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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.

Marooned!
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Jim Hawkins, on a remote desert island, has escaped pirates only to be caught by a shadowy figure among the trees.
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)

“WHO are you?” I asked.

“Ben Gunn,” he answered, and his voice sounded hoarse and awkward, like a rusty lock. “I’m poor Ben Gunn, I am; and I haven’t spoke with a Christian these three years.”

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Three Posts
By the Toss of a Coin
Music: Thomas Erskine, 6th Earl of Kellie
The Master and his brother Henry must decide which of them goes to fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie.
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)

“WHEN very obstinate folk are met, there are only two ways out: Blows — and I think none of us could care to go so far; or the arbitrament of chance — and here is a guinea piece. Will you stand by the toss of the coin?”

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Treasure Island
two-part story
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
An excited English gentleman hires a ship for a treasure-hunt, but doesn’t check his crew’s credentials.
Based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)

AFTER the landlord of the Admiral Benbow inn died, times were hard for his widow and his son Jim.

Otherwise, they would not have put up with their solitary resident, a rough, foul-mouthed seaman calling himself ‘Captain Billy Bones’.

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‘My Shadow’
Music: John Field
An enduringly popular, bitter-sweet poem by the author of ‘Treasure Island’.
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)

I HAVE a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘The Second World War’ (10 posts)
page 1
1 The Outbreak of the Second World War
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
2 Alan Blumlein
Railway enthusiast, music lover, and the man who gave us stereo sound.
3 Benno Moiseiwitsch
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.
4 The Battle of Britain
Britain’s desperate defence against a much larger, better-prepared military machine was a costly victory.
5 Wilfrid Israel
Wilfrid Israel used his Berlin department store as cover for smuggling thousands of Jewish children to safety in Britain.
6 The Evacuation of Dunkirk
The fate of the British army hung by a thread in May 1940, but ships large and small, military and civilian, came to the rescue.
page 2
7 Leslie Howard
Howard gave his life to saving the ‘great gifts and strange inconsistencies’ of Britain’s unique democracy.
8 Britain’s Destiny
By Leslie Howard
(1893-1943)
In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.
9 The Bishop’s Gambit
The mayor and bishop of Zakynthos went to extraordinary lengths to protect the most vulnerable people of their island.
10 Penicillin
An improbable chain of coincidences led to one of the great medical revolutions just when it was most needed.

Word Play: Spinner

Use these words together in a single sentence:

Sure. Deep. If.

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 ‘Splash’
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?

Polyword

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 London (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.

adorn afro agony alod along angry argon darn dona donga dory drag dragon dragonfly dray drony fang faro flag flagon flan flay flog flora foal fogy fold fond fondly foray ford frag fray frog frond gadfly gaol glad gland glary glory gnarl gnarly goad goal godly gold golf gonad gory grad grand grandly gray groan gyral gyro gyron lady land lang lard lardy largo load loaf loan logy long loran lord lyra nard nary nodal odyl oldy only oral orang organ organdy radon rand randy rang rangy rayon road roan roly royal yard yarn yoga
adorn agony along angry drag dragon flag flan flog foal fold fond ford fray frog gaol glad gland glory goad goal godly gold golf gory grand groan lady land lard load loaf loan long lord only oral organ rang road royal yard yarn yoga
More Puzzles
Do you know ‘well-worn route or habit’ (3 letters), and ‘naval officer’ (7 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘knock over and scatter’ (7 letters), and ‘a measure of length equal to 45 inches’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NEAT and finish with TIDY.
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

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