L1 – Beginner

Stories for beginner-level students, equivalent to CEFR A1-A2.

New Year, New Me

Diana was surprised. ‘You don’t make resolutions? But you’re the most serious person I know! You go to the gym, and cook healthy food, and read books… How do you do all that without New Year’s resolutions?’
Minerva drank some wine. ‘Let me ask you something. How much are you planning on drinking tonight?’
Diana frowned. ‘You plan how much you’re going to drink?’

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Open Sesame

He gasped. The mountain was full of treasures! There was gold and silver and thousands of jewels. They sat in piles, like piles of seeds, but these treasures were so much better than seeds. The poor man did not know what to take. He did not want the thieves to kill him. So he took just a bit of gold, filling his pockets. He wanted to take the jewels, but he thought that the thieves would know, so he did not take any.

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The Land of Youth

Niamh’s father was afraid of many things. He thought that someone might try to kill him so that they could be king. He thought that someone would run faster than him in the next game. But he had a druid who could see the future, so he asked him to see the future.
‘Nobody will kill you, my king. And only one person would run faster than you: your son-in-law. So if your daughter never gets married, you will not have a son-in-law, and you can be king forever.’

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You Can’t Please Everyone

‘Why do you have a donkey, but you don’t ride it? Donkeys should be ridden.’
So the man said to his son, ‘Get on the donkey and ride it.’
They kept on going. A few hours later, a group of old women walked past.
‘Look at that lazy young boy,’ said one of the women. ‘Shame on him! He makes his father walk while he rides. His father should ride on the horse.’

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Why the Sea is Salty

Once there were two brothers. One brother was a poor farmer. He worked in the fields, and when the weather was bad, he had no food. But he was kind and worked a lot. The other brother was a rich man who worked on a ship. He was not kind, and he often cheated people. In this time, there was no salt in the sea, so he travelled to other countries to get salt. He brought the salt back, and the King paid him lots of money.

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The Crying Woman

Once, there was a woman called Inmaculada. Her friends called her Inma. She lived in a village in Mexico. Inmaculada was indigenous, and her mother and father died when she was very young. She was poor, and she washed clothes for other people in the village. She wanted to leave the village and travel the world, but she thought it would never happen.

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Once there was a young boy called Lyman. He worked in the field and looked after the sheep. He was a shepherd. His father was a shepherd, and his grandfather was a shepherd and his grandfather’s father was a shepherd. Everyone told Lyman, ‘One day, you will be a great shepherd.’ But Lyman didn’t want to be a shepherd. He wanted to be a hunter. Hunters fought wolves, and they were big and strong. Shepherds weren’t big and strong.

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Stone Soup

Once, a man was travelling across the country. He was very poor. One day he arrived in a town, and he had no more food. He asked the people for food, but nobody wanted to talk to him.
So he went into the centre of town with a big cooking pot. He made a fire, put a stone in the pot, and filled it with water.
An old woman walked past and saw the pot. ‘What are you making?’ she said.

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Hold On, Little Pot!

Once, there was a builder. He worked very hard, but he was happy. He had a good home and a beautiful wife.
One day, the King came to him and said, ‘Dear builder! I have heard that you are the best builder in the country. I want to see your work. Build a house for my son.’

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The Wolf and the Fox

Once, there were a wolf and a fox. The fox worked for the wolf, and he hated him. The wolf was very bad, and made the fox do everything for him. The wolf was ugly and greedy, but he was stronger than the fox, so the fox had to do what he said.

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