Do you enjoy the podcast, but you want someone to speak to in English? You have learned all these cool new words, and now you want to start using them!
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I have been both a teacher and a student on italki, and it has helped me so much. If you are like me, you don’t want to take a long course, but with italki you can take lessons when you want, how you want. You can have a conversation class on the bus, or an exam class with lots of homework. There is something for everyone.
Oh, and if you use that link, I get a bit of money, so you’re helping me, too. Thanks!
And I DO teach on italki, so if you want to book a class with me, you can go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Classes.
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 beginners. The name of the story is The Wolf and the Fox. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Wolf. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Wolf. 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.
A wolf is a big animal like a dog. But wolves are much more dangerous than dogs. They live in groups called packs. Wolves like to sit under the moon and howl. They go awoo.
A fox is a small, red animal. It’s a bit like a dog or a wolf, but it is red all over, and it has a big tail. Foxes can be quite dangerous, but you don’t see them very often. However, foxes are more common now in big cities. They go into bins in the night and steal food.
Ugly means not beautiful, something that looks bad. Many people think they are ugly, even if they are not. In the UK, there was an art movement in the 1970s called brutalism. Because of this movement, many ugly buildings were built. But some people say that they are not ugly—they’re beautiful! Personally, I think brutalist buildings are ugly.
Someone who is greedy wants to have lots of food, or lots of money. Often, children are greedy, and always want to eat more food and 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.
When you beat someone, you hit them again and again, so that they hurt a lot. Hitting is just once, but beating is hitting many times. Usually, when we say ‘beat’, it means using a stick or some other thing to hit the person. In the past, people used to beat children and beat animals, but usually people think this is bad now.
When you smile, you move the sides of your mouth up. It is like a laugh, but smaller. You want to show that you are happy. If you like someone, you smile at them. In some countries, people smile a lot more than in other countries. Sometimes, Thailand is called “the land of smiles”.
Pancakes are thin, flat cakes that you make in a frying pan, and people eat them for breakfast. You mix together flour, eggs and milk in a bowl, and then you cook it in a frying pan. Halfway through cooking, you have to flip the pancake—turn it upside down. This part is hard, and if you are not careful, you can drop the pancake on the floor! Afterwards, you can put fruit, sugar, lemon juice, peanut butter, Nutella, maple syrup… You can put many things on it! American pancakes are small and thick, but British pancakes are bigger and thinner. In many countries, the thin type of pancake is called a crêpe.
A cellar is a room underground in a house. So you enter the house on the ground level, and go downstairs to the cellar. People often store old things, wine or food in cellars. You have to be careful, because cellars can flood easily. In America, they call cellars ‘basements’. To be honest, cellars are very rare in the UK. Most people don’t have one.
When you are in prison, or someone has you captured, you will want to escape, run away. There are many films about prisoners who want to escape, for example Shawshank Redemption. But it’s not always that dramatic. Maybe you are at a family dinner and your parents start asking when you are going to get married and have children. You might escape to the toilet!
A tunnel is a road that goes underground, between two places. Let’s say you’re building a road, but there’s a mountain in the way. You can build the road around the mountain, or you can make a tunnel through the mountain. The longest tunnel in the world is the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, which is 57km long. The longest tunnel that goes under the sea is the Channel Tunnel between England and France. 37.9km of the tunnel are underwater. You can ride through the tunnel on a train called the Eurostar. It’s quite exciting! Unfortunately, you can’t see the ocean through the tunnel.
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OK, so listen and enjoy!
The Wolf and the Fox
Once, there were a wolf and a fox. The fox worked for the wolf, and he hated him. The wolf was very bad, and made the fox do everything for him. The wolf was ugly and greedy, but he was stronger than the fox, so the fox had to do what he said.
One day, they were walking through the forest and the wolf said, ‘Oh, fox! I am so hungry. If I do not have something to eat, I will have to eat you!’
‘Then I will go and get you something to eat,’ said the fox. ‘There is a farm near here, and there are two sheep there.’
The fox went and took one of the sheep, and the wolf ate it very quickly.
‘Ah, lovely!’ he said. ‘But I am still hungry. I want the second sheep!’
‘Then go and get it yourself,’ said the fox.
So the wolf went into the farm to take the second sheep. But he was not fast and clever like the fox, and the sheep cried out loudly. The farmer heard the sheep, saw the wolf, and came and beat him in the face.
The wolf was very angry when he came back. The farmer had beat his face very hard, and now he was uglier than before.
‘I don’t believe it!’ said the wolf. ‘The farmer saw me and beat me in the face.’
The fox smiled. ‘How strange. He did not see me and beat me in the face! Maybe you are too greedy.’
The next day, they were walking through a city and the wolf said, ‘Oh, fox! I am so hungry. If I do not have something to eat, I will have to eat you!’
‘Then I will go and get you something to eat,’ said the fox. He sniffed. ‘A woman is making pancakes in that house there. I will go and take some pancakes.’
So the fox went and took six pancakes and brought them to the wolf. The wolf ate the pancakes very quickly and said, ‘Mmm, yum! But I am still hungry. I want twelve more pancakes!’
‘Then go and get them yourself,’ said the fox.
So the wolf went to take more pancakes, but he was not fast and clever like the fox. He broke the plate on the floor, and the woman came and saw him. She beat his legs for a long time, and the wolf came back very slowly.
‘I don’t believe it!’ said the wolf. ‘The woman saw me and beat me in the legs. Now I can’t walk well!’
The fox smiled. ‘How strange. She did not see me and beat me in the legs! Maybe you are too greedy.’
The day after that, they were walking next to a castle. The wolf could only walk very slowly, so they went slowly.
‘Oh, fox!’ said the wolf. ‘I am so hungry. If I do not have something to eat, I will have to eat you!’
‘Then let us go and get you something to eat,’ said the fox. ‘In the cellar of the castle, there are many boxes of salted meat. I cannot carry them to you because they are heavy. So we will go there together.’
‘Alright,’ said the wolf, ‘but I can only walk slowly. So if the King comes, you must help me escape.’
‘Of course!’ said the fox.
They went through a tunnel to get into the cellar. The tunnel was not very wide.
Inside the cellar, there were many boxes of salted meat. The wolf was very happy, and ate and ate and ate. But the fox ate, then looked through the tunnel, then ate, then looked through the tunnel.
Finally, the wolf said, ‘Fox! What are you doing? I want to enjoy my food, but you are running here and there. Why are you looking through the tunnel so much?’
‘I want to see if anyone is coming. Don’t eat too much!’
But when the fox said to do something, the wolf never did it. So he ate a whole box of salted meat.
The King heard strange noises in the cellar, so he came to look at it. The fox heard him, and ran through the tunnel, escaping easily. But the wolf was very slow, and when he came to the tunnel, he could not get through. He was too fat from the meat, and he could not escape!
‘Fox! Fox!’ shouted the wolf.
But the fox had escaped, and he didn’t go back for the wolf.
‘Well, well, well,’ said the King. ‘There is an ugly wolf in the castle, and he has eaten my meat! That cannot be.’
And the King beat the wolf for a very long time, and finally the wolf died.
The fox escaped, and he was very happy. He didn’t have to do what the wolf said anymore. He smiled.
‘Oh, wolf,’ he said. ‘You were too greedy!’
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I have to say, I am quite greedy like the wolf. So hopefully, no king will come and kill me! We will see.
Anyway, recently I have been writing like crazy. I have been writing so much. At the moment, I wake up every day and I immediately think about the book I’m reading or the book I’m writing. I think I mentioned before that I realised that I love romance. I love romance novels, books about love. So I’m reading loads of romance novels and I’m working on a romance novel.
What I realised recently is that my writing process, my way of writing, involves a lot of thinking. And that’s OK. Before, I thought I just needed to sit down and write and write and write, and then, even if the writing is bad, I can make it better later. But actually, I realised that, if I stop and go slowly and take a long time when I’m writing it down the first time, I write a lot better, and often I don’t have to change the scenes very much after I write them. Before, I would write, you know, 20,000 words and I would have to throw them away because they were all bad. So that really was a waste of time.
But it’s a problem because I wake up and I think about writing, I have a shower and I think about writing, I eat lunch and I think about writing. So yeah.
The novel I’m writing at the moment is also very difficult, because I’m writing a kind of book that doesn’t really exist. I’m writing a transgender romance, so a romance novel with a transgender character.
But the thing is, yes, there are romance novels with transgender characters, but this isn’t just any romance novel. This is paranormal romance.
So paranormal romance is romance books about vampires, werewolves, maybe zombies, I don’t know. Basically, falling in love with paranormal, supernatural, creatures. Although in my story, it’s a dragon, and not a werewolf.
Oh, by the way, a werewolf is a human who can transform, who can change, into a wolf. So this combination of paranormal romance with a transgender character, it’s very new, and so it’s very difficult to write because I can’t look to other books for help. But I also feel like this is a book from my heart, it’s a book I really want to write and that I need to write, because it’s helping me understand a lot of my own feelings to do with gender and sexuality and all of those things.
Anyway, it’s the ideas that scare us the most, the ideas that are the most difficult, that we need to write about. I think before, I shied away, I hid, from the ideas I most wanted to write, or I tried to say, ‘Well, it’s a transgender romance, but really it’s more of a fantasy novel,’ and I tried to focus on the action.
But no, now I know what I need to write. It’s scary. It’s hard. But I have to do it.
If any of you are artists, and I know many of you are artists, I’m sure you understand this.
Oh, and by the way, you may know that I teach classes on italki, and you can take a class with me there. So you can get all the information at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Classes. Now, for a few weeks, I was not accepting new students, and one or two people messaged me and asked when I will accept new students, and I said, ‘Well, not now, but when I do accept new students, I will announce it on the podcast.’
And here I am announcing it! So I am taking on new students for English, Esperanto and Spanish classes online. You can find all the details at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Classes, and I really look forward to teaching you.
If you enjoyed the story, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Go to Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. For just a few dollars a month you can get extra episodes, conversational podcasts, exercises, and much more. Thank you for listening, and until next week.