Content warning: this episode has discussions of death, graves and guns.
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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 beginners. The name of the story is Put the Lid Back On! You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Lid. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Lid. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation after it.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
A lid is the top part of something, that you use to close it. For example, if you open a bottle of Coca Cola, you turn the lid and pull it off. If you want to drink it later, you can put the lid back on. Sometimes, when you open the lid of your rubbish bin, it can smell very bad. Also, it’s very annoying if you lose the lid to a box, because then you can’t use the box anymore.
A coin is a small, round metal piece of money. There is paper money, and there are coins. In some countries, like America, coins are not used very much. Coins are used a lot in the UK, though. Some people collect coins from around the world.
A grave is the place you put a body when someone dies. Graves are usually a hole in the ground, and you put a gravestone on top to show that the dead person is buried there. The place where graves are is a graveyard. Graveyards are usually next to churches. Some people like walking in graveyards a lot, because it is very quiet and pretty.
Someone who is brave is not afraid of anything. Superheroes, like Spiderman, are very brave. They are never afraid, and they always do the right thing.
Guns are metal weapons, things that you can use to hurt or kill someone. When you fire a gun, it makes a sound like [shooting sound]. To shoot a gun, you put a small thing called a bullet in it. When you shoot, the bullet goes out of the gun very quickly. In the UK, it is very hard to get a gun, but in America, it is very easy to buy a gun. Guns are very dangerous.
If someone is dead, you might want to bring them back to life, to make them alive again. You can’t do this in real life. When someone is dead, they are dead. But in stories, people can use magic to bring people back to life. Sometimes, if you bring someone back to life badly, they will come back as a zombie.
A stone is a big grey thing that you find on the ground. Stones are used to build certain things, like houses or walls. You can throw stones at someone if you want to hurt them. There is a famous story called Stone Soup about using a stone to make soup.
A pot is a big round thing that you cook food in. You can cook sauces, stews and soups in pots. A saucepan is a special kind of pot.
Sunlight is the light that comes from the sun. Sunlight feels really good on your skin, and it is important to get sunlight, because it contains vitamin D. In the UK, we don’t get a lot of sunlight.
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OK, so listen and enjoy!
Put the Lid Back On!
Once, a poor man was coming home at night. All he had was a gun and a single silver coin. He was riding a horse, but both he and the horse were very tired. They saw a graveyard, and the grass there was very long. So they stopped, the horse ate the grass, and the man lay down on one of the graves. He tried to sleep, but he could not sleep at all.
A few hours later, the grave under him began to move! He fell off it, and the grave opened. A horrible man came out. He was all white and old—he was dead, but he was moving!
The dead man climbed out of the grave and took off the lid. Then he put the grave lid next to the church and ran away to the village.
“What will happen if I take the lid to the grave?” thought the poor man.
So he took the lid and put it behind the church. When the dead man came back, he went to find the lid, but it wasn’t there!
‘Argh, who has done this to me?!’ he shouted. ‘I will kill the man who did this!’
‘I don’t know about that.’
The dead man turned around and saw the poor man, who was holding a gun.
‘Give me the lid, or I’ll drink your blood!’ said the dead man.
‘Uh, I have a gun,’ said the poor man. ‘I can kill you easily.’
The dead man laughed. ‘No, you can’t! Bullets can’t hurt me. I’m already dead.’
‘Ah, but there is a special bullet in here. It is made of silver.’ He had taken his silver coin and put it in the gun.
The dead man hissed. ‘Oh please, please give me my lid! I won’t hurt you if you give it to me.’
‘First, tell me where you went and what you did.’
‘Oh, well if that’s all you want to know, I went into the village and killed two young boys. Is that a problem?’
‘Yes, it is a problem! You can’t just kill young boys. Can I bring them back to life? Tell me how!’
‘Ugh, fine. Yes, you can bring them back to life.’ He took a stone out of his pocket. ‘Take this to the house where the young boys were killed. Put it in a pot and make a fire, then close the door. The fire will bring the boys back to life. But I don’t know why it matters. They’re not your children! Children die every day.’
‘Yeah, yeah,’ said the poor man. ‘I won’t kill you.’
But secretly, he thought, “I won’t kill you now…”
He went and got the grave lid. The dead man took the lid and jumped into the grave.
‘You know, you think you are brave, but you aren’t,’ said the dead man.
‘And you are brave?’ the poor man asked.
‘No! I am clever.’
And then he put the lid back on. The sun came up, and the poor man got on his horse and went to the village.
In the village, everyone was crying for the two dead boys.
‘Don’t worry!’ said the poor man. ‘I can bring them back to life!’
‘Do it, oh please!’ said the people in the village. ‘We will give you all our money!’
So the poor man went and did what the dead man had said. He put the stone in a pot, made a fire and closed the door. Then he heard the boys yawn. ‘How long did we sleep?’
The boys had come back to life! The people cried and danced. ‘Oh, they are not dead! We are so happy!’
‘And where is my money?’ said the poor man.
But the people did not give him any money. They took his gun and said, ‘No money for you! You knew how to bring the boys back to life, so we think you killed him!’
‘No, it wasn’t me!’ said the poor man. ‘Please, believe me! Let us go to the graveyard. I will show you who killed the boy!’
So they went to the graveyard and the man took the lid off the grave. They found the dead man inside, but in the sunlight, he could not move.
‘Put the lid back on!’ he shouted, but they didn’t listen to him.
They took the gun and put the silver bullet in his heart, and he shouted, ‘Hey, that hurts!’ So they took another silver coin and put it in the gun, and this time the dead man really died.
‘Thank you, kind man!’ said the people of the village. ‘You are brave and strong and clever!’
They gave the poor man half of their money, and he took his horse and left the village. During his journey, he met more dead men who walked in the night, but he always knew what to do with them.
Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s story! Today’s story comes from Russia. It is actually a vampire story, but this vampire is very different to modern vampires. With modern vampires, if they see the sun, they burn and die. But with these vampires, in these Russian stories, the sun means they can’t move, but they don’t die. And in modern stories, vampires aren’t always dead. Sometimes it’s a virus, like coronavirus, but in this story the vampire is definitely dead.
Actually, it’s kind of like half-vampire, half-zombie. It’s kind like a ghost. But of course, when this story was told, zombies didn’t exist. The idea of zombies comes from Haitian culture, I believe. So before people from Europe went to Haiti, there was no idea of zombies. There were vampires and ghosts and monsters, but they were a bit different to our modern ideas.
Anyway, this was a very hard story for me to write! Because I don’t like writing about vampires dying. I like writing about vampires kissing! Aww… Some of my favourite books are The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, and they’re all about soft, sensitive vampires who kiss a lot, but also they do kill people a lot, so it’s complicated!
Anyway, on Saturday I went to the dentist and I went to the optician’s to get an eye test. And the dentist joked that I was getting an MOT for my body.
So MOT stands for “Ministry of Transport”. Basically, in the UK, if you own a car, I think it’s every three months or every six months, you have to get the car tested, and these tests are to see if the car is safe, if it is safe to drive on the road. If you have a problem and it is not safe, then you have to repair the car, but sometimes there are so many problems with the car that you just buy a new one. I think! I don’t have a car, so I don’t know.
But anyway, because I did my dentist and optician appointments in the same day, it was kind of like an MOT test for my body.
I’m happy to say that I did well, I passed the test. Actually, with the dentist’s I had the opposite problem that I thought. I thought they would say, ‘Oh, you are brushing not enough and you are not flossing enough!’
So flossing is when you take a special string and move it between your teeth to clean dirt from between the teeth, but actually, I had the opposite problem. I was cleaning too much!
So above your teeth there are the soft, pink things called gums. And your gums are very sensitive. I was brushing some of my teeth too hard and now the gums are moving back.
So the solution is, I brush most of my teeth with my electric toothbrush and then I have a baby toothbrush to brush the other teeth where my gums are moving back! So it’s literally a toothbrush for babies. It’s tiny. It cost one pound, and it’s actually really cute. So I feel very cute brushing my teeth with the baby toothbrush, and I certainly am not damaging them, which is good.
My eye test also went really well. Mainly I was just hoping I would not need new glasses, because new glasses are expensive and I’m cheap! But luckily, my prescription, my level of eyesight, has stayed pretty much the same. So I’m feeling very happy about that!
Actually, in general I’m feeling really, really healthy. At the moment, I’m sleeping well, I’m eating healthily, I’m exercising every day, I’m doing yoga, I’m meditating, I’m reading lots. I’m just looking after myself really well, and I’ve been a very unhealthy person in the past, so I just, I just feel really happy to be healthy.
I’m sorry if maybe you are not feeling healthy right now. Obviously with coronavirus it’s something that a lot of us are worrying about. But also, it’s always really hard when you don’t feel healthy. Sometimes there are things you can control, and sometimes there are things you can’t control, about your health. In last week’s episode, I talked about my mental health, and how I had a lot of problems, and in some ways, I can’t control that as much. But I am controlling my physical health, the health of my body, as much as I can.
Anyway, after these positive appointments, I decided to reward myself, I decided to give myself a present, and I went and got bubble tea. And if you don’t know what bubble tea is, you can listen to Elevenses with Ariel on the Patreon, where I talk all about the history and the lifestyle of bubble tea.
Anyway, if you enjoyed the story, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Go to Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. For just a few dollars a month you can get extra episodes, conversational podcasts, exercises, and much more. Thank you for listening, and until next week.