got out of bed and held his walking stick like a sword.
And with a horrible CRASH, the door flew open. A demon did not come inside, but instead a wooden box. Butcher Boy George walked towards it, and the lid of the box jumped off, and out came a long walking stick with a red cap on its end.
The stick threw itself at Butcher Boy George, and he swung his own stick to defend himself. A fierce battle began, with George duelling the cap-wearing stick like a swordfighter. They duelled all around the room, until finally George hit the cap and it flew off. The stick chased after the hat, which rolled under the bed.
George quickly ran out onto the terrace and drew the sign of the cross on the door with his pocket knife. Now the demon was trapped inside, and the sun was starting to rise. The other demons quickly ran away, leaving George safe in the morning light.
‘Now I remember what a demon is!’ said George to himself. ‘They are funny creatures.’
With nowhere else to go, Butcher Boy George went to the door next to the bedroom, which led to the old woman’s kitchen. But instead of her, he found a young man standing in front of a huge fire. On the fire was a great cooking pot, filled with boiling oil. The man was stirring the pot and sobbing quietly, his tears falling into the oil.
‘Why are you crying, boy?’ said Butcher Boy George.
The young man turned around and jumped. ‘Oh, you are alive!’
‘Should I be dead?’ said George.
The man laughed nervously. ‘Uh, no, I suppose not. Anyway, I am glad that you think I am a boy. Nobody else seems to.’
And it was true. The young man was short and thin, and he had soft hair that glowed bright in the fire.
‘Who are you?’ said Butcher Boy George.
‘I am a prince from a distant land. I was captured and sold to this old woman, and now she wishes to turn me into a witch. She won’t take no for an answer, and she doesn’t believe I am a boy.’
‘A prince!’ cried George. ‘But you’re working for a witch… So you stir this oil to cook a human child, or to make some evil drink?’
‘No!’ said the prince. ‘I do not want to be a witch, and therefore the old woman says she will cook me and eat me. And so I prepare this oil for my own body.’
‘How cruel!’ cried Butcher Boy George. ‘No, this oil will be for the witch, and not for you. Just keep stirring the pot, and I will save you.’
Just then, the witch knocked on the door, so George ran and hid in the corner.
‘Come in!’ cried the prince, sniffling.
The witch came in, her eyebrows heavy with anger.
‘Girl!’ she said. ‘Is the oil boiling?’
‘Yes,’ said the prince sadly.
‘Good! And you? Do you want to be a witch?’
‘No!’ said the prince.
‘I’ll ask you a second time. Do you want to be a witch?’
‘No!’ said the prince.
The old woman held the edge of the pot. ‘I’ll ask you a third and final time. Do you want to be a witch?’
‘And I answer a third and final time: no!’ said the prince.
And Butcher Boy George needed to hear no more. He ran out from his corner and pushed the witch into the oil. Her screams filled the little house like the approach of Hell itself.
‘Oh thank you, thank you!’ cried the prince, as the witch melted into nothingness.
‘No problem,’ said Butcher Boy George. ‘But let’s get out of here. It smells awful!’
And so they left the little house and walked through the forest together. The prince held onto George’s arm, as he was clearly scared.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll protect you,’ said Butcher Boy George. ‘Although I’m starting to think there might not be any thieves in this forest at all…’
‘How wonderful,’ said the prince. ‘Say, would you be interested in marrying me?’
‘Huh?’ said George.
He let go of the prince and looked at him.
‘What are you talking about? I just met you!’
‘But that’s how these stories always end, isn’t it?’ said the prince. ‘We get married, and you live happily ever after with me. Come on, you’ll have gold, jewels and fine dinners! You can replace that walking stick with a sharp sword, and those old shoes with a powerful horse. Yes, it will be a bit of a journey back to my kingdom, but it will be worth it in the end!’
George shook his head. ‘I can’t.’
‘Oh, because you’re a man? Listen, we’re very open where I come from, it won’t be a problem.’
‘Not because of that,’ said George. ‘And anyway, I’m a woman. But no, I’m not made for big castles and expensive dinners. I’m just a simple country girl—boy. Look, that part doesn’t matter, but I don’t want to become a queen or anything like that. I’ll help you get home safely, though.’
‘Ah!’ said the prince, taking Butcher Boy George’s arm again. ‘You are a very special woman, you know. And I have a long journey and plenty of time to convince you to change your mind…’
And so they travelled to the distant land where the prince came from. The whole journey, the prince tried to convince Butcher Boy George to give up his wild ways and become a king… or a queen. One of the two.
But Butcher Boy George had a heart as wild as a bull, and nothing could convince him. So he took the prince home, said goodbye, and headed off on more adventures.
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! Then you’ll be able to send me $3 so that I can buy a coffee, but really, I’ll probably get a bubble tea. And I’ll think of you while I drink it! Thank you for listening, and until next week.