There is a night where monsters come to life. There is a night where vampires and werewolves walk the street. There is a night where Ariel reads out stories on YouTube and maybe eats some sweets.
That night is Halloween! Mwahahahahaha!
And I’m doing a live stream! Yes, that’s right. I’m going to be on YouTube reading out some of my favourite Halloween stories from Easy Stories in English, some scary stories or some stories that have monsters in them. And I’m going to answer your questions as well. It’s just going to be like the old live streams!
So, come along on 31st of October at 3pm Greenwich Mean Time. That is British time. Right now, we have daylight savings, so the clocks are going to change. Time is confusing, I know. But, look up: 31st of October 3pm Greenwich Mean Time, and that is when the live stream will be.
Or, easier, go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Stream and it will take you to the YouTube stream and you can set a reminder. So it will tell you when the stream is happening.
Oh my God, we’re going to have so much fun! And I would love to see your costumes as well. So come to the stream, wear a costume. Maybe you’re a scary witch or a scary werewolf or a lovely, handsome vampire who wants to drink my blood… I don’t know! But come along in costume because I will be asking you for photos because, um, I just decided right now that I want to see pictures of your costumes, and I want to hear all of your lovely messages and chat to you all and read out loud.
I’m even going to read chapters 4 and 5 of Billy and Dim, which is a story that I released partly on the podcast and partly on Patreon. So you can get some exclusive content from this live stream.
Remember, 31st of October 3pm GMT, and you can go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Stream to find out exactly when that is.
Thank you and mwahahahahaha! See you there, my victims… Bleh!
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 The Crying Woman. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Crying. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Crying. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation after it.
Just a warning: today’s story has a mother in it who kills her children by drowning them.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
Indigenous people are people who originally lived in one place. For example, in America, the Native Americans, or American Indians, are indigenous. In Australia, the aborigines are indigenous. In Palestine and Israel, the Palestinian people are indigenous. In most of these places, white Europeans came and killed many indigenous people to take control of the land. Nowadays, indigenous people still have many problems and are treated very badly.
Handsome means beautiful, but for men. So we say that women are beautiful and men are handsome.
When you are in a place that you don’t want to be, you might run away, run to another place. For example, if your mother is very angry at you, you could run away, but she might run after you. If you see a wolf or a bear, you should probably run away.
When someone is going to have a baby, they are pregnant. Pregnant people have big stomachs, because there is a baby growing inside them. People are usually pregnant for about nine months before they give birth. There are many problems during pregnancy, for example sickness and stomach pain.
If you don’t care about something, you have no interest in it, or it doesn’t make you feel strongly. For example, if someone hits your car and breaks it, most people would care a lot. They would be very angry or sad. But maybe you hate your car and want to buy a new one, so you don’t care. It’s not important to you.
When someone drowns, they fall into water and die. If you can swim, then it is harder to drown, because you can swim out of the water. But maybe the water is very deep, or you are in the sea and the land is far away, or you are very hurt. In those cases, you might drown. You can also drown another person, but I don’t recommend it!
When you are right next to something and can feel it, you are touching it. Right now, with coronavirus, people are not touching each other very much. If you go outside and touch lots of things, you should wash your hands when you come home. Generally, if you touch something dirty, you should wash your hands.
A monster is a horrible person or animal who is very dangerous. For example, vampires, werewolves, mummies and zombies are all monsters. Monsters often eat people. Halloween is the night where monsters come to life. At least, in stories it is. If someone is very bad or strange, we can also call them a monster.
If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support us 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 autism. All week. It’s an interest of mine. 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 our new patrons, as well as patrons who have increased their pledge: Jhon Arias, Mohamed Mohamed and Carole R.. Thank you so much. Your support really means a lot to me.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
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.
One day, a Spanish man came to the village. He was rich, and rode on a horse. His name was Guillermo. Inma thought he was very handsome, but she did not talk to him. He did not want to talk to poor indigenous girls, she thought.
But that night, when she was washing clothes in the river, Guillermo came to her.
‘You’re working so late,’ he said.
‘Oh!’ She wanted to run away.
‘Please, stay. Do not worry. I won’t hurt you.’
She was afraid of him, and could not look in his eyes. He was so handsome. He touched her face, and made her look him in the eyes.
‘You are so beautiful. You are too beautiful to be washing clothes in the night.’
Guillermo thought she was beautiful? She couldn’t believe it.
‘I am not beautiful,’ she said. ‘You are so handsome. I am just a poor indigenous girl. I have work to do.’
‘I will show you you are beautiful,’ he said.
The next night, he came back with a white dress. It was beautiful, and Inmaculada had never seen a dress like it.
‘It is for you,’ he said.
‘What?’ she said. ‘It is so beautiful… I cannot wear this. People will ask where it is from.’
‘Then you will wear it only inside my house.’
‘Inside your house?’
Guillermo kissed her. She was very surprised. He was the first man who had kissed her.
‘Come home with me, Inma,’ he said.
Inmaculada had lots of clothes to wash, but she forgot about them. She went to Guillermo’s house, and she put on the white dress. They kissed, and she stayed the night.
Every night, after work, Inmaculada went to Guillermo’s house. She put on the white dress, and they slept together.
Soon, Inmaculada got pregnant. Everyone asked her who the father was, but she did not tell them. Guillermo said she couldn’t tell them.
‘They won’t understand our love,’ he said. ‘I am Spanish, and you are indigenous. They will think I am a monster.’
‘I don’t care!’ said Inmaculada. ‘I love you so much, Guillermo.’
‘They will want to hurt our child,’ he said. ‘You must not tell them.’
So Inmaculada told nobody about her love for him. After she had their son, she stayed inside his house. He was rich, so she did not have to work. She stayed inside and looked after their son, and waited for Guillermo to come home.
But Guillermo always came home very late. He only wanted to sleep with her. He didn’t have time to talk to her, or play with their son. Inma loved Guillermo, but he didn’t look at her anymore.
‘I have to make him love me again,’ she said.
So she got pregnant two more times, and they had two more children, two daughters. Every time, Inma thought that Guillermo would love her again. They had a beautiful family. Wasn’t he happy? Didn’t he want to talk to his children?
But Guillermo didn’t love Inmaculada. In the day, Inma cried, and at night, she slept with Guillermo.
One day, Inmaculada said, ‘Please, Guillermo, we must get married. We have three children. God wants us to get married. I want to get pregnant again. I love you. I don’t care what people say. Other people don’t matter. Our family matters!’
She touched him, but he moved away.
‘I will think about it,’ Guillermo said. ‘But do not get pregnant again. Use the medicine that the old women make.’
That night, Guillermo did not come home. Inmaculada was worried. She went into the village and looked for him.
And then she saw him through a window. He was inside another woman’s house. It was a beautiful Spanish woman, and they were kissing and laughing.
‘Oh, my love,’ he said. ‘You are so good to me.’
‘Guillermo!’ she said. ‘I don’t care about your words. I don’t care about that indigenous woman. Just kiss me!’
‘I’m going to take you back to Spain with me,’ he said, and kissed her.
That night, Inmaculada did not sleep. She cried and cried.
‘What’s wrong, Mum?’ said her children.
But Inmaculada didn’t tell them. In the morning, she stopped crying and said, ‘Come on, children. We’re going to the river.’
She had decided something. She could not live like this anymore. Guillermo stopped loving her when they had children. So if they didn’t have children, maybe he would love her again.
They went to the river. ‘Go into the water, my children,’ she said.
‘But, Mum,’ they said. ‘We can’t swim.’
‘That is fine,’ she said. ‘Your mother will help you.’
They went into the water, where it was deep. Inmaculada said, ‘Goodbye, my children.’
Then she pushed her children under the water. They shouted, and she cried, but she did not stop. The children drowned, and died.
Inmaculada stood in the river. It was done. She had drowned her children. Would Guillermo love her now?
But when she saw their bodies, she understood what she had done.
‘I am a monster!’ she cried. ‘I cannot live like this.’
Inmaculada wanted to drown with her children, but she was afraid. So she took a knife and cut herself. Her blood went into the river. It ran over her body, and it ran over the bodies of her children.
That night, Guillermo came home, but Inmaculada wasn’t there. His children weren’t there.
‘How strange,’ he said. But really, he was happy. He didn’t love Inmaculada anymore. Did that make him a monster?
The next day, he took Blanca to the river. Blanca was the Spanish girl he was in love with. She was more beautiful than Inmaculada, and he could tell everyone that he loved her.
‘Guillermo,’ she said, ‘I am afraid. I cannot swim.’
Guillermo laughed. ‘Then be careful. I am going to get a bottle of wine. Take off your shoes and put your feet in the water. It feels good.’
So Blanca took off her shoes and put her feet in the water. It did feel good. But then she heard a strange sound.
Someone was crying. She looked around, but she saw nobody. Then she looked in the water.
In the bottom of the river, there was a woman in a white dress. She was looking for something.
‘Oh, my children, where are you?’ she cried.
‘Who is that woman at the bottom of the river?’ said Blanca.
She looked closer, and then she fell in the water. The river was fast, and the water was deep.
‘Help, help!’ she cried. ‘Guillermo!’
But Guillermo did not come to help her. She felt a cold, wet hand on her foot. The hand pulled her down.
When Guillermo came back, Blanca had drowned.
‘Oh my God,’ he said. ‘She is dead.’
He looked in the river, but he did not touch the body. He thought he saw something white, like a white dress. But when he looked again, there was nothing there.
‘I must return to Spain,’ he said. ‘Nothing good comes from this place.’
So Guillermo left. He went back to Spain, and Inmaculada stayed in the river. The people in the village called her the Crying Woman, La Llorona, and from that day, people were always careful when they went near the river.
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. You might know the story already. It is called, originally, La Llorona, and it is a popular story in Latin American cultures. The details are different in different countries, but generally, it’s a story about a woman who drowns her children in a river and then she regrets it, she feels bad, and kills herself.
This is a folk tale more than a fairy tale. So fairy tales—we have a lot of fairy tales on the podcast.
Fairy tales are usually about kings and princesses and knights and things like that. And they’re more magical.
Folk tales are more stories from different cultures that represent the culture. Folk tales often are more serious than fairy tales and often they’re shorter. A lot of cultures have very scary folk tales, like horror stories, and many films are made based on these folk tales.
These folk tales are really interesting, because they show what fears are common in that culture. They show what people are afraid of in that culture.
Many popular horror stories and monsters come from indigenous cultures. And, really, this isn’t so surprising because of the history of colonialism.
So colonialism was when mostly white Europeans went to North America, South America, Africa and Asia and killed many people and took control of the country, because they were looking for gold and metals and slaves, things like that.
Obviously, colonialism is a terrible thing and it is really important that we talk about colonialism today because it still has a very big effect on our culture. After all, the United Kingdom was the biggest colonial empire in the world, and a lot of the nice things we enjoy in the UK, a lot of the nice buildings we have, the nice food we have, the healthcare system we have. The money for those things mostly came from colonialism.
So, anyway, many cultures which were colonised, such as Mexico, uh, Native American cultures and so on. These cultures have very strong folk tales that are frightening, that are scary, because these tales show the fear of colonialism. They show how the people were very afraid of death from the European colonisers.
In particular, La Llorona shows the fear of indigenous people in South America when Spanish colonisers, also known as conquistadores, came over and killed and enslaved many, many people.
This story with a Spanish person falling in love with an indigenous woman, it’s not so realistic. Actually, in reality, it was probably much more violent. They probably didn’t really fall in love. But I didn’t want this story to be too sad, because obviously this is a very painful topic. Also, I don’t think it’s my place to write a really sad serious story about La Llorona because I am not indigenous to that part of the world. So it’s not really my culture.
I know we have quite a lot of listeners in South America, so I would be interested to hear, how is La Llorona told in your country and what do you think of my version? Is it OK? Did I get some things wrong? Do you think it was maybe, I don’t know, offensive or insensitive? Please give me very honest comments because I really want to know if these stories from different cultures are good.
Obviously, I want to show the diversity of our listeners. We have listeners everywhere in the world, pretty much, so I want to have stories from lots of different cultures. But I want to make sure that the stories are accurate and that they represent these cultures well. So please let me know if you think this story was OK in that sense specifically.
You can leave a comment at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Crying.
Anyway, this is the seventh story in a row with a sad ending. So we have had seven stories, seven weeks of sad endings. I’m really sorry! I don’t know how this happened.
But I promise, I promise, next week will be a happy story with a happy ending. After all, it is Halloween on Sunday [actually, Saturday!], so after Halloween we really should have a happy ending. But I did want to do a scary Halloween story for today’s episode.
If you enjoyed the story, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Go to Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. For just a few dollars a month you can get extra episodes, conversational podcasts, exercises, and much more. Thank you for listening, and until next week.