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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.

A Curious Incident
two-part story
Music: Edward Elgar
Sherlock Holmes has been engaged to find a missing thoroughbred, but seems more interested in some lame sheep and an idle dog.
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)

“I MUST say that I am rather disappointed in our London consultant,” said Colonel Ross, bluntly, as my friend left the room. “I do not see that we are any further than when he came.”

“At least you have his assurance that your horse will run,” said I.

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Three Posts
The Living Past
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
High above the roof of the Amazonian rainforest, Professor Challenger sees something that eerily reminds him of home.
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)

“BY George, this must be the trail of the father of all birds!”

If it were indeed a bird — and what animal could leave such a mark? — its foot was so much larger than an ostrich’s that its height upon the same scale must be enormous. Lord John looked eagerly round him and slipped two cartridges into his elephant-gun.

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The Footprints at the Gate
What Dr Mortimer saw beside the body of Sir Charles Baskerville sent him hastily to London, to consult Sherlock Holmes.
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)

“FINALLY I carefully examined the body, which had not been touched until my arrival. Sir Charles lay on his face, his arms out, his fingers dug into the ground, and his features convulsed with some strong emotion to such an extent that I could hardly have sworn to his identity.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
two-part story
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
Is an old family legend being used as a cover for a very modern murder?
Based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)

THE sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville brought his nephew Henry from Canada to Baskerville Hall, on the edge of Dartmoor.

Rumours that Sir Charles had died of fright on seeing the Baskerville hound, the terror of a family ghost-story going back to the 17th century, Sir Henry brushed aside as legend.

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Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Tales from the Bible’ (22 posts)
page 1
1 Joseph and the Coat of Many Colours
Joseph’s brothers decide they have had enough of their rival in their father’s affections.
2 Perilous Waters
King Saul’s jealousies drove those who loved him away, but David was a very different kind of leader.
3 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.
4 The History of Susannah
A young Jewish woman in ancient Babylon falls victim to a heartless conspiracy.
5 The Judgment of Solomon
The tenth-century King of Israel demonstrated his legendary wisdom in a delicate custody battle.
6 The Story of Esther
A young Jewish girl is chosen as the Queen of Persia, but quickly finds she has enemies.
page 2
7 Daniel and the Priests of Bel
An apparent miracle is revealed as sleight-of-hand.
8 The Good Samaritan
Our responsibilities are not defined by laws or borne by governments. They are defined by mercy, and borne by love.
9 The Story of Pentecost
Jesus’s apostles receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, and the startling effects quickly draw a crowd.
10 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.
11 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.
12 Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve are set in a Garden of carefree delight, but the Snake swears they are victims of a cruel deception.
page 3
13 Elisha and the Fiery Horsemen
The King of Syria goes on a mole-hunt, but Elisha does not seem to mind being his prime suspect.
14 The Man Born Blind
A man born blind is healed by Jesus, but finds himself a social outcast as a result.
15 Elisha and Naaman the Syrian
Naaman had very fixed ideas about what it takes to get a miracle.
16 Noah’s Flood
God’s love proved to be bigger and stronger than all man’s wickedness.
17 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.
18 David and Bathsheba
David’s scheme to steal another man’s wife succeeded, but he could not keep his secret from everyone.
page 4
19 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
The King who condemned him to the den of lions felt far worse about it than Daniel did.
20 The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Love doesn’t make people pay for past mistakes.
21 Cain and Abel
Smarting for his outraged ‘rights’, Cain lost his reason — but not God’s pity and love.
22 Belshazzar’s Feast
Prince Belshazzar’s disrespectful behaviour left him facing the original ‘writing on the wall’.

Word Play: Opposites

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

Cover. Comfortable. Credit.
New Stories
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)
John Stuart Mill reminds us that governments and the courts must never be allowed to criminalise matters of belief or opinion.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens sketches for us the shyly ingratiating youth who gets himself in a tangle in the presence of Beauty.
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.
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 ‘Colliery’
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
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FREE and finish with KICK.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with ASH and finish with OAK.
Do you know ‘conscientious’ (7 letters), and ‘unreturned serve’ (3 letters)?
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 TALL and finish with SHIP.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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Fiction (78)

letters game

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

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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: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic