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

A to Z Index

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.

Continue reading ›
Five Posts
At Heaven’s Gate
Music: George Frideric Handel
The eighth-century English bishop and poet Cynewulf takes us to the threshold of God’s holy city, and gives us a choice.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

OPEN, ye gates! Creation’s King would enter his citadel, would lead into the joy of joys a people (they are no small company) snatched from the devil by his Victory. Affinity shall angels and men have for ever after.

Continue reading ›
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Music: Edward Elgar
Five young women cared enough about a man’s wedding-day to make the smallest of sacrifices, and received the best of rewards.

TEN virgins were chosen to escort a bridegroom into his evening wedding. Each was given a lamp, but five of them foolishly brought no oil from home, perhaps thinking more would (and should) be provided by the happy couple on the day.

Evening came, but the bridegroom was late, and all ten virgins dozed off.

Continue reading ›
High Beneath Heaven’s Roof
Music: George Frideric Handel
The Cross of Christ speaks, and tells of the amazing transformation from sign of shame to sign of redemption.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

“NOW the time has come for men far and wide upon this earth to have me in veneration, and for the whole, wonderful creation to make its prayers to this Standard.

Continue reading ›
Breaking Death
Music: George Frideric Handel
For Jesus Christ to step down alive from his cross would have been a mighty miracle, but not the mightiest.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

THE Jews called out to Christ, fastened to the cross, saying that ‘if he was the King of Israel, he should descend now from the cross, and they would believe in him.’

Had he had descended from the cross and not borne their mockery, then without question he would have set us no example of his fortitude; but he did remain there, did bear their mockery, and did show fortitude.

Continue reading ›
The Six Leaps of Faith
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
The eighth-century English bishop and poet Cynewulf explores a prophecy from the Song of Solomon.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

WHEN first he leapt, he lighted on a woman, an untouched maid; and human form he took there (though without sin) that he might be Comforter to all that dwell on earth.

Continue reading ›
No more posts
AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
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.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Subject and Object

Use each of the words below as either the subject or the object of a verb.

Rule. Son. Leave.

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 ‘Forewarned’
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 ‘princes and princesses, kings and queens’ (7 letters), and ‘jump up and down on one foot’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with CHIP and finish with PUTT.
Do you know ‘cup’ (6 letters), and ‘unit of resistance’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SEED and finish with GROW.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FOAL and finish with MARE.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

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: High Tiles (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 Game) Mental Arithmetic