Transcript

Do you enjoy the podcast, but you want someone to speak to in English? You have learned all these cool new words, and now you want to start using them!

Well, I want to tell you about italki. italki is the world’s biggest online language learning website. On italki you can take classes with teachers from any country, and you can take classes at a time that is good for you. You get private lessons with excellent teachers, and it’s much cheaper than normal classes.

I have been both a teacher and a student on italki, and it has helped me so much. If you are like me, you don’t want to take a long course, but with italki you can take lessons when you want, how you want. You can have a conversation class on the bus, or an exam class with lots of homework. There is something for everyone.

To open an account and take classes on italki, go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/italki. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/italki.

Oh, and if you use that link, I get a bit of money, so you’re helping me, too. Thanks!

And I DO teach on italki, so if you want to book a class with me, you can go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Classes.

OK, let’s start the episode.

[introduction music]

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 Three Feathers. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Feathers. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Feathers. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation after it.

OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.

A feather

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.

Stupid means not intelligent, not clever. It is not nice to call someone stupid. Sometimes, we call ourselves stupid, because we can’t do something easy. But of course, nobody listening to this podcast is stupid! You are all very clever.

Handsome means beautiful, but for men. So we say that women are beautiful and men are handsome.

A hop is a small jump. So rabbits and frogs don’t jump, they hop, because they are very small. If you hurt one of your feet, you might hop up and down on the other leg.

A toad (Martin Squarra CC BY-SA 4.0)

A toad is a small, green animal. Toads are like frogs, but bigger. They have lots of little bumps on their skin, but frogs have smooth skin. Toads make a sound like croak croak. They live in wet places, like rivers and trees, but also dry places like grass. Toads eat flies and other insects. They have very long tongues, and they use them to catch flies.

A bride is a woman who is going to get married. Brides wear beautiful white dresses called wedding dresses. Some brides take weddings very seriously, and if something goes wrong they get very angry.

When you smile, you move the sides of your mouth up. It is like a laugh, but smaller. You want to show that you are happy. If you like someone, you smile at them. In some countries, people smile a lot more than in other countries. Sometimes Thailand is called “the land of smiles”.

A carriage pulled by a horse

A carriage is a vehicle, a way of getting around, like a car. Cars use petrol or electricity to move, but carriages are pulled by something. Usually, carriages are pulled by horses, and someone sits on top of the carriage and tells the horses to move. Before cars existed, carriages were the main way of travelling. Now they are used just for fun. For example, you can take a carriage ride with horses in Central Park in New York.

A peasant is a person who lives in the countryside and works on a farm. Peasants are usually poor, and they have to make food to survive. In modern Europe, peasants don’t exist anymore, but there are some parts of the world where there are still peasants. Usually, peasants can’t easily go to school or get good jobs.

The circus is a group of performers and entertainers who travel around and do shows. Usually, circuses do shows in big circus tents. In the past, circuses used animals like lions and elephants, but now they just use humans. They have humans who can do amazing things with their bodies—gymnasts—and people who can do tricks, like jugglers. Nowadays, circuses aren’t as popular as in the past. There is a popular film The Greatest Showman about P. T. Barnum, the man who made circuses very popular in America.

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 Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners, as well as an extra story every month. You can support us 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: Leo Rivas, Buyanjargal Chuluunbaatar, ilepilov, Joanna, Juanfe, Markéta and A Myanmar Lat Thi. Thank you so much. Your support really means a lot to us.

OK, so listen and enjoy!

The Three Feathers

Once there was an old king. He knew that he would die soon, and he had to decide who to give his kingdom to. He had three sons. The older two sons were tall, clever and strong, and the youngest son, Stu, was short and stupid. They all called him Stupid Stu.

The King knew he wanted to give the kingdom to one of his older sons, but he didn’t know which he wanted to give it to. He decided to have a competition. He would let Stupid Stu play, because he knew that he would not win.

‘My three sons,’ said the King to them. ‘I must decide who I will give my kingdom to, and you are all clever and strong.’

The older two sons tried not to laugh. Stupid Stu was not clever or strong.

‘Here I have three feathers,’ said the King, taking out three feathers. ‘I will throw them all out of the window. Each one of you will follow one feather. Where the feather goes, you must find the most beautiful carpet in the world. The son who brings me the most beautiful carpet will have the kingdom.’

So the King threw the feathers out of the window. The older brothers’ feathers flew to the east and the west, but Stu’s feather fell straight down.

‘Good luck, Stupid Stu!’ said his brothers, and they left.

Stu went down to the feather. He knew the castle well, but in front of the feather there was a door he didn’t know.

‘I don’t remember this door…’

Stu went through the door and went down some stairs. There was another door, and he knocked at it. Then he heard a beautiful girl singing.

‘The handsome man here

all green with no hair

will hop to the door

and see who is there.’

The door opened, but nobody was there. Then Stu looked down and saw a small toad, who had opened the door. Behind the small toad was a big, fat toad.

‘What do you want, boy?’ said the fat toad.

‘Oh!’ said Stu, very surprised. The beautiful girl was actually a fat toad! ‘I’m looking for the most beautiful carpet in the world. Maybe you have one?’

The fat toad turned to the small toad and sang again,

‘The handsome man here

all green with no hair

will hop to the box

and give it to the man there.’

The smaller toad hopped to a box and carried it over. He was very small, but he carried the box easily.

Stu opened it and said, ‘Wow!’

Inside there was a beautiful carpet. It had thirty different colours, and a beautiful picture of a forest on it.

‘Thank you, oh, thank you!’ said Stu, carrying the carpet upstairs.

Stu’s brothers, however, did not find such a nice carpet. They thought that Stupid Stu would find a very bad carpet, so they did not need to find a good one. They walked for a while, found a house, and asked the people inside for an old carpet that they didn’t want anymore.

When the King saw the three carpets he was very surprised. ‘Well, that was the competition… So Stu will have the kingdom.’

‘No!’ cried the older brothers. ‘That cannot be!’

They complained and complained all day, and finally the King said, ‘Fine! We will have another competition. I will throw out the feathers again. This time, you must find the most beautiful ring in the world. Now go.’

Again, the older brothers’ feathers flew east and west, while Stu’s flew straight down. So he went back to the strange door and knocked again.

‘The handsome man here

all green with no hair

will hop to the door

and see who is there.’

The small toad opened the door again. He looked happy to see Stu.

‘Back again?’ said the fat toad, surprised. ‘What do you want this time?

‘I am so sorry to bother you… I’m looking for the most beautiful ring in the world.’

The fat toad sighed and sang again,

‘The handsome man here

all green with no hair

will hop to the box

and give it to the man there.’

This time, there was a beautiful red ring inside the box. It was bright like the sun, and Stu thanked the toads very much and went back to his father.

Once again, the other brothers thought that Stu would not find a real ring.

‘A carpet is easy to find, but a beautiful ring? No! We do not need to try hard.’

So again, they just went to a house and asked for any old ring they had.

The King was very surprised to see Stu’s ring. He was angry, not at Stu, but at his older sons. Couldn’t they see how important this was?

But the King had said that the son who found the most beautiful ring would be king, so he sighed and said, ‘Stu will have the kingdom.’

‘No way, Father!’ said the older sons.

They complained for two whole days, and finally the King said, ‘Enough! We will have one more competition. This time, you must find the most beautiful bride in the world.’

Again, the older brothers’ feathers flew east and west, and Stu’s flew straight down. So he returned to the strange door and knocked again.

‘The handsome man here—oh, forget it! Just go and open the door, Eric.’

The small toad came and opened the door again, and today he was very happy, hopping up and down.

‘What is it this time?’ asked the fat toad.

‘This time I need the most beautiful bride in the world.’

Stu looked around the room. He didn’t think there could be a bride in the box, and there was nobody else in the room. Maybe this time his brothers would win.

The fat toad laughed. ‘You need a bride, eh? I can help you. Oh, handsome man,’ she said to the other toad, ‘go and get the potato and those mice.’

The smaller toad came back with a big potato and two mice. Someone had cut the potato open.

‘What can I do with this?’ said Stu. Now he felt very stupid.

The fat toad smiled.

‘The handsome man here

all green with no hair

will hop into the potato

and a bride will be there.’

The smaller toad jumped into the potato. Suddenly, the potato changed! It was now a carriage, and the two mice were beautiful horses.

But more importantly, the toad had changed, too. He was not a toad now, but a very handsome man, and he was wearing the dress of a beautiful bride.

The toad man, who was called Eric, got out of the carriage and said, ‘Is this good enough?’

Stu smiled. ‘I think you are the most beautiful bride in the world!’

Eric just went red. Now they had to get the carriage up the stairs, and that took a long time.

While they did that, the older brothers laughed. They were not worried about this competition. ‘Stu is terrible with women! He will probably bring a toad to our father. No, we do not need to try hard.’

So they walked to the first house they saw.

‘Say, do you have a daughter who is not married? Does she want to get married to me?’

So the two brothers came back with strong, simple peasant girls, and Stu came back with a beautiful man.

‘We are going to be queens!’ said the two peasant women.

Eric did not say anything, but just smiled. The King was very angry.

‘You stupid boys!’ he shouted. ‘Do you really want to get married to these peasant women?’

‘No!’ said the older sons. ‘But, Father, you just said to bring a bride!’

‘Oh, my dear sons. I cannot do this anymore. Stu’s bride is the most beautiful. He will have the kingdom.’

‘No!’ said the two brothers. ‘He is a man! Stupid Stu can’t win!’

The King was now thinking that Stu would be a better king than his two other sons, but they complained for three days, and finally the King said, ‘Fine! Do you see that ring up there?’

On the ceiling, there was a big wooden ring. The King liked the circus very much, and they used the ring in the circus.

‘Take down that ring!’ the King said to his men. ‘The bride who can jump through it will win! We will see who has the kingdom.’

‘But, Father!’ said the older sons. ‘That’s stupid! Stu’s bride is a man! He will win easily!’

‘Quiet!’ said the King. ‘Your brides are strong peasant women. They will be much better. Stu’s bride looks very thin. He is not strong enough to jump through the ring. Believe me.’

So they watched as the three brides jumped through the circus ring. The older sons’ brides were too big, and they fell over. They could not jump through the ring.

However, when Eric came, he jumped through the ring easily, just like a toad hops.

‘Fine then!’ said the King. ‘Clearly, the gods want you to have the kingdom, Stu. Congratulations. You are now king.’

Stu’s brothers cried, and Stu was very surprised. He did not know if he wanted to be king, but his father said he was king, so he supposed that he was now king.

‘Now I have to find a queen…’ he said.

‘Maybe I can help with that,’ said Eric. And he began to sing.

‘The handsome man here

found a carpet and a ring.

Now he will kiss me

and he will be king.’

And so Stu and Eric kissed, and that day they got married. They lived happily ever after, and nobody called Stu stupid ever again.

THE END

I hope you enjoyed today’s story! I certainly had a lot of fun writing it. Thank you all for your kind comments on the last story, To Be a Hero. Some of you left really lovely comments and they warmed my heart, they made me feel really, really good. So, thank you again!

Recently here, we have had some really hot weather. Actually, I talked about this on the podcast last week. It was 32 degrees, it was very humid, it was very sunny. Every day I just drank cold drinks, ate ice lollies and put on my fan. But finally it is cool again! Because after a week or so of really hot weather, all of the pressure built up, all of the clouds came together, and we had a big dramatic thunderstorm! [thunder noises].

And I love storms. I think they’re so exciting, and we don’t have a lot of storms in the summer here, so they really do, you know, change things up a bit. They add a new atmosphere, and I really love that.

Unfortunately, recently I have hurt myself a bit. I decided to start exercising more. So every morning I have been doing yoga, just for ten minutes, and also lifting weights. And, well, I am not a very flexible person! My arms and legs do not stretch and bend very easily. So the yoga was hurting me, but also I did too many weights, I lifted weights too much.

So a few days ago, I got quite bad back pain, so I have been taking it easy. I have been relaxing for a few days and using my electric back massager to sort out my problems, and today, as I record this, I feel much better. But I want to start lifting weights again. Actually, today I already started doing yoga and lifting weights again.

Also today, I went into town for the first time in a long time, probably months, because I had to return some clothes that I bought online. And then I decided to walk around and see what it was like. It’s still very strange because, OK, the weather is bad but it is a Saturday, and still there are not a lot of people around. You’re supposed to wear masks inside all shops but not everyone is wearing masks in shops, but also, I saw more masks than I was expecting, so I am happy about that. And of course, when I went into the shop I did wear a mask.

I bought some delicious bread and a delicious pastry at my favourite bakery in Bath. Bath is the town I live in, by the way. In a very early episode of the podcast, I mentioned it, but I guess a lot of you have started listening since then, because recently several people have asked where I live. So I live in Bath, in the south-west of England, and right now, with the rain, it really is quite like a bath!

Sorry, terrible, terrible joke!

Anyway, 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.

20 comments on “The Three Feathers
  1. Vitor says:

    Interesting storie, Ariel!
    Thank you so much!
    Have a nice day.

    1. Ariel Goodbody says:

      Thanks, Vitor! 🙂

  2. Pedro Petrucci says:

    In the end Stu was Lucky!

    1. Ariel Goodbody says:

      He got very lucky, yeah!

      1. rebecca says:

        Hello Ariel, I like your stories, I live in Hong Kong, my English not good enough, I want to learn more english, Luckily I found your podcast, and saw you on YouTube. And maybe after a few years, when my husband retired, I and my family will move to Machester, so I need to learn more English.
        Thank you for your teaching, let me learn more and more English. Your stories are so funny ^^

        1. Ariel Goodbody says:

          Thanks for the comment, Rebecca! 🙂 Manchester is a lovely place to move to.

  3. Ozer Aydın says:

    nice story for beginner.. Thanks!

    1. Ariel Goodbody says:

      You’re welcome, Ozer 🙂

      1. Sam says:

        Your story is really really beautiful,
        I love it.
        How can I develop my English skill?
        Plz suggest me.

        1. Ariel Goodbody says:

          Read and listen as much as possible to things you enjoy, that you understand well! 🙂

  4. Lo says:

    “And the wedding party entrance song was : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4d20Tyzlv0
    😉

    Dear Ariel,
    Condragulations for this story !
    <3

    1. Ariel Goodbody says:

      I see you’re up to season six! 😅

  5. SONU says:

    LEARNING ENGLISH

    1. Ariel Goodbody says:

      Glad to hear it, Sonu!

  6. Nga says:

    Sorry, i don’t understand why the bride was a man???

    1. Ariel Goodbody says:

      There doesn’t need to be a reason! Sometimes people are just gay 🙂

      1. Niazi says:

        Hi Dear.
        I would like to learn speak good, please advise me
        thank you

        1. Ariel Goodbody says:

          Thanks for the comment, Niazi! The best thing to do is listen as much as possible – podcasts, TV shows etc. That way you’ll learn how to speak English naturally. Then it’s just a case of speaking more! 🙂

  7. Ana says:

    Dear Ariel,
    thanks a lot for the lovely stories. I have really fun and learn a lot with them. I want to go to England specifically I want to see London and if the time is enough another places . I live in Germany and I think that for me easily to fly.
    Have a nice weekend
    Ana

    1. Ariel Goodbody says:

      Thanks for the comment, Ana! When travelling is safer, you should absolutely come to London and visit some of England 🙂

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