All Posts (679)
Nos 511 to 520
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Hans Christian Andersen
The Ugly Duckling
It’s not where you came from that matters, it’s where you belong.
Based on a fable by Hans Christian Andersen
(1805-1875)

A MOTHER duck hatched a fine family of ducklings. Except for one. He was late in coming, and uncommonly large. He swam beautifully, but - such an ugly duckling! Even his quack sounded strange.

All the ducks in the yard pecked him and shunned him. ‘How ugly he is!’ some cried. ‘Like a turkey!’, sniffed others.

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No. 511
Charles Avison
Music and Musicians
Charles Avison
The most important English-born composer of Handel’s day, known for his tuneful music and very busy diary.
Music by Charles Avison
(1709-1770)

WHILE in the employment of Ralph Jenison, MP for Northumberland, Charles Avison found time to develop an interest in music, encouraged at home by his father Richard; and on March 20, 1734, he was rewarded with a concert in Hickford’s Room, London, and time to study in the capital with Francesco Geminiani.

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No. 512
Elias Parish Alvars
Music and Musicians
Elias Parish Alvars
Eli Parish of Teignmouth in Devon became one of Europe’s most celebrated virtuosos.
Music by Elias Parish Alvars
(1808-1849)

THE year 1818 was a momentous one for the ten-year-old Eli Parish.

That was the year he gave his first harp concert, in his hometown of Teignmouth, Devon; and it was also the year that his father was declared bankrupt.

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No. 513
English Folksong
Hans Christian Andersen
The Princess on the Pea
A fastidious prince felt he deserved a girl of royal refinement, and he certainly found one.
Based on a fable by Hans Christian Andersen
(1805-1875)

ONCE upon a time, a prince decided to find himself a princess, or rather (as he told himself) a real princess.

For the princesses of the neighbouring kingdoms were not at all what he imagined a princess should be, and soon he was quite discouraged.

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No. 514
2 two-part story
William Corbett and William Williams
Discovery and Invention
King Charles I (1625-1649) to King Charles II (1649-1685)
Dud Dudley: Iron Man
The 17th-century entrepreneur developed a way of smelting iron with coke rather than charcoal, but the Civil War frustrated his plans.

AS the 16th century opened, monks in England’s monasteries were developing industrial techniques for smelting iron with charcoal.

But the Dissolution of the Monasteries brought an abrupt end to that; and then fears for England’s vanishing forests led the government to favour foreign imports.

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No. 515
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (27 BC - AD 1453)
St Nicholas and the Golden Dowry
Nicholas used his inheritance to help three vulnerable girls escape a life of exploitation.

IN Nicholas’s hometown of Patara there lived a man who had once been very wealthy, but had now fallen into desperate poverty.

He had three daughters, but they had already had to move away to find work, and as they were all remarkably beautiful he was increasingly anxious that a brothel was their most likely fate.

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No. 516
Extracts from Literature
Are Women more faithful than Men?
A touchy subject, especially when your lover is listening in.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

“Oh!” cried Anne eagerly, “I hope I do justice to all that is felt by you, and by those who resemble you. God forbid that I should undervalue the warm and faithful feelings of any of my fellow-creatures! I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to suppose that true attachment and constancy were known only by woman.

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No. 517
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
Fanny Comes Home
Fanny Price, eight years after being adopted by her wealthy uncle and aunt, has gone back home for the first time, full of anticipation.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

FANNY was almost stunned. The smallness of the house and thinness of the walls brought everything so close to her, that, added to the fatigue of her journey, and all her recent agitation, she hardly knew how to bear it.

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No. 518
John Field
Lives of the Saints
The Age of Constantine (313-337)
St Nicholas and the Luckless Sailor
After surviving a terrible storm, a crew-member on St Nicholas’s ship met with a tragic accident.

INTENDING to visit the Holy Sepulchre, Nicholas boarded an Egyptian ship headed for Jerusalem. One night during his voyage, he dreamt that the ship was caught in a terrible storm, and that Satan had cut the rigging and broken the wheel.

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No. 519
Richard Jones
Lives of the Saints
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
The Law of the Innocents
St Adamnán worked tirelessly to secure protection, rights and dignity for the women of Ireland.

IN 7th century Ireland, the lot of women was unenviable. Serving women were a form of coinage: fines were calculated in cumals, or maidservants, each equivalent to three milk-cows.

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No. 520
Polywords (185)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Grey
Added on Thursday February 15th, 2018
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.

About our calendars

Today in History
1804 A steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick makes the first return railway journey
From our Archive
The story of the once magnificent Temple in Jerusalem, the city God chose for Israel’s capital.
By Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)
‘Be careful what you wish for’, they say, and there could be no more endearing example.
For a perennial ‘runner-up’, Eratosthenes had a peculiar knack of being first.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
A shy and unmusical stable-hand suddenly began to sing wise and moving hymns.
What George Stephenson was to the railways of England, Sandford Fleming was to the railways of Canada.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (416)
Polywords (185)
Georgian Era (113)
Fiction (85)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (24)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (18)
India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘As You Were’
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, including 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 ‘a republic in the Pyrenees’ (7 letters), and ‘shallow in sentiment’ (5 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.