Posts tagged Myths, Fables and Legends (62)
Nos 1 to 10
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Muzio Clementi
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Hydra
The Greek hero thinks he has paid off more of his debt to the gods, but an unpleasant surprise awaits him.

THE second Labour appointed for Heracles seemed as hopeless as the first.

The Hydra, a serpent with nine heads, was causing havoc among the farms neighbouring the marsh of Lerna, and Heracles was to kill it.

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No. 1
2 two-part story
Edward Elgar
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Garden of the Hesperides
Two of Heracles’s labours are declared void, so to make up the number he is sent to find the Garden of the Hesperides.

WITH the cattle of Geryon, Heracles thought he had completed the ten labours appointed by the oracle. But Eurystheus judged that Heracles had had help with the Hydra and the Augean stables, and they did not count.

Instead, Heracles was commissioned to bring home three apples from a sacred tree growing the Garden of the Hesperides, daughters of the Night.

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No. 2
2 two-part story
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky
Stories in Short
The Wolf, the Bear and Cat Ivanovitch
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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No. 3
2 two-part story
Francesco Geminiani
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Cattle of Geryon
Heracles must get the better of a three-bodied giant and steal his cattle.

ON the tiny island of Cadiz at the southern tip of Spain there lived a herd of magnificent red cattle, guarded by a herdsman named Eurytion and his two-headed dog, Orthrus, brother of Cerberus. Their master was Geryon, a giant with three heads and bodies, joined at the hip, and Eurystheus ordered Heracles to steal his entire herd.

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No. 4
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Girdle of Hippolyte
A princess covets the belt of a warrior-queen, so Heracles is despatched to get it for her.

ONE day, Eurystheus’s daughter Admete expressed a fancy for the girdle of Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons, a formidable tribe of female warriors who cast off their sons and raised their daughters like men. The doting Eurystheus at once sent Heracles to fetch it from Themiscyra, on the southern shores of the Black Sea.

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No. 5
Gustav Holst
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Mares of Diomedes
Eurystheus pits his cousin against a son of Ares and some man-eating horses.

ARES, the god of war, had a son named Diomedes, lord of the Bistones, a warrior-tribe that lived near Lake Vistonida in Thrace. Down by the sea Diomedes kept a string of savage mares, chained to bronze mangers in which he gave them man’s flesh to eat.

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No. 6
Richard Jones
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Cretan Bull
Heracles seems to be the only one who can keep Poseidon’s rampaging white bull under control.

WHEN King Minos of Crete promised to sacrifice to Poseidon whatever should next emerge from the sea, Poseidon kindly sent him a superb white bull. Minos, however, could not bring himself to destroy so magnificent a beast, so he kept it for himself and substituted another from his own herds.

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No. 7
Franz Joseph Haydn
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Birds of Lake Stymphalia
Our hero is sent to deal with some man-eating birds, but cannot reach their lakeside refuge.

A COLONY of birds had once sought refuge from wolves in marshy woods around Lake Stymphalia. Artemis took them for pets, and bred them to be ferocious, with bronze beaks and poisonous dung, and sharp quills they could shoot like darts. Now they ravaged crops, carried off beasts, and devoured townspeople.

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No. 8
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Greek and Roman Myths
The Tragedy of King Oedipus
Oedipus flees home in an attempt to escape a dreadful prophecy, unware that it is following at his heels.

WHEN Laius, King of Thebes, heard it foretold that his baby son would grow up to kill his father and marry his mother, he ordered that he be left outside to die. But a tender-hearted courtier entrusted the baby to a shepherd and his wife instead.

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No. 9
2 two-part story
Nikolai Medtner
Stories in Short
The Peasant, the Penny and Marko the Rich
Marko adopts drastic measures to get out of repaying the loan of a penny.

ONCE upon a time, a peasant gave a penny to a beggar in the street. Marko the Rich decided he would do the same, but borrowed his penny from the peasant on the plea that he had no small change. ‘Come to my house tomorrow,’ he said, ‘and I will repay you’.

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No. 10
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Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Today in History
1773 Residents of Boston in Massachusetts protest against British taxes by throwing tea into the harbour
From our Archive
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A professional journalist and author recognises that he has met his match
By William Pitt the Elder
(1708-1778)
William Pitt the Elder doubts the wisdom of letting experts run the country.
Stephen was the first person to lose his life because he was a follower of Jesus Christ.
The textile moguls of Manchester and Liverpool engaged the Stephensons to complete their link to the capital.
When England’s Christians absorbed the pagan traditions of ‘wassailing’, they kept the fun and cast out the fear.

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Polyword ‘Lace’
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.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘pull along behind one’ (3 letters), and ‘self-evident or accepted proposition’ (5 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NOTE and finish with BOOK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.