You can listen to a beginner-level version of this story at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Frog2.
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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 pre-intermediate learners. The name of the story is The Little Frog with the Big Mouth. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Frog3. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Frog3. This is a levelled-up version of a beginner story. You can listen to the beginner version of The Little Frog with the Big Mouth at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Frog2.
So recently I’ve been having some health problems.
Some of you may know that I am autistic, and recently I have been struggling a lot because I have been very, very tired, and I have been finding it very hard to teach.
This is because, as an autistic person, I often do masking.
So masking is basically when I change my behaviour, how I talk and how I act, to appear more normal to most people, so that people don’t think I’m strange.
The thing with masking is, all autistic people do it and we often don’t know when we’re doing it, which can cause a lot of stress.
I sort of do it while I’m podcasting, as well. I mean, when I podcast, I focus a lot on how I talk and how I sound, but because it’s like a performance, because it’s something I do for a limited time and I’m in front of a microphone, it’s fine.
But with the teaching, it’s longer and it’s with another person, and there’s all the extra stress of delays with Skype, background noise and all of those things that we all know so well from having voice calls during the COVID-19 pandemic!
Last week, things got really bad, though, and I went completely non-verbal for about four days. So for about four days, I basically couldn’t talk. It kind of felt like there was a wall in my mouth and I had to push through to be able to say anything.
You might’ve noticed in last week’s podcast I sounded quite low and quite, you know, sad, I guess? And I actually recorded that before I went non-verbal, but on the day I recorded, I was struggling a lot to speak normally.
I’ve gone non-verbal before, and it is something that happens to many autistic people, but it’s never happened for that long before, and it was very scary, you know? We take it for granted how much we use our voices, we don’t really appreciate how important our voices are, until we lose them, and it makes normal life very hard. And it also meant, you know, I couldn’t teach.
So I thought for a long time about what could’ve caused this, why am I so stressed, and in the end, I decided that it is really the teaching that has been stressing me out. I’ve always found teaching stressful, although I really enjoy it. I love teaching, but it takes out so much energy.
It takes a lot of energy for most people, you know? Non-autistic people as well. But for me there’s this extra difficulty from having to mask all the time.
So in the end, I made a difficult decision to take a sabbatical from teaching. So a sabbatical is like a long-term break from work. So I’m going to take a six-month sabbatical and then reevaluate, and then look, should I continue not teaching or should I start teaching again?
But actually, I say it’s a hard decision, but in many ways it was very easy. It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. Like I said, I enjoy teaching, but it’s a lot of energy. It’s kind of a scary step to take, because it means I’m going to be making a lot less money for the next six months, and I’m really focussing on my writing and my podcasting to try and make more money from that.
Luckily, I have lots of financial and emotional support from my girlfriend. So without her, this wouldn’t be possible.
Like I said, it wasn’t such a hard decision as well, because I am just so excited that now I can write and podcast and focus all my energy on creative work, and I already feel so refreshed. I have so much more energy and I’m so excited to do everything. So you have a lot of great content to look forward to, I am sure!
Anyway, if you want to hear more information about the whole situation, and if you’re just curious about hearing more about my life, you can listen to Elevenses with Ariel, my daily conversational podcast which I do over at Patreon. I’ll talk more about that later.
For today’s episode, I’m trying something a bit new. I’m levelling up a story. So I’m taking a story that already appeared in the podcast, but I’ve rewritten it at a higher level. So the original version was a beginner-level story, and this is a pre-intermediate story. And I’ve added some more details.
This is exactly what will happen in my new book, as well. So I’m coming out with a book called Easy Stories in English. I’ve mentioned it a few times. And in the book there are ten stories, but there are four versions of the book for the four levels: beginner, pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced. So you can read the same ten stories in the four levels and really level up your language that way!
So the four books are coming out July the 19th, and I’m going to be doing some live streams to promote it, and also just to catch up with you.
The first live stream is next week on Monday the 5th of July at 16:00 BST or 15:00 UTC, which is the same as GMT.
So again, that’s 5th of July, that’s Monday, 16:00 British time, 15:00 Greenwich Mean Time.
Go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Stream to set a reminder so that you don’t miss out when the stream starts.
And if you join my email list at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Email, I always send out an email reminder before the stream.
I will be doing another stream the week after on the 12th, and then on the 19th there will be a three-hour launch party for the book, and there’s going to be so many fun things! There’s going to be giveaways and so on.
I’m doing a three-hour party to make sure that people from lots of different places in the world can come along.
Anyway, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do in the live streams yet, but I’m going to at least chat and catch up with you, and do some questions and answers.
The first two live streams will be about an hour, and then the launch party will be three hours.
So again, go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Stream and that will take you to the YouTube page for the next live stream.
See you there!
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
When you cut something in half, you cut it into two pieces of the same size. For example, when cooking you might cut potatoes in half, or cut tomatoes in half. You have to cut avocados in half before you can eat them.
A watermelon is a large, green fruit that is red inside. On the outside, watermelons are smooth, and have dark green stripes. Inside, they are red with black seeds. Watermelons are very sweet, but they do not have a strong flavour. Usually, people eat them on hot summer’s days, and you usually get watermelon juice all over your hands as you do it.
When something is creepy, it makes you feel uncomfortable or disgusted. For example, if there is a black dog that lives near you, and it always stands on the street, watching you, but never making a sound, well, that’s pretty creepy! If a person comes up to you in the street and asks if you’d like to go with them to the circus, that’s also pretty creepy.
When something happens at X o’clock sharp, for example, five o’clock sharp, then it happens at that exact hour. For most jobs, people have to start at nine o’clock sharp. If they are five minutes late, their boss will get annoyed. Personally, the only thing that’s important for me to do at a specific time is to eat lunch at twelve o’clock sharp.
When you have a nap, you go to sleep for a short time. Naps are usually 10 minutes to an hour in length. In some countries, like Spain, it is traditional to have a nap after lunch. Personally, I don’t nap often, but I used to nap every day.
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.
A worm is a small, pink insect. Worms are long, a bit like a snake. But they don’t have any eyes or a mouth. Worms live underground, and you find them a lot in gardens. Birds love to eat worms. They pull them out of the ground and eat them. Most people think worms are horrible.
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.
Hay is a type of dried grass. Hay is used on farms to feed animals. For example, horses eat hay. Hay is yellow, hard and dry, and you pack it in big squares.
When you put your tongue on something, you lick it. For example, you lick ice creams to eat them. You lick an envelope to close it. When you lick your lips, it is because you are hungry and you are thinking about food.
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. 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, as well as patrons who have increased their pledge: Victoria Shatskaya and May. Thank you so much. Your support really means a lot to me.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
The Little Frog with the Big Mouth
Once, there was a little frog who lived in a forest next to a river. This frog was tiny, about the size of a tennis ball, and if you didn’t hear him crying ‘ribbit, ribbit’, you might step on him.
Fortunately for the little frog, his mouth was very big, so all the animals in the forest could hear him easily. When he smiled, he looked like a tennis ball that had been cut in half, and when he opened his mouth, he looked like a slice of watermelon. In fact, his big mouth made him look very creepy, although he thought he was beautiful. In the forest, everyone called him the Little Frog with the Big Mouth, and he had a quiet life.
Every day, the Little Frog with the Big Mouth ate flies. In the morning, he woke up at seven o’clock sharp and had five flies for breakfast. At one o’clock in the afternoon, he ate fifteen flies for his lunch. He had a short nap, then at seven o’clock in the evening he had ten flies for dinner.
There were lots of flies in the forest, and the Little Frog with the Big Mouth was good at catching them. None of the other animals liked eating flies, so they were happy to leave the Little Frog alone with his flies.
But flies taste quite plain, and when you eat the same thing day after day, you start to get a bit bored.
One day, the Little Frog with the Big Mouth woke up and thought, ‘I don’t feel like eating flies today. I have eaten flies every day of my life. How about a change?’
But the Little Frog with the Big Mouth had never eaten anything else before. He didn’t know what other food there was. So he hopped through the forest to find other food.
The other animals, however, didn’t like this. They all wanted the creepy little frog to stay in his home and leave them alone. So they hid in the trees and in the grass, and kept all their food away from the frog.
‘It is so empty in the forest!’ he said to himself. ‘I hear so many animals at night, but now I can’t find anyone…’
Finally, the Little Frog left the forest and came to a farm. He had never seen such a place before, and he thought it must be where all the other animals were keeping their food.
‘That thing must be food,’ said the frog. He was looking at the house, which was pretty and red. ‘But it’s too big for me, even with my big mouth!’
So the Little Frog with the Big Mouth hopped around the house until he found another animal. This animal was small and had white feathers and a funny red thing on its head. Actually, the animal wasn’t so small, but to the frog she looked quite big.
‘Who are you?’ said the frog.
The white-feathered animal looked down. ‘Buccaw!’ she cried. ‘I am a chicken. Can’t you see my beautiful feathers?’
‘And what do you eat?’ said the frog. ‘You see, I eat flies. Well, I ate flies. Every day for my whole life. Can you imagine? I’m tired of it!’
‘Flies? Eugh, disgusting!’ said the chicken. ‘I eat worms!’
‘Worms? What are worms?’ said the Little Frog.
The chicken smiled and put her head in the ground. A moment later, she came back up with a big, fat worm in her mouth. She ate it up and said, ‘Mmm, delicious!’
‘Eww!’ said the frog. ‘Worms might be nice for a chicken like you, but they are not nice for frogs like me.’
So the Little Frog with the Big Mouth hopped around the farm until he found another animal. This animal was very big. It was brown, and had long black hair, and it looked very strong.
‘Hello!’ said the little frog. ‘Who are you?’
‘Neeeeeeigh! I am a horse.’
‘And what do you eat?’ said the frog.
‘What kind of question is that?’ said the horse. ‘I eat hay, the only good food there is.’
‘Honestly, young people these days… Follow me, and I’ll show you what hay is!’
The horse took the frog to a box where there was some long, dry, yellow grass.
‘Eww!’ said the frog. ‘I think I’d hurt myself eating that. Hay might be nice for a horse like you, but it is not nice for frogs like me.’
So the Little Frog with the Big Mouth hopped around the farm until he found another animal. This animal was pink and very, very fat.
‘Hello! Who are you?’ asked the frog.
‘Oink oink. I am a pig. And wow, you’re a creepy little thing, aren’t you? All the other animals say I’m ugly, but you make me feel like a model.’
‘How rude!’ said the frog.
He could not understand how the pig would think he looked creepy, so he decided this animal must be crazy. Still, he was curious to know what he ate.
‘What do you eat?’
‘Oh, I eat lots of things,’ said the pig. ‘Why, if I was hungry enough, I might even eat you! But my favourite food is shoes.’
‘What are shoes?’ asked the frog.
The pig picked up a big heavy black thing in his mouth. It said Doc Marten’s on the side. The pig ate it up very quickly, and then burped loudly.
‘Eww!’ said the frog. ‘You’re rude, ugly and you eat disgusting food. Shoes might be nice for a pig like you, but they are not nice for frogs like me.’
So the Little Frog with the Big Mouth hopped away from the farm.
‘I don’t think I will ever find nice food!’ he said to himself. ‘Who knew these other animals ate such terrible food?’
The frog jumped. He heard a strange sound coming from the grass, but he could not see anything. Then, suddenly, a long green animal appeared out of the grass. It had no arms or legs, but it did have a long pink tongue, and it did not look friendly.
‘W-who are you?’ said the frog.
‘Ssssssss. I am a snake.’
‘And what do you eat?’ said the frog. ‘I’m tired of eating flies, you see, and—’
‘I eat little frogs with big mouths,’ said the snake, licking his lips.
‘Oh!’ said the little frog. It felt like his stomach had fallen out of his mouth. He was a little frog with a big mouth, after all!
So he made his mouth very small, and said, ‘I’m a little frog with a little mouth. There are no little frogs with big mouths here. But you should try that farm. There are lots of tasty animals there. Bye!’
And the frog hopped home as fast as he could.
‘You know what,’ thought the frog, ‘I think I’ve changed my mind. Flies aren’t bad at all! I don’t have to pull them out of the ground, they don’t hurt me when I eat them, they’re not big and heavy, and most importantly, they don’t want to eat me!’
So the Little Frog returned to his usual diet. In the morning, he woke up at seven o’clock sharp and had five flies for breakfast. At one o’clock in the afternoon, he ate fifteen flies for his lunch. He had a short nap, then at seven o’clock in the evening he had ten flies for dinner.
And never, ever again, did he complain about his food.
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.