Mini Copy Book

Each post in this section is a short précis (summary) of a passage in The Copy Book. All of them are in modern English. They are intended for students of English as a Foreign Language at Elementary Level.

Character and Conduct

‘Thy Necessity is Yet Greater than Mine’

Elizabethan courtier and soldier Sir Philip Sidney shows that a nobleman can also be a gentleman.

Length: 49 words

Anglo-Saxon Era

The Bishop and the Chatterbox

One week into a Lenten retreat with the Bishop of Hexham, a boy’s miserable life is turned right around.

Length: 60 words

Christian Customs


A celebration of St Michael, captain of heaven’s angel host, courteous warrior, and healer.

Length: 116 words

Stories in Short

The Wolf, the Bear and Cat Ivanovitch

A faithful but unprepossessing pet is turned out of hearth and home.

Length: 119 words

Discovery and Invention

Japan’s First Railway

As Japan’s ruling shoguns resist the tide of progress, a Nagasaki-based Scottish entrepreneur steps in.

Length: 107 words

Music and Musicians

The Free-Wheeler

Composer Ethel Smyth buys a new-fangled ladies’ bicycle, and scandalises the neighbours.

Length: 57 words