Archive by Author

The Helpful Abbey

It had not rained on the prairie for several months. Because of the drought, the climate had become very arid.
There was no moisture left in the soil. No crops could grow in the dry ground. By wintertime, the people had nothing to eat.
The hungry families heard about an abbey near the mountains where food and water was still abundant. So they traveled inland, across the prairie, to the abbey.
At first only a few families arrived, seeking food and shelter. Then there was ample food.
The monks fed them and let them sleep in the small cathedral.
Soon, however, more families were arriving every day. These people had to travel farther, so they were in worse condition. The rugged journey had made their clothes ragged. They were cold and tired. The tiny cathedral was soon full.
Food became scarce. The monks began to grumble. They began to speculate that there would be no food. “If more families come, we won’t make it through the winter,” said a young monk. “We must ask some of them to leave.”
The abbot heard this. “We cannot do that,” he said. “It would be wrong to deprive them of food and shelter. We took an oath to help those that need help. All here are in need, so all are eligible to receive our food and shelter.”
“But we won’t have enough,” the monk said.
“That might be true, but we must help them nonetheless. We will fast,” the abbot replied.
“Also, we will give our rooms in the abbey to those sleeping outside, and we will sleep in the churchyard that adjoins the cathedral.”
The monks were reluctant at first, but they did what the oldest monk said. By the end of winter, there was still enough food and shelter for everyone. 
They learned that sometimes helping others means you must give more help than you first expected

Lucky Day – Tom Waits

Here’s a song – with lyrics below – from Tom Waits’ 1993 album Black Rider. The album featured as the soundtrack to the play of the same name, co-written by William S. Burroughs. For me, this is a stand-out track, with Waits at his over-the-top best. Sometimes the track provokes laughter, sometimes tears. Enjoy. The […]

Film Essay – ‘Great films and key scenes’

This is a piece of writing by Duncan O’Neill for a New Zealand year-12 student studying English. It was written as an example for the student, and responds to the following question; ‘Great films often hinge on the successful presentation of one or two key scenes.’ To what extent do you agree with this view? […]

Comments Off on Film Essay – ‘Great films and key scenes’ Continue Reading
The Little Mice

The Little Mice

The Little Mice Beth was a very resourceful and conservative mouse. She knew that winter was coming and that there would soon be a dearth of food. So she decided to make gathering food for winter her primary job. Gathering food was a grueling and mundane activity, but Beth made a deliberate effort because she […]

Learn English Online – Easy

Welcome! You’ve come to right place if you want to learn English, or improve your English language skills, for any of these reasons; English for work, travel, or personal reasons. Pass a TOEFL exam. Improve your IETLS score. Help with school or university English. It’s easy. Just Book Now ! for a free assessment, so […]

The Chili Bet

The Chili Bet

The Chili Bet Russell finished running a relay and joined his friend Becky in the cafeteria. He asked,“ What’s for lunch?” “Sesame chicken. It’s OK, except the meat’s charred. Oh, and watch out for the chili peppers,” Becky said. “Chilies don’t bother me!” said Russell. “My stepmother says you should be careful with them,” replied […]

The Party

The Party Cody’s family moved to a new house. His dad got a new job as a professor. Cody liked his new town, but he missed his grandparents. For his birthday, Cody wanted to have a party. His dad said, “Yes, we could even have a band play!” On the day of the party, Cody […]

Heroes – David Bowie

Here’s another song, this one from the late , great, David Bowie. This is perhaps Bowie’s most-recognised and -used song, although on its release in 1977 it did well, but was not a chart-topper. The song was inspired by an illicit affair one of Bowie’s cohorts was involved in, and of course, the The Wall […]

Northern stars

The North Star

The North Star – Polaris Among the multitude of stars in the universe, there are a couple that are of great importance to people on Earth. The sun, of course, is one of them. The other is known as Polaris, the North Star. Polaris is special because it is the only star that always appears […]

Fall On Me – R.E.M.

This is a song I love, almost despite myself. It’s by 1980s college-radio-band cum stadium rockers REM. The lyrics may not make prosaic sense, but the melody is gorgeous, innit? Listen up, read along in your own language, and enjoy! There’s a problem, feathers, iron Bargain buildings, weights and pulleys Feathers hit the ground before […]