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 The Three Languages. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Three. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Three. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
So a few weeks ago I made a poll about different things with the podcast. So I asked if you wanted YouTube videos, books and online courses. Many of you voted in the poll. Thank you so much. It looks like YouTube is the most popular option, and I really, really want to start a YouTube channel.
Before, I was thinking of getting a big whiteboard and telling stories by drawing pictures but the problem is I might move house later this year. So I don’t want to put a big whiteboard on the wall for just a few months. Also, I don’t know if I will have time to do those complicated videos with pictures and so on. I am going to tell you in a bit why I will be busy.
But anyway, I think I will start with some simpler videos. So I will just do some videos of me sitting down and talking. I have lots of hobbies and there are many topics that interest me apart from storytelling. So I think I will make some videos and talk about learning languages, singing, linguistics and so on. And I will see if you like those videos or not. So, keep watching and you will hopefully see some videos! I have said before, though, I am very lazy. So it might take some time.
So I said before that I will probably be very busy later this year. This is because I am applying for a PGCE. So a PGCE is a postgraduate certificate in the United Kingdom. So you have to have a bachelor’s degree, a BA, to do a PGCE, and a PGCE is a certificate in education. So if you do a PGCE, you can teach in state schools, public schools, in the United Kingdom. So it is a year course and you do some work in the university, but you also go and work in two different schools.
I really want to do a PGCE because it gives you many more opportunities. It means I can do more things with my career. I can work in schools, and I do love teaching children, and also at the moment the government in the UK is funding PGCEs. So it is a really good time, especially for languages. There are not many language teachers in the UK, so they want more. So there is good funding, there is good money, for doing the PGCE.
Anyway, I got rejected by two of the universities but the third one has invited me to an interview at the end of March. Now, I am quite worried because this interview is really long! It’s five hours. I’m going to be there from 9am to 1pm. I have to write a text in English, Spanish and French, because I will be teaching Spanish, French, and maybe German, and I have to also do a short presentation in Spanish. So I have to teach a skill such as, uh, a dance or a song or how to use chopsticks in Spanish.
Anyway, if I do get accepted by the university, it is in London so I will have to move in London, and the course would start in September. So I will be very busy if I do do this course and it will be difficult for me to make lots of YouTube videos, but I will definitely continue the podcast. Do not worry.
So, wish me luck! OK, tell me ‘good luck’ for the interview because I really, really hope it goes. I want it to go well. I know I am good at teaching, I know I am good at Spanish and French, but a five-hour interview is very scary.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
Bark is the sound a dog makes. It sounds like woof woof. Sometimes, a dog barks because it is happy. Sometimes, a dog barks because it is scared.
A frog is a small, green animal. They make a sound like ribbit ribbit. They live in wet places, like rivers and trees. In the Amazon rainforest, there are many types of frogs. Some are poisonous, so you don’t want to touch them. Frogs eat flies and other insects. They have very long tongues, and they use them to catch flies.
Your tongue is the long pink thing inside your mouth. You use your tongue to speak. For example, if I say th, I am putting my tongue between my teeth. Tongues are also important for eating and drinking. If you don’t like someone, you can stick your tongue out at them. Dogs often stick their tongues out when they breathe.
A tower is a tall, round building. Sometimes it is part of a building. For example, castles have round towers on the sides. Sometimes a tower is the whole building. For example, the Eiffel Tower in Paris is very famous. It is nice to go on the top of a tower because you can see very far.
Treasure is money, gold, jewellery—basically, expensive things. But when we say “treasure”, we are usually thinking of fantasy and stories. For example, pirates put treasure in wooden boxes called chests and bury them under the ground. Kings sometimes give treasure to heroes. In many videogames, you collect treasure.
The Pope is a very important and holy man. He is the leader of the Catholic church. The Pope lives in the Vatican, in Italy. The current Pope is Pope Francis. The Pope wears all white clothes.
A dove is a type of bird. Basically, a dove is a pigeon but a pigeon is grey and a dove is white. In the Bible, doves are very important birds. They symbolise peace.
Your shoulder is a part of your body. Next to your neck you have two shoulders. The shoulders connect your chest to your arms. Your shoulders can move all around, but you have to be careful, because you can dislocate your shoulders.
A ceremony is a special occasion. For example, baptism is a type of ceremony. When there is a new king, there will be a ceremony to give him the crown. When there is a new president or prime minister there is also a ceremony.
A hymn is a special song. You sing hymns in church. For example, Amazing Grace is a hymn. [sings Amazing Grace]. Sorry, I don’t remember the rest of the words! So hymns are special, holy songs for church.
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OK, so listen and enjoy!
The Three Languages
Once there was an old man who lived in Switzerland. He was very rich, but his wife had died young. They only had one son, and he was very stupid. His name was Eric. One day, the father said to Eric, ‘Listen, my son. You are not the cleverest in the world. I try to teach you many things, but I can get nothing into your head. It is time for you to leave home. I will send you to a famous teacher, and he will teach you until you are clever. Then we will see what we can do with you.’
So Eric was sent to a strange town, and lived there for a year. His teacher was kind, and tried to teach him mathematics, geography, history and English, but Eric did not remember any of it. However, there were many dogs in the town, and every day after class he went and played with them.
After the year, he went home again, and his father asked, ‘Eric, what have you learned?’
‘Father, I have learned the language of the dogs. When they bark, I understand what they say.’
‘My goodness!’ said the father. ‘Is that all you have learned? I must send you away again, to a better teacher.’
This time, he was sent to a small village on the top of a mountain. There were very few people, and his teacher was very unkind. Every time Eric made a mistake he hit him, but it did not matter, because not a single thing stayed in Eric’s head. Still, every day he walked around the mountains, and many birds flew around him, and he listened carefully to their songs.
When he returned home, his father asked, ‘Eric, what have you learned?’
‘Father, I have learned the language of the birds. When they sing, I understand what they say.’
‘My goodness!’ said the father. ‘The second time has been no better than the first. I will send you away one more time, but if you learn nothing, then I will stop being your father. You will have to go out and live by yourself.’
This time, Eric was sent to a very big school. He lived, ate and slept in the school, with all the other students, and they could never go outside. Every day, they studied and studied, and all the students learned well, except for Eric. One day, the teachers were so mad at him that they threw him outside. Eric ran into the forest, and found a family of frogs. He stopped and listened to them croak, and he lived in the forest for the rest of the year.
When he came home, his father asked, ‘Eric, what have you learned?’
‘Dear Father, I have learned the language of the frogs. When they croak, I understand what they say.’
‘Enough!’ shouted his father. ‘You are not my son!’ He called some men in, and said, ‘This man is no longer my son. Send him into the forest and kill him.’
They took Eric out, but they could not kill him. They knew him well, and he was a nice boy, even though he was very stupid. So they cut the eyes and tongue out of a pig and took them to the old man. They said that they were Eric’s eyes and tongue.
And so Eric left home and travelled on his own. First, he came to a castle, and spoke to the King.
‘Please, sir, may I stay the night here? I have no home.’
‘You can sleep in the old tower,’ the King said. The tower was different from the rest of the castle. It was breaking apart, and it looked very cold and wet. ‘But you must know. In that tower live many dogs. Every night they bark endlessly, so you will surely not be able to sleep. And sometimes they even eat men. I am sorry, but this is the only room I have for you.’
‘That’s OK!’ said Eric. ‘Can I have some food for the dogs?’
‘Of course,’ said the King. He looked very surprised, but he gave Eric some dog food, and the boy went into the tower.
When he came in, the dogs did not bark or attack him, and were even very friendly. He threw the food to them and they ate it, and at night he slept with them so that he was nice and warm.
The next day, he went back to the King. The King and all his men were very surprised. They thought the boy would be dead.
‘I had a nice talk with the dogs,’ said Eric. ‘They told me why they live in the tower, and why they bark so much and attack men.’
‘I don’t understand,’ said the King. ‘How can you talk to dogs?’
‘I speak their language,’ Eric said. ‘Anyway, they told me that there is a great treasure at the bottom of the tower. They look after it, and they will bark and attack people until the treasure is taken away.’
‘We must go at once!’ said the King.
‘Wait! Only I can take the treasure. The dogs will attack everyone else.’
‘Oh,’ said the King. ‘Of course.’
‘But I will bring it here, to say thank you. You let me sleep in your castle when you could have thrown me outside.’
‘Brilliant!’ said the King. ‘Bring me the treasure and I will give you half of it.’
So Eric went and got the treasure, and the King was very happy. The dogs went away from the tower, and Eric took his treasure and went travelling again.
This time, he went to Rome. On the way, he went through a forest. Many frogs sat there croaking. He listened to them croaking, and understood their message.
“Oh no!” thought Eric. “That is a strange message indeed. I hope it is not true.”
He went on to Rome. When he got there, everyone was crying in the streets.
‘What is going on?’ asked Eric.
‘The Pope has died!’ cried a man. ‘And there is nobody to replace him. We need a new Pope!’
Eric went into the Vatican, where they were discussing the problem.
‘We need help from God,’ said a man. ‘Please, give us a sign, God!’
Just then, two snow-white doves flew through the window and went down to Eric. They sat on his shoulders. Everyone in the room turned to look at him, not saying a word.
‘Uh, hello,’ said Eric.
‘This man! This man will be our new Pope!’
‘I don’t know about that…’ said Eric. Usually, everyone told him he was stupid, but now they thought he should be Pope?
One of the doves went to his ear and whispered, ‘Coo, coo. You must be Pope. You are the right man. God has chosen you.’
‘I don’t believe it,’ Eric whispered back.
The other dove then spoke, saying, ‘Coo, coo. God sent us. You are the right man.’
‘Oh, alright then,’ said Eric.
Everyone in the Vatican started cheering, and they began the ceremony to make Eric into the Pope.
The frogs had been right. The frogs in the forest had said that a man called Eric was going to be Pope. That was why Eric was so worried when he heard the frogs. He could not believe their message.
But it was true. Eric was the new Pope. And after the ceremony, they sang hymns.
‘Just one problem,’ Eric said to the doves. ‘I don’t know the words to these hymns!’
‘Don’t worry,’ whispered the doves. ‘We will tell you the words.’
So the doves whispered the words into Eric’s ears, and he sang his first hymns as Pope.
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