fun (n.)
Everything in life that’s any fun, as somebody wisely observed, is either immoral, illegal or fattening.
P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975), “The Girl in Blue” (1970)
The Co-operative Store at Beamish Museum, County Durham. © Cory Doctorow, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
Welcome
english language and history .com
two-minute tales and exercises for work in grammar and composition
UK summer time

English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

August 16, 1920
The tennis tournament at the Antwerp Olympics opens, and Max Woosnam wins men’s doubles gold
Max Woosnam
two-part story
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.

THE oddest of Max Woosnam’s many sporting achievements must be defeating Charlie Chaplin at table tennis, wielding only a butter knife. His more conventional sporting career began with cricket at Winchester College, and a century against the MCC for Public Schools.

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The Outbreak of the Second World War
two-part story
Music: Richard Addinsell; Sir William Walton
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.

ON September 3rd, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany, two days after Berlin had defied an ultimatum and sent troops into Poland. The Soviet Union, in accord with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, quietly supported Germany.

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Six Posts
Caught in the Net
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
A distinguished critic tries to trick Dr Johnson into an honest opinion, which was neither necessary nor very rewarding.
By James Boswell
(1740-1795)

AT this time the controversy concerning the pieces published by Mr James Macpherson, as translations of Ossian, was at its height. Johnson had all along denied their authenticity; and, what was still more provoking to their admirers, maintained that they had no merit.

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In Good Company
two-part story
Music: Muzio Clementi
Anne Elliot resents being expected to court the society of anyone simply because of social status.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

LADY Dalrymple had acquired the name of ‘a charming woman,’ because she had a smile and a civil answer for everybody. Miss Carteret, with still less to say, was so plain and so awkward, that she would never have been tolerated in Camden Place but for her birth.

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Passover to Pentecost
Music: George Frideric Handel
St Bede explains how the Exodus and the Ten Commandments are related to Easter and Whitsuntide.
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

THE children of Israel, delivered from slavery in Egypt by the sacrifice of a lamb, set out across the desert towards the Promised Land, and came to Mount Sinai.

There, fifty days after Passover, the Lord descended upon the summit amid the sound of trumpets, and thunderclaps and lightning flashes, and laid down the Ten Commandments.

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Mr Ivery Gets Away
two-part story
Music: Camille Saint-Saens
Richard Hannay tracks a German spy down to a French château, but Hannay’s sense of fair play gives his enemy a chance.
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)

‘HULLO, Mr Ivery,’ I said. ‘This is an odd place to meet again!’

In his amazement he fell back a step, while his hungry eyes took in my face. There was no mistake about the recognition. I saw something I had seen once before in him, and that was fear. Out went the light and he sprang for the door.

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Perilous Waters
Music: George Frideric Handel
King Saul’s jealousies drove those who loved him away, but David was a very different kind of leader.

DAVID’s attempts at reconciliation with Saul, the King of Israel, had failed – if only they could have drawn swords together against the Philistines! – and though he had parted in affectionate comradeship from Jonathan, the king’s son, David would never see him again.

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With Hymns and Sweet Perfumes
Music: George Frideric Handel
Elfric imagines how the Virgin Mary went to her eternal home.
By
Elfric of Eynsham

WE read here and there in books, that very often angels came at the departure of good men, and with spiritual hymns led their souls to heaven.

And, what is yet more certain, at their departure some have heard the singing of male and female voices, accompanied by a great light and a sweet perfume.

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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.
New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
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.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Lift’
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
Do you know ‘popular Asian chilled fruit drink’ (7 letters), and ‘bear witness’ (6 letters)?
A word-making game based on the popular TV show.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
An arithmetical puzzle based on the popular TV show.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

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

More like this: ‘Scrabble’ letters game Games with Words

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