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.

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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The Sunday of Palms and Willows
Music: George Frideric Handel
For centuries, northern countries from Russia to England have laid the catkins of the willow tree before Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.

PALM Sunday commemorates the occasion when Jesus entered Jerusalem seated on a donkey, in deliberate fulfilment of the prophet Zechariah’s promise that one day Israel’s king would return to her capital in just that fashion.

His excited followers laid palm fronds in his path, and called him their King, crying “Hosanna to the son of David”.

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The Man Born Blind
A man born blind is healed by Jesus, but finds himself a social outcast as a result.

AS Jesus passed out of the Temple, his eyes fell on a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples assumed his misfortune was a punishment for sin, but Jesus told them that it was not a punishment. It was an opportunity to see God’s glory.

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The Adoration of the Magi
two-part story
Music: York Bowen
Persian star-gazers hasten to Israel for the birth of a royal heir, but find that King Herod has had his fill of them.

NOT long before King Herod died, astrologers from Persia agreed that an unusual star announced the birth of a Jewish prince. A group of them set off for Jerusalem, no doubt expecting to find Herod’s palace in celebration.

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The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Music: Edward Elgar
Five young women cared enough about a man’s wedding-day to make the smallest of sacrifices, and received the best of rewards.

TEN virgins were chosen to escort a bridegroom into his evening wedding. Each was given a lamp, but five of them foolishly brought no oil from home, perhaps thinking more would (and should) be provided by the happy couple on the day.

Evening came, but the bridegroom was late, and all ten virgins dozed off.

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The Good Samaritan
Music: John Garth; Sir George Macfarren
Our responsibilities are not defined by laws or borne by governments. They are defined by mercy, and borne by love.

WHEN Jesus urged his followers to ‘love thy neighbour’, he was quoting directly from Jewish law. However, a lawyer asked ‘Who is my neighbour?’, since Israel was a ferment of Jews and non-Jews living uneasily together under Roman laws.

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The First Easter
Music: George Frideric Handel
In a translation from the Authorised Version of the Bible, published in 1611, St Mark recounts the discovery of Christ’s empty tomb.

AND when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

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All Posts
Tagged Tales from the New Testament (11 posts)
page 1
1 Undoubting Thomas
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Abbot Elfric praised St Thomas for demanding hard evidence for the resurrection.
2 The First Easter
In a translation from the Authorised Version of the Bible, published in 1611, St Mark recounts the discovery of Christ’s empty tomb.
3 Candlemas
A February celebration for which the faithful have brought candles to church since Anglo-Saxon times.
4 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.
5 The Good Samaritan
Our responsibilities are not defined by laws or borne by governments. They are defined by mercy, and borne by love.
6 The Story of Pentecost
Jesus’s apostles receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, and the startling effects quickly draw a crowd.
page 2
7 The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Five young women cared enough about a man’s wedding-day to make the smallest of sacrifices, and received the best of rewards.
8 The Sunday of Palms and Willows
For centuries, northern countries from Russia to England have laid the catkins of the willow tree before Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.
9 The Man Born Blind
A man born blind is healed by Jesus, but finds himself a social outcast as a result.
10 The Adoration of the Magi
Persian star-gazers hasten to Israel for the birth of a royal heir, but find that King Herod has had his fill of them.
11 The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Love doesn’t make people pay for past mistakes.

Word Play: Confusables

Compose your own sentences to show the difference between these words:

Present. Gift.

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 ‘Peat’
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 ‘street lined with tall buildings or trees’ (6 letters), and ‘shed’ (3 letters)?
Do you know ‘a brilliant solo passage in a concerto’ (7 letters), and ‘e.g. lion, tiger’ (3,3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FULL and finish with STOP.
Practise doing sums using multiples of 25, 50 and 75.
Do you know ‘stout’ (6 letters), and ‘gloat’ (4 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

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