In the podcast I say that Karel Čapek wrote this story, but it was actually written by his brother, Josef Čapek.
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 Doggo and Kitty Do Their Laundry. You can find a transcript of the episode at easystoriesinenglish.com/laundry. That’s easystoriesinenglish.com/laundry. This transcript contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
So, welcome to the first episode of Easy Stories in English. Probably you’re thinking, ‘What is Easy Stories in English?’
First, let me talk about me. As I said before, my name is Ariel Goodbody. I am a language teacher, a language nerd, and a writer. For a long time I’ve wanted to start a podcast but it was difficult to find something that combined all of my interests.
Since becoming a teacher I have been very annoyed with how hard it is to find good resources to use with students. In particular, I think a lot of resources are boring. They are based on non-fiction instead of fiction, and they’re often very serious. Or, they’re written by people who aren’t particularly good writers, and they just focus on the language.
So, I decided to create this podcast, because it would give me a chance to show my writing and to provide resources for people learning English. It is my firm belief that learning a language should be fun. If the resources you’re using to learn a language are interesting, then you’re going to learn more.
This has actually been shown by research. Also, there is research that says that reading fiction is the best way to improve your vocabulary in a foreign language, and in your own language. Fiction has a really wide range of vocabulary, and there is much more variety of words compared to what you hear when you speak to someone. So I think fiction is probably the best way to learn a language, and it should be fun as well.
So, every week on this podcast, I will present, I will read out, a short story. Some of these will be original short stories, that I have written, and some of them will be adapted short stories. I’m going to take famous pieces of literature from around the world, as well as famous myths and legends from around the world, and I’m going to adapt them for this podcast. So there should be a nice mixture of familiar stories and new stories for you listeners.
The key thing is that the stories will be simplified. There will be four levels. Beginner, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, and Advanced. So, if you are still starting on your English learning journey, you will want to listen to the Beginner stories. If you’ve been learning for a while, but you’re still not so confident, you will want to listen to the Pre-Intermediate stories. If you are an experienced learner, but you are still not at a high level, you will want to listen to the Intermediate stories. And, of course, if you are an Advanced learner, well, then you should listen to the Advanced stories!
When I say the stories will be simplified, I mean several things.
First, the vocabulary will be chosen carefully. So at the beginners’ level, there will be not too many difficult words. Lots of words that you will be familiar with. I have read that when you are reading in a foreign language, you want something that you understand about 90% of. So, hopefully for the beginners, this level will be appropriate, but please do tell me if it’s too hard, and I can always add another lower level.
Another thing that will be simplified is the grammar. So in the Beginner stories, I won’t use too long sentences.
On the website easystoriesinenglish.com, you will be able to search through all the stories by level. You will also be able to search through them by genre, by theme, by vocabulary topics, by length, and so on. So, when the podcast has been going for quite a while, it will be a great resource for you learners, because you will be able to search specifically for stories that contain vocabulary that you want to learn.
Today’s story is an adapted story. It was originally written by Karel Čapek. Karel Čapek is probably the most famous author from the Czech Republic. He wrote lots of short stories for adults, but he also wrote a book of stories for children. This book is about a dog and a cat who live together and have all kinds of fun. I’ve been learning Czech recently and I really enjoyed these stories. So I decided to adapt some of them for the podcast.
So today’s story, Doggo and Kitty Do Their Laundry, is about the dog and the cat who have to wash their clothes and, well, they don’t do it very well! The original title of the story is O Pejskovi a Kočičce, jak si myli podlahu.
So remember, to get a full transcript of this episode, as in, this episode in written form, including the story and my conversation, go to easystoriesinenglish.com/laundry. That’s easystoriesinenglish.com/laundry.
So, listen and enjoy!
Doggo and Kitty Do Their Laundry
Once, there was a dog and a cat. The dog was called Doggo. He had long, thick hair. The cat was called Kitty. She had soft, thin hair. Doggo and Kitty lived together in a small house. Their house was beside a forest. Doggo and Kitty liked living beside the forest very much.
Doggo was only a small dog. Kitty was only a small cat. But they had big dreams. Doggo and Kitty wanted to be like the Big People: the adults. They wanted to walk like adults, and talk like adults, and live their lives like adults.
There was a problem, though. Adults have hands, and Doggo and Kitty didn’t have hands. They only had paws. Their paws were big and cute, but they weren’t like adult hands. They didn’t have fingers. They only had sharp claws. You can’t shake someone’s hand if you have sharp claws. You will just hurt them!
So Doggo and Kitty couldn’t be like the Big People. But they had their dream, still. You might be thinking: if Doggo and Kitty weren’t adults, did they go to school? The answer is no. School isn’t for animals. School is only for children. Doggo and Kitty weren’t adults, and they weren’t children. They were animals. So, of course, they couldn’t go to school!
As I said before, Doggo and Kitty lived together in a small house. The house was made of wood, and had a bright, red roof. It was a very pretty house. But, because Doggo and Kitty weren’t adults, and because they had big paws instead of small hands, they were very messy. Their house was always full of mess, and they hated cleaning up.
One day, Doggo and Kitty were looking for clothes to wear. They liked to wear shirts and trousers and hats, just like the adults did. But Doggo and Kitty couldn’t find their clothes! They weren’t in their drawers. They weren’t in the cupboards. They weren’t on the hooks. Finally, Doggo looked on the floor, and he found the clothes there.
‘Look, Kitty,’ he said, picking up a shirt. ‘Our clothes are all dirty. We can’t wear these! Adults don’t wear dirty clothes.’
‘You’re right, Doggo,’ said Kitty. ‘These clothes are too dirty for us to wear. We will have to wash them.’
‘The adults have a word for that, don’t they?’ said Doggo. ‘They call it “laundry”.’
‘Yes, I think you’re right,’ said Kitty. ‘We are going to have to do our laundry.’
‘Very good,’ said Doggo. ‘Now, how do we do our laundry?’
‘It’s very simple,’ said Kitty. ‘You go and get some water, and I’ll go and get everything else.’
Doggo went outside to the river, to fill up a bucket of water. The bucket was big, wooden and very, very heavy. Kitty opened one of the kitchen cupboards, and pulled out a bar of soap. The bar of soap was round, red, and very, very pretty. She put it on a chair. Then she went to find the washing board. The washing board was a long, metal board, that they could use to wash the clothes on.
Doggo came back to the house, carrying the very heavy bucket of water. He put it on the floor in the kitchen and went, ‘Phew!’. Then he saw something on the chair. It was round, red, and very, very pretty.
“This must be something very nice,” thought Doggo. “In fact, it looks very tasty.”
Because it looked so tasty, and so pretty, Doggo thought it must’ve been put there for him. And if it was put there for him, then he should eat it. So Doggo picked up the round, red thing and took a big bite out of it.
But it wasn’t tasty. In fact, it tasted very, very bad. Doggo spat it out, and started coughing. His mouth was full of bubbles, and they tasted horrible!
Just then, Kitty came back into the kitchen. She saw Doggo spitting and coughing, and asked him, ‘Doggo, are you OK? You’re spitting bubbles everywhere! Are you sick?’
‘No, I’m not sick!’ Doggo said, between coughs. ‘I found this red thing here, and I thought it looked very tasty. It looked like a piece of cheese, or maybe some sweets. So I decided to eat it. But it tastes horrible, and now I can’t stop coughing up bubbles!’ *COUGH*
‘Doggo, you’re very silly!’ said Kitty. ‘That wasn’t food. It was a bar of soap! And soap is for washing, not for eating.’
‘Well, that explains why it tastes so bad,’ said Doggo. ‘But I don’t understand. Why make a bar of soap look so tasty? It just makes you want to eat it!’
‘I don’t know,’ said Kitty. ‘But anyway, I’m going to get out another bar of soap, and you must promise not to eat this one. Go and drink some water to wash those bubbles out of your mouth.’
After Doggo did that, and Kitty found the washing board, they were all ready to do their laundry. Except one thing was missing.
‘Wait,’ said Doggo. ‘We don’t have a brush. How can we do our laundry without a brush?’
‘I didn’t think of that,’ said Kitty. ‘You’re right. Without a brush, we won’t be able to rub our clothes on the washing board. If we can’t rub our clothes, we won’t be able to get the dirt out of them.’
‘Hmm,’ said Doggo.
They sat down and thought for a while. Then Kitty jumped in the air.
‘Doggo, I have an idea! Brushes have long, thick hair. You also have long, thick hair. We can use you as the brush!’
‘Good idea!’ said Doggo.
So Kitty sat down with the washing board, the bucket of water, and Doggo in front of her. She put a piece of dirty clothing on the washing board. Then, she dipped the soap in the bucket of water, and rubbed it on the clothing until it made lots and lots of bubbles. Then, she picked up Doggo, and rubbed him quickly against the clothing.
Afterwards, they had a pile of clean, wet clothes, and a very dirty, wet Doggo. Both the clothes and Doggo were dripping water all over the floor.
‘But Kitty,’ said Doggo. ‘We don’t have a towel to dry the clothes with. And I’m too wet to use again.’
‘Hmm,’ said Kitty.
They sat down and thought for a while. Doggo dripped more water on the floor. Then, he jumped in the air.
‘Kitty, I have an idea! Towels have soft, thin hair. You also have soft, thin hair. We can use you as a towel!’
‘Good idea!’ said Kitty.
So Doggo sat down with the pile of clothes and Kitty in front of him. He picked up a piece of clothing, put it on the washing board, and rubbed Kitty all over it.
Afterwards, they had a pile of clean, dry clothes. But Doggo was still very wet, and dripping water everywhere. And Kitty was very dirty, so she sneezed loudly, ‘Atchoo!’
‘Doggo,’ said Kitty, ‘imagine if an adult saw us now! They would laugh at us for hours! We have done our laundry, but now we need to wash ourselves!’
‘OK then, Kitty. I will wash you first, and then you will wash me. OK?’
So Kitty climbed onto the washing board, and Doggo started rubbing her with the soap. She shouted, ‘Ow!’, because he had to rub her very hard to get her clean. When Doggo was finished, Kitty climbed off the washing board, and Doggo climbed onto it. Kitty started washing him, and he shouted, ‘Ow!’, because her claws were sharp and kept scratching him.
Then they both stood up, and squeezed each other, so that all the water in their hair dripped out onto the floor.
‘Now we need to hang ourselves to dry,’ said Kitty, ‘because we have so much hair. If we stay inside, we will never be dry.’
‘You’re right,’ said Doggo. ‘We will have to hang ourselves up on the washing line.’
They went into the garden, where the washing line was hanging from a tree. They climbed up the tree, and then onto the washing line. They didn’t need any pegs to hang themselves from the washing line, because their claws were very sharp.
They hung from the washing line, and the sun shone on them.
‘The sun is shining on us, Doggo!’ said Kitty. ‘Soon we will be dry.’
But just when she finished talking, a big cloud appeared, and it started to rain.
‘It’s raining!’ shouted Doggo. ‘Our laundry is getting wet! We must take it down!’
Quickly, they both jumped off the washing line, and ran inside the house.
‘Is it still raining?’ asked Kitty.
‘It has stopped,’ said Doggo, seeing that the sun was shining again. ‘Let’s hang our laundry up again.’
So they went into the garden, climbed up the tree, and then onto the washing line, which they hung off with their claws. The sun shone on them, and they were so happy to see their laundry drying!
But then, it started to rain again.
‘It’s raining!’ shouted Kitty. ‘Our laundry is getting wet. We must take it down!’
Quickly, they both jumped off the washing line, and ran back inside the house. Then, the sun shone again, so they went back to the washing line, but then it started to rain again, so they ran back inside the house. They continued hanging from the washing line, and running inside, and then going back to the washing line, until it was evening, and the sun had stopped shining.
By that point, they were both clean and dry, although they were very, very tired.
‘The laundry is done!’ said Doggo.
‘What a day!’ said Kitty. ‘We did our laundry, just like the adults do.’
‘So now it’s time to go to bed,’ said Doggo.
They climbed upstairs and into their beds and quickly fell asleep.
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.