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 Goats. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/ThreeGoats. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/ThreeGoats. There, you can also download the episode as a PDF.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
Goats are a short, white animal that go ’Meeeh!’. Goats are very good at climbing mountains. Goats can be used to make milk, cheese and meat.
The eldest is the oldest brother or sister in a family. For example, my brother is older than me and my sister, so he is the eldest. In the past and in many cultures generally, the eldest child was often very important.
A middle child is a child who is not the youngest and not the eldest. I have an older sister and an older brother. My brother is the eldest, and my sister is the middle child – she is older than me and younger than my brother. There is a stereotype that middle children try to make peace between their older and younger brothers and sisters.
Someone who is greedy wants to have lots of food or lots of money. Children are often greedy because they want to eat lots of sweets. Maybe they steal food from other children because they are so greedy. Usually, when adults are greedy, it means that they want more and more money.
Water flows – it moves smoothly. If you have water in a sink, it doesn’t flow, because it is not moving, but when water is in a river, it flows down the river. Water in the sea doesn’t flow so much – it jumps onto the beach very dramatically. But if you pour water slowly from a glass, it will flow.
People who are silly say stupid things and like to make lots of jokes. Usually, young children are quite silly, because they like to have lots of fun and aren’t very serious. I think we should all be a bit more silly.
When someone drowns, they fall into water and die. If you can swim, then it is harder to drown, because you can swim out of the water. But maybe the water is very deep, or you are in the sea and the land is far away, or you are very hurt. In those cases, you might drown. You can also drown another person, but I don’t recommend it!
Narrow means not wide. Something can be narrow but very tall, or narrow but short. If a street is narrow, there might not be enough room for a car to drive down it.
One by one means one after the other. If you really enjoy M&Ms, you might eat them one by one, instead of eating five at once. If you are working on some very difficult mathematics, you will probably have to answer the questions one by one. When you go to the doctor’s, the doctor talks to patients, sick people, one by one.
Trolls are big, ugly monsters. Trolls often appear in stories from Northern Europe. An internet troll is someone who likes to make other people angry on the internet. Hopefully, none of you are internet trolls, because they are not nice people!
When someone is annoying, they do lots of things you don’t like. For example, if your younger sister is very loud, steals your food and wakes you up in the morning, she’s probably quite annoying. In my opinion, people who have very loud phone conversations on the train are very annoying.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
The Three Goats
Once, there were three goats. The three goats were sisters, and each sister was bigger than the other. The youngest sister was the smallest, the middle child was normal-sized, and the eldest goat was the biggest.
One day, the three goats were happily eating grass in the field. They had eaten grass there for many years, but now there was not much grass left.
‘Oh no!’ said the youngest goat. ‘There is no grass left. What will we eat now?’
‘It’s because you ate all the grass!’ said the middle child. ‘You’re such a greedy little goat. You think because you’re the youngest that you can eat all the grass.’
‘Stop!’ said the eldest goat. ‘This has happened before, but you two are probably too young to remember. There is another field we can go to, where there will be lots more grass. Follow me.’
The eldest goat took her two sisters through the field to a big bridge. The bridge went over a river, and the water under the river flowed quickly.
‘What’s that?!’ said the youngest goat. ‘That’s not grass!’
‘Ha, silly sister!’ said the middle child. But she also didn’t know what it was.
‘It is a bridge,’ explained the eldest. ‘It will take us to the other field where all the grass is.’
‘But why can’t we just swim?’ said the youngest.
‘Don’t be silly! Can’t you see how fast that water is flowing? If we went into that water, we would drown.’
‘Very true,’ said the eldest goat, who thought the middle goat was much sillier than the youngest. ‘Now, the bridge is quite narrow, so we must walk across it one by one.’
‘I’ll go first!’ said the middle goat.
‘No, no,’ said the eldest. ‘Let the youngest go first. If the bridge is broken, then she won’t fall in. But we are bigger, and we could easily fall in the water.’
So the youngest goat was the first to cross the bridge. The bridge was not broken, and she did not fall in. She walked across the narrow bridge, and soon she could not see or hear her sisters. But before she could cross to the other side, there was a horrible noise.
A troll jumped out in front of the goat.
‘Ah!’ cried the youngest goat. ‘You’re not grass!’
‘No, I’m a troll!’ said the troll.
‘Oh,’ said the goat. ‘I’m glad. I wouldn’t eat you if you were grass.’
‘Uh, aren’t you afraid of me?’ said the troll.
‘Not really,’ said the goat. ‘Why? Should I be afraid?’
‘Yes, yes you should!’ said the troll. ‘I’m a big, hungry troll, and do you know what trolls eat?’
‘Grass?’ said the youngest goat. ‘We eat grass, and it’s very nice, so I think –’
‘NO!’ said the troll. ‘I eat goats.’
‘Oh. But you’re not going to eat me, are you? I’m so young! I want to live a long life!’
‘Well, too bad!’ said the troll. ‘Because I’m going to eat you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.’
‘But really…’ said the goat. ‘You said you’re big and hungry, but I’m just a little goat. If you eat me, you’ll still be hungry. My sister will be coming soon, and she’s bigger than me, so you can eat her instead.’
‘And why don’t I just eat you and your sister?’ said the troll.
‘Well, that would be greedy! But also, if you try to eat me, I’ll make lots of noise and my sisters will know not to cross the bridge!’
‘Fine, fine,’ said the troll. ‘Hopefully, your sister is less annoying…’
‘Yay! Thank you, Mr. Troll!’
The youngest sister crossed to the other side.
Next, the middle goat crossed the narrow bridge. She worried that the bridge might break, but it didn’t. When the troll jumped out, she was quite surprised.
‘Oh! I thought the bridge was breaking, but it’s just a rabbit or something.’
‘A rabbit?’ said the troll. ‘I’m not a rabbit!’
‘Alright, alright. Maybe a cat? Look, we live in a small field. I don’t know what other animals look like!’
‘That doesn’t matter!’ said the troll. ‘Because I’m going to eat you!’
‘Oh!’ said the middle goat. ‘Please tell me you ate my younger sister? She’s so annoying.’
‘I did not!’ said the troll. ‘Because I am going to eat YOU! And I can see that you are bigger than your sister, and so I will not be hungry afterwards.’
‘Oh, you poor thing!’ said the goat. ‘You must have so little food. You think I will be enough food for you? You probably have been eating too little all your life. Listen, my older sister is coming after me, and she’s really fat. She’s the biggest goat I’ve ever seen! She would really make a better meal.’
‘And why can’t I eat you both?’ said the troll.
Right now, he was thinking that maybe he should start eating grass. Grass didn’t talk when you tried to eat it. Grass wasn’t annoying like these goats. And his stomach was so empty…
‘Well, first, that would be greedy. But also, my older sister is very fast. If you eat me, you’ll be tired, and my sister will be too fast for you. But if you wait for her, you’ll be able to catch her! Also, I ate some really bad grass earlier, so you really don’t want to eat me.’
‘Fine, fine,’ said the troll. ‘Go on.’
‘Thanks!’ said the middle goat. She crossed over the bridge.
Finally, the eldest goat crossed the narrow bridge. The bridge made some noises, but it did not break. When the troll jumped out, the eldest goat was not surprised.
‘I remember you!’ she said. ‘It’s been years, hasn’t it?’
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ said the troll. ‘I’ve never met you.’
‘Oh, silly me. It was your mother I killed, wasn’t it? You were just a little baby then.’
‘What are you talking about?’ said the troll.
But it was too late for him. The eldest goat jumped and hit the troll with her head. The troll fell off the bridge and into the river.
‘Ahh!’ cried the troll.
‘Bye!’ said the eldest goat. ‘Oh, and if you have any babies, I’ll kill them, too! I’ll drown them one by one!’
The waters flowed quickly, and the troll drowned. But at least his stomach wasn’t empty. It was full of water!
The eldest goat crossed the bridge and found her sisters.
‘Oh,’ said the middle goat. ‘What did you tell the troll? Did you tell him that another troll was coming?’
‘Oh, don’t worry,’ said the eldest goat. ‘I was very nice to him.’
‘Really?’ said the youngest goat. ‘Is he still on the bridge?’
‘No, no,’ said the eldest. ‘We decided that he should leave. He lives somewhere much… wetter now. Now come on, we’ve got all this grass to eat! You won’t grow up to be big and strong like me if you don’t eat your grass.’
Now there were no trolls on the bridge, so the three goats could cross it easily. When there was no more grass in the field, the three goats crossed the bridge one by one and went to the other field. And so they happily ate grass for the rest of their lives.
If you enjoyed today’s episode and want to be able to read my stories in a physical format, then good news! I have a book of ten short stories called, well, Easy Stories in English. Get it on Amazon, Apple Books or Google Books, or go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Book to find out all the places it’s available. Thank you for listening, and see you in two weeks!