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If you sign up for italki at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/italki and buy some classes, you’ll also get $10 of classes for free!
See you soon, future student!
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 advanced learners. The name of the story is Doggo and Kitty Do Their Laundry. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/LaundryL4. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/LaundryL4. There, you can also download the episode as a PDF.
This is a levelled-up version of a beginner-level story. You can listen to the beginner-level version of Doggo and Kitty Do Their Laundry at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Laundry.
Hopefully, you’ve all settled into the new year by now! I said last time I’d tell you a bit about my holidays, so, although it’s been a few weeks, let me look back.
First, I went to visit my parents in the Mendips, a beautiful part of the English countryside. Originally my intention was full relaxation mode, to just read, read, read, but they had just had their new kitchen done, so we were very busy moving things around and getting ready for Christmas dinner. We had some distant relatives over on Christmas day and we ended up having a five-course meal, not to mention plenty of different kinds of alcohol…
After sleeping off Christmas – holidays are hard work! – my sister and her fiancé visited with their new baby on Boxing Day, which is what we call the 26th of December. Once they had gone, I was finally able to get in some deep relaxation. I read plenty of books, took long baths and went to see the murmurations with my parents.
Murmurations are when starlings, a kind of bird, get together on winter evenings and fly around in huge groups. They mainly do this to avoid predators, other birds that want to eat them, but also to keep warm and exchange information. Murmurations are absolutely breathtaking – I’ll put some pictures up at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/LaundryL4 so you can see.
Anyway, on the 29th, we met up with some other family members, went for a walk and had a pub lunch. After COVID, I really value seeing family again. Although I’ve seen some family members since then, this felt like the first proper Christmas in years. It’s also strange, though, as many of my younger cousins are now growing into adults, and then other cousins are having children! Well, time flies, as they say.
For New Year’s Eve, I went and partied with a close friend in Cambridge. It was a great time, although it wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a bit of drama, but in the end everyone had fun. I didn’t drink any alcohol, and on the morning of New Year’s day I felt a bit restless, so I walked all the way back to my friend’s house, over two hours, in the morning light. There’s something magical about going out on New Year’s morning. Everything is shut, and there are very few people around, and you can just taste the change in the air…
Anyway, I hope you all had lovely celebrations as well! Do come over to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/LaundryL4 and let me know how you celebrated in the comments at the bottom. Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I did not, but I’m feeling very optimistic about this year nonetheless!
By the way, this story is part of a collection of short stories that I released as a book! It is, very originally, called Easy Stories in English. There are four versions of the book, one for each level of the podcast, and they each contain the same ten stories, but at the different levels. So you can reread the same stories, discovering new words, grammar and details with each level. To find out where you can buy the book, go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Book.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
Alas is a word we say when we are sad, or we want to comment on something sad. ‘Alas’ is a very old-fashioned word, so you usually find it in old novels and Shakespeare plays. These days, people mainly use it ironically. For example, ‘Alas, I can only speak seven languages, but perhaps one day I will be as talented as my listeners…’
Wriggle means to move around a lot, but mostly stay in one place. For example, worms move by wriggling along the ground. If there’s an insect trapped inside your shirt, you might wriggle around trying to get it out.
Claws are long, sharp nails that some animals have. So instead of nails, bears, tigers, cats and so on have claws. If you own a cat, you’ll need to trim, to cut, their claws often, or else they’ll end up hurting you!
When something glitters, it shines in a pretty way, like a star. Some people wear clothes that glitter in the light. In the ’70s, disco clubs often had disco balls, which hung from the ceiling and were covered with lots of little mirrors, so they glittered and reflected the light.
Seeing as means ‘because’, when referring to something that has already happened. For example, seeing as many people have listened to the beginner-level version of this episode, I decided to do the advanced version. Or, if you were planning a day out with friends but it’s raining, you might say, ‘Seeing as it’s raining, why don’t we go to the cinema?’
When you spit, and the past tense is spat, you throw water or saliva out of your mouth. In the UK, it is very rude to spit outside, but in the past, people used to chew tobacco and spit it out. If you eat some very bad food, you might spit it out. If you talk very angrily, you spit your words out: like this!
Foam is a thin layer of bubbles. If you pour a beer or a can of Coca Cola, there is often a layer of foam on the top. Some people like drinking the foam, but others try to pour the drink so that there is as little foam as possible.
Scrub means to rub something very hard, usually in order to clean it. If you have stone floors and they get dirty, you’ll need to scrub them clean. Some people like to scrub their body using a sponge called a loofah to make their skin smoother.
Ponder means to think deeply about something, usually something that is not too serious. For example, some people spend a lot of time pondering the meaning of life. Personally, I think pondering is important – letting your mind wander, essentially.
Leap, and the past tense is leapt or leaped, means to jump very high or very far, with a lot of energy. You might also leap onto your chair if you see a mouse, for example. Or you might leap for joy because you love mice and you’re so happy to see one!
When you turn your nose up at something, you think something is horrible or cheap and you don’t want to be around it. If you turn your nose up in disgust, it might literally smell bad or be disgusting. For example, if you meet someone and they smell very bad and have holes in their clothes, you might turn your nose up in disgust at them.
When you rub soap on your hands with water, it creates a thick white substance called lather, which you use to clean your hands. You might also create a lather when cleaning your car. Some people like to spend a long time lathering up, while others clean themselves more quickly.
Clamber means to climb with difficulty. For example, animals like dogs often clamber, because they have four legs. Or if you’re climbing up onto something very high and it’s hard to get a grip, you’ll clamber up.
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Even better: you can get a 30% discount on Gymglish until the third of February! Go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Courses and sign up for Gymglish today. The 30% offer will be applied automatically at checkout.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
Doggo and Kitty Do Their Laundry
Once upon a time, there was a dog and cat, called Doggo and Kitty. Doggo was a very handsome dog, with long, thick fur that brushed along the floor, whereas Kitty was a charming and gorgeous cat, with soft, thin fur that felt like silk. The pair of them lived together in a little cottage next to a forest, but unlike most dogs and cats, they got on very well.
Although Doggo and Kitty were only small little creatures, they had big dreams. They wanted to be like the Big People: the adults. Oh, how wonderful that would be! If only they could walk like adults, talk like adults, and live complicated, elegant lives like adults.
But alas, it was not meant to be. Adults have hands, and Doggo and Kitty only had paws which, while soft, were big and clumsy. Instead of fingers that bent and wriggled, they only had sharp claws, which made it very difficult to do things as the adults did.
And yet, Doggo and Kitty worked their hardest to be like the Big People, even if they failed. Perhaps you are wondering: if Doggo and Kitty weren’t adults, did they go to school? The answer is no, of course. School is not for animals, but for children. Doggo and Kitty were neither adults nor children, but animals. Naturally, there was no way they could go to school, but they didn’t mind this, because school seemed quite boring, anyway.
As previously mentioned, Doggo and Kitty lived in a little cottage, which was made of smooth wood and had a pretty red roof. The inside, however, was not so tidy, as Doggo and Kitty had to rule the household with only their clumsy paws, meaning things got messy very quickly. This was not helped by the fact that they hated cleaning.
One day, Doggo and Kitty were hunting for clothes to wear. They loved wearing shirts and trousers and hats, as it made them feel like adults. But alas! There was not a stitch of clothing to be found. They were not in the drawers, nor in the cupboards or on the hooks.
‘What is this nonsense, Kitty?’ said Doggo. ‘I think a clothes thief has come into our house in the night and stolen all our clothes!’
‘Not a clothes thief,’ said Kitty, ‘but rather a clothes monster. Oh, and I am so afraid of monsters!’
‘Not to worry, Kitty!’ said Doggo. ‘I’ve found them.’
Instead of in their proper home, their clothes were lying on the floor, in a great, dirty, dusty pile.
‘Well this simply won’t do,’ said Doggo, scratching his head. ‘Our clothes are all dirty, and no decent adult wears dirty clothes.’
‘You’re absolutely right, Doggo,’ said Kitty.
‘So we will have to burn them and buy new ones,’ said Doggo.
‘No!’ said Kitty. ‘We should wash them.’
Doggo blinked. ‘Ah, yes! The adults have a word for that, don’t they? They call it “laundry”.’
‘Precisely,’ said Kitty, and then got very excited. ‘We are going to do our laundry, just like the adults do!’
‘Fantastic!’ said Doggo. ‘But, er, how exactly do adults do laundry?’
‘Oh, it’s quite simple,’ said Kitty, acting like a professor. ‘You go and fetch some water, and I’ll go get the soap and the washing board.’
‘Alright then!’ said Doggo.
So Doggo carried a bucket outside to the river, straining under the weight, and then filled it with water. Meanwhile, Kitty searched through the kitchen cupboards. She found many odd things: toothpaste, lipstick and even buttons. After all, the kitchen was the place for things that you put in or on your mouth, and Kitty did so like to chew on buttons. Finally she found what she was looking for: a round, red bar of soap that glittered in the light. She carefully placed it on the table and then went off to find the washing board. After all, how could you do your laundry without a washing board?
When Doggo came back inside, sweating and struggling with the heavy bucket, his eye was immediately drawn to something he saw on the table. He dropped the bucket with a PLOP and went to look at the shiny object, which was round and red and glittered in the light.
Well, thought Doggo, seeing as we are in the kitchen, this must be something to put in or on my mouth. And it looks very tasty indeed!
And what do you do with tasty things? Why, you eat them, of course!
So Doggo put the red thing in his mouth and bit down on it.
But, oh! Eugh! Argh! It was not tasty at all! In fact, it was disgusting!
‘Eugh!’ cried Doggo, spitting out the soap. ‘This is horrible!’
As he coughed and spat, his mouth filled up with foam. The more he coughed, the more foam there was, until there was foam leaking out of his mouth and nose. Just at that moment, Kitty came back into the kitchen.
‘Doggo, dear Doggo!’ she said. ‘What on earth is the matter? You’re spraying foam like a fountain! Are you sick?’
‘No!’ coughed Doggo. ‘I’m not sick. I found this red thingy here, and I thought it looked tasty, like a piece of cheese, or maybe some sweets. So I ate it, but pagh! It was a nasty, horrible thing, something that does not belong in a kitchen, and now my mouth is full of foam!’
‘Doggo!’ said Kitty. ‘That wasn’t food at all. It was soap! The very soap we were going to use to do our laundry!’
‘Well, no wonder it tasted so bad!’ said Doggo. ‘Why was it in the kitchen?’
‘Well, one time one of the children told me that he’d been very naughty, and his mother threatened to wash his mouth out with soap. I’d never thought it was something to put in your mouth—and I certainly don’t think so now—but hearing that, I put it in here. Just to be safe.’
‘Oh!’ said Doggo, jumping up and down. ‘You mean the adults put soap in their mouths, too? Well then, I was simply being mature, Kitty.’
‘Whatever the case,’ said Kitty, ‘I shall have to go and fetch another bar of soap, and you are not to eat this one under any circumstances, understand? Now go and get some water and wash out your mouth.’
‘Yes, Kitty,’ said Doggo.
So Doggo went and washed out his mouth with water from the bucket, after which he went and fetched more. By the time he had returned, Kitty was standing with the washing board and a fresh bar of soap. They were all ready to do their laundry, except one thing was still missing.
‘Wait, Kitty!’ said Doggo. ‘We don’t have a brush. How are we supposed to do our laundry without a brush?’
‘That’s a good question,’ said Kitty. ‘Without a brush, we won’t be able to rub and scrub our clothes, like the adults do.’
‘Hmm,’ said Doggo.
They sat down for a while and pondered the problem. Then Kitty leapt in the air.
‘Doggo, I have the perfect solution! Brushes have long, thick hair. And you have long, thick fur. We’ll use you as a brush!’
‘What a fantastic idea!’ said Doggo.
So Kitty sat down with the washing board, the bucket of water, and Doggo. She threw some dirty clothes onto the washing board, wet the soap in the bucket, and rubbed the clothes all over. Then she picked up Doggo and rubbed and scrubbed him on the clothes, until they disappeared under a mountain of foam. Finally, she dipped them in the water and washed the foam away.
Afterwards, they had a pile of clean, wet clothes, and a very dirty, wet Doggo.
‘Kitty,’ said Doggo, ‘I have discovered a flaw in our plan. We don’t have a towel to dry the clothes with, and on top of that, I’m far too wet to be of any use.’
‘Hmm,’ said Kitty.
They sat down for a while and pondered the problem. Then Doggo leapt in the air.
‘Kitty, I have the perfect solution! Towels have soft, thin hair. And you have soft, thin fur. We’ll use you as a towel!’
‘What a fantastic idea!’ said Kitty.
So Doggo sat down with the pile of clothes and Kitty. He threw the clothes on the washing board and towelled them off using Kitty.
Afterwards, they had a pile of clean, dry clothes, but Doggo and Kitty were dripping wet and absolutely filthy.
‘Doggo,’ said Kitty, ‘if an adult saw us now, they would turn up their noses in disgust! We have finished our laundry, but now we must wash ourselves!’
‘Alright then, Kitty,’ said Doggo. ‘I’ll wash you, and then you wash me.’
So Kitty climbed onto the washing board and Doggo lathered her up with soap. She shouted ‘Ow!’ and ‘Oof!’ because Doggo rubbed her hard and his claws were razor sharp. When Doggo was finished, it was his turn, and he climbed onto the washing board. Once again, she lathered him up, and he shouted ‘Ow!’ and ‘Oof!’ because she rubbed him just as hard as he had rubbed her, and her claws were just as sharp.
Finally, they stood up and squeezed each other, letting out all the water onto the floor.
‘Simple,’ said Kitty. ‘Now we just need to hang ourselves up to dry, just like the adults do with laundry.’
‘Aha!’ said Doggo. ‘So that’s what the washing line is for. I thought it was for swinging on.’
They went into the garden, where the washing line hung between the house and a big oak tree. They clambered up the tree and onto the line, which they hung off by their claws. The sun shone bright and warm.
‘The sun is shining on us, Doggo!’ said Kitty. ‘We’ll be dry in no time.’
But as soon as she said the words, a huge raincloud came, and it started pouring down.
‘It’s raining!’ shouted Doggo. ‘Our laundry is getting wet! We must take it down!’
Quickly, they leapt off the washing line and dashed inside the house.
‘Is it still raining?’ asked Kitty, looking out the door.
‘It’s stopped,’ said Doggo, ‘so let’s hang up our laundry again.’
Once more, they clambered up the oak tree and onto the washing line. The sun shone on them, and they would be dry in no time flat!
But then the raincloud returned.
‘It’s raining!’ shouted Kitty. ‘Our laundry is getting wet! We must take it down!’
Quickly, they leapt off the washing line and dashed inside the house. Then the sun came back out, so they ran outside, but then it started raining again, so they ran back inside. They hung from the washing line, ran inside, and returned to the washing line until it was evening, and the sun had stopped shining.
By this point, they were both clean and dry, but exhausted.
‘Our laundry is done!’ said Doggo.
They had conveniently forgotten about the actual laundry, which lay in a wet pile on the floor.
‘What a day!’ said Kitty. ‘But Doggo, we did our laundry! We’re one step closer to being adults!’
‘There’s nothing more to do than go to bed,’ said Doggo.
And with the satisfaction of a hard day’s work, they climbed upstairs and into their beds and quickly fell asleep.
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! Or you can write me a nice review on Apple Podcasts, or follow me on Instagram and Twitter, @arielgoodbody. Thank you for listening, and see you in two weeks!