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 pre-intermediate learners. The name of the story is The Mouse, the Frog and the Hawk. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Frog. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Frog. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
I hope you’re all having a lovely day today. I’m sitting here on a foggy morning, thinking about how lucky I am, how lucky I am to live in a beautiful town, in a beautiful apartment, with a friend that I like, and how lucky I am to have a successful podcast. Because today, when I logged on and looked at the statistics, I saw that we have gone past 10,000 listens. So our episodes have been listened to more than 10,000 times. So I really want to thank you all so much for listening, and please do tell your friends about the podcast. If there’s anyone you know who’s learning English and you think they would enjoy it, then do spread the word. Send them an email or give them the link in real life. It would really help, and I am really excited for the podcast to keep growing.
I had a realisation recently that I do a lot of stories with animals in them. I have a big document that I use to plan all the stories, to think about what ones I’m going to put in future, and I realised like, “Oh, I’ve got, like, eight in a row that are all about animals and all have animal characters.” So hopefully you also like animals as much as I do! I’ve said before, I am a child at heart. I love Disney films, and I love animals. But I promise that there will be some human ones… eventually. At some point.
In today’s story, we’re returning to The Great Forest, which is the world I created based on Aesop’s Fables. This story does follow on from some of the previous stories, but you don’t have to listen to them all.
I do recommend, if you haven’t heard The Lion and the Pig, which is last week’s story, that you do listen to that first. So, you might want to go back now and listen to The Lion and the Pig. You can find it at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Pig. That story introduces the character Bright Eyes the hawk, and she returns in this episode.
I don’t really feel like I have a lot to say today, so I’m just going to explain some of the words in the story and then get right into it.
So, I mentioned Bright Eyes the hawk. A hawk is a bird of prey, so a bird that eats other animals, and it’s quite scary. It has very good eyesight. They’re quite impressive birds.
A bramble patch is a type of plant. So brambles are the plants that blackberries grow on, and they are quite pointy. They have thorns. So if you fall in a bramble patch you will probably get hurt. But they do produce delicious blackberries.
A hop is a tiny jump, usually made by a rabbit or, as in the case of this story, a frog.
“Freeze” is when something goes so cold that it turns to ice. But we also use it to talk about people. If you run into the middle of the road and a car comes at you, you might be so scared that you just freeze, and you can’t move.
A beak is a nose for a bird. So it’s a hard nose that birds have. It’s kind of also their mouth. And they use it to dig up food. Woodpeckers use it to dig into trees, to pick up insects, all kind of things.
Slimy means something that is covered with slime. So slime is just kind of any unpleasant, wet substance that’s sticky. If you get it on your clothes it’s very hard to get off. It might be green or brown or black. You get it on places like, maybe around your tap on the sink. Vaseline is quite slimy, for example. And we also use “slimy” to describe horrible people, maybe men who are very sexual towards women in a bad way. Basically just unpleasant people.
So, listen and enjoy!
The Mouse, the Frog and the Hawk
One day, Gentle the mouse was eating a mushroom. He loved nothing more than to eat mushrooms. The mushroom was very big, so as he ate, he climbed inside.
Gentle climbed out of the mushroom to see who it was. It was Hoppy the frog. Hoppy was quite unpopular in the Great Forest. The other animals always said he was strange, and kept away from him. He had never spoken to Gentle before, but he had a big smile on his face.
‘Hello, Hoppy!’ said Gentle.
‘Say, I hear you’re good friends with Crush the lion.’
Crush had told Gentle about a fight he’d had with Hoppy. Hoppy had tricked Crush. He had told him that there was a big, tasty rabbit inside a bramble patch, and that the rabbit was oh so afraid of Crush. He would only have to go inside the brambles to catch him and eat him.
Of course, there was no rabbit inside, and when Crush came out his hair was ruined, his face was covered in red cuts, and his tail was full of thorns. Crush chased after Hoppy, and caught him in his mouth, and would have killed him if Bright Eyes the hawk hadn’t been there.
‘Crush, you big idiot!’ shouted Bright Eyes. ‘You told me that I must stop chasing Speedy the rabbit because I will never catch him, and I will just cause him unnecessary pain. You are a lion, and lions do not eat frogs. So you would kill a creature just to cause unnecessary pain?’
Crush realised that he could not kill Hoppy, and let him go.
‘Fine. I’ll let you live this time, Hoppy,’ said Crush. ‘But if you ever trick me again, I’ll feed you to an animal that does eat frogs!’
Hoppy ran away and jumped into the pool where he lived.
Gentle remembered this, and said, ‘Yes, me and Crush are good friends. I hope you don’t feel too bad about what happened.’
‘Oh, not at all! Crush was right to punish me. I was very nasty, tricking him like that. His fur got so ruined by the brambles!’ But Hoppy didn’t sound sorry. He was still smiling.
‘Well, I am glad to hear you learned something,’ said Gentle. ‘Now, would you like to share this mushroom with me?’
‘Gentle, you insult me!’
Gentle was surprised. ‘I’m sorry. How did I insult you?’
‘I am only a poor frog. I eat flies and moths and butterflies. But I cannot eat mushrooms. I do not have teeth!’
‘Oh. I am sorry, Hoppy.’
‘That’s quite all right,’ said Hoppy. ‘But as a way of saying sorry, will you play a game with me?’
Gentle didn’t like the way Hoppy was smiling, but he felt bad for insulting him.
‘Fantastic. The game is called “three-legged dance”. I have here a piece of string. I will tie it around our legs, so that we are tied together. Then we will have to get around like a three-legged person. Oh, it will be so funny!’
Gentle didn’t think it would be that funny, but he wanted to be nice to Hoppy. ‘Wonderful. Just let me finish my mushroom.’
‘Oh, you won’t play with me?’ Hoppy’s smile disappeared. He looked miserable.
‘Of course I will!’
Gentle pushed the mushroom away.
Hoppy tied the string around their legs. Gentle quickly realised a problem.
‘Hoppy, your legs are much longer than mine. You’ll just be pulling me around.’
‘That’s not a problem!’ said Hoppy. ‘It’ll just make the game more fun.’
And with that, he started hopping. Hoppy hopped high and low, and pulled Gentle with him. Gentle’s foot didn’t even touch the ground, and he was pulled here and there. He started to feel very sick. Hoppy was hopping very quickly, shaking Gentle all about.
‘Hoppy!’ shouted Gentle. ‘Please, stop for a moment! I feel sick!’
‘I can’t hear you!’ cried Hoppy.
He kept hopping until he reached the pool where he lived. There, he stopped at the edge. Gentle was able to relax for a minute.
‘Oh, what a lovely sunny day it is!’ cried Hoppy. ‘I think it would be just lovely to go for a swim. Don’t you agree, Gentle?’
Gentle was about to scream, ‘No!’, but Hoppy had already jumped into the water. Gentle couldn’t swim, and he was afraid of water. The frog swam down and down, and Gentle’s breath started to run out. He was terrified. Hoppy was swimming in circles, happy as could be, but Gentle was starting to drown.
Gentle ran out of breath, and opened his mouth. Water filled his stomach. Just then, Hoppy swam upwards, and they broke out of the water. Gentle coughed and coughed, pouring out all the water from inside of him. Hoppy stood by the side of the pool with a huge smile on his face.
‘Now, wasn’t that fun!’
‘Hoppy!’ Gentle said, once he had finished coughing. ‘I almost drowned. Mice can’t breathe underwater.’
‘Gentle, how mean of you to say!’
Gentle looked at him in surprise.
‘You really think I would hurt my friend? Oh, Gentle, your words hurt me so much! I care deeply about all my friends. You really think I would let you die?’
Gentle felt a strange feeling inside of him. It was hot, and grew in his stomach like a ball of fire. Eventually he realised what it was: anger.
But before he could say anything, there was a WHOOSH sound, and suddenly they were in the air. A pair of sharp claws were around Gentle, and when he looked up, he saw Bright Eyes the hawk. Of course, because Hoppy was still tied to Gentle, he also flew up in the air.
‘Help! Help! Let me down!’ Hoppy screamed.
‘Oh, what a lovely lunch I just found!’ said Bright Eyes. ‘A nice little drowned mouse, waiting for me to pick it up. Crush can’t complain about me eating dead creatures. Although I do prefer my food to be dry…’
Gentle thought it was better to stay quiet and pretend to be dead. Hoppy was still shaking and shouting, but Bright Eyes ignored him. Gentle felt happy seeing Hoppy suffer. He knew he should not have, but he still felt it.
Eventually they arrived at the cave where Bright Eyes lived. The hawk put them down.
‘Let me go, you big ugly bird!’ said Hoppy. ‘You just want this mouse. I have nothing to do with him.’
Hoppy started to untie the string.
‘Bright Eyes,’ said Gentle. ‘Please let us go.’
‘Well, well!’ said Bright Eyes. ‘It looks like this drowned mouse is alive after all. What a shame. I suppose I will have to find another lunch… Hoppy, you’re not friends with Crush the lion, are you?’
Hoppy froze. Then he smiled. ‘No. I hate that awful, hairy thing! You hate Crush too, don’t you? Maybe we can work together. I’ll help you trick him!’
‘Oh no, I wouldn’t dream of trying to trick Crush. I’m afraid of him, just like all the clever animals in the forest. I was asking because I would never hurt a friend of Crush. But since you are enemies, I have no worries about eating you up!’
Bright Eyes moved towards Hoppy with her beak open. Hoppy screamed, pulled off the string, and hopped away. Bright Eyes chased after him, and Hoppy hopped all the way out of the cave and into the forest.
‘I’ll eat you! I’ll eat you, you slimy frog!’
A few minutes later, Bright Eyes returned to the cave where Gentle was.
‘Did you catch him?’ Gentle said, his voice shaking.
‘Of course not. Do you think I really want to eat a slimy frog like that? No way! I just wanted to teach him a lesson.’
‘Oh, good. And, uh, you’re not going to eat me, are you?’
‘I was being serious when I talked about Crush. If I ate you he’d kill me. I’ll just have to find my food somewhere else. Here, let me take you back to the forest.’
So Bright Eyes picked up Gentle in her claws and carried him back to the forest. Gentle was very wet and very tired. When he got home to the tree where he lived, he curled up and went straight to sleep.
After that day, whenever Hoppy the frog saw Gentle the mouse, he ran away in fear.
I hope you enjoyed the story. You can support the podcast by leaving a review on iTunes. Search for Easy Stories in English, give us a star rating, and say what you like about the show. It would really help us grow. Thank you for listening, and until next week.