Old English is the language you think you know until you hear or see it. Used throughout much of Britain over a thousand years ago, it is rich with words that haven't changed (like word in fact), others that are unrecognisable (such as neorxnawang, or paradise) and some that are curious even in translation (gafol-fisc literally means tax-fish).

In this beautiful little book, Hana Videen has gathered these gems into a glorious trove that illuminates the lives, beliefs and habits of the earliest English speakers. We discover a world where choking on a bit of bread might prove your guilt, where fiend-ship was as likely as friend-ship, and you might grow up to be a laughter-smith. These are the magical roots of our own language: you'll never see English in the same way again.

Review: 'A wonderful book heaving with linguistic treasure, a joyfully clever exploration of early medieval life.' - Edward Brooke-Hitching author