Learn English and Improve Vocabulary through Story: Swan lake (level 1)

{“en”:”Chapter one Prince Zigfried Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a Prince. His name was Zigfried, and he was very unhappy. His father, the King, had died, and since then, everyone in the palace had forgotten how to smile. Without his father, Zigfried thought he would never feel happy again. Every day, Zigfried sat at the window in his room in the palace, looking at the birds in the trees. “How can they sing and fly so free? They must not feel like me.” His servant, Ozlowe, tried to make the prince smile by telling him jokes or doing funny tricks for him. But the Prince would not smile. “I know you love me Ozlowe, but I cannot smile. My heart is broken.” Ozlowe would not give up. “Let’s go for a walk, good Prince. Maybe we can find something outside which will make you happy.” “If you wish Ozlowe, but I don’t think there’s anything that can make me happy.” Ozlowe put on his hunting cap, and he took his crossbow.

He enjoyed hunting and he hoped to catch a bird or a rabbit for the Prince. They walked through the forest until they came to a lake. On the lake there was a beautiful white swan. It had a gold crown on its head, that only Princesses wear. The swan swam towards the prince and looked into his eyes. The swan’s eyes were so sad that Prince Zigfried felt sorry for it. “Here is a creature which feels worse than I do. But why do you have that crown on your head?” The swan opened its wings and cried out. “I think it’s trying to tell me something.” Ozlowe had his crossbow in his hands. He wanted to shoot the swan. “I’ll get that swan for you. Prince. Just one minute.” “Ozlowe, no!” Before Ozlowe could shoot, a magic owl flew from a tree and took Ozlowe’s cap off his head.

This cast a spell on him, and he was turned to stone. The Prince did not understand. “Ozlowe, what has happened to you? Speak to me!” He looked back at the lake. The swan was gone. “Everything I do goes wrong. This must have happened because of me!” The Prince returned to the palace sadder than before, thinking to himself: “If only Ozlowe were here! There is nothing good in my life any more”. Zigfried’s mother came to see him that night. She had something important to say. “Zigfried, soon you will be eighteen years old. You must take your father’s place as King. I am having a ball on your birthday so that you may choose a wife, and I will invite all the princesses from the other kingdoms.” “But I do not wish to marry, Mother.

I do not love anyone.” “You will learn to love someone. First, you must stop thinking of yourself.” “If this will make you happy, I’ll do it, Mother.” “It is not for my happiness that I am doing this. It is for yours, and all the other people in this land. You see, love is more powerful than we know. Without it, you will not be a great King.” His mother left him. He sat at the window, thinking of what she had said. He wanted to love someone with all his heart, but he didn’t know who it would be. Chapter two The Beautiful Princess On the morning of the Royal Ball, everybody was very busy in the palace. The Queen’s maids were preparing the Queen’s dress. The servants cleaned the floors and windows, and the cooks were cooking enough food for a thousand people. The prince looked handsome in his red outfit. But he was still not happy. He left the palace to be alone and think, and went to the stone statue of Ozlowe. “It’s my birthday today Ozlowe. I’m eighteen. That means that I must marry someone and become King. The problem is I don’t want to get married; I don’t love anyone.” There was a quiet splashing in the lake.

Zigfried looked and saw the beautiful swan with the gold crown. “There it is! The beautiful swan has come back.” He went closer to the water to look at it. Its eyes had the same sadness in them, but it was happy to see Zigfried and it swam close to him. Zigfried looked into its eyes and talked to it. “I think you understand me. I think you know how people feel.” A tear fell from the swan’s eye. “Don’t cry. You should be happy that you are a swan. You will never have to marry someone you do not love. You will never feel sad when someone dies.” The swan made a loud cry. Its wings moved back and forth at its sides. Suddenly, an owl appeared as if from nowhere and flew at Zigfried’s head, but it missed. The owl flew off, and the swan began to swim away. “Wait. Don’t leave.” Zigfried ran round the edge of the lake, following the swan. He had to run fast to see where it went.

Soon, he was in a part of the forest he did not know. Tall trees blocked out the sun. It was very dark. The swan swam to an ugly old castle. When it left the water, something magical happened; the swan turned into a beautiful Princess. She had long blonde hair and she wore a long white dress. The crown was still on her head. Zigfried ran to where she stood at the castle door. “Wait! Where are you going?” The Princess stopped, but she did not look at him. “Look at me, please. My name is Prince Zigfried and I want to know who you are.” The Princess turned to look at the Prince. She had the same dark, sad eyes of the swan. “My name is Princess Odile.” “But why were you a swan? Why do you look so sad?” “An evil wizard called Rocford cast a spell on me. I may only leave the castle during the day as a swan.” “Where is this wizard? I will talk to him. I will tell him this is wrong.” “No, you mustn’t. He will hurt you, I know. He does not want me to see another man.” “Tell me where this man is! I will fight him and free you.” “No, you must leave.

He is dangerous.” “I won’t leave until I see him; You must be set free.” “Please. You are very kind, but you must go away.” “I won’t!” She looked into his eyes again. “If you want to do something for me, you will leave now.” “Odile, I will leave if you want me to. But I want you to come to the ball tonight. I must choose a wife and I want to choose you.” “I can’t. The wizard won’t let me.” “Find a way. Promise me you’ll try.” She spoke softly. “All right. I’ll try.” Chapter three Odet Zigfried left, and Odile went inside the castle. Odet, the wizard’s evil daughter, was behind a tree. When she saw Odile talking to the Prince, she was jealous; she wanted to go to the ball, and what was more, she wanted to marry the Prince. She didn’t like Odile, because she was so beautiful and kind. But the wizard loved her, so Odet couldn’t do anything to hurt her… until now! Odet went to the wizard’s room, but he was not there. The room looked like a museum. There was an Egyptian statue against one wall, and large aquariums full of strange fish.

On a table stood many different coloured bottles. Odet opened one of the bottles. Smoke came out of it. It smelled of burning wood. The magic owl flew into the open window, unseen by Odet, and changed back into the wizard. “Do you like the smell?” “Oh, Father! You scared me.” “You wouldn’t be afraid if you were not in my room when I wasn’t here.” “I know father, but I have something very important to tell you. It’s about Odile.” The wizard opened his eyes wide. He was a tall man, with a long, white beard and long, white hair. He wore a big black hat and a long black robe with stars on it. “Tell me what you know!” “First, you must promise to do something for me.” “What is it?” “I can’t tell you now. First, I must tell you about Odile, then I will ask for something. Will you do it?” “Tell me, before I turn you into a frog!” The wizard was very much in love with Odile. He would change his daughter into a frog because he wanted to know about Odile.

“Today, I saw Odile talking to Prince Zigfried. The Prince asked Odile to go to the royal ball tonight. He wants to marry her and free her from your evil powers.” The wizard turned in a circle and pointed his hand at the floor. Fire came from his fingers and hit the floor. The whole castle shook. “I should have destroyed the Prince today, when I saw him with Odile.” “You saw him, too?” “Yes, at the lake. I attacked him, but I was only an owl. Odile knew this and she left him. He must have followed her here.” “Oh yes Father, and he is so handsome! You should see his face!” “Silence!” The wizard turned himself into a large, stone ball. He threw himself against the walls, making the castle shake again. Alone in her room, Odile felt the castle shaking. She hid her head under a pillow on her bed; she hated it when the wizard got angry. The wizard changed back into himself in his room. “Now Father, you promised you’d do something for me.” “I never promised you anything!” “Oh, Father.

I want to go to the ball! I want to marry the prince.” The wizard angrily raised his hand again. Then, he thought of something. Slowly, he lowered his hand. “You would like to go to the ball, wouldn’t you?” “Oh yes, Father!” “And you would like to marry the prince?” “Yes, I would.” “Then you will, and he will think that you are Odile.” “Oh Father, what a wonderful idea!” She put her arms around him. His body was cold as stone, and his eyes were filled with fire.

Chapter four A bird in a cage Odile’s room was at the top of the castle tower. Rocford had put her there, after he had taken her from her parents. She was the most beautiful Princess in the land, and her parents were good and kind. Rocford had asked her father if he could marry Odile. “We must ask my daughter what she thinks.” Odile was brought to the wizard. “Odile, this man lias asked to marry you. He says he is very rich and that he will make you the happiest princess in the world. What do you think?” Odile looked into the wizard’s eyes. “Do you promise to love me forever, with all your heart?” Will you love me so much that you will not think of what you want, even if it hurts you to do this?” The look in her eyes and her questions made Rocford uncomfortable. “Why do you ask me such questions? I told your father I could give you everything you could want.” The Princess smiled and turned her head away.

“I’m sorry Father, but I will not marry this man. He does not know what love is.” They did not know then that he was a wizard. Rocford had looked like a Prince. He wore beautiful clothes and looked very handsome. But, when he heard what Odile said to her father, his face began to change. It became old and ugly. His clothes changed from blue to black. “You do not know what you are saying, you silly girl. I do not have to ask for what I want.

I am a wizard, and I can do anything I please.” He waved his hands through the air, and a fire started in the castle where the Princess and her parents lived. He had turned Odile into a small bird in a cage, and carried her to his castle where he locked her up in a tower. The entire kingdom was destroyed by this fire, and her parents were killed. There was a real bird in a cage in Odile’s room at the wizard’s castle. The wizard had put it there so that Odile would remember the power he had over her. He only let her leave the castle as a swan because he did not want other men to fall in love with her.

At night, she stayed in her room talking to the bird, who was her only friend. She called the bird Patrice, because it was her mother’s name. “Oh Patrice, what should I do? The ball is tonight, and I am a prisoner here. I believe the Prince loves me with all his heart. I saw it in his eyes. He loved me even as a swan.” The bird began moving its wings wildly. It always knew when something horrible was about to happen. “What is it Patrice, what are you afraid of?” Odile heard keys in her locked door.

She put the bird and its cage behind a curtain, because she did not want the bird to see what was about to happen. Chapter five Odet’s New Voice The wizard entered Odile’s room with Odet. Odet was the same age and height as Odile, but she had dark hair. However, she wasn’t as beautiful as Odile, and this made her very jealous. The wizard spoke first.

“Sit down, Odile. I would like to ask you something.” The wizard waved his hand and a large and very comfortable pink chair appeared. Odile sat on it. “Odet tells me that you would like to go to the ball tonight. Is that true?” “Yes.” “If I let you go to this ball, will you promise to marry me?” “I have told you, I will only marry a man who loves me and who I love.” “But you know I love you.” “If you loved me, you wouldn’t keep me locked up in this castle. You wouldn’t have killed my parents.” “You are a fool! Would you like to marry the Prince? Is that it?” “He loves me more than you do.” “How do you know? He left you here with me. That shows you that you are wrong. He is afraid of me. He can’t love you very much if he is afraid.” “He did it for me! I asked him to do it!” “And did you tell him that you would go to the ball?” “Yes.” “Then you lied. You knew I would not let you go.” “I said I would try. He knows that if I do not go it is not because I do not want to.” “And how does he know this?” “You do not have to cast a spell on someone or make them rich to love you.

You understand it by looking in their eyes. You know it by the way they speak and act.” “You are a dreamer!” “And you have no heart!” “Silence!” The wizard raised both his arms and the castle shook. The curtain on the wall fell down, and the wizard saw the bird in the cage. “Ah, the bird.” “If you hurt that bird you are worse than I thought.” The bird flew wildly as the wizard walked towards it. He picked up the cage. “Now, why would I hurt this bird? It is like me. It has no heart. It does not feel anything when I do this.” The wizard pointed his fingers at Odet. She changed into Odile. She had the same blonde hair, the same eyes. She was even wearing the crown. Odile stood up. “Tonight, Odet will go to the ball as you, Odile. Zigfried will marry her and we will see what true love is.

Your hearts are nothing compared to my magic.” “You may look like me Odet, but there is something missing from your eyes. The prince will know this.” “He does not love you Odile. He only loves what you look like.” “I almost forgot!” The wizard waved his hand. “Odet, say something.” When Odet spoke, she sounded just like Odile. “Hello, Prince Zigfried. It’s me, Odile. I love you.” Odile ran to her bed, crying. She fell on the bed and covered her face. Rocford laughed loudly. He took Odet out of the room and locked the door behind him. When Odile looked up, only the bird was with her. It too, had a tear in its eye.. “}

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