English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

A to Z Index

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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Six Posts
Redeemed for Five Shillings
Music: George Frideric Handel
Elfric, the tenth-century English abbot, suggests a practical way of thinking about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

GOD, in the old law, commanded his people, that they should offer to him every firstborn male child, or redeem it with five shillings. Of their cattle also, to bring whatever was firstborn to God’s house, and there offer it to God. But if it were an unclean beast, then should the master slay it, or give to God another clean beast.

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Tamed by Wisdom, Freed by Grace
two-part story
Music: Richard Jones
Abbot Elfric expounds a Palm Sunday text to explain how Christianity combines orderly behaviour with intelligent and genuine liberty.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

AN ass is a foolish beast, and dirty, and stupid compared with other beasts, and strong for burdens. Such were men before Christ’s advent: foolish and dirty, while they served idols and various vices, and bowed down to the images they had fashioned themselves, and said to them, “Thou art my god.” And they bore whatever burden the devil laid on them.

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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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Aaron’s Rod
Music: Johann Baptist Cramer
The Victorian practice of hanging sugared nuts on a Christmas tree was bursting with Biblical symbolism.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

GOD bade Moses, the leader, take twelve dry rods from the twelve tribes of the people of Israel, and lay them before the holy ark within the great tabernacle: and he would by those rods declare whom he had chosen for bishop.

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The Spear of St Mercurius
two-part story
Music: George Frideric Handel
Roman Emperor Julian was ready to destroy an entire Christian community over his wounded pride.
Based on a sermon by
Elfric of Eynsham

ON his way to Persia to do battle, the Emperor Julian ran into Basil, Bishop of Caesarea. They had been at the same Christian school, and Basil, after offering him some bread, joked that he had benefited rather more from their education than Julian, who was now a pagan.

To Basil’s amazement, Julian was furious.

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The Dove and the Flame
Music: George Frideric Handel
Elfric, Abbot of Eynsham in the reign of Æthelred the Unready, reflects on two appearances of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
By
Elfric of Eynsham

WHY did the Holy Ghost come in the form of fire over the Apostles, but over Christ in the likeness of a dove?

Because Christ in his humanity was meek and harmless.

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All Posts
Tagged Elfric of Eynsham (8 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 Tamed by Wisdom, Freed by Grace
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Abbot Elfric expounds a Palm Sunday text to explain how Christianity combines orderly behaviour with intelligent and genuine liberty.
3 Breaking Death
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
For Jesus Christ to step down alive from his cross would have been a mighty miracle, but not the mightiest.
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 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.
6 The Spear of St Mercurius
Based on a sermon by
Elfric of Eynsham
Roman Emperor Julian was ready to destroy an entire Christian community over his wounded pride.
page 2
7 With Hymns and Sweet Perfumes
By
Elfric of Eynsham
Elfric imagines how the Virgin Mary went to her eternal home.
8 The Dove and the Flame
By
Elfric of Eynsham
Elfric, Abbot of Eynsham in the reign of Æthelred the Unready, reflects on two appearances of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Verb or Noun?

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

Turn. Rise. Say.

The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone explains that a truly ‘exceptional nation’ respects the equality and rights of all nations.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
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 ‘Ledge’
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 ‘cowardly’ (6 letters), and ‘historic Greek victory in 479 BC’ (7 letters)?
Do you know ‘well-worn route or habit’ (3 letters), and ‘naval officer’ (7 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
Multiply two numbers together. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Do you know ‘outrage, public disgrace’ (7 letters), and ‘King David of Israel’s third wife’ (7 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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History (375)
Fiction (80)

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: ‘Countdown’ 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: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic