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Elephants, bananas and Aunty Ethel

I looked at my watch and saw that it was going backwards. 'That's OK,' I was thinking. 'If my watch is going backwards, then it means that it's early, so I'm not late for work at all.' And then I woke up. Again.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the story and do the exercises.

So, I was walking along the street on my way to work as usual, but for some reason I was in a hurry. I wasn't really sure why I was in a hurry. And then I realised that I was holding a banana in my hand. I didn't know why I was holding a banana in my hand, but I knew that the banana was really important for some reason. The banana had something to do with the reason that I was late and in a hurry. It was a really important banana, only I didn't know why the banana was so important. Then I met my Aunty Ethel on the street corner. It was strange, because I hadn't seen Aunty Ethel for about twenty years.

'Hello!' I said to her. 'I haven't seen you for about twenty years!'

I was really surprised to see her, but she didn't seem surprised to see me.

'Be careful with that banana!' she said. And I laughed, because I knew that it was a really important banana and, yes, I had to be careful with it. Aunty Ethel decided to walk to work with me, which was a problem because I was late and in a hurry, and she walked really, really slowly. Then, when we went round the corner, there was an elephant blocking the street. It depends where you live, I guess, but in Manchester it's pretty strange to see an elephant blocking the street. The strange thing was, though, that I wasn't really that surprised. 'Oh no!' I was thinking. 'Another elephant blocking the street … what a pain! Especially this morning when I'm late and in a hurry, and with Aunty Ethel, and this really important banana …' Then I started to get really worried, and then … I woke up.

I breathed a sigh of relief. 'Thank goodness for that,' I thought. How strange dreams are … I wonder why I was dreaming about elephants and bananas and Aunty Ethel. The radio was already on. The radio comes on automatically at 7 o'clock to wake me up. I looked at the clock. It was already ten past seven. I had to get up quickly. I went into the shower, and I could hear the news on the radio. I couldn't hear it very well, but there was a story on the news about an elephant that had escaped from a local circus. The elephant was causing a lot of trouble walking around the town. I thought this was an incredible coincidence, but then I realised that I had probably heard the news story on the radio when I was half asleep. That was why I was dreaming about an elephant. I quickly got dressed and went into the kitchen to get some coffee before I went to work. I work for a film company. We get ideas for films and film scripts and then we try to produce the films. I thought a film about an elephant in Manchester would be great.

There was a note on the kitchen table. It was from my wife. 'Don't forget to buy bananas on your way home from work today!!!' it said. It was a good job she had written the note, because I had completely forgotten about the fact that she has to eat a lot of bananas because of the crazy diet she's on at the moment. I tried to remember to buy bananas on my way home from work and rushed out of the house. As I was walking down the road my mobile rang. It was my mum.

'Hello, Mum!' I said. 'What are you ringing at this time for?'

'I've got some sad news, I'm afraid, love,' she said. 'Do you remember your Aunty Ethel?'

'Just about,' I said. 'But I haven't seen Aunty Ethel for about twenty years.'

'Yes, well, she was very old … and I'm afraid she died last night. She'd been very ill … I told you a couple of weeks ago …'

'That's sad,' I said.

So there I was, walking down the street, late for work, thinking about Aunty Ethel and bananas and elephants, and of course I realised that it was all exactly the same as my dream. And as I started to think more about this, I realised I was walking more and more slowly, and I looked down and saw that the street was turning into hot, wet, sticky toffee, and it was sticking to my shoes, and the quicker I tried to walk, the slower I went. I looked at my watch and saw that my watch was going backwards. 'That's OK,' I was thinking. 'If my watch is going backwards, then it means that it's early and not late, so I'm not late for work at all …' And then I woke up. Again.

Now this was strange. This was very, very strange. I got up and pinched myself to make sure I was really awake this time. 'Ouch!' The pinch hurt. This meant I really was awake, and not dreaming this time. It was early. I wasn't late. The radio alarm clock hadn't come on yet. It was only half past six. My wife was still at home.

'Have you got enough bananas?' I asked her. She looked at me as if I was crazy.

'What do you mean "bananas"?' she asked.

'I thought you had to eat lots of bananas for your special diet …'

'I have no idea what you're on about!' she said. 'Why? Do you think I need to go on a diet? Do you mean that I'm fat?'

'No, no, no … not at all … By the way, have you heard anything about an elephant?'

'An elephant?'

'Yes, an elephant which has escaped from a circus …'

'We live in Manchester. There aren't any circuses in Manchester. And there certainly aren't any elephants. Listen, are you suffering from stress or something? You're working too hard on that new film you're trying to produce, aren't you? Perhaps you should just stay at home today, take it easy …'

'Perhaps you're right,' I said. 'I'll just phone my mum.'

'Why do you need to phone your mum at half past six in the morning?'

'Oh … nothing important,' I said.

'Well, I'm off to work. See you later, and take it easy today, OK?'

'OK!'

I phoned my mum.

'Hello, Mum!'

'Hello, love. What are you calling this early for?'

'Do you remember Aunty Ethel?'

'Of course I do … but I haven't seen her for about twenty years or so …'

'How is she?'

'I've got no idea. Why on earth are you worried about your Aunty Ethel who you haven't seen for twenty years?'

'Oh nothing … bye!'

I made a cup of tea and went back to bed. Perhaps my wife was right. Perhaps I should just relax and take it easy today. I phoned up my boss.

'Listen,' I said, 'I'm not feeling too good today … perhaps too much stress with the production schedule of the new film project …'

'That's a shame,' said my boss. 'We've just got a really exciting new idea for a film … I wanted to talk to you about it today. It's a kind of action movie. It's a great story. You have to hear this – an elephant escapes from a circus in a big city and it has eaten some strange, radioactive bananas, so it's going completely crazy. They eventually manage to stop the elephant by covering all the streets with sticky toffee, so that it can't walk!'

'I see,' I said. 'And where does my Aunty Ethel come into it?'

'Aunty who?'

I hung up the phone and hoped that I would wake up. Soon.

Chris Rose

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Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

In my house, we used to close all windows due to some dispute with my neighbors. On one day, I got a dream that window hooks are open and thief are coming from that window. I immediately checked the windows hooks when I wake up. This was really strange. The window hook was open as exactly the same as my dream.

No. It hasn't.

I used to dream about some people and often a few days later I hear from them, also sometimes in my dreams I predict that something bad will happen to some people and I become very worried about them, although this does n't come true most of the time.

I never felt it the dreams predicted my real life. But sometimes i had the feeling that something was happening that happened before. It's deja-vu feeling. Anyway, nice story. Thanks!

I never remember the dreams. Mostly they are from day to day life and good ones. It takes some time for me to come to fully awaken state. At the threshold of the waking and dream state I am generally very happy but soon realise it was a dream not actual but i quickly forget.
It is said that you should try to remember dreams to have a good memory.
When I was a child in exam days I usually had dreams that I got late in reaching examination centre. I woke up with fear.
I dreamt that I am falling down a cliff but before I touch the ground I woke up.
Sometimes I felt I am unable to breathe. In all such cases I generally woke up and found myself normal.
I never have had dreams like we see in movies eg giving insight of important event in future or romance.
My dreams are mostly sweet dreams.

I used to have a dream that I failed my test when I'm 10. When I woke up I realized that it was a dream but later on in the afternoon I failed my test, just like in the dream. After that I thought dream is a kind of prediction. It really stress me out every time I had a bad dream or nightmare. Now that I think again I was kind of childish and funny.

I don't think, or I don't remember this, but it has sometimes happened I had the dreams connected to the events which had occurred just before.

Hi guys,
Oh just wondering where can I find those super cool audios you guys used to have together with these stories. Are they available in a different part in your website?
Thanks a lot! :D

Hello carlosfromchile

I'm afraid the audio for these older stories is no longer available. The good news is that we have lots of other free, downloadable listening material in the Audio zone, Listening skills, Podcasts, Big City Small World and other sections.

Please let us know if we can help you find something!

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Great story and true fact about dreams.
Dreams are strange with no doubt, they sometimes make you feel whether you are alive or dead or actually in to something happening in your dream. I have had a lot exact dreams but not dream in to dream

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