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

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The Wolf, the Bear and Cat Ivanovitch
two-part story
Music: Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky
A faithful but unprepossessing pet is turned out of hearth and home.

ONCE upon a time, a peasant decided that his ginger cat, a battle-scarred mouser with one ear, was not the sort of pet to be seen with. So he popped old Tom in a sack, and dumped him in the forest.

Tom clawed his way out of his sack, and set off to explore his new world.

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Angel Cat
Cats do have a conscience: it tells them when to look innocent.
By Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)

“ONLY this morning I was watching that tortoise-shell of yours on the houseboat. She was creeping along the roof, behind the flower-boxes, stalking a young thrush that had perched upon a coil of rope. Murder gleamed from her eye, assassination lurked in every twitching muscle of her body.

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Too Clever By Half
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
Mrs Tabby White thought she’d try some of the clever things her humans did.
Based on a short story by Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)

MRS Tabby White’s kittens thought their mother was the cleverest mother in the world.

She washed them and caught mice for them and taught them how to creep up on unwary things.

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The Cat Who Walks by Himself
two-part story
Music: Johann Baptist Cramer
Part One. The sly cat hatches a plan to get all the benefits of domestic life without any of the responsibilities.
Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

AFTER he was tamed by Woman, Wild Man tamed Wild Cow and Wild Horse with food and shelter, but not Wild Cat. ‘I am the Cat who walks by himself’ he said haughtily, ‘and all places are alike to me’.

And Woman laughed, for though the wild woods were cold and wet, the Cat would not serve.

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The Cats of Harrison Weir
Music: Frank Bridge
A Victorian artist and avid bird-watcher banished cats from his country cottage, but soon wished he hadn’t.

THE world’s first cat show, held at London’s Crystal Palace in 1871, was organised by Harrison Weir, artist, illustrator and bird-watcher.

Harrison had learnt drawing and engraving under George Baxter, the pioneer of commercial colour printing. As songbirds were a favourite subject, later on he bought himself a country cottage so he could observe them from his window. Cats, reluctantly, were forbidden.

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Love at First Bite
Music: Robert Farnon
Sam felt that his epic romance might have started more promisingly.
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)

SHE was not the prettiest girl he had ever seen. She was the third prettiest. He had an orderly mind, one capable of classifying and docketing girls. But there was a subtle something about her, a sort of how-shall-one-put-it, which he had never encountered before.

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Pangur Bán
two-part story
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford; Sir Arthur Sullivan
A 9th century Irish monk scribbled some verses about a beloved cat into his copy book.
By Anonymous (Irish Monk)
(9th century)

I, AND Pangur Bán —
each doing what he does best:
his mind on the hunt,
mine on my own pursuits.

I love, better than fame, relaxing
with my texts, in painstaking study;
Pangur Bán does not envy me that:
he loves his own childish craft.

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All Posts
Tagged Cats, Dogs and Other Animals (20 posts)
page 1
1 The Wolf, the Bear and Cat Ivanovitch
A faithful but unprepossessing pet is turned out of hearth and home.
2 A Tax on Companionship
By William Windham MP
(1750-1810)
William Windham MP was appalled at the idea of levying a tax on man’s best friend.
3 The Convert
By Harrison Weir
(1824-1906)
Victorian cat-lover Harrison Weir launches into his favourite subject, but finds his audience growing restive.
4 Love at First Bite
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)
Sam felt that his epic romance might have started more promisingly.
5 Pangur Bán
By Anonymous (Irish Monk)
(9th century)
A 9th century Irish monk scribbled some verses about a beloved cat into his copy book.
6 The Cats of Harrison Weir
A Victorian artist and avid bird-watcher banished cats from his country cottage, but soon wished he hadn’t.
page 2
7 Persian Treasures
By Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)
‘Be careful what you wish for’, they say, and there could be no more endearing example.
8 Tom and Terrier
By Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
A fox terrier spies what looks like a hapless victim – until he gets up close.
9 The Friendship of Cats
By Théophile Gautier
(1811-1872)
A cat’s affection is not easy to win, but the rewards make the effort worthwhile.
10 Belling the Cat
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
A council of mice comes up with a plan to outsmart the Cat, but volunteers are a bit thin on the ground.
11 The Cat Who Walks by Himself
Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Part One. The sly cat hatches a plan to get all the benefits of domestic life without any of the responsibilities.
12 Macarius and the Hyena
Based on ‘The Lives of the Desert Fathers’
(4th century)
A monk of the Egyptian desert helped a desperate mother, and was richly rewarded.
page 3
13 Typical Cat!
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)
When a cat comes into your life, resistance is futile.
14 Too Clever By Half
Based on a short story by Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)
Mrs Tabby White thought she’d try some of the clever things her humans did.
15 St Nicholas of the Cats
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A very unusual monastery with some very unusual protectors.
16 Heads I Win, Tails You Lose!
By Charles H. Ross
(1835-1897)
(That’s cat-tails, obviously.) And who ever said cats were unpredictable?
17 The Kitchen Cat
Based on a short story by Amy Walton
(1845-1925)
Part One. Ruth Lorimer’s strangely comfortless life changes when she finds a scruffy little cat on the stairs, but not everyone is pleased.
18 Angel Cat
By Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
Cats do have a conscience: it tells them when to look innocent.
page 4
19 The Selfish Cat
Based on a story by Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)
A tortoiseshell laments his hard life among heartless humans.
20 The Cat’s Wedding
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
It’s easier to change how you look than to hide who you are.
Authors
Anonymous (Irish Monk) (9th century)
1 post
Théophile Gautier (1811-1872)
1 post
Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927)
2 posts
Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)
1 post
Charles H. Ross (1835-1897)
1 post
Harrison Weir (1824-1906)
1 post
William Windham MP (1750-1810)
1 post
P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)
2 posts
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Adjectives

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 ‘Court’
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
Find the longest word that can be made from nine randomly chosen letters.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
Add one number to another number. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Do you know ‘move in a zig-zag fashion’ (4), and ‘a 1711 opera by Handel’ (7)?
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.

More like this: Longest Word (Letters Game) Games with Words

numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic