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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?'


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



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


Hello Sharif. My name is Svitlana and I try to learn English  too. I live in Ukraine. You can write me about  your life.   

How interesting! Dream in dream. And there seems to be a certain link between his dream and practical events which are gonna happen in next day. 
I also had such a dream long time ago. that was a dream inside a dream as well. in which, a ghost scared and followed me. i was so frightened and ran away in fear. i suddenly woke up and realized that i had been in dream. i caught my friend siting next to me and giving me a worried look. i told her i was ok. then we heard a little crack and figured out there was a rob breaking into my house. i headed to my friend and realized she had disappeared already. i ran out off my room and witnessed her scaring the rob. he was extremely frightened and ran away in fear. just like my dream. i forgot to say that my friend was a ghost. i laughed so loud and opened my eyes to know that i was laying on my bed and it was morning. all was just a dream. hehe

such an unforgetably interesting dream!

I think everyone have had strange dreams

It tremendously hilarious, it's unique and lighten up my day. But, I do agree, that dreams arisen from semi-concious mind, might be due to the excessive thinking or flight of ideas. Although all of them - banana, elephant and aunty Ethel are not inter-woven, you just can make up a good story!

This story is full imaginary but very interesting because it has a suspense text. People like very much to talk about dreams. They want to know what is the mean from the dreams.  Usually I discuss about my dreams, specially when it is unrealistic and strange. Sometimes I dreamed that I look a airplane down near me. I must rain quickly because is very danger to stay in that place. I never been in the airplane. When I woke up, I'm very happy to perceive that it was only a dream. 

I think this story very funny.But as if it iwas very complicated and strange.The man who was in this story  saw strange dream and woke up twice .Neverthless, this situation was come to funny.  

His dream is really confusing and strange but it's funny. I believe that most of our dreams are what we uncosciouslly think about or what we hope to achieve in the reall world. For myself i don't remember most of my dreams when i wake up. But i do remember some of them when they really have a message for my.

I believe in dreams. From time to time I dream about strange  or silly things. Very often I don't remember what I dream about. Sometimes I do and then I tell my mom or my sister about it. There are people who can understand dreams and explain them. I know for sure that when you dream about the dead (your dead relatives) it means that you will die in some time. When you dream about meat or eating meat it means that you will fall ill. My grandpa who died two years ago had such dreams. While we're young we don't take it too much to heart  and don't believe in such things but as we get older we take it seriously.

Your texts

Aco writes “A very interesting construction (a dream inside of another dream), but our experiences can offer more exciting things. Therefore I want to share a dream of mine.

While sound asleep, I happened to be in the middle of some battlefield, surrounded by a horde of mad enemy soldiers. There was no escape and I was terrified, almost on the edge of screaming (sometimes my nightmares had ended up in that way). Fortunately, as if turned on in a split second, my brain produced logical thought. And I told to myself: “This is just a dream, so they can’t harm me”. Though they continued to mutilate my body with their hefty knives and axes I was calm and relaxed. Before long, their pale figures disappeared and without waking up I went on dreaming.”

Prabhat writes “This story really gives a feeling of a dream. Actually a dream reveals our subconscious mind. We are giving expression to our suppressed thoughts and feelings through a dream. In a sound sleep we don’t dream. Stress and tension hinder a good sleep and result in dreams. The story really tells the life of a middle class man with all his worries and happiness. The story is somewhat humorous too. I’m hoping for more like this.”

Tankist writes “This story is really funny but seems to be real. I’ve head about double wakenings, and some dreams turn out to be really fascinating stories so I like to retell them to my friends, listen to theirs and discuss the matter. I think many of them could make thrilling and breath-taking films and books”

Moe Moe Kyaw writes “Yesterday, I met with my friends and heard some disappointing news. After that I got very tired by going here and there and doing some stuff, and then I watched a western action movie at night. The movie was about an assassin who took revenge on her enemies. The movie was very fast and some scenes were very complex so that my mind got confused. Some horrible scenes with killing and bleeding from the dead body made me feel awful. Last night I dreamt of some thing I could not remember sharply when I woke up. The dream included some parts of the movie. In the dream I was in the role of the hero, fighting with the enemy, and I felt some fatigue after I woke up. And today I feel somewhat bored with my daily routines and some unhappiness. It’s like a vague feeling I cannot describe in words. I think I was attracted by that movie in some way , also my consciousness disliked it. Mixed with the disappointment that had occurred when I knew some information from my friends, the dream arose.”