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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 A Rather Large Cat. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/LargeCat. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/LargeCat. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
So today’s story comes from Norway.
Norway is a country in Northern Europe, not too far away from the UK. Norway is a Scandinavian country.
So Scandinavia is Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. And sometimes Iceland. It depends who you ask!
Scandinavian countries are very cold. They have some interesting animals like wolves and reindeer. Reindeer are the animals that help Santa Claus deliver presents to all the children on Christmas. And in Nordic countries, people eat a lot of fish because they are by the sea.
Norway has a lot of oil in it. So when they discovered this oil, they were able to sell it and make lots of money. So Norway is a very rich country within Europe.
One of my ex-boyfriends actually grew up in Norway, so while we were dating, we went to Norway once, and we visited the capital city Oslo. Or, as they say in Norwegian, Oslo.
I really liked it there. I liked the Norwegian culture and I really liked the Norwegian language. I can still remember a tiny bit of Norwegian.
Also, if you’ve seen the Disney film Frozen, it is inspired by Norway. In the film, the country is called Arendelle, but they used locations, places, from Norway to design parts of the film.
This story has a kind of strange monster in it called a troll. Basically, trolls are just big, ugly monsters that appear in stories from Northern Europe and particularly Scandinavia.
You might know the word troll referring to the internet. So an internet troll is someone who likes to make other people angry online. Hopefully, none of you are internet trolls, because they are not nice people!
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
Polar bears are big, white bears that live in cold places, with lots of snow and ice. Polar bears are very dangerous, and they eat seals to live. Because of global warming, climate change, many polar bears are losing their homes, because the ice is melting.
A tail is a long thing that animals have on their backs. Dogs, cats, foxes and so on all have tails. Humans do not have tails. When dogs are happy, they wag their tails, they move their tails quickly.
A fishing hook is a sharp metal thing that you use to catch fish. A hook turns around at the end and is very sharp. You put food on a fishing hook and then put it in the water. The fish eat the food, and the hook goes in their mouth, and then you can pull them out of the water.
A kitten is a baby cat. When a cat gives birth, it will usually have four to six kittens. When we want to talk to a kitten or a cat, we often call it ‘kitty’. ‘Kitty’ is basically a cute way of talking to a cat.
When your stomach rumbles, it makes a sound like [rumbling sound]. It does this to show that you are hungry and to remind you to go eat. But it can be quite embarrassing if other people hear your stomach rumble. My stomach rumbles very loudly sometimes.
When something awakens your hunger, it wakes up your hunger, it makes you feel hungry. For example, you might smell something really delicious and it awakens your hunger. Or you might find your hunger is awakened when you walk into the kitchen.
When something is more than ever, it is more than before, it is the most it has ever been. For example, maybe you grow vegetables in your garden. You try to grow really big vegetables. One year, you have huge vegetables. They’re bigger than ever! They are the biggest vegetables in all the years you have grown vegetables. Or maybe you like a film series, and each film keeps getting better. The series is better than ever!
A travel companion is someone who goes on travels with you, who goes on journeys with you. It could be a friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or maybe an animal or a teddy bear. It’s always more fun to travel with a travel companion, I think. And of course, it’s safer to travel with a companion than alone.
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OK, so listen and enjoy!
A Rather Large Cat
Once, there was a man called Kåre who lived in the north of Norway, where it is cold for most of the year. He had hunted a polar bear, but the polar bear was quite intelligent, and Kåre could not kill him.
‘I know what I’ll do!’ he said to himself. ‘I’ll take you to the King of Denmark, and give you to him as a present.’
So Kåre travelled to Denmark. But it was a long way away, and on Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas, he had to stop in Dovrefjell. It was snowing heavily, and he didn’t want to sleep outside with the polar bear. Sure, the bear would be warm, but he also might eat Kåre in his sleep.
Luckily, he found a cottage where a man called Halvor lived.
‘May me and my polar bear sleep here tonight?’ asked Kåre. ‘It is so cold outside, and I am worried my bear will eat me.’
‘I see,’ said Halvor. ‘Well, I’m afraid we can’t help you. Every Christmas Eve, the trolls come to our house. They are horrible monsters. They eat all our food, and if we do not leave food, then they eat the furniture. So we cannot take guests, as we will be moving out for the night.’
‘That’s not a problem!’ said Kåre. He looked inside, and saw that the family’s cat was sleeping under the stove. ‘My polar bear will sleep there, under the stove, and I can hide under one of the beds.’
‘You know the trolls might try to eat you?’
‘Better a troll than a polar bear,’ said Kåre.
So the man let them sleep in the house. The polar bear made himself comfortable under the stove, and Kåre hid under the bed and quickly fell asleep.
A few hours later, the trolls arrived. Oh, they were horrible creatures! Some were big, while others were small. Some had tails, while others had no tails at all. Some had long noses, like a fishing hook, and some had completely flat faces.
When they saw all the food waiting for them on the table, they went crazy. They ate and sang and danced, and they drank a lot.
Finally, one of the trolls noticed the polar bear under the stove. It was dark, and all they could see was a mountain of white fur. He looked a bit like the family’s cat.
‘Kitty, pretty kitty!’ cried one of the trolls. ‘Does kitty want a sausage?’
The “kitty” did not want a sausage. The kitty wanted to get a good night’s sleep, after so much travelling, and had no plans of eating anyone. But when he turned over and saw the troll holding a fork with a sausage on it, his stomach started to rumble.
So the polar bear jumped out and bit the sausage, but he also bit the troll’s arm with it!
‘Argh, owwww!’ cried the troll, jumping back. ‘That nasty cat just tried to eat my arm!’
‘ “Nasty cat”?’ said one of the other trolls. ‘I thought he was a pretty kitty?’
Now that the polar bear had tasted the sausage, his hunger had been awoken.
But there was no food left on the table, only some horrible trolls with horrible tails and fishing hook noses.
The polar bear roared and the trolls all ran away, their tails and noses shaking in the wind. Then the polar bear went back under the stove and fell asleep.
The night passed, and Kåre and the polar bear slept very well.
A year later, Halvor was collecting wood in the forest, getting ready for the trolls. As he was doing so, one of the trolls ran up to him, and he was so scared that he fell over.
‘What do you want?!’ cried Halvor. ‘We haven’t finished the meal yet!’
‘I just have a question, a question!’ cried the troll. ‘Do you still have that awful big cat?’
Halvor thought for a moment. Their cat had died a few months before, but the troll looked very worried, and Halvor liked that.
‘Yes… Yes, we still have our cat, and she’s bigger than ever. She still sleeps under the stove, and she has seven kittens now, each stronger than the one before. Yes, our house has more big, fat cats than ever!’
‘Oh no!’ cried the troll. ‘Then we’ll never come to your place again!’
The troll ran away. And just as he said, another troll never came to bother Halvor and his family again.
So what happened to Kåre and the polar bear? Well, after staying the night in Dovrefjell, they travelled on to Denmark. Kåre took the polar bear to the King, but the King decided that the bear was too dangerous to keep.
In the end, Kåre quite liked the bear, so they became travel companions. Others heard about what happened in Dovrefjell, and people asked Kåre and the polar bear to come and get rid of their troll problems.
So the two travel companions lived a happy life, getting food and bed wherever they went.
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.