Easy Stories in English

The podcast that will take your English from OK to Good and from Good to Great!


Do you want more conversational material to listen to in English? Do you want to find out all about my personal life and opinions? Do you want to learn authentic words and slang that British people use in everyday life?

Well then, Elevenses with Ariel is for you! Elevenses with Ariel is a short daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners. In it, I talk about my hobbies, my past and pretty much whatever I feel like. It’s fun and much more relaxed than the main show, and the listeners LOVE it! Many have said that it’s like sitting down to drink a coffee with me, although I’ll have a tea, I think!

You can listen to the first episode for free at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Eleven, and further episodes are available for $5 a month on Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. People are leaving comments and chatting about each episode, and I think you’ll really enjoy it. So again, you can listen to the first episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Eleven.

I look forward to having elevenses with you!

OK, let’s start the episode.

[introduction music]

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 pre-intermediate learners. The name of the story is The Mermaid of Zennor. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Zennor. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Zennor. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.

Sorry if you hear lots of loud noises and banging in the background of today’s episode! In the office building next to my bedroom there is some building work going on, so I can’t get rid of this sound, but hopefully it’s not too bad.

So a few weeks ago, I went on holiday to visit my girlfriend, and this was actually the first time I met her in real life!

We met just over two months ago on a dating site, but because of coronavirus restrictions, we weren’t able to meet for two months. So for two months, we voice chatted and video chatted, and then finally, a few weeks ago, we were able to meet in real life for the first time, and we spent the week together.

So it was a bit strange, because usually your first date happens a bit earlier, and usually your first date doesn’t last a whole week.

But I had a fantastic time and we are very well matched, and, I don’t know, in some ways it’s a very nice way to date? Because we got to know each other very well before we met in person, so there was a strong emotional connection. In terms of feelings, we really knew each other very well by the time that we met, and we really enjoyed spending time together. We’d already had some really important conversations to have in a relationship before, so when we were together, we could just really enjoy the time.

Anyway, if you want to hear all about my holiday and my week-long first date, you can listen to the episode of Elevenses with Ariel at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. For just $5 a month, you can find out all about my relationship!

Cornwall is the part in red (Nilfanion CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Cornish flag

Anyway, my girlfriend lives in Cornwall.

So Cornwall is a region in the UK. It is the south-western tip of the UK. So if you look at the UK on a map, it is the bit that points out on the south-western end. And, therefore, I decided to adapt a story today that comes from Cornwall. So this is a local story from the village of Zennor, in Cornwall.

Cornwall has beautiful beaches and coastline (Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash)

Cornwall, in my opinion, is one of the best parts of the UK, if not the best part. It has beautiful beaches, I think some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It has a lovely path that goes around the coast, so you can walk on the cliffs and see the sea and feel the wind in your face. It has a really lovely local food called Cornish pasties.

Cornish pasties (Photo by Scott Eckersley on Unsplash)

So Cornish pasties are like a kind of pie that you can carry. They’re bigger than empanadas and smaller than calzones, but like a calzone, a Cornish pasty can be an entire meal. So it’s kind of like a pie that you can carry around like a sandwich, and any Cornish person will tell you, any person from Cornwall will tell you, that you really have to go to Cornwall to get the best Cornish pasties, even though they are sold throughout the country.

Generally, being by the sea, being at the very far end of the UK, not having any big cities, means that Cornwall has a much slower pace of life. It’s not busy, it’s not crazy. Everything is very relaxed and people spend a lot of the time walking on the beach, surfing, drinking tea and so on.

So I have to say, I had a lovely time in Cornwall and, if I do move in with my girlfriend, I’m really looking forward to being so close to the sea. I think being by the sea brings me a huge amount of peace, so it’s a lovely place and I’m going to put some pictures of my trip at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Zennor.

So come over, read the transcript, look at my pictures, and if you want to see future pictures of my travels, you can follow me on Instagram.

I know I’ve said before that I don’t really use social media much, but I have been using Instagram more recently. So you can follow me on Instagram @ArielGoodbody. It’s just my name.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ariel Goodbody (@arielgoodbody)

I don’t post very official stuff there, I just post selfies, uh, pictures from my everyday life and travels and so on, so you might like to go over there and follow me.

Anyway, as I said, The Mermaid of Zennor is a traditional story from Zennor, a village in Cornwall, and there is actually an ice cream company in Cornwall called The Moomaid of Zennor, um, based on this story.

And I just thought that was a really cute name, Moomaid! Because cows go, ‘Moo!’ And a maid is a woman who cleans and maybe cooks for a living, so, you know, the moomaid, I guess, is the woman who brings you freshly-made Cornish ice cream. So yeah, I need to go have some Moomaid the next time I’m in Cornwall, and maybe I’ll even visit Zennor!

OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.

A cheetah tail hanging off a tree (Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash)

A tail is a long thing that animals have on their backs. Dogs, cats, foxes and so on all have tails. Humans do not have tails. When dogs are happy, they wag their tails, they move their tails quickly.

A painting of a mermaid (Elena Ringo CC BY 4.0)

A mermaid is a magical creature. It is a woman who is half-fish. The top half of her body is human, and the bottom half is fish. She has a big fish tail instead of legs. There is a famous Disney film called The Little Mermaid about a mermaid called Ariel.

A bench is a long chair made of wood or stone. Benches are in public places, like parks, banks, churches and so on. Benches are long, so several people can sit on them. Sometimes, when people die they leave money so that benches can be built in

Benches in a park (Photo by freestocks on Unsplash)

pretty places, and then there is some writing on the bench about the person who died.

Someone has carved a message into this tree (Photo by Andy T on Unsplash)

Carve means to use a knife in wood to make shapes out of it. So you might carve a pipe, a bird or a toy out of wood. You can also carve your name into a tree, for example. Some people like to carve the name of themselves and their lover into a tree and carve a heart around it. On Halloween, people carve faces into pumpkins, and on Thanksgiving or at Christmas, people carve turkeys, they cut up turkeys, and eat them.

Mysterious means something has a lot of mystery, people don’t know much about it. For example, Stonehenge in the UK is a mysterious place, because we don’t know why it was made. Many people have theories about why Stonehenge was made, but it is still mysterious.

When you work up the courage to do something, you make yourself be brave. If you want to do something really frightening, like skydiving or asking someone to marry you, you will need to work up the courage first. Some people work up the courage by talking to themselves, or drinking alcohol, or doing exercises.

When something overlooks something else, it is above it, and you can see the second thing from it. For example, cliffs usually overlook the sea. If you stand on a cliff, you can see the sea. A building might overlook a park. My bedroom window overlooks a car park. You can see a car park from my bedroom window.

An anchor (Photo by Lynda Hinton on Unsplash)

An anchor is a big, heavy metal thing that ships and boats use. When a ship arrives at land, it has to stop moving. So you cast anchor, you drop the anchor, into the water, and the anchor stops the ship from moving because it is very heavy. Many fishermen and sailors get tattoos of anchors on their arm.

The captain of the Titanic, who probably could have done his job better

The captain of a ship is the leader of a ship. The captain tells other people what to do and makes important decisions. In films and TV shows, we often see pirate captains. Pirate captains have a wooden leg and an eyepatch, a piece of cloth over one eye, and they say, ‘Arrrrr!’ Unfortunately, real ship captains are not so interesting.

When someone tells you to do something and you do it immediately, you don’t need to be asked twice. For example, maybe you try to steal sweets from a shop, and the man who works there is very frightening. He sees you stealing and says, ‘Get out or I’ll call your parents!’ In that case, you don’t need to be asked twice. You run away before he can do that. If you wait for him to ask twice, then it’s too late and he’ll actually call them.

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 an extra story every month, as well as Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners. You can support the show and get all the extra content at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.

A big thank-you to my new patrons: Magdalena and Silvia Mazzeo. Thank you so much. Your support really means a lot to me.

OK, so listen and enjoy!

The Mermaid of Zennor

If you go down to the village of Zennor, and take a walk to the church, you’ll find something interesting. On one of the benches, there is a carving of a woman with beautiful blonde hair. She holds a mirror in one hand and a comb in the other. But instead of human legs, she has a fish’s tail, long and shiny.

Of course, she is a mermaid. But how did such a creature end up on a church bench? Well, there is a story behind that…

Many years ago, when people still believed in ghosts and monsters, a mysterious woman came to visit the church of Zennor. She had long, blonde hair and wore beautiful clothes, much nicer than all the people of the village. Whenever they sang songs in church, she had the most beautiful voice, and everyone else sang quietly so they could hear her better.

All the men—and some of the women—in the village wanted to talk to her. Who was this strange woman and where had she come from? But as soon as church ended, she left quickly, and nobody could work up the courage to follow her.

One man, Mathew Trewella, was the most handsome man in the village. He had short, brown hair, and everyone said he would find a most beautiful wife. But Mathew wasn’t interested in any of the girls in the village. He was only interested in the mysterious woman who visited the church.

Many times, Mathew tried to work up the courage to follow her, but something always happened. The priest talked to him, or his friends did. Once or twice, he followed her out of the  church, but she always disappeared quickly. He couldn’t understand where she went.

One day, the mysterious woman noticed Mathew. After church ended, she smiled at him, and looked at the door. He followed her, and this time she walked slowly, so that he did not lose her. However, he could still not work up the courage to walk beside her.

Finally, she came to the cliffs that overlooked the ocean. Mathew went and stood beside her, and they talked for a while.

At least, that was what people saw. In the next moment, a cloud of fog arrived, and when it disappeared, Mathew and the mysterious woman were nowhere to be seen.

For many years, people looked for Mathew Trewella, but nobody found him. People thought that he must have run away with the beautiful woman, and nobody heard from him again.

One day, a ship cast anchor near Zennor. The captain of the ship was an old man with a thick white beard. He had travelled between Zennor and other places all his life, bringing goods to the village. He knew the people well, and he had heard the story of Mathew Trewella.

After casting anchor, the captain heard something strange. It was a beautiful voice singing, although he could not tell if it was a man’s or a woman’s. And most mysteriously, it was coming from the water, where the anchor had fallen.

The captain put his head over the side of the ship and saw something very strange. A beautiful woman—or was it a man?—came out of the water, with long brown hair that shone in the sunlight. There was something in this person’s eyes, something that made the captain want to jump into the sea and never come back.

‘Excuse me, kind captain!’ called the person. ‘I’m afraid you have cast anchor on the door of my house, and I would like very much to go home. Could you raise the anchor again?’

The captain looked more closely and saw that, under the water, it was not a person at all. They had a tail! It had to be a mermaid.

Some of the people in the town thought it was a mermaid who had taken Mathew Trewella, all those years ago, and the captain didn’t like how this creature looked.

‘I will do no such thing!’ cried the captain. ‘You are a monster. You are the one who took Mathew Trewella away!’

The mermaid looked very annoyed.

‘Well, that would be quite strange,’ they said, ‘because I am Mathew Trewella. And I came into the sea because I wanted to, thank you very much. Now, are you going to let me get back to my wife and family, or do you want to become a mermaid, too?’

The captain didn’t need to be asked twice. He pulled up the anchor, and the mermaid thanked him and swam away.

The captain wanted very much to leave, but he had to tell the people of the village about what happened. When he told them he’d met Mathew Trewella, and that the handsome young man was now a mysterious mermaid, the people all cried with fear.

‘That monster took our Mathew and gave him a tail! How awful!’

The captain tried to explain that Mathew looked quite happy with his life, but the people wouldn’t listen.

‘We must leave a warning,’ said the people, ‘so that nobody will ever be taken by a mermaid again.’

And so the mermaid was carved into the bench at the church of Zennor, and all the parents told their children to be careful about mysterious women with long, beautiful hair.

Of course, some did not see the carving as a warning, but as an invitation. If you go onto the cliffs of Zennor late at night, the moon shines on the water like a mirror. Maybe you’ll see a beautiful woman swimming in the sea, combing her long, blonde hair. If it gets foggy, you might end up joining her…


The carving of the mermaid (Caitrina Nicholson CC BY-SA 2.0)

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.



2 responses to “The Mermaid of Zennor”

  1. Yasemin avatar

    I read beginner all stories. And I started the intermediate level stories. I never wrote any comment but nobody wrote this stroies, I want to write thank you all the stories give a new message for me

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Wow, that’s fantastic, Yasemin! And thank you for your comment. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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