In some ways I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed.
Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008)
The Remarkables, Queenstown, New Zealand. © Christian Mehlführer, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0.
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english language and history .com
a celebration in music, word games and two-minute tales
UK summer time

Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

A to Z Index

Glorious John
Music: Johann Baptist Cramer
JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.

BY 1784, thirteen-year-old Johann Baptist Cramer was such a naturally gifted pianist that Muzio Clementi, his distinguished teacher, performed a duet with him in public. Four years later, Johann toured Europe, and again in 1799, attracting the notice of both Haydn and Beethoven, who declared him the finest pianist of the day.

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Six Posts
Sir Sandford Fleming
two-part story
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
What George Stephenson was to the railways of England, Sandford Fleming was to the railways of Canada.

IN 1845, eighteen-year-old Sandford Fleming left home in Kirkcaldy for colonial Canada. He qualified as a surveyor, and kept busy with engineering work on the railways and with graphic design: his threepenny postage stamp was Canada’s very first, and it made the industrious beaver one of Canada’s enduring symbols.

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How Brutus of Troy Became Britain’s First King
Music: Henry Purcell
An early mediaeval myth linking British civilization to the Fall of Troy.

BRUTUS was a prince of Italy, and the great-grandson of Aeneas, the hero of Troy.

One day, Brutus shot his own father in a hunting accident, and fled to Greece. There he found many of his fellow Trojans, still oppressed by the Greeks who had tamed them so long before.

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Timothy Hackworth
Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850) turned steam locomotives into a reliable commercial success.

TIMOTHY Hackworth was locomotive superintendent on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world’s first public railway using steam locomotives, from its opening in 1825. His task was to keep the line’s primitive steam locomotives running and earning revenue.

Often overshadowed by his larger-than-life employer, George Stephenson, Hackworth was the man who made railways reliable.

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Perseus and the Gorgon
When Polydectes, King of Seriphos, sent Perseus to get the Gorgon’s head, he hoped the boy would never come back.

POLYDECTES, King of Seriphos, coveted Danaë, but he was afraid of her young son Perseus.

So the King demanded that the boy leave the island, and not return without the head of the Gorgon Medusa, so hideous that to look on her would turn a man to stone.

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Undoubting Thomas
Music: George Frideric Handel
Abbot Elfric praised St Thomas for demanding hard evidence for the resurrection.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

THOMAS’S unbelief in Christ’s resurrection was not unforeseen, but happened in the foresight of God; for his touch made believers of us. His doubt did us more good than the other Apostles’ belief. For when that touch brought him to belief, it carried our doubt away.

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There is no Liberty without Self-Control
Anti-Christian governments don’t make us free, they just impose their own, illiberal morality.
By Edmund Burke
(1729-1797)

MEN are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, - in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, - in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, - in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.

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AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘The Blessed Virgin Mary’ (12 posts)
page 1
1 The Voice of an Angel
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A tenth-century Greek monk is joined by a total stranger for Mattins.
2 The Six Leaps of Faith
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
The eighth-century English bishop and poet Cynewulf explores a prophecy from the Song of Solomon.
3 At Heaven’s Gate
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
The eighth-century English bishop and poet Cynewulf takes us to the threshold of God’s holy city, and gives us a choice.
4 Annunciation
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
Cynewulf reflects on the mystery of the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary.
5 Candlemas
A February celebration for which the faithful have brought candles to church since Anglo-Saxon times.
6 Redeemed for Five Shillings
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Elfric, the tenth-century English abbot, suggests a practical way of thinking about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
page 2
7 Aaron’s Rod
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
The Victorian practice of hanging sugared nuts on a Christmas tree was bursting with Biblical symbolism.
8 With Hymns and Sweet Perfumes
By
Elfric of Eynsham
Elfric imagines how the Virgin Mary went to her eternal home.
9 Stick and Carrot
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
The Virgin Mary and her son team up to get the best out of some careless monks.
10 The Miracle of Piso Livadi
Three fishermen let their tongues run away with them, and were left counting the cost.
11 The Sacred Snakes of Kefalonia
Once a year, regular as clockwork, the little snakes slither into the convent for a Feast of the Virgin Mary.
12 The Keeper of the Gate
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A widow cast her precious icon into the sea rather than see it dishonoured by government agents, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Opposites

Suggest words or phrases that are opposite in meaning to the words below.

Temporary. Come. First.
JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Dray’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Add one number to another number. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with GOAT and finish with HERD.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SHEEP and finish with FLOCK.
Make opposites from these words using prefixes, like lucky → unlucky.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

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numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic