Are you looking for a way to level up your English? Have you tried reading, but you always get bored, or find it too hard?
Then you should try my new book! Easy Stories in English is a collection of 10 short stories, with vocabulary descriptions and images. You can get it in four levels: beginner, pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced. You can even reread the same stories in each level, and really level up your vocabulary.
To get the book, go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Book.
Take your English to the next level today!
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 Big Peter and Little Peter. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Peter. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Peter. 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.
Stupid means not intelligent, not clever. It is not nice to call someone stupid. Sometimes, we call ourselves stupid, because we can’t do something easy. But of course, nobody listening to this podcast is stupid! You are all very clever.
Woollen means made with wool. Many clothes are woollen. Wool is a great material for keeping warm, so many winter coats are woollen. I have a lovely woollen blanket.
A priest is a man who works at a church. Priests are very important in the church. Priests wear long white robes. Priests read to everyone from the Bible, and they talk to people who are having religious problems.
Shove means to push something hard. When you push someone, you just want to move them, but when you shove them, you want them to fall over. Children often push and shove, because they don’t realise that it’s rude.
A basket is something you use to carry things. It is like a bag, but bags can be folded. Baskets are made of harder material than bags. You usually hang a basket on the inside of your arm to carry things.
When you tell the future, you say what is going to happen in the future. Many people say they can tell the future, but usually they can’t. People think that telling the future would be useful, but it would also be very scary, I think!
When someone is locked in something or trapped in it, you can let them out. For example, if you see a dog inside a hot car, and the dog looks very sad, you might break the window and let him out. Now he can get out of the car. Or maybe you have a rabbit that you keep in a small house in the garden, and once a day you let the rabbit out.
Chop off means to cut off. Basically, it is when you use a knife to remove something. For example, if you are cooking and you are not paying attention, you might chop off your finger. In the past, the King and Queen often chopped off people’s heads.
When you are scared, you think something bad is going to happen and you don’t want it to happen. For example, if a big dog runs at you, and you think the dog wants to eat you, you will be scared. You might scream, ‘Help!’ Some people like being scared, so they watch horror films.
Heaven is the place where good people go when they die. There is Heaven in most religions. Heaven is where God lives, and it is a very happy place.
If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support me 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.
This month’s bonus story is A Sinner Like Her, for intermediate learners. It is a scary horror story set in hell, except in this story, hell is a theme park, like Disney World. Catherine wonders what she did to end up in hell, and she starts asking questions…
A big thank-you to my new patrons: Yvonne Bachmann, Ariane and vu tran. Thank you so much. Your support really means a lot to me.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
Big Peter and Little Peter
Once, there were two brothers, called Big Peter and Little Peter. Big Peter was big and stupid, and Little Peter was small and very clever. After their father died, Big Peter found a wife, but Little Peter couldn’t find a wife. Nobody wanted him, because he was so small. So he lived with his old mother. She was a horrible woman, but Little Peter hated working, so he didn’t mind living with her.
But one day, it was too much. Little Peter’s mother shouted at him from morning until midnight, so he said, ‘Fine, Mother! I will go and find a job. Just stop shouting at me!’
So he bought a horse and rode into the world. All he had was his woollen coat, and really, he did not want to find a job. He was clever, and he was sure that he could find money without working.
Little Peter rode all day and came to a farm. There, he knocked on the door, and an old woman answered.
‘Oh, kind old woman!’ he said. ‘I have been riding all day, and I am so tired. Could I stay the night here, perhaps?’
The old woman did not look happy, but she said, ‘Well, my husband is working in the fields, so he will not be in his bed tonight. You can sleep there, but be quiet, and don’t come into the living room.’
Of course, Little Peter wanted to know why, so he waited a long time and then looked into the living room. There, he saw the old woman sitting with the village priest. She gave him beer and pears, and kissed him.
‘Ah!’ thought Little Peter. ‘So she is sleeping with the priest!’
Then a knock came from the front door. The farmer had returned!
‘Quick, quick!’ said the old woman.
She shoved all the pears into the cupboard, shoved the beer under the table, and shoved the priest into a large basket.
The farmer came in, and Little Peter went and said hello.
‘Your wife said I could stay the night, because I have been travelling all day,’ he said. ‘I hope that’s OK.’
‘Of course!’ said the farmer. ‘Let us all sit and eat.’
So they sat down, and Little Peter put his woollen coat on the chair next to him.
‘What are you saying now?’ said Little Peter to the coat. ‘Be quiet!’
‘Why are you talking to your woollen coat?’ said the farmer.
‘Oh, it can tell the future.’
‘Can it?’ said the farmer. ‘And what does it see in the future?’
‘It says that there are pears in the cupboard.’
‘Pears? I have not had one in so long! I did not think we had any.’
But he went and looked in the cupboard, and there he found some pears.
‘How strange!’ said the farmer’s wife.
‘Yes, it is a very strange coat,’ said Little Peter. ‘It is telling the future again. It says that there is beer under the table.’
‘And I thought I drank all the beer last night!’ said the farmer.
But he looked under the table and found the beer.
‘How wonderful!’ said the farmer.
‘And it is telling the future again. It says that in the big basket there is—’
‘It is such an amazing coat!’ said the farmer’s wife. ‘We must buy it. Tell us, what do you want?’
‘Oh, I’ll take that big basket, if that’s OK.’
The farmer wanted to know what was in the basket, but the old woman gave Little Peter the basket and said goodbye, so the young man left holding the basket, which had the priest inside.
As Little Peter rode his horse, he held the basket so that the priest could not get out.
‘Help! Help!’ shouted the priest.
‘Shh!’ said Little Peter. ‘Do you hear that?’
They were by a river, and the priest listened to the water.
‘Most baskets do not talk, so if you can talk, you must be a magic basket. And I don’t like magic. I think I’ll throw you in the river!’
‘Wait!’ shouted the priest. ‘I am inside the basket, and I am a priest!’
‘I don’t believe you!’ said Little Peter. ‘Why would the farmer’s wife have a priest in a basket?’
‘Oh, I was visiting her for her health!’ he said. ‘Please, I will give you all my money if you let me out.’
‘Hmm,’ said Little Peter. ‘How much money do you have?’
‘Five hundred pounds!’ said the priest. ‘Will that be enough?’
‘Yes, I think so!’
So Little Peter opened the basket and let the priest out. He took the money and let the priest go, and the priest ran home very fast.
Little Peter rode home, and the next day, he went to his stupid older brother, Big Peter.
‘Brother, yesterday I went to the market to sell my woollen coat. You’ll never guess how much I got for it!’
‘How much did you get?’ said Big Peter.
‘Five hundred pounds!’
‘Wow!’ said Big Peter. ‘I should try that, too.’
So Big Peter killed all his sheep and made woollen coats out of them all. But when he took them to market to sell, nobody would buy them from him. He asked for five hundred pounds, and they all laughed.
When Big Peter came home, he was not happy, and said, ‘I will go into Little Peter’s house tonight and chop off his head!’
Little Peter heard this, and before he went to bed, he said, ‘Mother, would you like to change beds tonight? I think it will be interesting.’
So his old mother slept in his bed, and when Big Peter came in, he chopped off their mother’s head, and not Little Peter’s.
The next morning, Little Peter went to his brother, who was very scared.
‘B-but I chopped your head off!’
‘No,’ said Little Peter. ‘You chopped our mother’s head off. And now I will tell everyone, and they will kill you, I think.’
‘Please, I’ll do anything!’
‘I’ll give you all my money! Five hundred pounds!’
‘Alright,’ said Little Peter.
So Big Peter gave him all of his money, and Little Peter was very happy.
But Little Peter wanted more money. So he put his mother’s head on her body and took her to market. He put baskets of apples on her arms, so that people thought she was selling apples.
‘I will buy one of your apples!’ said a man to Little Peter’s mother.
But the woman was dead, so she did not answer.
‘I said, I will buy one of your apples!’ said the man again.
But again, the old woman did not answer.
‘If you do not speak to me again, I will hit you!’ said the man.
Again, the old woman did not speak. So the man hit her, and her head came off and fell down.
‘Oh no!’ said Little Peter. ‘You killed my mother!’
The man could not believe it. ‘I only hit her!’ he said.
‘Oh, Mother, Mother!’
Little Peter cried and cried, and finally the man said, ‘Look, take all my money and don’t tell anyone about this, OK?’
‘How much money is that?’ said Little Peter.
‘Five hundred pounds.’
‘I, I suppose I can do that…’
So the man gave Little Peter all of his money, and Little Peter went home.
‘Oh, Brother!’ he said, when he saw his stupid older brother, Big Peter. ‘I sold Mother’s body today, and you’ll never guess how much money I made.’
‘How much?’ said Big Peter.
‘Five hundred pounds!’
‘Wow!’ said Big Peter. ‘If I had known, I would have sold her myself. Hmm…’
Actually, Big Peter’s wife had a mother who was very old. Nobody liked her, and she was going to die soon. But maybe not soon enough…
So Big Peter went and chopped off his wife’s mother’s head, and took her to market to sell. Of course, everyone thought this was horrible, and they hit him and shouted at him.
When Big Peter saw Little Peter again, he said, ‘I am not scared of you, Brother! You think you are so clever, but you are not. Because I will kill you now!’
‘Wait!’ said Little Peter. ‘I understand that I must die. But please, can I choose how I die?’
‘Are you scared?’ said Big Peter. ‘Fine. How do you want to die?’
‘Put me in a bag and throw me into the river,’ said Little Peter. ‘I want to die that way.’
Big Peter thought it was a horrible way to go, but he shoved Little Peter into a bag, closed it and took him to the river.
They were almost at the river, when Little Peter said, ‘Ah, Brother! I want to eat a pear before I die. Could you go and get me a pear? Leave me here. I won’t get out, I’m sure.’
‘Fine, little Brother,’ said Big Peter.
So he went to get a pear, and Little Peter started singing.
‘I’m going to heaven, heaven, heaven! I’m going to heaven, hooray!’
A man was walking past with lots of sheep, and he heard Little Peter singing.
‘You’re going to heaven, are you?’ said the man. ‘I would like to go there. Can I come with you?’
‘Of course!’ said Little Peter. ‘Just let me out of this bag and get in it yourself. You’ll get there very soon. I can go next time. But you must sing the song I was singing.’
So the man let Little Peter out of the bag, climbed in and started to sing.
‘I’m going to heaven, heaven, heaven! I’m going to heaven, hooray!’
Little Peter took the man’s sheep and went home. Big Peter came and took the bag, thinking Little Peter was in it.
‘I’m going to heaven, heaven, heaven! I’m going to heaven, hooray!’
‘Yes, yes, Brother,’ said Big Peter.
Then he threw the bag into the river and went home. But when he got home, he found Little Peter standing there with lots of sheep!
‘I don’t believe it!’ said Big Peter. ‘I threw you in the river!’
‘Ah, and I must say thank you!’ said Little Peter. ‘When you threw me into the river, I fell to the bottom. There, I found all these sheep, and they have the best wool in the world. I think I will get a thousand pounds for the woollen coats I will make!’
‘That’s amazing!’ said Big Peter.
He ran home and told his wife about this.
‘You must put me in a bag and throw me into the river. Then I’ll find amazing sheep and we can sell their wool!’
‘My dear husband,’ said his wife. ‘Have you been listening to Little Peter again? He is telling you stories. Don’t believe him.’
‘But he told me about woollen coats and dead bodies—wait, you are right!’
‘We should tell him a story, I think,’ said his wife.
So they made a plan. They left their house and told Little Peter that they were going to the river. Of course, he thought they were dead. So he started living in Big Peter’s house, ate his food and slept in his bed.
But Big Peter and his wife hadn’t left. They were sitting inside two big baskets, and they waited for the night.
When the night came, they came out and found Little Peter in bed.
‘Little Peter!’ they said.
Little Peter woke up and screamed. ‘B-but you went into the river! You died!’
‘Yes!’ said Big Peter. ‘And now we are back to kill you!’
‘Oh no, oh no!’ said Little Peter. ‘Big Brother, I am sorry! Please don’t kill me! What can I do?’
‘You must give us all your money,’ said Big Peter’s wife, ‘and leave here! Never come back. If you come back, we will kill you!’
So Little Peter gave them all his money—the money from the priest, from the woollen coats and from the man in the market. Then he ran away, because he did not want to die.
I am recording this story a bit early, because I’m going to London in the week I am recording this. When you hear this, I will be back from London, but I have to record early, because I am going away.
Recently, me and my girlfriend have been buying more locally. That means we are going more to local shops, shops that are close to our house, rather than big supermarkets or buying online.
This is, of course, much better for the environment. Where we live, there are lots of small local shops where you can buy food without plastic and without other packaging. Also, because the food has to travel less, the food is coming from close by, it’s coming from local farms, it’s much better for the environment that way.
Plus, it means we can get fresh local milk. For me, it’s really important to buy good-quality full-fat milk because I make kefir. Kefir is like a yoghurt drink, and it’s really great when you have high-quality milk to make the kefir.
The other day, we also bought home-grown tomatoes, so tomatoes that people grew in their houses nearby. And they were so delicious! They were so much nicer than the tomatoes you get in the supermarket.
Also, these local shops are really, really close to us. They’re just around the corner. It takes about five minutes to walk to the shop, so it’s really very convenient and I’m very happy that we are buying more locally now.
Do you buy locally? Or do you have to go to big supermarkets and buy online? I would love to hear from you. Come and leave a comment at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Peter.
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! Then you’ll be able to send me $3 so that I can buy a coffee, but really, I’ll probably get a bubble tea. And I’ll think of you while I drink it! Thank you for listening, and until next week.