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 Old Sultan. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Old. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Old. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
A few days ago, I was going to bed. I put on my pyjamas and I got into bed. But before I started sleeping, I heard a sound: drip, drip, drip, drip. Now, it was raining outside but the drip sounded like it was inside the house. So I looked around my room and the dripping was coming from my window. The ceiling, so the part above my window, was dripping water and it was going onto the floor.
So I worried because this has not happened before. Rain should stay outside. Rain should not come inside. And the rain was coming through the window. So I found a jar to put under the window. When you have water coming from your ceiling, it’s called a leak. And the leak in my bedroom was not the only one. There was also a leak in the kitchen, and worse, the water was coming through the light in the kitchen! So we turned off all the electricity and tried to sleep. But it was very hard to sleep with the drip, drip, drip next to me, and a few hours later I heard drip drop, drip drop, drip drop. So I went and there was another leak in my room. I put jar there and I went to sleep. But it was still very hard to sleep.
Luckily, the next day the landlord came over. The landlord is the person who owns the apartment. It is his apartment. And he went onto the roof, the top of the building. The problem was, one of the gutters was blocked. So the gutter is the part on a side of a building that takes water and puts the water away from the building. But the gutter was blocked, there was something in the hole where the water went. So all the water built up and then poured down the side of the building, so lots and lots of water was coming down and going over the window, which was why it leaked.
Luckily, it was very easy to fix the gutter so that all the water went away. Also, they are going to replace our windows. They are going to put in new windows, and the new windows will hopefully not leak.
But anyway, I was very, very scared at first. I thought we would not have electricity for several days or several weeks. I thought the building might break down, it might collapse, but luckily none of those things happened. There were a few wet parts on the walls but now they are dry. So, [sigh], I’m OK. But it was a stressful week!
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
Bite is when you attack someone with your teeth. So you want to hurt someone with your teeth. You also bite food when you eat it, because, well, you have to bite food many times, you have to chew it, before you can eat it. Insects also might bite you, and this is not nice. Mosquitoes love biting me. I don’t know why. Maybe my blood is delicious! A bite sounds like this: [bite].
Guard means to protect. So if you guard something, you keep it safe. People often have dogs to guard their house. So if a person tries to come into the house to steal, the dog will make a loud noise and everyone will know someone is coming in, and the dog might scare away the person. Guard dogs are quite common.
A wolf is an animal like a dog but bigger and more dangerous. Wolves live in big groups called packs and they howl at the moon. They sit under the moon and go awoo. At least, that is my best wolf sound.
Fight is when two people want to hurt each other. So they might hit each other, they ight use bad words, they might use weapons to fight each other, like a gun or a sword. Drunk people, people who have drunk a lot of alcohol, often fight each other.
Limp is a way of walking. So if your leg is very hurt, or you don’t have a leg, you will walk more slowly and you will walk uneven. Old men often limp, or a soldier who had an injury on his leg will limp. Some people who limp will walk with a stick.
A sword is a long, sharp weapon. We don’t use swords now but they were used in the Middle Ages, about five hundred years ago. In the TV series Game of Thrones, most of the characters fight with swords, such as Arya Stark. She is very good with a sword.
A stone is a big, grey thing you find on the ground, and people often throw stones to hurt someone or destroy a building, break a window, for example.
Hide, and the past tense is “hid”, is when you make it so people can’t see you. You might hide under your duvet in your bed. You might hide in your closet. You might hide at home and not go to work. Basically, you don’t want someone to see you so you go somewhere where they can’t see you. Children play a game called “hide-and-seek” where everyone hides and one person has to find them.
Finally, embarrassed. When you are embarrassed, you have done something stupid, or someone said something nice to you, like, ‘Oh you’re so beautiful, you’re so pretty,’ and you go red and you don’t want to talk to people. Some people get embarrassed very easily. Other people never get embarrassed. I used to, in the past, I used to get embarrassed very easily, but now nothing really embarrasses me.
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OK, so listen and enjoy!
Once there was a farmer, who had a dog called Sultan. Sultan was a great dog, but now he was old. Before, he had guarded the house, but now he had lost all his teeth, so he could not eat easily. He could not bite food, or bite people. None of the other animals were afraid of him anymore.
One day, the farmer was talking to his wife, and said, ‘Tomorrow I will kill Old Sultan. He is no longer useful.’
His wife felt sorry for the animal, and said, ‘He has been in our house for so long. He has guarded us so well. Can we not let him live?’
‘What?!’ said the man. ‘Don’t be silly. He doesn’t have a single tooth in his mouth. No animal or man is afraid of him. He has no use for us. Yes, he has guarded us well, but we gave him food and a home.’
But Old Sultan was lying outside in the sun, and he had heard everything.
“I don’t want to die tomorrow!” he thought.
Luckily, Sultan had a good friend, the wolf, so he went into the forest that night to see him. He told the wolf what the farmer had said.
‘Don’t worry, Old Sultan,’ said the wolf. ‘I will help you. I have an idea. Tomorrow, early in the morning, the farmer will go to work with his wife. Usually, they take their child with them, and the boy lies in the sun. Lie beside the boy, as if you are guarding him. Then I will run out of the forest and take the child away. You will run after me, and take the child back. I will give it to you, and you will take it back to the parents. They will think that you saved the child, and they will be so happy that they won’t kill you. In fact, they will be so happy that they will be very nice to you!’
The dog liked the plan, so they did it just as the wolf said. The father shouted when he saw the wolf running away with the child, but when Old Sultan brought it back, he was so happy. He said to the dog, ‘I can’t hurt you now. You can eat my food as long as you live.’ He turned to his wife and said, ‘Go home and make Old Sultan some soup, and put some bread it in, so that he can eat it without teeth. And he can sleep in my bed if he wants!’
From then on, Old Sultan lived a very comfortable life. But a few weeks later, the wolf visited him.
‘I am so happy to see you like this,’ said the wolf. ‘So I am sure you want to help me as well. Your farmer has quite a few fat sheep, and they look very nice. I think I will take one away tonight. You will let me, won’t you?’
‘No,’ said the dog. ‘I must guard the sheep for the farmer. I cannot help you.’
The wolf thought, “Well, Old Sultan is a good friend of mine. After all, I helped him, and now he lives like a king. One sheep is not much…”
So the wolf came in the night and took away the sheep. But Old Sultan had told the farmer of the wolf’s plan, and the man caught the wolf and hit him many times. The wolf had to run away, but he said to the dog, ‘Just wait. You will pay for this!’
The next morning the wolf sent a pig to talk to the dog.
‘You, Old Suntan.’
‘My name is Old Sultan,’ the dog said, like a king.
‘Yeah, yeah. Come to the forest. The wolf wants to talk to you.’
Now Old Sultan was very afraid. He knew that the wolf and the pig wanted to fight, but he was not strong. No strong animal would help him. All he could find was a cat with three legs. As they went into the forest, the cat limped along.
‘Oh, it hurts! It hurts!’ said the cat. Her tail was high and straight in the air, because it hurt so much.
The wolf and the pig were waiting for them. But when they saw the dog and the cat, they thought that the cat’s tail was a sword. And when they saw the cat limping on three legs, they thought it was picking up a stone to throw at them.
‘I don’t know,’ said the wolf. ‘That cat looks strong. She has a sword, and she’s picking up a stone! Let’s hide.’
So the pig hid in the grass and the wolf hid in a tree.
The dog and the cat arrived, but there was nobody there. The pig, however, had not hidden himself very well. His ear could be seen in the grass. The cat looked around, and saw the pig’s ear. She thought it was a mouse, so she jumped on it and bit it.
‘Ow!’ cried the pig, and ran away, saying, ‘The wolf is up in the tree!’
The dog and the cat looked up and saw the wolf.
‘Well, well, well,’ said the dog. ‘The big bad wolf is hiding in a tree.’
The wolf jumped down, very embarrassed. ‘You showed me. I thought you were so strong, and I was all afraid. Can we be friends?’
‘Of course,’ said the dog.
‘You mean I can’t fight?’ said the cat. ‘I wanted to fight!’
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