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Nos 481 to 490
Antonin Dvořak
Greek and Roman Myths
Damon and Pythias
A tale of two friends with complete confidence in each other, and loyal to the death.

LIKE most tyrants, Dionysius of Sicily lived in constant fear of treachery. One day, Pythias fell under his suspicion, and Dionysius sentenced him to death.

Pythias requested permission to make his farewells to his family in Greece, promising to come back on the date appointed. Dionysius just laughed at him.

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No. 481
Francesco Geminiani
Greek and Roman Myths
The Midas Touch
An ancient Greek myth about the dangers of easy wealth.

THE story goes that the god Dionysius could not find his old friend Silenus, the satyr, who had drunk too much wine and wandered into the palace gardens of Midas, King of Phrygia.

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No. 482
Richard Jones
Greek and Roman Myths
Pygmalion and Galatea
Pygmalion discovered that prudishness is not the same as purity.

SOON after Orpheus wedded Eurydice, his cherished wife died, and could not be restored to life; and he grieved for her, singing to the accompaniment of his lyre.

One of his songs was of Pygmalion of Cyprus.

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No. 483
Sir Hubert Parry
Mediaeval History
King Henry II
The great-grandson of William the Conqueror, whose knights assassinated Thomas Becket and whose family harried him to an early grave.

AFTER the death of Henry I, his daughter Matilda was denied the crown by her cousin Stephen, and their stubborn rivalry left England and Wales in chaos.

Stephen died childless in 1154, but Matilda’s son Henry II moved quickly to restore order, both at home and in northern France.

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No. 484
John Stanley
Extracts from Literature
The Peculiar Customs of Lilliput
The people of Lilliput are strangely small, but their ideas are bizarre in a big way.
By Jonathan Swift
(1667-1745)

I SHALL say but little at present of their learning, which, for many ages, has flourished in all its branches among them: but their manner of writing is very peculiar, being neither from the left to the right, like the Europeans, nor from the right to the left, like the Arabians, nor from up to down, like the Chinese, but aslant, from one corner of the paper to the other, like ladies in England.

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No. 485
2 two-part story
Felix Mendelssohn and Anthony Collins
Extracts from Literature
The Caucus Race
Alice experiences for herself the very definition of a pointless exercise.
By Lewis Carroll
(1832-1898)

FIRST it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (‘the exact shape doesn’t matter,’ it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there.

There was no ‘One, two, three, and away,’ but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over.

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No. 486
Extracts from Literature
‘There is a Tide in the Affairs of Men’
Brutus tells Cassius to act while everything is going his way, or be left with nothing but regrets.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

THERE is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.

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No. 487
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
‘The marriage cannot go on!’
The cup of happiness is dashed from Jane Eyre’s lips.
By Charlotte Brontë
(1816-1855)

THE service began. The explanation of the intent of matrimony was gone through; and then the clergyman came a step further forward, and, bending slightly towards Mr. Rochester, went on.

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No. 488
2 two-part story
York Bowen
Tales from the Bible
The Adoration of the Magi
Persian star-gazers hasten to Israel for the birth of a royal heir, but find that King Herod has had his fill of them.

NOT long before King Herod died, astrologers from Persia agreed that an unusual star announced the birth of a Jewish prince. A group of them set off for Jerusalem, no doubt expecting to find Herod’s palace in celebration.

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No. 489
Stuart Era
King Charles I (1625-1649)
The Love of the Lindseys
Young Montague Bertie, Lord Willougby, tended his dying father behind enemy lines.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

LORD Lindsey had once served alongside their opponent that day at Edgehill, the Earl of Essex, and recommended using the infantry against him.

But on the advice of his young nephew, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the King, who had never commanded an army before, ordered a spectacular cavalry dash to sweep the enemy from the field.

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No. 490
Polywords (183)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Weir
Added on Sunday January 14th, 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.
From our Archive
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
True moral integrity comes from within.
A struggle between rival Royal Houses during the 15th century
Robert Clive turned seven hundred frightened recruits into crack troops by sheer force of personality.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Samuel Smiles shows us two great achievements inspired by two tiny creatures.
Mrs Clements of Durham is not a household name, but the product she invented is.

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Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Nape’
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 ‘popular Asian chilled fruit drink’ (7 letters), and ‘bear witness’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SWORD and finish with PEACE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.