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.

The Convert
two-part story
Music: Johannes Brahms
Victorian cat-lover Harrison Weir launches into his favourite subject, but finds his audience growing restive.
By Harrison Weir
(1824-1906)

“STOP,” said my friend, “I see you do like cats, and I do not, so let the matter drop.”

“No,” said I, “not so. That is why I instituted this Cat Show; I wish every one to see how beautiful a well-cared-for cat is, and how docile, gentle, and — may I use the term? — cossetty. Come with me, my dear old friend, and see the first Cat Show.”

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Six Posts
The Cat’s Wedding
Music: George Frideric Handel
It’s easier to change how you look than to hide who you are.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

Aphrodite felt sorry for the lovesick cat, and did indeed turn her into a very lovely young woman. Naturally, the young man immediately fell in love with her, and they were soon married.

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Typical Cat!
When a cat comes into your life, resistance is futile.
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)

BY the end of the second day he was conveying the impression that he was the real owner of the apartment, and that it was due to his good nature that Elizabeth was allowed the run of the place.

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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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Tom and Terrier
two-part story
Music: Gustav Holst
A fox terrier spies what looks like a hapless victim – until he gets up close.
By Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)

HALF-way up the High Street a cat darted out from one of the houses in front of us, and began to trot across the road. Montmorency gave a cry of joy — the cry of a stern warrior who sees his enemy given over to his hands — the sort of cry Cromwell might have uttered when the Scots came down the hill — and flew after his prey.

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Heads I Win, Tails You Lose!
(That’s cat-tails, obviously.) And who ever said cats were unpredictable?
By Charles H. Ross
(1835-1897)

ONE broiling hot summer’s day Charles James Fox and the Prince of Wales were lounging up St. James’s street, and Fox laid the Prince a wager that he would see more Cats than his Royal Highness would during their promenade, although the Prince might choose which side of the street he thought fit.

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The Kitchen Cat
two-part story
Part One. Ruth Lorimer’s strangely comfortless life changes when she finds a scruffy little cat on the stairs, but not everyone is pleased.
Based on a short story by Amy Walton
(1845-1925)

HIGH up in a rambling town house in Gower Street was a nursery, and for most of the day Ruth Lorimer played disconsolately in it.

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All Posts
Tagged Cat Stories (17 posts)
page 1
1 The Convert
By Harrison Weir
(1824-1906)
Victorian cat-lover Harrison Weir launches into his favourite subject, but finds his audience growing restive.
2 Pangur Bán
By Anonymous (Irish Monk)
(9th century)
A 9th century Irish monk scribbled some verses about a beloved cat into his copy book.
3 The Cats of Harrison Weir
A Victorian artist and avid bird-watcher banished cats from his country cottage, but soon wished he hadn’t.
4 Persian Treasures
By Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)
‘Be careful what you wish for’, they say, and there could be no more endearing example.
5 Tom and Terrier
By Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
A fox terrier spies what looks like a hapless victim – until he gets up close.
6 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.
page 2
7 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.
8 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.
9 Angel Cat
By Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
Cats do have a conscience: it tells them when to look innocent.
10 Typical Cat!
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)
When a cat comes into your life, resistance is futile.
11 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.
12 St Nicholas of the Cats
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A very unusual monastery with some very unusual protectors.
page 3
13 The Tale of Dick Whittington
The 14th century Mayor of London owed his fortune (and his wife) to his cat.
14 Heads I Win, Tails You Lose!
By Charles H. Ross
(1835-1897)
(That’s cat-tails, obviously.) And who ever said cats were unpredictable?
15 The Selfish Cat
Based on a story by Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)
A tortoiseshell laments his hard life among heartless humans.
16 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.
17 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
P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)
1 post

Word Play: Verb or Noun?

Use each of the words below once as a noun and once as a verb:

Man. Leave. Force.

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 ‘Hope’
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 ‘snare’ (6 letters), and ‘better’ (3 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Practise your twelve times table against the clock.
Do you know ‘outrage, public disgrace’ (7 letters), and ‘King David of Israel’s third wife’ (7 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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