Do you want to write your own stories, but you don’t know where to start? Do you want to practise speaking in a relaxed environment? Do you want an English class that doesn’t feel like a class?
Well, how about a class with ME, Ariel Goodbody? In my online italki classes I write stories with students, chat, laugh and get very, very silly. I have taught over 100 students online, and I would love for you to be one of them.
Some of the stories on the show were even written with my students! Go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Paper to listen to The Paper Man, a beautiful story I wrote with my student, Lina.
The classes are one-to-one and happen on Skype, Zoom or italki classroom—whichever you prefer. I will change how fast I speak and what words I use so that you can understand me easily, and I will make sure to challenge you with lots of new vocabulary.
But most importantly, the classes are fun! I seriously believe that when we’re laughing, we’re learning.
I also teach an IELTS writing class, Esperanto classes and Spanish classes. You can find all the details about my classes at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Classes, or you can just go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com and click ‘CLASSES’ at the top.
So what are you waiting for? Go and book a class with me today! I can’t wait to teach you.
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 Adventures of Lucky the Elephant. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Lucky. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Lucky. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
So today I am so, so, so excited and let me tell you why! So as I record this, it’s Saturday, and today I’m going to see my friends and have lunch for the first time in months! We’re all very cautious people, there’s gonna be three of us, maybe four of us, I don’t know. And we have all been social distancing quite carefully, so we haven’t seen each other yet, because one of my friends lives in Bristol, and not Bath, where I live, so she would have to get the bus to see us or we would have to get the bus to see her.
So it really has been such a long time since I’ve seen them and I’m so excited to go out to eat with them. We’re going to our favourite restaurant, which is a lovely Asian restaurant in Bath. It’s called Hondo. If you’re ever in Bath, I seriously recommend going to Hondo. They have the best sushi, ramen, bibimbap… They just have everything you need and it’s all really high-quality. I love the food there so much!
But much more important than the food is of course the social contact. And really, lately I have been struggling a lot. I’ve been feeling very lonely. I think a lot of people probably have had this experience with coronavirus. You know, the first few months of quarantine you adapt, but at a certain point you start to go a bit crazy, and I was really really careful at the beginning, so I’m just slowly trying to increase my social sphere at the moment, start to socialise more.
So it’s a bit of a strange time because my housemate, who works at a cinema, has just gone back to work, because the cinema has just reopened. So it feels like, OK, a few months ago we were saying, ‘Ooh, well, you know, normality is returning, normal life is coming back,’ but for me it really didn’t. I, I went much more slowly, I didn’t go to a lot of shops, but now it really feels like normal life is returning, especially with September coming up, because September is the start of the academic year in the UK. So all the schoolkids will be going back to school and, theoretically, lots of students will be going to university, although I think a lot of universities are not starting in person in September. They may be just starting virtually, online. To be honest, I don’t really know.
I was working at two schools, so a further education college for adults and a sixth form—so that’s 16 to 18—before coronavirus, but since quarantine I’ve moved all of my work online, and I’ve done, like, 70% teaching online, 30% making some income off the podcast, and to be honest… I’m not going back. I’m not going back to the schools. One of them has asked if I want to teach. I don’t think the other actually has, but I probably get work there if I asked. But I just decided, “You know what? I’m really enjoying the freedom of working at home. I’m enjoying working on the podcast. I’m enjoying online teaching.” So for now, I’m staying online. Also, the idea of working in schools with social distancing, ugh! It just sounds really stressful.
So yeah, that’s kind of where my life is at the moment.
Today’s story was written and sent in by Lord Frog, which I think is a fantastic name, and his English teacher Madelaine. So they are both from Poland, I believe, or at least, Lord Frog is from Poland. So thank you again, Lord Frog, for sending in this story. I really enjoyed it. It’s a really, really cute story.
If you have written a story or maybe you want to adapt a story from your culture, I would love for you to send it in so I can read it and put it on the podcast. So if you want to send in your own story, you can send it to Ariel@EasyStoriesInEnglish.com. I really look forward to reading it!
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
A herd is a group of animals: a herd of sheep, a herd of pigs, a herd of cows and so on.
A rhinoceros, or rhino for short, is a very large, strong animal that lives in Africa and south Asia. Rhinoceroses have hard, grey skin and two big horns on their head. They are very dangerous. Unfortunately, most rhinos have died out now—they are an endangered species.
A savannah is a type of land that you find in hot countries, many in Africa. Savannahs are very big, flat areas of land with grass on them. They have very few trees. Animals such as zebras, elephants, rhinos, lions and gazelles live on savannahs.
Bathe means to have a bath, to wash yourself. Most people in the UK bathe or shower once a day. In hotter countries, people often bathe twice a day.
When you smile bitterly, you are smiling but you are sad at the same time. For example, maybe you have to say something really sad to someone, but they make a joke. So you feel happy and sad at the same time, and you smile bitterly.
Pat means to touch something quickly and softly with the flat part of your hand. If you like your dog, you will pat him on the head. You might also pat a small child on the head. If someone did a really good job on something, or they’re sad and you want to make them feel better, you can pat them on the back. If you want to tell someone they did something really well, you can say, ‘Give yourself a pat on the back.’
Elephants have long noses, and these are called trunks. Elephants can move their trunks in every direction, and they use them to pick things up and pat each other. They also can blow their trunks, which makes a sound like [trumpeting].
A swamp is a type of land that is very low down and has lots of water in it. There are lots of swamps in Florida, in America, and crocodiles live there. You have to wear boots when you walk through a swamp, or your feet get very wet. Swamps can be very dangerous places.
Separate means to move two things apart. For example, when you wash your clothes, you should separate the coloured clothes from the white clothes, so that the colour doesn’t go from the coloured clothes. When you are cooking vegetables and they are a bit old, you should separate the bad vegetables from the good ones before cooking them.
Buzz means to make a sound like bzzzz. Bees, flies and other insects make buzzing sounds. Some pieces of technology, like old televisions, also buzz.
Nod means to move your head up and down. In western culture, nodding your head is a way of saying, ‘Yes.’ You might also nod your head along to music, or nod in a conversation to show you’re listening.
If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support us on Patreon. For just $2 a month you can get exercises with each episode, and for $5, you get Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners, as well as an extra story every month. You can support us at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.
A big thank-you to our new patron, Martin Hawiger. Thank you so much, Martin! Your support really means a lot to us.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
The Adventures of Lucky the Elephant
One sunny day Lucky the Elephant was born. He was a beautiful little elephant, and he quickly became the favourite of the herd. He was cute and funny, and he could even make the saddest elephant laugh. His mother, Madeleine, always gave him what he wanted, and his grandmother, Sophia, was the proud and strong leader of the elephants.
Every day, the elephants travelled together in search of food. Although elephants are the largest land animals in the world, they never attack others. They live in peace, travelling the wide savannahs and eating whatever they can find: fruit, grass and leaves.
Lucky quickly learned the ways of the herd. He helped out as much as he could, and always did what his mother and grandmother said. It was Sophia, Lucky’s grandmother, who decided where the elephants would go. She knew the savannahs well, and remembered where to find clean water and fresh food, as well as how to avoid humans. All Lucky knew about those strange creatures was that they were dangerous.
So Lucky lived a cheerful life. In the evenings, he bathed with the other elephants and they threw dirt and sand at each other. In this way, they protected themselves from insects, as well as having a lot of fun. Lucky loved his life in the herd, and he wished it could always stay that way. But the day Lucky turned ten, his mother asked to speak to him.
‘I have something very important to tell you, my son,’ she said.
Lucky was worried. His mother had looked sad all day, and whenever he asked her, she wouldn’t say why.
‘Yes, Mum?’ He hoped she was not sick.
‘It is time you learned the way of our kind, Lucky. You are a big elephant now, and it is time you left the herd.’
‘Why?’ said Lucky. He felt like for the first time in his life he would cry.
‘This is just our way. All the mothers and daughters stay in the herd, but you are a man. You must find your own way.’
Lucky had never realised it before, but it was true. He was the only boy in the herd.
‘But, Mum, I don’t want to leave!’ he cried. ‘What will happen to you, and what about granny? I want to be here to look after you!’
His mother smiled bitterly. ‘Don’t worry, my son. We can look after ourselves. But now we must say goodbye.’
And now the tears flowed. Lucky asked to stay again and again, but it did not matter. The old ways could not be changed. Lucky’s friends were crying, just like him. So the little elephant said goodbye to everyone, and then he watched the herd leave. They passed into the distance, and as they got further away, his mother waved her trunk in the air to say goodbye.
Lucky sat there for a long time, feeling more sad and alone than he ever had. But then he dried his eyes with his trunk.
‘I can’t be sad forever!’ he said. ‘I need to find my own herd.’
For many days, Lucky walked alone in the savannah. He didn’t meet a single friendly creature, and he soon felt depressed.
But one day, he heard a loud cry from far away.
Lucky came closer and saw a little rhino. The poor animal was stuck in a swamp, half of his body already covered up. He was too deep to get out on his own, and the swamp made horrible gurgle gurgle noises as he sank deeper.
Lucky jumped into action. He ran to a nearby tree, pulled down some branches with his trunk, and threw them onto the swamp.
‘Don’t move! I’m coming to help you!’ he cried.
Then he stepped carefully on the branches, wrapped his trunk around the rhino, and slowly, ever so slowly, pulled him out of the swamp.
The elephant and the rhino fell onto the ground, safe but exhausted.
‘What’s your name?’ asked Lucky, after he’d caught his breath.
‘I’m C-Charles,’ said the rhino. He was shaking with fear.
‘Were you separated from your herd?’ asked the little elephant. He thought maybe rhinos had the same ways as the elephants.
‘No,’ said Charles, tears in his eyes. ‘I’ve been alone for a long time.’
Lucky sat up and patted him on the back with his trunk.
‘Well, don’t worry. You’re not alone anymore. We were meant to meet!’
So Lucky and Charles became good friends. Every day they travelled together, searching for food, and in the evening they chatted about their past. Charles’ mother had died when he was young, and he never knew his father. Rhinoceroses didn’t live in herds like elephants, so he had grown up completely alone. But he was kind and funny, and Lucky liked him very much.
One afternoon, as they walked past a huge tree, Lucky heard a sad buzzing sound.
The little elephant looked up and saw a small black-and-yellow insect on a tree. She was trying to fly, but she couldn’t get off the ground.
‘What’s wrong?’ asked Lucky.
‘Bzzzzzz… I went onto this tree, and now for some reason I can’t get away.’ The poor creature’s voice shook with fear.
Charles and Lucky took a closer look and saw that the insect had fallen into a spider’s web. As much as she tried, she could not get away from the web. And then they saw the spider, walking slowly towards the insect, ready to eat her.
Lucky and Charles looked at each other.
‘We have to help her!’ said Charles.
Lucky nodded. He lifted his trunk and carefully pulled the insect out of the web.
‘Oh thank you, thank you!’ she said, climbing onto his head. ‘My name is Ann. I’m a bee.’
‘A bee?’ said Charles, looking at Lucky. They had never heard of such an animal. They knew very little about insects in general.
‘Yes, I’m a bee! I go bzzz bzzz and I make honey. And you’re an elephant and a rhinoceros, correct?’
‘Pff, obviously!’ said Charles. ‘I’m Charles and this is Lucky.’
‘Oh, I am so happy you saved me. Elephants are usually afraid of bees.’
Lucky laughed. ‘Why should I be afraid of such a little creature? You don’t look dangerous at all. And now that I’ve talked to you, I know you’re really very nice. Do you have a bee family to get back to?’
Ann made a sad little buzzing sound. ‘No, I lost them… Bees move around a lot, you see, and I was asleep. When I woke up, they were gone! And then I got caught in that tree…’
‘That’s OK!’ said Charles. ‘You can come with us!’
‘Oh, really? I would love to!’
So from that day on the three friends travelled together. Ann flew ahead of Charles and Lucky to find food and water, and when she was tired, she travelled on their backs. They had no worries or troubles, and they made very good friends.
But one day, something extraordinary happened. Ann returned from her morning flight very excited.
‘What is it?’ Lucky asked.
‘You’re never this excited!’ said Charles. ‘What happened?’
‘Shh, listen! There are people nearby.’
They listened, and sure enough, they could hear the sound of people talking in the distance.
‘People? Oh, this is bad,’ said Lucky. His mother had always told him to stay away from people.
‘Yes, I’ve heard that they are very dangerous,’ said Charles.
‘But that’s not why I’m excited!’ said Ann. ‘They have an elephant with them!’
The elephant and the rhino’s eyes went wide. People and elephants together?
That evening, when they could not be seen in the dark, Ann led them to the camp where the people were.
The view was frightening. The people sat around a big fire, and they had set up tents. In the middle of the camp was a huge cage, and some people stood outside it with long sticks. They looked very scary.
‘What’s inside that cage?’ said Charles. It was hard to see in the dark.
Lucky looked again and gasped. ‘It’s the elephant!’
They went back and discussed what they saw.
‘We have to save the elephant,’ said Lucky.
‘But there are only three of us,’ said Charles, looking at Ann, not sure whether to count her. ‘And there are lots of them.’
‘I don’t care!’ said Lucky. ‘They might kill the elephant if we do nothing.’
Charles nodded. ‘They’re dangerous. I heard that hunters like to catch animals like us, to show them to people.’
‘But why?’ said Lucky. ‘Can’t they just go and find an elephant, a rhino or a bee to look at?’
‘I have an idea!’ said Ann. She was very excited. ‘It’s a great idea! Just listen…’
So they made their plan, and in the morning light, everything was ready.
Lucky started the attack. He blew his trunk and ran into the camp. All the humans shouted and ran away. He ran over tents and knocked over the fire. Then Charles charged in. He ran towards the cage, ready to break it.
Some humans stayed to fight, using their sticks to attack Lucky and Charles, but this was a mistake. A loud, angry BZZZZZZZ came from the distance, and Ann arrived with her friends: a group of dangerous African bees. The humans could not handle the horrible bees, who made them go red all over, and they quickly ran away. Some fell over and covered their heads with their hands. Finally, Charles and Lucky broke the cage.
‘Quick, follow us!’ said Lucky.
The two elephants, the rhino and the bees ran away into the night.
‘Is everyone OK?!’ said Lucky.
‘All fine!’ said Ann.
When they stopped and Lucky looked at the elephant, he gasped. It wasn’t just any elephant…
And there she was, his wonderful mother Madeleine! The hunters had caught her and were going to take her to the zoo. Now Madeleine stood looking at her son with tears in her eyes. The two elephants hugged each other and patted each other with their trunks.
‘It’s so good to see you again, Lucky,’ said his mother. ‘Will you help me find the herd?’
‘I will, but…’ Lucky’s heart sank. ‘Then I’ll have to leave again, won’t I?’
Madeleine did not answer.
Two days later, the group of friends found the herd. Sophia had led them to a safe place away from the people. When they saw Madeleine was back, the elephants blew their trunks happily and sang songs, and when they saw Lucky was with her, they were even happier.
Lucky introduced them to his brave friends, Charles the rhino and Ann the bee.
‘It has been so nice to see you all again,’ said Lucky. ‘But I suppose our little herd should leave…’
‘Wait,’ said Sophia. ‘You have travelled alone, and you have become a man. Lucky, you and your friends can join our herd.’
Lucky was so happy he started crying. He was home again! And he was there with all his friends.
‘Oh, I’m so glad to be back!’ he said, laughing.
They were the strangest herd in the savannah. They had elephants, including an adult male, a rhinoceros and a bee. But they were happy, and the humans never bothered them again.
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