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Title: Stories of the Saints by Candle-Light
Author: Barclay, Vera C. (Vera Charlesworth), 1893-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories of the Saints by Candle-Light" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

[Illustration: BY CANDLE-LIGHT.






          CHARING CROSS, W.C. 2


                THE MEMORY OF

              SIXER FRANK SPARKS


               SECOND BOB SMITH






  ABOUT THIS BOOK                                              1


  THE SECOND DAY: THE STORY OF ST. GUTHLAC                    17

  THE THIRD DAY: THE STORY OF ST. MARTIN                      27



  THE SIXTH DAY: THE STORY OF ST. FRANCIS (II.)               67

  THE SEVENTH DAY: THE STORY OF ST. ANTONY                    83

  THE EIGHTH DAY: THE STORY OF ST. PATRICK                    96

  THE NINTH DAY: THE STORY OF ST. GEORGE                     107

  GOOD-BYE                                                   118




Once upon a time there were fifteen Cubs who spent nine wonderful days
in camp. They were London Cubs, and the camp was on a beautiful little
green island whose rocky shore ran down in green, tree-covered points
into the bluest sea you ever saw. These nine days were the most splendid
days in those Cubs' lives. And so they often think of them, and dream
about them, and live them over again in memory.

So that they may more easily go over those days their Old Wolf has
written down all about them in this book. Perhaps other Cubs will like
to come away, in imagination, to that fair, green island, and so have a
share in the nine days.

Now, one of the very "special things" about those days in camp were the
candle-light stories which the Cubs listened to every night, seated in a
big, happy pile, pyjama-clad, on their palliasses. All day they used to
look forward to those stories, and sometimes, in the middle of a
shrimping expedition, or a paddling party, one or another would remark,
"Story to-night, boys!" and turn his thumbs up to show he was pleased at
the thought. And so you will find the candle-light stories, too, in this
book; and remember that all the stories in this book are _true_--both
those about the Cubs and those about the Saints.


The train steamed slowly out of Victoria Station. "Now we're off!"
shouted a Cub, and he and all the others began to jump for joy, which
was not easy in a railway compartment packed like a sardine-tin. Then
someone began to sing the Pack chorus, and everyone joined in with all
their strength:

          Let the great big world keep turning,
          Now I've joined a Wolf Cub Pack;
          And I only know
          That I want to go
          To camp--to _camp_--to CAMP!
          Oh, I long to set off marching
          With my kit-bag on my back.
          Let the great big world keep on turning round,
          Now I've joined a Wolf Cub Pack!

Then someone yelled "Are we down-hearted?" and the Cubs yelled "No!" so
loudly that Akela thought she would be deafened for life.

Presently the train ran out into the country, and plodded along between
woods and fields. And the early morning sun shone brightly, and the sky
was very blue. The country, the country! And, very soon, the sea! There
were some of them who had never been to the country, and "Spongey," the
youngest of the party, had never even been in a real train.

"Talk about _hot_!" said someone, panting, when the train had thundered
on for about an hour. And, my word, it _was_ hot! Besides, there were
blacks and dust, and everyone began to get very grimy--specially the
people who were eating bread-and-jam and sticky fruit, and the people
who had to crawl under the seat to pick up things that had got lost.

"Never mind," said Akela, "we shall be in the sea this evening, and then
we shall be cool."

That started everyone jumping for joy again, of course.

Presently the train passed Arundel Castle--its white towers and turrets
and battlements rising up amidst the dark green woods like an enchanted
castle in the days of knights and fairies--and the Cubs learnt that
there are castles in real life as well as in story-books.

After that they began looking out of the window to see who would be the
first one to catch sight of the sea. "Bunny" was the first to, and his
friend Bert, the Senior Sixer, came a close second.

At last the train got to Portsmouth Harbour, and, shouldering their
kit-bags, the Cubs ran down on to the steamer.

The harbour was thrilling: battleships, cruisers, torpedo-boats, the
Royal yacht, the Admiralty yacht, and, most interesting of all, Nelson's
ship, the _Victory_. As if the steamer knew that a crowd of eager Cubs
were longing to see all round the _Victory_, it went out of its way to
steam right round it, slowly and quite near, and the Cubs had a splendid

The boys all wanted to be the first to _touch_ the sea, but Bunny, who
had _seen_ it first, forestalled them again, by letting down a ball of
string over the edge of the boat and pulling it up all wet.

At last the ship reached the Isle of Wight, and the Cubs and their great
mountain of camp luggage went down the long pier. I forgot to tell you
that besides Akela there was the Senior Sixer's father and mother, who
were coming to help look after the camp--they became the "Father and
Mother of Camp"; and there was also a lady who was a very kind camp
Godmother. The grown-ups and the luggage were soon packed into a large
motor-car, and then, relieved of their kit-bags, the Cubs set out to
walk the two miles along the sea-front to the village called Sea View.
The way lay along a thing called a "sea-wall"--a high stone wall about
six feet broad running along above the shore, with the sea lapping up
against it at high tide. Along this the Cubs walked (or rather ran and
jumped), their eyes big with wonder at the great stretch of blue, blue
sea, with here and there a distant sailing-boat, and, above, the sky
even bluer than the sea. "I didn't know the sky _could_ be so blue!"
said a Cub; and that was just how they all felt.

It was very hot walking in the midday sun. There was no hurry--nine days
to do just as they liked in--so halfway along the sea-wall the Cubs and
Akela scrambled down some steep stone steps on to a tiny stretch of sand
not yet covered by the incoming tide. Boots and stockings were soon off,
sleeves and shorts tucked up, and everybody paddling deep in the cool
green water.

When they had all got thoroughly cool they went on their way, and at
last arrived at the Stable.

This was where they were to sleep. It consisted of a courtyard, a couple
of stalls, a coach-house, a shed, and two tiny rooms. Akela occupied one
of these, and the Cubs were divided into two groups. The Stable was in
charge of Bert, the Senior Sixer, and in his stall he had Bunny (a
Second), Dick (a big Cub very nearly ready to go up to the Scouts), and
Patsy, a small but lively Irishman. Sam, another Sixer, had in his stall
four young terrors--Terry, Wooler, Jack, and "Spongey" Ward. Then there
was the coach-house. This was in charge of Bill, the last Senior Sixer,
now a Cub Instructor. The other occupants were Jim, a Sixer (Bill's
young brother), "Mac," a Second, two brothers, "Big Andy" and "Little
Andy," and a rather new Cub called Bob.

It took a good while to stuff the palliasses with straw and unpack. But
when this was finished everyone had a good wash and changed into cool
old clothes--shorts and cotton shirts. Tea followed, in a jolly old
garden behind the bake-house. There was a seesaw in it, and the grass
was long and soft, and the shade of the apple-trees very cool. Then the
party ran up the hill to the camp field. Here there was a lot to do: the
bell tent to be pitched, the fireplace made, wood to be chopped, water
fetched, all the pots and pans unpacked, a swing and a couple of
hammocks to be put up, the two great sacks of loaves to be fetched, and,
oh! a hundred other things. But all the Cubs set to and did their best,
and at last all was ready.

"Now for the shore!" said Akela, and everyone cheered and ran for their
towels and bathing-drawers. It was only a few minutes' walk down to the
most lovely shore you can imagine--stretches and stretches of golden
sand and little, lapping waves. On one side you could see rocky points
running down into the greeny-blue sea, with trees growing right down to
the shore. An old, brown-sailed coal barge moved slowly past on the
gentle wind, the many browns of its patched sails forming a rich splash
of colour in the evening sun. The Cubs soon turned into "water babies."
Boots and stockings had been left behind at the Stable, and now they got
rid of clothes as well. How cool the sea was! That first bathe seemed to
wash away all the heat and smoke and grubbiness of dear old London.

After the bathe came a splendid paddle among brown, sea-weedy rocks, and
the Cubs caught their first baby crabs and found their first shells, and
got just as wet as they liked.

But the sun was sinking down behind the grey line of sea, and the clock
there is inside every Cub was telling supper-time. So, with hands full
of sea-weed and shells, they made their way back to camp.

The camp-fire was burning merrily. "Godmother," in a large blue overall,
was stirring a steaming dixie of cocoa, and "Mother and Father" were
cutting up bread and cheese.

After supper there was time for a little play in the field. Then, as it
began to get dusk, a whistle-blast called the Cubs in for night prayers.
It was still quite light enough to read, so each Cub had a little
homemade book of Morning and Night Camp Prayers. Kneeling in a quiet
corner of the field, with just the evening sky overhead, with a pale
star or two beginning to appear, it was easy to feel God near and to
pray. The camp prayers started with "A prayer that we may pray well." It
was a very old prayer, really, but it seemed just to fit the Cubs, and
help them to _do their best_ in their prayers as in all other things.
The prayer was this: "Open Thou, O Lord, my mouth to bless Thy Holy
Name; cleanse also my heart from wandering thoughts, so that I may
worthily, devoutly, and attentively recite these prayers, and deserve to
be heard in the sight of Thy Divine Majesty. Through Christ Our Lord.
Amen." Then followed the "Our Father" and some short prayers. And after
that the Cubs said altogether: "I confess to Almighty God that I have
sinned against Him in thought, word, and deed." Then Akela read out very
slowly the following questions, and each Cub answered them in his
heart--not out loud, but silently, for God only to hear:

"Have I done my best to pray well when saying my private prayers and at
camp prayers?

"Have I really meant to please God to-day?

"Have I done my best in my orderly duties, and in other things I have
had to do?

"Have I given in to other people quickly and cheerfully when given an

"Have I spoken as I should not?

"Have I been disobedient?

"Have I been unkind to another boy--selfish? quarrelsome? unfair?

"Have I told a lie?

"Have I done anything else I am sorry for?"

Then, after a pause, Akela said:

"Tell God you are truly sorry, on your honour as a Cub, that you have
grieved Him by the sins of to-day."

Then there was perfect silence for a moment, and after that, the Cubs
said, all together:

"May Almighty God have mercy upon us, and forgive us our sins, and bring
us to life everlasting."

Then they said a short psalm, and the following beautiful little hymn:

          Now with the fast departing light,
          Maker of all, we ask of Thee,
          Of Thy great mercy, through the night
          Our guardian and defence to be.

          Far off let idle visions fly,
          And dreams that might disturb our sleep;
          Naught shall we fear if Thou art nigh,
          Our souls and bodies safe to keep.

          Father of mercies, hear our cry;
          Hear us, O sole-begotten Son!
          Who with the Holy Ghost most high
          Reignest while endless ages run. Amen.

Then came "A prayer that we may be forgiven any wandering thoughts we
have had while reciting these prayers," and, to end up with, "Our
Father" once again, because it is the prayer that Christ Our Lord
specially told His friends to use.

The nine o'clock gun booms out across the Solent as the Cubs and Akela,
having bidden good-night to Father and Mother and Godmother, walk down
the hill to the Stable. The sea looks like a great piece of shimmering
grey silk. "Look at the little twinkle lights!" says a Cub. It is the
street lamps over on the mainland, but they look like so many winking
diamonds. There is quite a cluster of them on the grey ghost of a
battleship, and the old, round fort has a light which looks like the red
end of a cigar. "Please, _please_ let us go down to the front and look
at the little twinkling lights," beg the Cubs. So, on condition they get
undressed in five minutes, Akela says "Yes."

A few minutes later the Stable and the Coach-house are having an
undressing race. One of the two tiny rooms has been made into a little
chapel. In less than two minutes the first Cub ready whisks once round
the yard in his night-shirt, like a white moth in the dusk, and into the
chapel to say his prayers. The door stands open. In the red light of the
tiny lamp you can see the little white form kneeling on the floor, very
quiet and devout. Presently he is silently joined by another--there is
only room for two, it is such a wee chapel. Several impatient people in
pyjamas think it would be fun to start jazzing in the courtyard, till
Akela warns them, "No story if you start ragging."

Soon all prayers are said, and the people in the Coach-house are in bed,
and ready to "invite" the Stable. The Stable having been duly invited,
its eight occupants come in, and each finds a place on a palliasse. It
is a warm, still night. The great doors of the Coach-house stand wide
open. The stars are out thick by this time. Little black bats flit and
swoop about in the darkness. If you keep very still you can just hear
the gentle "hshshsh, hshshsh" of the sea. The candle flickers as the
night gives a little sigh. A few Cubs are rolling about on their straw
beds. "Shut up, all!" commands an imperious Sixer. "Now, miss, go

Akela is sitting on a palliasse already occupied by two people. Silence
reigns, for these Cubs belong to a story-telling Pack, and it is almost
the only time they are ever quite quiet. "Well," begins Akela, "many
hundreds of years ago there lived a boy----"


Many hundreds of years ago there lived a boy called Benedict. He lived
in Italy. His father and mother were rich people, and lived in a
beautiful house on a beautiful estate. St. Benedict and his twin sister
must have been very happy playing among the olive-trees and vines of
sunny Italy, where the sky is nearly always blue, and where there are
all sorts of lovely wild-flowers and fruits we don't get in England, and
lizards and butterflies and all sorts of things.

St. Benedict was brought up a good Christian, though lots of the people
round were still pagans in those days. There were terrible wars and
troubles going on in Italy and in all the countries round, like there
have been in our days. But the boy Benedict in his happy home knew
little of these. Little did he know that the beautiful fields of Italy
were being left to be overgrown with weeds and over-run with wild
beasts; that the children had never heard of God; that the poor were
dying of starvation. To him the world was a happy place, where one
played and had a good time, and where people loved Christ and obeyed His
words. But some day he was to learn the truth. For God was going to use
the boy Benedict to do more than any _one_ man has ever done to
_civilize_ the world. This story I'm telling you is the story of how St.
Benedict discovered all God's great plan for him, and worked it out, bit
by bit.

When St. Benedict had learnt all that his tutors could teach him at home
his father sent him to the great city of Rome to learn there from the
scholars and learned men, and attend lectures and classes. St. Benedict
was a very clever boy, and he must have got on very quickly and pleased
his masters very much. He could probably have carried off all sorts of
prizes and won great fame and praise for himself, but there was
something which stopped him caring for things like that. In the great
city of Rome he saw two things--one of them was all sorts of wicked,
selfish, horrible, and ungodly pleasures in which men wasted their lives
and altogether forgot God; and the other was the beautiful, holy lives
of the Christians, many of whom could tell wonderful stories of the
martyrs who had been killed in Rome not so very long before, and whose
bodies lay in the Catacombs. There were some beautiful churches in the
city, and St. Benedict loved to go to the solemn services. As he knelt
there in the holy stillness, or listened to the chanting, he began to
_think_. And more and more he felt that all the glamour and selfish
pleasures and greediness of the people was stupid and wrong, and that
what was really worth having was a good conscience, and peace, and the
friendship of God. And as he thought, he began to care less and less for
his learning and his chances of glory, and he began to feel as if he
wanted to get right away from people and have the chance of thinking
about God.

When St. Benedict had these feelings he knew they came from God, and so,
instead of not listening and just letting himself get keen on his study
and his amusements, he made up his mind that he would always _do his
best_ to follow God's will, and would keep his heart _always listening_,
so that if God _did_ want to call him away to some special kind of life
he would be ready to hear and to obey.

Well, when anybody does this God does not fail to tell him what to do,
and so, when St. Benedict had been seven years in Rome, and was still
only a boy, God made known to him that he must leave Rome, and his
friends and his masters, and go right away into the mountains. His old
nurse, Cyrilla, had always stayed with him, faithfully; and now she
decided to go with him wherever it was that God was leading him.

So, one day, St. Benedict and Cyrilla set out secretly, and made their
way by hidden paths towards the mountains. At last they reached a
certain village, and St. Benedict went into the church to pray God to
make known His will. When he came out the peasants who lived near the
church pressed him to stay with them. St. Benedict took their kindness
as a sign that it was God's will, so he and his old nurse settled down
in the village.

It was while the boy was living here that (so the old books tell us) a
miracle happened which made people feel sure that God was specially
pleased with him. One day, as St. Benedict returned home from the church
where he had been praying, he found his old nurse very unhappy; in fact,
she was crying. This distressed him very much, because he hated to see
other people miserable. At first he wondered why Cyrilla was crying, and
then he saw the cause. She had accidentally broken an earthenware bowl
that one of the good villagers had lent her. Full of pity for his old
friend, St. Benedict took up the two pieces and went outside the house
with them, and knelt down. Then he prayed very hard that the bowl might
be mended. And, as he opened his eyes and looked at it, sure enough, it
was whole! Very pleased, and thinking how good God is to those who
really trust Him, he ran into the house and gave it to Cyrilla.

St. Benedict had not thought of himself, but only of God's wonderful
power and kindness. But Cyrilla and the village people to whom she told
the miracle all began to talk a lot about St. Benedict, and say he was a
young saint, since he could do miracles. People even came in from the
places round to stare at him. Do you think this pleased him? No; he
wasn't that sort of boy. If he had been, God would never have done
anything for him. He was very distressed at the way people went on; and
more and more he felt that God was calling him away, and had something
very important to say to him. And one day it came to him that he must
leave even his faithful old nurse and go away. You can imagine how
terribly sad he must have been at that thought, not only because he
loved her and had always had her near him since he could remember, but
because he knew how very, very much she loved him, and that if he left
her she would be sad and lonely, with no one to comfort her. But you
remember what I told you about how St. Benedict had made up his mind to
do his best always to carry out God's will, and not give in to himself
and pretend he had not heard; so, because he knew that it is more
important to be faithful to God than to any person on earth, he made up
his mind to go away. He did not tell his old nurse, but one day he set
out, alone.

He must have felt very strongly that it was God's will, otherwise he
would not have dared go out all alone and unarmed into the mountains,
and with no money or food. Don't you think it was very brave of him?
Perhaps you think it was foolish? Well, people have often been thought
fools for doing God's will faithfully, but in the end God proves that
really they were quite right. Anyway, something very soon happened to
St. Benedict to show that God was with him.

As he tramped on, along the mountain-sides, between the flower-covered
banks and thickets full of birds' songs, he prayed to God to guide him
in the right way. And so when, after some hours of solitary tramping, he
saw a man coming towards him out of a lonely mountain pass, he felt sure
this was someone sent by God to help him.

The man's clothes showed that he was a monk. As he drew near he looked
curiously at St. Benedict, wondering who this noble-looking boy could be
walking all alone among the wild mountains. He, himself, had come out
there to meditate and be alone with God and his thoughts. Stopping St.
Benedict, he asked him kindly who he was and where he was going. St.
Benedict quite simply told him the truth: that he had come out to seek
God's will, and didn't know where he was going, except that he was
seeking some place where he could live hidden from the whole world.

At first the monk Romanus tried to argue with him and show him that it
was foolish to come out like that alone. But St. Benedict spoke so
wonderfully about God's call that Romanus saw he was right, and made up
his mind to help him find somewhere where he could live alone for a
while. So he led him up a steep winding path, and showed him a cave
opening into the rugged mountain-side. The cave was about seven feet
deep and four feet broad, and there was just room on the rocky ledge
outside to make a little garden. St. Benedict stepped into the cave with
his heart full of joy, feeling sure that at last he had found the place
he was seeking. Before going away, Romanus gave him a long garment made
of sheep-skin, which was what the monks of those days used to wear. He
also promised to supply him with food. His monastery was far up, on the
top of the great rock in which the cave was. He said that every day he
would let down a basket with bread in it for St. Benedict, and he
promised faithfully to keep his secret. Then he went away.

What happened in the time that followed no one knows--it is a secret
between God and St. Benedict. But we can guess that God made known many
wonderful things to His faithful young servant--things that later he was
to teach to thousands of men; and that He filled him with grace and
strength to do what he would have to do, to make the world a better
place. Also, we can be sure that he was very, very happy, in spite of
the loneliness, and the dark, cold nights, and the hard ground he had
for his bed.

Three years St. Benedict lived like this, and then one sunny Easter
morning God made known St. Benedict's secret to a certain holy man who
lived in those parts, and told him to go to the cave and take St.
Benedict some of his Easter fare. St. Benedict was very pleased to see
him, but surprised to hear it was Easter, for he had lost all count of
time. So the priest laid out the good things he had brought, and they
said grace, and then they had a meal together, and then a talk. After
the priest had gone some shepherds and country-folk climbed up the steep
little path to see where he had been, and they found St. Benedict. He
welcomed them, and spoke so wonderfully to them that they saw he was a
man specially taught by God. They felt he was their true friend and
loved them for God's sake, and so they often climbed the steep path to
visit him and ask his help and advice. But very soon news of him spread
beyond the mountain shepherds, and people of all sorts from far and near
flocked to see the holy man and ask his prayers and his advice. Sad,
wicked people went away with sorrow for their sins, and became good.
Cowards went away full of strength and courage. And many people began to
learn a new way of serving God truly, always _doing their best_ for love
of Him, and never "giving in to themselves."

It was then that God allowed St. Benedict to have a terrible temptation,
to test him. Suddenly he felt within him a great desire to give up all
he was doing for God and return to the wicked city he had left and live
a life of ease and pleasure. It was the Devil who put this thought into
his mind, but God's grace in St. Benedict was stronger than the Devil.
With all his heart he vowed that he would _never_ give up doing God's
will, and, to punish himself for the thoughts that had entered his mind,
he threw himself into a mass of sharp, thorny briars and
stinging-nettles, so that his flesh was all torn and stung. After that
he was so strong that no temptation was ever able to conquer him, and he
was able to lead thousands of souls to victory.

The time had come when God wanted St. Benedict to leave his cave. He had
learnt what God had to tell him in secret, and now his great work was to

A large number of men who wished to serve God with all their hearts
began to collect round St. Benedict. Gradually they formed twelve
monasteries, all within about two miles, and got St. Benedict to rule
over them all. This was the beginning of St. Benedict's great work for
God. He drew up a Rule which showed men how they could live in the way
most pleasing to God. It was not so terribly hard as to be impossible
for ordinary men, like some of the holy hermits and Saints in the past
had taught. And so thousands and thousands of men began to promise to
keep this Rule and to live together in monasteries, doing good. St.
Benedict had many wonderful adventures during the rest of his life, but
I must keep those stories to tell you another time. The end of this one
is that after God had called St. Benedict to Heaven, his great work went
on. His followers began to travel all over the world as missionaries,
teaching the pagans about Christ, and bringing peace and goodness to the
poor, sad, wicked world. They cultivated the land and made it fruitful;
and built churches and hospitals and schools; and taught the children,
and looked after the poor, and _civilized_ the world. It was they who
brought the Christian Faith to England, for St. Augustine was one of St.
Benedict's monks, and did more than anybody else to make England the
great country which she became; for before St. Benedict's monks came the
country was all wild and the Saxons were heathen. So, you see, by
listening for God's voice, and doing his best to obey faithfully, the
boy Benedict became one of the men who have done very great things for
the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Tell us some more," said the Cubs sleepily.

"Tell us all the adventures St. Benedict had."

"No, no," said Akela; "that was a long story. Now you must go to sleep
and dream about St. Benedict, and then you will be ready to get up and
have a glorious day to-morrow."

So the Stable boys stumbled sleepily back to their own quarters, and
Akela tucked each of them up in his blankets.

A quarter of an hour later everyone was asleep. As Akela crept softly
round she could only hear the regular breathing of sound sleepers. True,
at midnight Patsy made some loud conversation, and thought he could do
without any blankets at all, but he did not wake up even then, and was
soon tucked up quietly again.

So ended the First Day.


The sun has already been up some time when the first Cub wakes up and
wonders where he is. Finding he is in camp, he feels sure it would be a
good turn if he thumped the sleeping form next him and woke him up, that
he, too, may have the delight of remembering that "to-morrow" has
actually come--the first real day in camp! These two make conversation
to each other, and become so cheery that soon everybody else has woke
up. It is 6.30, so Akela gives leave for everyone to turn out.

There is a tap in the Stable-yard. Soon everyone is washing in a tin
basin. The two cooks have dressed quickly, said their prayers in the
little chapel, and are off up the hill to the camp field.

At the Stable it is some time before everyone is thoroughly washed and
dressed, beds are tidied, and everything spick and span. Then the crowd
of happy Cubs race off to the field.

The fire is burning merrily, and a big dixie of porridge bubbling for
all it is worth. Away, between the trees, you can see the blue sea
glinting and sparkling. Overhead the sea-gulls circle on silver wings,
and cry good-morning to each other as they pass with swoops and dips,
like so many tiny aeroplanes. The dew is thick on the grass, the
blackbirds sing, the sun shines, and the camp-fire sends a steady column
of blue smoke into the fresh morning air. How different to early morning
in London! With a howl of joy the Cubs scatter over the field.

Here comes Godmother in a big blue overall and a sun hat; and Father and
Mother appear at the same moment from the farther corner of the field.
They take over the cooking, and the two cooks run off for a bit of sport
after their labours.

Then everyone collects in the council circle for prayers. A short run
wild again, and then a series of whistle-blasts calls the Pack in for
breakfast. In come rushing the ravenous Cubs, and each squats down where
the cooks have placed their mugs in a circle. Caps off, and all stand
quiet for a moment, for grace, and then porridge and mountains of
bread-and-butter begin to disappear at a great rate.

Breakfast finished, the pots and the pans washed up, the Pack invades
the post office, and, armed with picture postcards and pencils, the Cubs
squat along the sea-wall and write to their mothers. That duty done, and
spades, pails, boats, and shrimping-nets bought, they lose no more time
in getting down on to the shore.

It is a happy and hungry crowd with wet and rumpled hair that turns up
again at camp, all ready for the splendid dinner Mother and Father have

After dinner a rest, while Godmother reads aloud.

The day ends up with a wonderful shrimping-party. Besides shrimps, the
Cubs catch every kind of funny little sea-creature--star-fishes,
jelly-fishes, baby sea-anemones, tiny, tiny crabs, a devil-fish, baby
dabs, and everything else you can think of. The tide is right out, and
there are mysterious green pools under the pier, full of feathery red
sea-weed and little darting fishes. Of course, Sam falls into one in his
clothes, and comes out looking like a drowned rat. Akela wrings him out
and sends him home to get into dry clothes, for the sun is beginning to

Supper, night prayers, a race down the hill, a few minutes, to see the
little twinkling lights, and the happy family is getting undressed in
double quick time, for Akela has promised a good story to-night--a
"nexiting" one about a robber chief.

Soon everyone in the coach-house is settled on his palliasse, and has
invited a Stable Cub to share it with him. The candle has been lighted
and stuck with a dab of grease on the ledge.

"Fire ahead, miss," commands a Sixer. Silence reigns.

"The story I told you yesterday," said Akela, "was about a boy who
started good, and went on being good all his life. To-night I am going
to tell you about a boy who started good, but became bad, and was very
wicked until he grew up, when something happened which sent him on the
great adventure of serving God."


Many hundreds of years ago, in the days when England was ruled over by
the Saxon Kings, there lived a boy called Guthlac. He was a very
intelligent boy, not dull, like some children; he was obedient to the
grown-ups, and, as the old book says, "blithe in countenance, pure and
clean and innocent in his ways; and in him was the lustre of Divine
brightness so shining that all men who saw him could perceive the
promise of what should hereafter happen to him."

But when he got to be about fifteen he forgot all the things he had been
taught as a child. When he felt a kind of restless longing for adventure
rising up inside him, and a desire to do wild things, and a cruel
feeling that he did not care what happened to other people so long as he
had a good time, he _gave in to himself_ and began the most wild and
reckless life you can imagine. He armed himself with a great ash-bow and
a sharp spear from his father's armoury. He slung a shield on his back,
and stuck his belt full of knives and daggers and arrows. Then he went
about and collected a gang of all the wildest boys he could find, and
put himself at their head. Then, going through all the country round,
these wild boys attacked anybody they thought was an enemy of theirs,
paid off old grudges, killed and wounded innocent people, set fire to
their houses, and did all the damage they could. Mad with excitement and
lust for blood, they soon became just a robber band, attacking friend
and foe alike, killing just for the pleasure of killing, or sacking
farms and houses to satisfy their greed. They knew all the woods and
by-ways so well that no one could catch them. After a time they began to
build themselves huts where they could sleep, and also hide the treasure
they had plundered from rich men. You can't imagine any wicked or
horrible thing they did not do. And, of course, they forgot God
entirely, though once they had been Christian children and had been
brought up to know and love God. Nine years passed like this, and then
something happened.

One night as Guthlac, the chief, lay on his bed of rushes and soft, warm
skins in the darkness of the wooden cabin, thinking over the excitements
of the day and planning all the wicked things he would do the next day,
a wonderful thought flashed into his mind, and it seemed to swallow up
all the other thoughts. He lay still, gazing into the darkness and
trying to understand what it was. Then, gradually, he found that it was
_God_ he was thinking about--God, Whom he had forgotten for nine long

He did not turn away his mind, but went on thinking about God until his
heart was full of a kind of glow that was _love_. He was surprised, for
he knew he did not really love God; for he was spending all his days
fighting against Him by every wicked thing he could imagine. And then he
began to understand that this feeling inside him was sent by God--it was
God's love for him, and not his love for God. Could it really be that
God loved him? He was so very wicked and cruel, and God--God was so good
and just and merciful.

The robbers, sleeping on their rush beds, breathed heavily; they were
tired after a hard day. Guthlac listened to their breathing. They were
his men; they obeyed him as their chief. He remembered the day, nine
years ago, when he had thought of the bold robbers and sea-kings and
brave men of the past, and longed to show that he was as daring as they,
and could lead men to war. But as he lay, very wide awake, with the
strange feeling of God near, he began to think of other great men he had
heard of in his childhood--men just as brave and daring as the
sea-kings, just as good leaders of men, more famous and wonderful,
and--lovers of God.

God loved them, and they loved God and gave all their strength and
courage to serve Him. They were His special friends. And now it seemed
to Guthlac that God was filling his heart with love and asking him to be
His special friend. A great feeling of shame came over him. How could
God forgive him and want him for a friend after all the terrible things
he had done? But suddenly a great longing filled him to be one of God's
special friends, and obey Him, and go on always loving Him. He longed
for Christ to become his Chief and Leader; and then he began to
understand that this would mean he must tell God from the bottom of his
heart that he was sorry for all the wicked things he had ever done, and
must promise on his honour that he would never again do a single one of

Guthlac sat up in bed and thought hard. This would mean that he must
give up being a robber, give up his free life in the woods, give up
leading his daring followers, give up all the unlawful pleasures of
which his life was made up. It would be a terribly big giving up . . .
but then, what a big, big thing he would get in exchange! He would get
the friendship of God, and the knowledge that he had become very
pleasing to Him. Stretching wide his arms in the darkness, he told God
that he gave up _all_, _all_, _all_ that was wicked, and he begged to
be forgiven and made clean once more, like an innocent little child.
Then, very happy, he lay back on his bed of skins and fell asleep.

The sun was streaming into the long, low room when Guthlac awoke. It was
a glorious English spring morning. The sleeping robbers were stirring,
one by one, beneath their warm deer-skins. They little thought that
their chief, sitting up in bed with the morning sun in his eyes, was
thinking about God, and how wonderful it was that He had come to him in
the night and called him to become one of His friends. It was rather
difficult to believe, in the light of day, with the coarse laughter and
wild voices of the robbers ringing out on the morning air, and yet
Guthlac knew it was true, and _knew that he had made a great promise_.
He was too brave a man to go back on a promise, however hard to keep, so
he stood up with a strong purpose in his heart.

The first step would be to tell his men. That would be terribly hard. He
suddenly felt very lonely, and wished there was someone else there to
back him up. Then he remembered that the Lord Christ was his Chief.
Surely He would be near and help him in his first adventure?

So he stepped out into the dewy woods, where all the birds were singing
as if they, too, loved God with all their hearts. And he called his men
about him to hear the important thing he had to say. They all came
crowding round, expecting to hear some splendid new adventure that
Guthlac, their chief, had planned for them.

Then he stood up, taller than any of them and more splendid, and in his
clear, ringing voice he told them that a wonderful thing had
happened--God had called him to join the band of His brave friends. When
God calls there's no hanging back. And so he had given up for ever the
robber's life. He was no longer their chief. He had found a new Chief
for himself, and was off, at once, on the adventure of God's service.
And so he bade them--good-bye.

The robbers looked at each other in horror and surprise. What had
happened to their chief? Was he mad? What would happen to them without
their brave leader? Falling down on their knees about him, they begged
him to stay; but Guthlac's eyes were already looking away at the new
adventure he saw before him. The pleasures of his old life did not seem
worth anything now; he scarcely heard the voices of his friends as they
pleaded with him.

At last they gave up all hope of persuading him, and Guthlac walked away
through the woods, leaving his old life behind him for ever.

He did not know where to go at first, but he felt sure Christ, his new
Chief, would help him; and, sure enough, he presently remembered that
not very far away there was an abbey of St. Benedict's monks. He knew
those men were all Christ's friends, and he was quite sure they would
welcome him.

So he walked through the woods until he came to the abbey. There he
knocked loudly on the great door, and presently a brother opened it. He
must have been terrified when he saw the tall young chieftain standing
before him, for all the countryside feared Guthlac. But very soon the
brother saw the love of God shining in Guthlac's eyes, and the gentle
humility in his voice showed that he was no longer the cruel robber, but
a servant of Christ.

The monks took Guthlac in and made him welcome. Soon he found that
conquering himself and the Devil was a harder fight than he had ever
fought against his enemies in the world, but he threw himself into the
battle with all his heart. He did not do things by halves, but began to
serve God with all his might, because before he had fought so hard
against Him. Remembering how often he had got drunk with the wine he
had stolen, he now would not drink one single drop even of the wine the
monks were allowed to have. At first the brothers did not like this, but
soon they began to understand the strong resolve of the young robber,
and, seeing how very pure his heart was and how much he loved God, they
all loved him. The curious old book which tells all about him says: "He
was in figure tall, and pure in body, cheerful in mood, and in
countenance handsome; he was modest in his discourse, and he was patient
and humble, and ever in his heart was Divine love hot and burning."

For two years he lived in that monastery, and then he began to long to
live a harder life for Christ's sake. He heard about the hermits of old
days who used to live apart from other men in wild places, and he got
leave from the Abbot to follow their example. So one day he set out.

He did not choose the beautiful green woods that he had once roamed in,
but turned towards a most horrible place--a great marsh full of pools of
slimy black water, and reeds, and rough scrub and bushes. It was the
most lonely place you can imagine, and people feared to go there because
they said it was haunted by evil spirits.

On an island in this lonely fen St. Guthlac settled down with two
servants. It was a very hard life, and the Devil sent him all sorts of
horrible temptations and haunted him and gave him no rest; but St.
Guthlac rejoiced in the chance of fighting under his Captain, Christ,
against the evil spirits.

It would take too long now to tell you of all the wonderful things that
happened to St. Guthlac on this island--we must keep them for another
time. For God rewarded his love and his courage by giving him a
wonderful gift of miracles and of great wisdom, so that the news of him
gradually spread all over the country, and people began to understand
that the great robber had now become a great Saint. And so from far and
near, the people flocked to him. But one thing more about him I will
tell you.

Though he had now no human companions, and chose to set all his love on
God, he had a wonderful friendship with the wild animals that shared the
island with him. In those days there were many wild beasts in England,
such as wolves. These would come to St. Guthlac and eat out of his hand.
Even the fishes would come to him; and as to the birds, they did not
fear him at all. The swallows, which are very timid birds, would come
and settle all about on him, and there were some ravens which were a
trouble because they were so tame and would come and steal things from
his house. Once a holy man called Wilfrith, who had come to see St.
Guthlac, was surprised to see the swallows settle on him, and (as the
old book says) asked him "wherefore the wild birds of the waste sat so
submissively upon him." St. Guthlac explained to him in these words:
"Hast thou never learnt, Brother Wilfrith, in Holy Writ, that he who
hath led his life after God's will, the wild beasts and wild birds have
become the more intimate with him? And the man who would pass his life
apart from worldly men, to him the angels approach nearer."

So it was that the wild place called Croyland became a place of God, and
St. Guthlac, through God's power, was able to do more good to his
fellow-men than ever he had done them harm in his wild days. But though
St. Guthlac was doing miracles as wonderful as those of the Old
Testament prophets, and preaching in his wilderness as wonderfully as
St. John the Baptist did in his, God did not mean to leave him there
very long, for He wished to have His brave and true friend in heaven.
After fifteen years St. Guthlac, who was still almost a young man, fell
ill. Knowing that God was calling him to Heaven, he gladly began to
prepare. His illness lasted only seven days, and he himself knew that he
would die on the eighth. But he had nothing to fear, for he had so
truly repented of his sins that night when God spoke to him first that
they had been all washed away. So he lay in his little house waiting.
And when one of his faithful servants, who was some way off, at his
prayers, chanced to look up, he saw the house with a kind of bright
cloud of glory round it. And this brightness stayed there till day
broke. And at dawn St. Guthlac called his servant and gave him last
messages for his friends. "And after that," says the old book, "he
raised his eyes to heaven and stretched out his arms, and then sent
forth his spirit with joy and bliss to the eternal happiness of the
heavenly kingdom."

       *       *       *       *       *

"That was a good one," said the Cubs. But they were too sleepy to ask
for another story, as usual, and in less than five minutes every one was
asleep, sailing away through the dream-sea towards the golden, sunlit
country called "To-morrow."


Seven o'clock and no one awake yet! Akela crept softly out and roused
the cooks. Sam woke quickly, but Bill was just like a hermit crab--the
more you poked him, the more he drew back into his shell and hid his
head under his blanket. Presently, however, he began to uncurl, opened
his eyes very wide, sat up, and discovered it was not his mother calling
him, but that he was at camp. He got up quickly, and was the first

Gradually they all woke up, but no one was in such a hurry to turn out
this morning.

They put on uniform and boots and stockings, for it was not to be a
shore day.

Breakfast over, haversacks were packed with grub, and the whole party
tramped off along the sea-wall to Ryde. The first thing that happened
was a beautiful service in a very beautiful little church, for on this
day (August 15th) the Pack always goes to church. Then five of the
younger ones who didn't fancy a long tramp went home with Father and
Mother, and the rest set off on an adventure.

Along the roads and lanes they went, but the way did not seem long, for
they talked of so many interesting things. After about two miles, as
they were going along a narrow lane, they suddenly came on a man sitting
on the bank, who stood up and said, "Hullo!" The Cubs gave a yell and
fell upon him, for, you see, he was their Scoutmaster.

He led the way past an old ruin, under a ruined archway, and along a
little path, till they got to a great building called Quarr Abbey, where
he was staying. There, under the shade of the trees, the weary
travellers sat and had an enormous lunch. Three big jugs of cider had
been provided for them. It was the first time they had ever tasted
cider, and Akela began to be afraid they would never be able to walk
home straight if they drank any more; so it was decided to pour the
remainder into the water-bottles, and take it back for the five boys in

After dinner the Scoutmaster took the Cubs for a row in the creek, and
afterwards they bathed. Then they had a good tea, and were allowed to
see over the abbey and go down in the crypt under the church. It
interested them very much to see a wonderful library of eighty thousand
books! Some were hundreds and hundreds of years old, and all done in
writing and painting, because there was no printing in those days. Some
were books done in the very first days of printing. There was one
enormous book you could hardly carry, and by it a tiny wee little book
you could put in your waistcoat-pocket.

At last it was time to go home, and they set out once more to tramp
along the lanes. The evening sun shone down through the thick green
leaves, and the blackbirds sang as if they were saying all sorts of
important things to each other, if only you could understand. The grey,
broken arches of the ruined abbey seemed to tell sad tales of long
ago--seemed full of secrets nobody will ever hear.

"It's been a good adventure," said the Cubs, and they tramped home
contentedly, for their minds were full of things to think about.

Even at the end of a four-mile tramp they were ready to run up the
grassy hill into the camp, each keen to be the first one to tell Father
and Mother about the eighty thousand books, and the ruin, and the cider,
and the crypt. The five Cubs enjoyed the cider, and everyone talked at
the same time round the camp-fire that night, all telling different

"Story to-night, miss?" said a Cub, suddenly.

"Yes," said Akela.

"Good one?"

"Yes--a very good one about a soldier-Saint."

"Hooray! Buck up, boys, and let's get down to the Stable for the story,"
cried the Cub, cramming the last bit of bread-and-cheese into his mouth.

The trampers were quite ready to lie down on their beds that night.

"It's been the best day we've had yet," they said; "and now, please,
tell the story."

So Akela curled up on someone's palliasse, and silence fell.


A little more than three hundred years after Our Lord formed the
Christian Church and then went back to Heaven, having promised always to
be in spirit with His people, a boy called Martin was born in Hungary.
This boy God chose to be a very great leader among His people, the
Christians, and so He began to arrange Martin's life in such a way that
he should be led, little by little, to the fulfilment of God's plans.
Now, part of God's plan was that Martin should be given the chance of
_conquering himself_, and, with the addition of a lot of God's grace, be
made strong and able to bear bravely the terrible dangers and hardships
that were bound to go with a high position in the Church of Christ in
those days of persecution. This story I am going to tell you is the
story of all the hard things and disappointments and adventures God sent
to the boy Martin, in order to prepare him well, and bring him, at last,
to the position he was to fill in the Church.

Well, the first thing that happened was that the Holy Spirit put into
the little boy's heart the idea of praying to a wonderful, unknown
being, Whom he called "the God of the Christians." You see, his father
was a pagan, and Martin had never been taught anything about God, and
must have picked up this idea all on his own. He had no church to go to,
or anything, so he set to and built himself a little chapel on the top
of a hill near his home, and there he often ran off and prayed to the
God he knew so little about, but Who, he felt sure, was a kind and
loving friend of little boys.

Well, God was pleased to see that Martin had answered so well to the
idea He had sent into his heart, so He rewarded him by making something
happen, which was the next bit of His plan, so to speak.

Martin's father was a soldier, and had risen from the ranks to the
position of Colonel in the Roman Army. To repay him for his good
services he was given a farm in Italy. And so, when Martin was ten years
old, his father and mother moved to this farm, and Martin found himself
living in a country where the Christian Faith was openly practised and
people loved and served "the God of the Christians," Whom Martin had so
much longed to know more about.

You can imagine how pleased the boy was; and before long he had
discovered the house of the priests who taught young pagans all about
the Christian faith, and had begun to go to them regularly to learn. His
father did not take much notice of this, and thought his small son would
soon forget all about it when he got old enough to enter the life his
father had decided he should follow--the exciting life of a soldier.

But Martin was not dreaming of battles and the adventures of a soldier's
life, for he had discovered that among Christians there was such a thing
as specially giving yourself to God, and bravely breaking away from all
the things you love by nature--like riches and fine clothes, and nice
food, and friends, and adventures in the world, so as to love Christ
only, and follow the adventures of the spirit to which He will lead His
loyal soldiers. While still a boy Martin decided that this was the life
for him, and he began to long to leave his comfortable home and go and
join the hermits who lived in caves. So you can imagine that when his
father began to talk about his starting his military training he was
very much dismayed. Being a frank and honest kind of boy, he looked his
father bravely in the face, and told him straight out that he wanted to
be a Christian and give up his whole life to it.

Martin's father was very angry indeed. He stormed at the boy, and when
he found that was no good, he thrashed him. But nothing could make
Martin change his mind, and at last he decided the only way was to run
away from home.

But I told you God meant Martin to become a leader. To have run away and
lived with the hermits would not have given him just the kind of
training he needed, and the chance of showing he could stick to God
through real difficulties. So God let the next bit of His plan happen.

Martin's father told the Roman officials that his son had come to the
age at which all boys had to undergo their military training (though he
hadn't, really). And as Martin would not go and "join up," a kind of
press-gang lay in ambush one day and captured him, and he was led away
in chains and forced to take the oath of military allegiance.

His father being a Colonel, Martin was given a good position in the army
straight off, and had his own horse and his own servant. Of course,
nearly all his companions were pagans, and the life of the army was of a
pretty low standard. But Martin stuck faithfully to the kind of life he
knew was pleasing to God, and tried in his dealings with his fellow-men
to do things in the brave, kind, generous, unselfish way Christ would
have done them. Of course, this made all the soldiers and his
fellow-officers love him, and they must often have wondered why he never
got angry, or cheated, or grumbled and swore at unpleasant things; and
why he was so very kind to his servant, and always ready to give up his
place or any little privilege to other people. Though no one knew it,
even his pay he gave away to the poor. And yet he was not yet a baptized
Christian, for in those days people used to wait a long time and prepare
themselves very carefully for the great honour of being made one of the
children of God; and during this time of waiting they were called

It was at this time, while Martin's regiment was stationed in France,
that a very wonderful thing happened to him--for God was still planning
his life and giving him chances; and, if he took them, rewarding him
with special graces which should turn him gradually into a brave
"soldier of Jesus Christ."

One cold wintry day, as the wind whistled down the narrow streets of
Amiens, Martin's troop came clattering through the old gateway, the
soldiers wrapping their great military cloaks close round them, for the
bitter French winter seemed to freeze their Southern blood. By the gate
of the city they noticed, as they swung by, an old, ragged man. The wind
fluttered his tattered rags about, and he stretched out his thin hands,
all blue with cold, hoping for a few pence to buy himself some food. The
soldiers, however, passed him by and gave him nothing. But when Martin
reached the corner and saw the piteous sight his heart was touched, and
he reined in his horse. He felt in his pockets, but, alas! they were
empty, for he had given away all he had to some other poor person. He
was very sad, because he always felt the poor were a kind of _chance_
given him by God of showing his love for the Lord Christ, Who had said
that if you served the poor and naked and hungry and unhappy you really
served _Him_. Well, Martin felt he simply _couldn't_ pass on and give
the old man nothing. And suddenly the idea came to him that he was warm
in his big cloak, and the old man very cold. What if he gave his cloak?
But it was his uniform, and he knew that he must not ride out without it
altogether, so he took it off, drew his sword, slashed it in half, and
then, bending down with a smile, put the warm folds about the old man's
cowering shoulders.

Of course, the soldiers and other officers laughed; but Martin didn't
care--he was willing to be what St. Paul calls "a fool for Christ's

And now comes the wonderful thing. That night as Martin lay in bed,
asleep, a wonderful vision came to him. Suddenly his room seemed full of
angels, and in the midst of them was Christ. _And_--on His shoulders was
Martin's half-cloak! Then Our Lord spoke. "Martin," He said, "dost thou
know this mantle?" And then He turned to the angels, and He said:
"Martin, yet a catechumen, hath clothed Me with this garment."

You can imagine what St. Martin felt! But besides the joy in him, there
was a feeling that Our Lord was a little disappointed because he was
only a catechumen still, and not yet baptized and made a real part of
His Church, a real child of God. And so, feeling that God wished him to
have the great honour of Baptism, he went to the priests, and started on
the long, hard preparation that they used to have in those days. No meat
might he have, nor wine, and he must pray a lot, and often watch in the
church the whole night, and in many other ways practise not giving in to
himself. Only at Easter and Whitsun were the catechumens baptized; and
then they were clothed in white garments, which they wore for a week.
These were meant to show the perfect purity of their souls, from which
all stain of sin had been washed away by the waters of Baptism.

At last the great day came, and Martin received the wonderful Sacrament
with great love and humility. But now he felt that he simply couldn't
let his hands be stained with the blood of his fellow-men, and that the
soldier's life was not for him. And so, when the Emperor came one day
and inspected his regiment, which was shortly to go into battle, he
asked him if he might leave the army. "Until now I have fought for you,"
he said; "let me henceforth fight for God. . . . I am a soldier of
Christ, and it is not lawful for me to take part in a bloody battle."
The Emperor was very angry. "Coward!" he cried. "It is not religion that
causes you to refuse to fight--you are _afraid_."

So, to show them he was not afraid, Martin offered to go into battle in
the very front rank, but to go unarmed (since he would not shed human
blood). And, to show that he trusted in Christ as his protector, he said
he would go without armour or helmet.

His challenge was accepted, and he was put under arrest, lest he might
try to escape.

Of course, he spent the night praying, and the next day everyone was
astonished by some strange news. The enemy had sent a despatch to sue
for peace, and to say they would agree to the Emperor's terms. So there
was no battle; and not only was Martin's life saved, but the lives of
many other brave men. Probably the Emperor saw God's hand in the
unexpected action of his powerful enemy, for he at once gave Martin
leave to go free.

At last Martin found himself at liberty to follow the life he had always
felt called to; and once again God sent him where things should happen
to him which would finally lead to the accomplishment of God's great

After making a pilgrimage to Rome, which was now not only the head of
the worldwide Empire, but the kind of headquarters of the Christians, he
returned to France, so as to put himself under the guidance of a very
holy man, called St. Hilary, the Bishop of Poitiers.

St. Hilary soon saw that Martin was no ordinary young soldier, but was a
very promising "soldier of Jesus Christ," and that his services would
be very valuable. He saw, also, that he had received a special call from
God, so he proposed to ordain him deacon. But Martin was very humble,
and he refused the honour. In the end he let St. Hilary ordain him
exorcist. But directly after this he was ordered by God in a dream to go
back to his native land and visit his relations and bring them into the
Christian Faith. St. Hilary was disappointed, but he let him go, making
him promise, however, that he would return to the Diocese of Poitiers,
to which he now belonged.

After many adventures, including falling into the hands of robbers and
escaping in a marvellous way, which must have been through God's help,
Martin reached his old home, and had the joy of seeing his mother
received into the Church, as well as seven of his cousins and his two

At this time the Church was being persecuted by a very strong party
called the Arians. They were heretics, who taught that Our Lord was only
a man and not God, and as the Church turned them out on account of their
false teaching, they did nothing but fight against her. Of course,
Martin, the brave soldier of Christ, stood up for what he believed, so
that one day he was seized by the Arians, beaten, and banished from his
own country. He began to make his way back to St. Hilary, but when he
reached Milan he learned that his friend had been banished from
Poitiers, and that an Arian Bishop ruled in his place. So Martin stayed
at Milan; and this, too, was a part of God's plan, because it was his
stay here which started him on an idea which in the end developed into
one of the most important things in his life.

This idea was to form a kind of little monastery outside the city, where
he and a handful of other young men lived, and tried to do good and to
live in a way specially pleasing to God, and more perfect than they
could do in the busy rush of the ordinary world. But after a while the
Arians got strong in Milan, and drove out Martin and his followers. For
a while Martin and a friend of his lived as hermits on a wild little
island off the coast of Spain. But, hearing that St. Hilary had been
restored to his see, Martin went to Poitiers so as to fulfil his solemn
promise. But once more St. Hilary was to be disappointed, for this time
Martin begged to be allowed to continue his hermit's life. St. Hilary
gave him leave, and Martin now withdrew to a forest about eight miles
from Poitiers. Here he built himself a hut, and was soon surrounded by
men who wished to lead the same kind of holy life. This was the
beginning of all the wonderful monasteries of France, which civilized
the whole country in time and taught it to be Christian.

That Martin's new life was really pleasing to God was soon shown, for
God gave him the gift of doing miracles, and twice he even raised the
dead to life. You will remember how Our Lord specially promised that His
faithful followers, in the years to come, should do miracles like He had
done, and even greater ones. Well, St. Martin was one of the men who
showed that Our Lord's promise was fulfilled. All the men to whom the
Church has given the title "Saint" have done wonderful miracles, that
God's name might be glorified and people see that "with God all things
are possible." St. Martin now lived in very close communion with God,
and his miracles showed that he was not just an _ordinary_ good man.

Besides training his monks, St. Martin was working very hard among the
heathen Gauls. He would press forward through the forests and preach in
the little villages, and do miracles, and, after instructing the people
in the true Faith, baptize them all, and leave a happy Christian village
where he had found a miserable, frightened, heathen one.

St. Martin's tender pity for all suffering things is shown by this
little story. One day, as he walked in the country, he saw a poor,
terrified hare dashing along with starting eyes, and nearly exhausted,
for a party of huntsmen and their hounds were close upon it. St. Martin
saw that in a few minutes it must be torn to bits by the hounds, for
there was no cover for it. His tender heart longed to help it to escape,
because it was weak and small and frightened. So he called out to the
hounds to stop! And, strange to say, they pulled up short in their mad
rush, and all stood still as if frozen to the ground, and the poor
little hare scurried away into safety.

Now, this kind of life was just what suited St. Martin, and he was very
happy. He lived apart with God, and yet had work to do in training his
monks in the way of perfection and teaching the Faith to the ignorant
pagans. But he had not yet arrived at the end of God's great plan for
him. And if God now called him away from the life he loved to a life he
did not want at all, we must not be surprised, for Christ said that
those who would be His disciples must _deny themselves_ and take up
their _cross_ and follow Him, and that is what all good Christians must
be ready to do--that is, live according to _the way God wants_ instead
of according to the way _they want_ themselves.

Well, the change came when St. Hilary died; for of course the people
wanted St. Martin to become Bishop in his place. To be Bishop was a very
great honour, and one that many men would have been glad to accept. But
St. Martin was humble, like all Saints; and he also felt that if he was
to remain pure of heart and close to God he must live in the quiet
solitude and silence of his monastery, so he refused to become Bishop.
But that he should be Bishop was God's will, and also the people were
quite determined to have him. They got him by making him think there was
a poor sick woman who wanted him to come to her. He came out of his
monastery, all unsuspecting, and the people carried him off by force to
Poitiers, and he had to consent to be consecrated Bishop.

He did not look very like a Bishop as he was brought into the city. He
was clad in a poor, thin old habit, and his head was closely shaved, as
the monks were accustomed to do, and he was thin and pale with fasting
and his hard life. But even his humble appearance made the people cheer
him all the more; and the church was absolutely packed at the solemn
service of his consecration as Bishop.

Now began a life in which his own will was altogether given up to that
of God. He lived in a poor little hut adjoining the church--the poorness
of it pleased him; but all day he was at it, doing things for
people--now visiting a sick man to pray over him, now making peace
between quarrelsome people, now blessing oils, that they might bring
healing to the sick; preaching sermons, talking to people, and
explaining Holy Scripture in the way he could do so wonderfully;
visiting his priests, or listening to the worries and troubles they came
to tell him; and when there was nothing else, there was always a crowd
of people waiting just to see their beloved Bishop's holy face and go
away cheered with a patient smile from him.

But just sometimes he slipped away for a little peace alone with God, at
a beautiful monastery called Marmontier, which he formed near the city,
and which later became very famous, and kept the Rule of St. Benedict I
told you about before.

There were many things that were serious worries and very bitter sorrows
and trials to St. Martin at this time, but I can't tell you all about
these now. But there were also joys; and one of these I will tell you
about, because it was the companionship of a little boy. He was nearly
ten when St. Martin baptized him and then adopted him. As they travelled
together soon after the boy's Baptism, and while he still had on the
beautiful white robe I told you about, which showed outwardly the new
purity of his soul, they came to the River Loire. A little way ahead of
them they saw a poor blind beggar waiting for someone to help him

"Son," said St. Martin to the boy, Victorius, "go to that man; wash his
face and eyes with water from the river; then bring him to me."

So the boy went and did as St. Martin had told him; and as soon as he
had washed the poor man's eyes, the man opened them and found he could
see! With joy he looked about at the blue sky and the river; and when he
heard that it was the holy Bishop who had sent the white-robed boy to
him, he praised God for what had happened, and ran and fell down at St.
Martin's feet. The poor beggar was very excited about it all, and didn't
know how to thank St. Martin and the boy. So St. Martin said:

"Calm thyself, cease talking, and come; for with me in this boat thou
shalt cross the river."

So the beggar stayed with them three days, and Victorius was allowed to
look after him, and, as the old book says, "eagerly brought him
everything to eat that he liked best."

Victorius stayed always with St. Martin, and went about everywhere with
him, scarcely ever leaving his side. Even to the church he would go with
him for the night offices; or on his tours visiting the churches or
preaching to the heathen. St. Martin taught Victorius, and in return the
boy waited on him; also, I think, he must have cheered up the old
Bishop, and often made him feel a boy again. But don't you think
Victorius was a very lucky boy? He saw a great many wonderful miracles
of the Saint, and was even allowed to have a hand in the doing of some
of them, as in the case of the blind beggar. When Victorius was old
enough, St. Martin made him a priest, and _himself_ cut off the young
man's hair in the way priests used to have it cut.

There are a great many more wonderful stories about St. Martin which I
haven't time to tell you now; but gradually, gradually he was
establishing the Christian Faith very firmly in France. God's great plan
was being fully worked out, for, you see, St. Martin had never resisted
God's will in any point; always he had done just what he felt God was
gently leading him to do, never mind what it cost him at the time. And
so he took each step that God arranged for him, and each one led on to
the next, and all led on to the wonderful life of building up the Church
of Christ, and making it bigger, stronger, purer, more healthy; and the
great work, too, of turning a heathen land into a powerful Christian

At last came the day when the tired old Bishop felt, with unspeakable
joy, that he was to go and receive his reward at the hands of Christ,
Whom he had loved so faithfully and so long, and was to enter into his

One day, after a long journey, St. Martin was thinking of returning to
his beloved Marmontier, when a great weakness came over him.

"The moment of my deliverance is at hand," he said.

His monks and other faithful companions were nearly broken-hearted.

"Oh, Father, will you then leave us?" they cried. "Ravening wolves will
fall on your flock, and who will protect it when the shepherd is struck?
We know your longing to depart and to be with Christ, but your reward is
assured and will be greater by delay. Have pity on us who must remain."

So St. Martin prayed a beautiful prayer, because he loved his children
more than himself, and he was even willing to put off his reward and his
longed-for rest for love of them.

"Lord," he said, "if indeed I still be necessary to Thy people, I refuse
not the labour. Let only Thy will be done."


_See page 39._ ]

But it was not Our Lord's will that His faithful soldier should fight
any longer. Christ was waiting for him, all ready to say, "Well done,
good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

And so, lying humbly upon a bed of sackcloth, St. Martin, Apostle of
France, finished the work that God had given him to do, and passed into
the glory and eternal rest of the Blessed.


A gorgeous day of steady, hot sun that made the sea sparkle like a
million diamonds scattered on a great stretch of blue, blue satin. The
tide was very far out, leaving a golden stretch of sand that simply
asked to be tunnelled into and dug into holes and trenches and castles.
The Cubs all got into their bathing-costumes (the Cubs' "costumes" were
_mostly_ bare Cub!), and spent the whole morning burrowing like moles
into the sand, and getting cool in the sea when they felt like it. Akela
tried to write something "very important," but the Cubs didn't seem to
think it nearly as important as Akela did, and not much writing got

After dinner and rest, when the tide had come up, like a great green
monster swallowing up the shore, and clutching with foamy fingers at the
rocks, Akela hired a boat and took half the Cubs at a time for a row,
while the other half ran along the shore ready to scramble in, when
their turn came.

The wind had got up, and out to sea there were no end of "white horses"
shaking their manes and galloping after each other. Do you know what
"white horses" are? They are the white crests of the waves that break
out all over the sea on windy days. Some of the "white horses" came
galloping close in to shore, and the Cubs had a very exciting time
landing to give the others a turn. This is how they did it. One large
Cub rolled up his shorts as far as they would go, and stood ready in the
bow. Akela then turned the boat shorewards suddenly, and pulled at the
oars for dear life, and all the Cubs helped by cheering.
"Crash--scrunch," the boat went ashore; the Cub in the bow leapt out,
and held her nose steady while everyone else scrambled out. A few
"white horses" jumped over the stern and made things a bit wet, but
nobody minded. In scrambled the next boatful of Cubs, and, with a good
shove, the boat was out again.

A very little make-believe and you were lifeboat-men landing survivors
from a wreck.

There was to be a long and _very exciting_ story to-night, so the Cubs
bustled down to the Stable extra early, and were undressed before you
could say "Jack Robinson." In fact, Terry began to undress in the
street, and was out in the Stable-yard in his night-shirt before Akela
and the last Cub had got through the gate.

"Tell us a long, long, long one," begged the Cubs; "we aren't a bit
sleepy. Let it last till midnight."

"I'll tell as long as the candle lasts," said Akela, sticking a stump of
candle on the ledge.

The Cubs curled up, and the candle-light fell in a golden flicker on their
ruddy, sunburnt faces. Fifteen pairs of eyes were fixed on Akela. You
couldn't hear a straw rustle. Only the faint "Swish-sh-sh--_Sha-a-a-ah_"
of the "white horses" breaking on the shore broke the stillness.

"Now we are going back, back, back into a thousand years ago," began
Akela, and the Cubs gave a wriggle of satisfaction, and prepared to take
that mighty journey with the greatest ease.


Now we are going back, back, back into a thousand years ago, and more.
We shall stay in England, but it is a strange, wild England, covered
with deep, mysterious green forests, where speckled deer roam about, and
on moonlight nights you can hear the wolves howling. The Englishmen of
these days are nearly as fierce as the wolves. If you met one coming
down a forest path I believe you'd be a bit afraid of him, with his
fierce eyes and shaggy head of hair, his round shield and sharp spear. A
good many of these Englishmen are still heathens. But St. Benedict's
monks have been hard at work for the last few hundred years turning the
wild country into the beautiful England we know, and the fierce, cruel
Saxons into brave Christian knights, with kindly, noble hearts as well
as fearless spirits.

Well, in a part of the country called East Anglia there lived an old
King called Offa. He was a Christian, and descended from a line of brave
and noble Kings called the Uffings. Poor old Offa was very sad, because
he felt he was getting old, and he thought that when he died the royal
line of Uffings would end, for he had no son to succeed him.

As a matter of fact he _had_ got a son, but many years before God had
called this boy to give up all thoughts of worldly glory and become a
holy hermit, giving up his life to prayer. When God calls a man to serve
Him and Him alone, He does not let the world suffer by his loss. God had
a plan of His own for replacing Offa's hermit son by one of the most
glorious Kings that ever reigned in England, and it is the wonderful
story of how he was found, and of his thrilling adventures as the young
King of East Anglia, that I'm going to tell you to-night.

Well, something--perhaps it was a whisper from the Holy Spirit--made old
King Offa feel that if he prayed very hard he might in some wonderful
way obtain an heir to his throne.

In those days, when people wanted to pray very hard and show God they
_really_ wanted a thing, and really believed He would give it them, they
used to do what was called "going on a pilgrimage." It was like _doing_
instead of only _saying_ a great prayer, for the whole, long, dangerous
journey was one act of faith and devotion or of thanksgiving.

So old Offa set out on a pilgrimage to the very best place you could
pilgrimage to--the land where Our Blessed Lord lived and died, where
there are still the very same rocky paths His Blessed Feet touched, the
same mountains and lakes His Eyes rested on, the very hill where His
Precious Blood poured down from the Cross, dyeing the grass and the
little white daisies red. Somehow the King felt that if he could go and
pray where Our Lord had prayed he would get some wonderful answer. So he
started off, crossed the blue sea and landed on the opposite coast. Now,
God is so ready to grant the prayers of people who have so much love and
faith that He sometimes answers almost before they have asked. That's
what happened with the old King. His way lay through Saxony, the kingdom
of his cousin Acmund. One day he rode up with his men-at-arms to the
Court, and decided to spend a few days there. Acmund, of course,
welcomed his cousin, and received him joyfully to the palace.

Well, as King Offa sat resting on one of the low couches covered with
the skins of wild beasts that Acmund had killed in the chase, there was
a light footfall outside the chamber, the heavy curtain was drawn back
from the doorway, and there stood before him a tall, slim boy of
thirteen, with fair hair, truthful blue eyes, and a face tanned with the
sun and wind of his open-air life. Something seemed to jump up in the
old King's sad heart. Oh, if only that noble boy were his son, his heir!
He was a true Uffing. What a King he would make for East Anglia!

In the next few days Offa and the King's son, Edmund, became great
friends. Edmund took upon himself the job of looking after his old
cousin, and seeing that he had all he needed and enjoyed his visit at
the Court. And Offa watched Edmund with a feeling of love and interest
such as he would have had for his own son. He saw that the boy was brave
and clever, a good shot with his bow, able to throw a spear straight and
ride a horse. He saw that he was loved by all, and always ready to do
good turns and put the wishes of others before his own. But he saw
something that pleased him more--that Edmund was a true, loyal
Christian. In all the excitement of the chase and the gaiety of the
Court, his first thought was of God--to serve Him and please Him, to
keep from all sin for His sake.

The more Offa saw of Edmund, the more sure he felt that God had led him
to this Court that he might find his heir. Still, though it seemed as if
his request was already granted, he did not give up his pilgrimage, but
decided to press on, if only as an act of thanksgiving to God.

Before starting once more on his way, the King called Edmund aside.
Taking a gold ring from his finger, he put it on Edmund's hand, and told
him that if it were God's will this might some day mean great things for
him. Then he said good-bye, and rode away towards the East.

Young Edmund must often have wondered what it was that God held in store
for him, and as he looked at the gold ring on his finger I feel sure he
used to promise God that whatever it was he would _do his best_ to
fulfil His Holy Will.

Well, old Offa reached Palestine all right. His heart thrilled with joy
and love as he saw the very village where Jesus was born, and where the
shepherds came that early Christmas morning to adore the little new-born
King. He remembered the three Kings of the East, who came plodding along
on their camels, bearing gifts for Mary's little Son.

Then he went on to Mount Calvary, and the tears ran down his old face as
he saw the hill where Our Blessed Lord suffered such agony, with such
glorious courage, for our sakes. He prayed and gave thanks, and then,
with a confident heart, left all the future in God's Hands and started

But he had not got very far before he fell ill, and soon his men saw
that he was dying. Calling them about him, he told them that it was
God's will that young Edmund, Acmund's son, should be their King. Taking
from his finger the signet-ring that had been placed upon it by the
Bishop at his coronation, he commanded that when he was dead it should
be carried as quickly as possible to the boy. Then, heaving a last sigh
of peace and gratitude, he closed his eyes on the world, and his
faithful soul went to God.

_The Coming of St. Edmund._

Now we will go back to England. The people have heard of the death of
their King, and they are not at all sure that they want a strange young
Prince from Saxony to come and rule over them. They have collected in a
great crowd on the shore, for the galleys from across the sea have come
in sight, bearing down before the wind.

The ships draw every moment nearer, and the people wait. As long as most
of them can remember they have been ruled over by King Offa; and for
many generations their Kings have been Uffings--tall, fair, blue-eyed
men, with noble, fearless hearts. What will this strange boy be like?

And on the ship young Edmund pushed his way forward to the prow. He
could see the green, tree-covered cliffs of his new kingdom, and the
crowd of people on the shore. His heart beat fast, and he fingered the
ring old Offa had put on his hand. Oh, if only these people knew that he
came to them ready to _do his best_ to be to them a good King--to _do
his best_ for them, for the love of God!

Splash, splash!--the big anchors go overboard and the chains rattle as
they run out over the bows. Soon Edmund and his men are in small boats,
being rowed swiftly to the shore. Edmund's boat is the foremost and he
himself stands up on the prow, ready to leap ashore. As the men of
England look at him they see that he is no stranger, but one of
themselves, a true Uffing, and then and there a sense of loyalty springs
up in their rough hearts.

The nose of the boat grates on the shore. With a leap Edmund has cleared
the water, and is standing on the land of which he is to be King. His
first act is to fall on his knees and ask God's blessing on himself and
his people. His short prayer ended, he gets up and turns to greet his
new friends; but to his surprise they are all falling on their knees,
murmuring to one another, "A miracle, a miracle!" For a spring of clear
water has bubbled up where Edmund's knees touched the ground--a sign
from Heaven that he is the true King, a symbol of the power of the Holy
Ghost that will well up like a spring in his heart.

_The Crowning of St. Edmund._

After a time of study and preparation under a holy man, called Bishop
Humbert, who became a true father to the boy and his lifelong friend,
the time of St. Edmund's coronation drew near. It took place on
Christmas Day, and the old books tell us of the gorgeous procession and
the wonderful service. St. Edmund had to make a solemn promise of
loyalty to God and his people, and after being anointed with holy oil he
was clothed in certain royal garments by the Bishop, while a thane
stepped forward and put sandals on his feet, a purple cloak was put upon
his shoulders, and in his hand a sceptre of mercy and an iron rod of
justice. After that a naked sword was presented to him, and a helmet put
on his head. Then, laying aside all these, St. Edmund stepped forward,
and standing before the altar declared solemnly that by the grace of God
he would fulfil all the duties of a good King. The Bishop placed the
crown upon his head, saying, "Live the King for ever," and the people
all cried, "Amen, amen, amen."

After that there was a solemn service of praise and thanksgiving to God,
and the new King received Holy Communion. You can imagine how happy it
made the holy young King that this should be the very first act of his
reign, and what confidence it gave him that Christ would stay with him
through all the difficult years to come.


For a long time there was peace in St. Edmund's kingdom, though the
people in other parts of the country were suffering terribly from their
enemies, the Danes, who came over in wild hordes from the North in their
low, black-sailed boats, and, landing on the coast, went through the
country burning and plundering and killing.

St. Edmund knew they would sooner or later invade his kingdom too. So he
set to work to prepare for them. His chief way of doing this was to win
the loyalty of all his subjects, so that if there was war he knew they
would all rally round him. He made wise laws, and he was so fair to all,
and so ready to listen to the poor and oppressed and help them, that
soon everyone in the kingdom loved the young King and would do anything
for him. They could see that God was with him, and they could not help
feeling that in serving the humblest of his subjects he felt that it was
Christ Himself that he served.

St. Edmund had, of course, prepared his army and had thrown up defences
to try and keep the enemy out as long as possible. You can still see one
of his great earthworks running from Newmarket to the Fen country. For
hundreds of years it was called "Edmund's Dyke." He placed scouts and
outposts all round his borders, and prepared in every way he could.

At last the day came when the country people came running into the towns
in terror. They had seen along the borders huge, fierce men, with
flashing eyes and long red hair and beards. Their leather tunics were
stained dark with blood. Huge round shields were slung across their
backs; they were armed with spears, bows, clubs, and knives, and they
shouted to one another in a strange language.

St. Edmund's scouts came running in to say that the Danes were
collecting in great crowds on the frontiers.

Soon they began creeping in at every point, burning houses and churches,
and killing people, especially the Christians. Though it was an almost
hopeless job, St. Edmund led his brave army forward, and whenever it was
possible he engaged the enemy in battles and drove them out. The Danes
had never before been so powerfully resisted, and thousands of them were
killed. There's not time now to tell you all of the thrilling adventures
St. Edmund had at this time, and of his wonderful escapes from the
Danes. Anyhow, the Danes were so much weakened that they asked for
peace, and after spending the winter in a great camp at Thetford, they
sailed away, full of rage and hatred and desire for revenge.

_A Cowardly Plot._

For a time there was peace, and then a sad thing happened.

One stormy day when the waves dashed and foamed up the shingly beach,
and the sea and sky were a leaden grey, the fisher-folk who lived down
by the shore saw a small boat, with tattered sails and broken mast,
being driven before the wind. There seemed to be a man in it, but he was
evidently weak and exhausted, and was doing nothing to help himself.
Presently the boat was thrown up on the shore, and the fishermen ran
down and collected in a little crowd round it. Looking down at the
helpless man, still clinging to a spar and drenched with foam and
sea-water, they soon saw he was not one of their people. "A Dane, a
Dane!" they murmured with sullen hate. Then one who had served in St.
Edmund's army suddenly gave a wild exclamation. "By Heaven," he said,
"it's Lothparch!" Lothparch was the leader of the Danish army who had
done such awful harm to East Anglia only a few years before. "Kill him!"
growled one man. "Throw him back on the mercy of the sea!" hissed
another. But the man who had fought under St. Edmund would have nothing
of the kind. The King never allowed a helpless man, even a cruel enemy,
to be killed. So Lothparch was carried up to the royal palace.

To the surprise of the fierce Angles, St. Edmund not only made the
stranger welcome, but showed him every kindness. "Love your enemies,"
said Our Lord, and sure enough St. Edmund seemed truly to be obeying
that command. Everything the King did seemed right to his loyal
subjects; but there was one man--Berne, the King's huntsman--whose
jealousy was so bitter at St. Edmund's showing favour to a Dane that he
waited till he had an opportunity, and then he murdered Lothparch.

The King was very angry, of course; but he said that, though Berne
deserved to die for the crime, he would give him a faint chance of
escape; he should be put in an open boat, and pushed out to sea and left
to the mercy of the waves.

After tossing for many days, Berne was washed up on a strange coast.

During those lonely days of tossing on the waves, instead of repenting
of his crime, Berne's wicked heart had been full of hatred for the King.
So when he heard that the land he had come to was Lothparch's own
kingdom, and that his two sons, Inguar and Hubba, were reigning in his
place, a horrible idea came into his mind. Asking to be taken before the
Princes, he made up and told them an awful lie, saying that when their
father, Lothparch, had been washed up, helpless, on the coast of
England, Edmund the King had caused him to be cruelly put to death.

Of course, this enraged Inguar and Hubba, and they at once collected a
huge and fierce army, and set out once more for East Anglia.

_A Fight to the Death._

Landing in the North, and marching from York southward, the Danes
plundered every city they passed through. They burned the monastery that
had been built at Croyland (St. Guthlac's isle), and also those at
Peterborough, Ramsey, Soham, and Ely. Meeting St. Edmund's army, they
defeated it completely, killed the brave General who commanded it, and
took Thetford by storm. Then they sent St. Edmund a message to say that
he must give up half his kingdom and pay heavy taxes, or they would do
the most terrible "frightfulness" throughout the land.

But St. Edmund and his men decided to make one great effort to keep
their land in liberty and true to the Christian Faith. At the head of
his gallant army, St. Edmund marched on Inguar's army, and a ghastly
battle began.

Arrows flew thick; swords clashed on shields; great spears tore men open
and left them to bleed to death. All day the battle raged, but at night
the Danes fell back exhausted, and St. Edmund held the field,
victorious. But as he stood in the moonlight and looked upon the scene
his heart sank.

Before him stretched the great battlefield, its trampled grass all
soaked in blood; and around him, silent for ever, lay his great army--an
army of dead men. With a heavy heart he led back his little handful of
tired and wounded soldiers to the camp.

The next day came terrible news. Hubba, with ten thousand men, had
marched up and joined his brother.

_The Martyr._

It was hopeless to try and resist any more--the King knew it, and his
people knew it, and they shuddered to think of their fate. Then a great
idea came to the King.

It was he himself the Danes hated so. If only they had him in their
power, perhaps they would leave his beloved country in peace! The more
he thought of this, the more certain he felt that, by giving himself up,
he could buy the peace and happiness and safety of his people. Christ,
his Captain, had done this--He had not feared to face the most cruel
death to save mankind, and St. Edmund's heart suddenly leapt with the
thought that he would follow Christ and do the same!

At first his old friend the Bishop, St. Humbert, tried to hold him back.
But after a while he saw that St. Edmund was quite resolved. He spoke of
it with such courage and joy that the aged Bishop knew the Holy Spirit
must be in his heart leading him to this glorious sacrifice of himself,
this giving of his very life for his God and his friends, this quest for
the martyr's crown. And so he gave him his blessing and bade him do as
his brave heart prompted him. So, calling together his people, St.
Edmund told them what he was going to do. You can imagine what they
felt--how they begged him with tears not to do it. But nothing would
make him change his mind--he knew it was God's Will.

Bravely he gave his last order to his men. It was that all the gates of
the fortress should be thrown open, all the defences left unguarded,
nothing done to stop the Danes entering it. Then he made his way to the
chapel. Unbuckling his faithful sword, he laid it on the steps of the
altar, and knelt down, with no protection save God's mercy.

The little chapel was very dim, and full of a holy feeling. All was
still. It seemed to the young King as if he were far, far away from the
rest of the world, from all the horror of bloodshed and crashing
battle-axes that had filled the last few weeks like some horrible dream.
He let his mind just rest on the thought of God and His love, and a
wonderful peace came over him.

Near him knelt the old Bishop, and his heart was near to breaking, for
he loved St. Edmund very much. The tears ran down his furrowed cheeks,
and fell silently on the steps of the altar, but he spoke no word.
Silently the moments passed, and then, suddenly, a sound broke the
stillness that sent a cold shiver through St. Humbert. Wild shouts,
coarse laughter, the clash and clatter of armed men rushing in wild
triumph through the fortress. It was the King they were seeking. Where
was he? They cared for nothing but to find him and wreak their revenge.

The shouts came nearer . . . the tramp of feet . . . the clang and
scrape of spears against the wall. Nearer, nearer, until the chapel door
burst open and a crowd of cruel faces peered in. Then a wild oath rang
through the quiet of the chapel. They had found the King! Rushing in,
they seized him and dragged him out.

_"Faithful unto Death."_

In a field beyond the town the Danes tied St. Edmund to a tree. They
were determined to have a full revenge. With long whips they began to
scourge his naked body. Each lash was like the touch of a red-hot iron,
and left a long, bleeding wound in the bare flesh. But St. Edmund only
rejoiced that, at last, he could share truly what Christ had suffered
from the Roman soldiers. No cry escaped him, except now and then the
name of Jesus.

Then, throwing down their whips, the Danes took up their bows. The
arrows fell thickly round St. Edmund, piercing him in every part, until,
as the old book says, he was as covered with arrows as a porcupine with

Inguar, the Danish Prince, looked on with a horrible smile of cruel
enjoyment. Hearing the Holy Name break like a sob from the mouth of the
martyr, he began to taunt him, telling him to give up his faith in
Christ, since it had only brought him to this. But St. Edmund was
"faithful unto death." Soon, soon he would receive the "crown of life,"
the welcome of the King of kings.

Seeing that nothing could make St. Edmund cry for mercy or give up his
faith in God, Inguar drew his long sword, and, with a hoarse laugh of
triumph, cut the martyr's head from his body.

Free and glorious the soul of King Edmund rose from his bloodstained
body into the sunlight of heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

St. Edmund had not sacrificed himself in vain. The Danes, so greatly
weakened by the bloody battles they had fought, gave up the idea of
ruling East Anglia, and sailed away to their country, leaving St.
Edmund's people in peace, and free to practise the Christian Faith.


Everyone dressed quickly and quietly, found his Prayer-Book somewhere in
the far depths of his kit-bag, and ran down to sit on the sea wall and
wait for Akela and the last Cub or two (the ones whose boots had got
lost, or who were so fussy about parting their hair, etc., that dressing
took rather a long time).

Very reverently they went into church, and very quietly came out again
and up to the field.

Breakfast, a run round the field to let off steam, and then down to the
shore for a bathe.

In the afternoon every Cub got hold of a piece of paper and a pencil,
and sat, lay, knelt, or squatted in some corner, his tongue well out and
his brow furrowed with thought, to write home.

Some wrote very private letters, all on their own, and didn't give the
show away even to ask how to spell the hardest words, like "library"
(which might just as well be "lybary," or "librurry," or "lieberry"). Of
course, library, in some form or other, came into all their letters,
because they all wanted to tell about the adventure of going to Quarr
Abbey. Some Cubs, sacrificing the privateness of their letters, decided
that if Akela or Godmother did the writing, while they did the _saying
what_, it would be much quicker, and much more could be told to "mother
and all at home." So they brought their paper and pencils, and asked
Akela to do it in "proper, quick writing." They told _everything_--even
what they had had for dinner each day, and one said his bed at camp was
much "comfortabler" than his bed at home.

After tea there was a little cricket practice and some tree-climbing,
and then supper and, of course, night prayers. And then, feeling as if
they had lived in camp all their lives, instead of only five days, the
Cubs walked contentedly down the hill to bed.

Patsy, as usual, was having a free ride on Akela's back, and he was
certainly quite a lot heavier than the first day.

Before long everyone was established in the Coach-house and the candle

"To-night," said Akela, "I'm going to tell you about a very Cubby Saint.
I know he would have loved Cubs, because he loved small boys and wild
animals; in fact, a certain wolf was a great friend of his; and he
thought it worth while, once, to preach a beautiful sermon to a flock of
birds. He was always laughing or singing or doing something Cubby, and
he had ideas he used to teach his followers, very much like our Cub Law
and Motto. His name was St. Francis of Assisi. Now listen, for I
specially want you to make friends with St. Francis, because I love him
very much."


There was once a boy called Francis, who lived in a curious old town in
the mountains of Italy. The town was called Assisi. It was all funny
little up-and-down streets and flights of long, crooked stone steps; and
there was a wall all round (to keep enemies out), and big gates in the
wall that were closed at night. The purple hills and mountains spread
away as far as you could see beneath a blue, blue sky, and all round the
city there were vineyards, and lovely little rocky paths winding about
among the silvery olive-trees.

Francis was the son of a rich merchant called Peter Bernardone. He was a
regular Cubby boy--always laughing and singing, ready for mischief, but
still more ready to do anyone a good turn. He was Peter Bernardone's
only son, and he had a jolly good time of it, because his father had
made up his mind that young Francis should make a success of life, and
end by being a great man in the town. He used to smile to himself and
rub his hands together as he saw what a clever, handsome boy Francis was
growing up into, and how everybody loved him, and how he was always the
ringleader in all the fun. As Francis grew to be a young man his father
would encourage him to give lots of feasts to his friends, not minding
how much they cost, and it pleased him to see that it was always Francis
who was the life of these feasts, making jokes, leading cheerful
singsongs, enjoying himself no end, and making everyone else enjoy
themselves. But while Peter Bernardone chuckled to see young Francis so
gay and popular, Francis' mother, Pica, used to notice little things
that made her happy too, only in a different way. She noticed that
Francis never really gave in to himself, like his wild friends; never
overate himself in a greedy way or drank enough wine to make him drunk;
never thought it funny to tell nasty stories or swear; and if ever God's
name was mentioned, it seemed to make him serious for a moment. "One
day," she said, "he will become a son of God." But her friends thought
it a silly remark to make, for Francis seemed to be living just to
please himself and have a jolly time. But mothers are generally right in
what they prophesy about their sons, and Pica's remark was really a very
true one. This story is all about how Francis gave up being a rich
merchant's son and became a poor man who found all his joy and his
riches in calling _God_ his _Father_. The change did not come easily,
and a great many wonderful adventures befell him, which I am going to
tell you now.

It all began with a war between Assisi and another city. Of course,
Francis and his pals joined in the fray and thought it great sport, till
they got captured and carried off prisoners. It was not sport at all
being shut up in stuffy old houses with only a little food and nothing
to do. Francis used to cheer them up with troubadour songs and stories.
But although he always seemed so cheerful, it was doing great harm to
his health, and when, after a year, the prisoners were freed and
returned to Assisi, Francis became very ill indeed. So ill was he that
he came near dying, and this experience of nearly passing out into the
next life made him begin to think seriously. When he was well enough to
go out, walking slowly with a stick because of his weakness, he felt
that life could never be quite the same; he must _do_ something, take a
man's place in the world.

Well, the chance soon came, for all the young Christian men were called
out to fight in a Crusade. A certain nobleman of Assisi started getting
up a party, and Francis decided to join him. He soon had all his
kit--armour, a bright sword, a good horse, and all complete; and with a
gay heart, full of a thirst for adventure and a determination to do
great things, he waited impatiently for the start. He had been rather
puzzled as to what to do with himself, and now he felt he had hit on the
right plan. So it was a bit of a surprise when, his very first night
away, something happened which unsettled his mind altogether and made
him feel it was not God's will that he should go to the Crusades.

The night before the party set out Francis had had a very curious dream,
about a beautiful palace, all hung round with knightly arms, which a
mysterious voice told him was for him and his followers. This made him
so happy that the next day, when someone asked him what good fortune he
had had, he replied that now he knew for certain he was to be a great
prince and leader of men. But the next night, as he lay in the hostelry
on the first halt along the road, something still more strange happened.
He was not asleep, and yet, through the still darkness, he heard the
mysterious voice of his dream, and it said: "Francis, whom is it better
to serve, the lord or the servant?" "Surely it is better to serve the
lord," replied Francis, softly, into the dark. And the voice answered:
"Why, then, dost thou make a lord of the servant?" Then it all seemed to
flash on Francis, and he felt sure this was a Voice from heaven, and he
replied very humbly: "Lord, what dost Thou wish me to do?" And the Voice
said: "Return to the land of thy birth, and there it will be told thee
what thou shalt do; for it may behove thee to give another meaning to
thy dream." He felt so positive that the Voice was from heaven, that he
felt he simply could not disobey it. So, although it cost him a lot to
do it, he turned his horse's head northwards and rode home.

There was nothing to do now but wait for God to show him His Will. He
tried to settle down again to his old life of feasting and gaiety, but
somehow he couldn't throw himself into it. There was something he was
feeling after, but he didn't know what.

One day something happened which was the beginning of great things.

Francis had been out for a ride beyond the city. As he turned his
horse's head homewards and rode slowly back towards the golden sunset,
he suddenly saw, a little way ahead, something that made him shudder and
almost turn aside on to another path. It was a poor leper, his filthy
rags only half covering his wretched body, with its horrible running
sores. His face was swollen and disfigured, and his eyes full of the
frightened misery of a hunted animal. Now, seeing lepers always made
Francis feel quite sick. He hated horrible sights. But somehow,
to-night, a new feeling woke up in him--a sudden feeling of brotherhood
with this poor man, almost of love for him. It was such terribly bad
luck that he had caught leprosy and become a ghastly sight, so that he
could not earn any money nor come near the town. Francis felt in his
wallet for a silver piece to give him, and then he thought how sad it
must be to have money flung at you by strangers, who passed by with head
turned away because they loathed the very sight of you. How the lepers
must long for just a friendly look, a smile! A great idea suddenly leapt
up in Francis's mind, and it took all his courage not to give in to
himself. As he came up with the leper, he jumped off his horse, took a
silver piece from his pocket, and held it out to the man. The leper,
full of surprise, held out his poor swollen stump of a hand, with
several fingers already rotted away, to take the coin. But meeting the
man's eyes, and seeing in them the look of hunger for friendship,
Francis took the poor hand in his, as he would the hand of his friend,
pressed the coin into it, and then, stooping, pressed his lips upon it
in a kiss. Then, with his heart full of joy, he remounted his horse and
rode home.

With that kiss a wonderful new idea had sprung up in Francis's heart--a
sense of love for the poor, of longing not only to help them, but to
share their very lives, to be one of them. At first he tried to satisfy
his longing to help them by making great feasts and serving his poor
guests with his own hands. One day he went on a pilgrimage to Rome, and
as he saw the crowd of beggars clustering round a certain shrine in hope
that the pilgrims would give them money, he longed to become just one of
them. So, taking one of them aside, he exchanged his fine clothes with
the beggar for his dirty rags, and spent the whole day with his poor
brothers in the dust and the scorching sun, enjoying the sense of being
a mere outcast to whom rich men threw ha'pence.

Still, when he returned to his home he was as puzzled as ever as to what
he should do. He took to spending long hours at prayer in a certain cave
begging God to make known His Will; and at last God answered his prayer,
and I will tell you how.

Francis had been for a long walk outside the city, and as he returned
along the stony little mountain paths, the evening sunlight dazzling
his eyes, and the olive-trees whispering to each other in the soft
evening air, he noticed a tumble-down little wayside church. Something
made him stop and turn in.

It was very dim and cool and quiet. There was no one there--except God.
A lamp burned with a feeble flicker in the sanctuary. Francis knelt down
and began to pray. Then, out of the stillness a strange, wonderful Voice
spoke his name--"_Francis_." He knew directly Whose Voice it was--Our
Blessed Lord's. "Yes, Lord," he answered, his heart beating rather fast,
though he felt very happy. "Francis, go and repair My church, which thou
seest falling," said the Voice. Then all was still.

The tones of that Voice seemed to vibrate through and through Francis.
He was filled with a great desire to obey--to do anything, anything Our
Lord wanted. "Repair My church," He had said. He must mean this poor
little tumble-down house of His, that was certainly on the point of
falling. So Francis jumped up from his knees and went out into the
sunlight very happy. He found the old priest, who lived in a poor little
house near by, and, telling him the wonderful thing that had happened,
gave him all the money he had, and promised to return soon with enough
to rebuild the church. Then he hurried home.

His father was away on a journey. So Francis went down to the warehouse
and picked out the most costly bale of rich stuff he could find. Then he
took a good horse, and, putting the bale of stuff on his back, set out
for the town of Foligno. Here he sold both the stuff and the horse, and
returned with a good sum of money. Full of joy, he hurried along the
little mountain path to the old priest's house, and held out the heavy
purse of gold to him. But the priest was afraid to accept it, for he was
not at all sure that Francis's father would be pleased about it. Francis
was disappointed. He had got the money for the church, and certainly
wasn't going to carry it home again; so he threw it into the deep recess
of one of the windows of the little church, and left it there. Then he
told the priest he meant to stay, for here Our Lord had spoken to him,
and he must stay and see to the building of the church.

The old priest was very kind, and let Francis share his little house and
his poor fare, and Francis began to feel like a kind of hermit, living a
life of prayer.

Meanwhile Peter Bernardone returned from his journey. When he heard what
Francis had done, and his new, mad idea of living like a hermit on the
mountain-side, he was furiously angry. Taking a stick in his hand, he
set out, saying he would teach the young fool a good lesson and bring
him home. But one of the servants ran ahead by a short cut and warned
Francis. Francis had no wish to meet his angry father armed with a stout
stick, so he fled and hid himself in a cave, and Peter Bernardone had to
go home again, even angrier than he set out. For about ten days Francis
stayed in hiding, the servant bringing him food. He spent this time in
prayer. This made him braver, and he began to think that he had been a
"funk" to run away and hide and not face the music, so he decided to
make up for it by being braver.

His time of hiding in the dark, dirty cave, with little food, had made
him look thin, untidy, and a bit of a scarecrow. The people of Assisi
had heard what he had done, and they decided he must have gone mad. So
when he appeared in the city the boys began throwing stones and rubbish
at him, and calling after him. Francis bore it all patiently, and felt
rather a hero. But presently Peter Bernardone discovered that his son
was being insulted in the streets. It filled him with rage, and he
rushed out, dragged Francis indoors, gave him a good flogging and shut
him up in a little cell. Here he had to stay for some time, until his
father went on another journey and his mother let him out. Of course,
he went straight back to the little church on the hill-side, and here,
when his father came back, he found him. Peter Bernardone stormed at him
and demanded the money back, but Francis would not give it, saying he
had given it to God. So Peter Bernardone went to the Bishop about it.
The matter came up at the Bishop's Court, and the Bishop had to tell
Francis to give back the money. Bernardone was so angry with his son
that he then and there disinherited him, and said he would not own him
as his son any more. So Francis took off his very clothes and gave them
back to his father, saying, "Now will I say no more Peter Bernardone is
my father, but only 'Our Father Who art in heaven.'" So, taking the
bundle of clothes, old Bernardone stalked out of the Court.

Someone fetched Francis a rough habit, such as was worn by the
farm-hands. On this Francis chalked a big cross, and, putting it on,
stepped out joyfully, feeling that at last he was free to serve God, in
whatever way He wanted him to, and share the life of the poor.

He felt somehow that he must get right away, alone; so he started
walking up over the mountains, not caring where he went. Soon he was
right up among the pines, and as night fell he found it was pretty cold,
for the winter's snow still lay in the deep shade of the trees. But he
was so happy that he did not care for anything, and as he went he sang
aloud for joy.

Then, suddenly, out of the dark wood a band of robbers pounced on him.
"Who are you?" they cried. "I am the herald of the great King!" answered
Francis. So they stripped him of his habit, and threw him in a ditch
full of snow.

Luckily, the next day he found a friend in a town the other side of the
mountains, who gave him a pilgrim's cloak, a pair of shoes, and a staff.
Then, after a bit more wandering, St. Francis returned to the little
church and settled down with the old priest, meaning now in good earnest
to build up the church.

Since he had no money to buy what was needed, the only thing was to beg.
So he went out in the streets begging for stones to build up the little
church. The poor people were very kind, and gave him stones, and some of
them came and helped, and soon they and Francis together had begun
rebuilding the walls. Every day Francis went begging, and sometimes it
was very hard not to _give in to himself_ and go skulking down a
side-street when he saw a group of his old friends ahead. But he went
bravely on, and faced their stares and laughter.

One day it struck Francis that he ought not to be eating the old
priest's scanty store of food, which he noticed his kind old friend used
to cook and try and prepare as nicely as possible for him. This was not
what a true lover of poverty should do. "Rise up, thou lazy one," he
said to himself, "and go begging from door to door the leavings of the
table." So, taking a big dish, he went round the houses of the
townspeople asking for scraps. They gave him broken bits of messy old
food, and he returned with his dish full. But when he sat down to supper
he didn't feel at all like eating from that pile of scraps--the very
thought made him feel quite sick. But he was learning to conquer
himself, and by the time the meal was done he felt he had really
accomplished something, and was at last really a poor man and ready to
live on what God's mercy would give him from day to day.

All this time he had been praying a great deal, and learning to know God
very much better. More and more he felt that God meant to use him for
something special--_what_ he did not know.

At last the little grey church was all built up new and strong, and
Francis felt the job Our Lord had given him was done. But as God had not
shown him anything else to do, he set out and found another tumble-down
little church to build up, and started on that. When that, too, was
finished, he started on a third one. The third one had been restored,
and a service was being held in it for the first time since its
restoration, and Francis was assisting at this service, when something
happened which sent him on a new adventure, and which proved to be the
beginning of the great adventure which filled all the rest of his life.

       *       *       *       *       *

"That's a good stop," said Akela. "If we started on St. Francis's next
adventure, we could not finish it before you all fell asleep. So we will
keep it for to-morrow night. To-morrow you will hear how the boy Francis
turns into the man St. Francis, and what a wonderful life of service and
suffering for God he begins to have, and how he ends in becoming a great
Saint, and one of the greatest leaders of men."


The splashing sound of Cubs making good use of soap and water; snatches
of cheerful song; the lamentation of someone who had lost the "relation"
of his left sand-shoe; the sound of a Sixer trying to make a sleepy-head
turn out--all these sounds filled the sunny morning. Presently there
fell on the ears of Akela (who was still in her "den") the sound of an

"I say it's _dirt_," cried one; "he's a dirty-neck, who doesn't know how
to wash himself. . . ."

"'Taint!" squealed a small Cub; "it's the sun what's made my neck

"Garn! it's not using soap what's made your neck that colour, dirty
little. . . ."

_Splosh!_ Somebody got a wet flannel in the eye that time.

"Now, then, what's up?" cries a Sixer, coming up to the group. Quite a
little crowd collects.

"He says my neck's _dirty_," wails the small Cub, "and really it's the
sun. . . ."

Someone has a bright idea: "Let's ask Miss."

So Akela comes out, and scrubs the neck in question with soap and
flannel. It turns out to be nearly all sunburn, with just a _little_

The sun is shining, and the sky is full of "flocks of sheep"--those
tiny, steady white clouds that stretch in close rows across the sky in
fine weather. The dew on the grass is nearly dry already when the Cubs
get to the field.

"Prayers!" calls Akela, and the Cubs come up quietly and form a kneeling

I haven't told you what the morning prayers of the Cubs were, so I will
tell you now.



          _V._ Incline unto mine aid, O God.
          _R._ O Lord, make haste to help me.
               Glory be to the Father, etc.


          The star of morn to night succeeds,
            We therefore meekly pray:
          May God in all our words and deeds
            Keep us from harm this day.

          May He in love restrain us still
            From tones of strife and words of ill;
          And may earth's beauties that we see
            Remind us always, Lord, of Thee. _Amen._


          I confess to Almighty God that I have sinned
          against Him in thought, word, and deed. (_Pause a
          moment and think of your sins._) May Almighty God
          have mercy upon us, and forgive us our sins, and
          bring us to life everlasting.

_Let us pray_


          O Lord God Almighty, Who hast brought us to the
          beginning of this day, defend us in the same by
          Thy power, that we may not fall this day into any
          sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and works
          may be directed to the fulfilment of THY WILL.
          Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. _Amen._



Breakfast over, and orderly jobs finished, the Pack went down to the
shore and had a splendid bathe. Several of the Cubs had really begun to
swim; while Bill, Dick, and Mac, who could swim already, were getting
good practice. Mac meant to get his Swimmer's Badge as soon as he got
back to London, so he practised floating and duck's diving and the other
things you have to do.

After dinner and rest Father took some cricket practice, because
to-morrow there was to be a match.

"No one must talk to me," said Akela, settling down in a sunny corner
with some papers; "I'm doing something very important." Cubs always want
to know everything, so of course they said, _What was the important

"Reading proof," said Akela.

"What's 'proof'?" said the Cubs.

"This is proof," said Akela, holding out a long narrow strip of printed
paper. "It's the way they print stories at first, and it has mistakes in
it. I have to read it through and correct the mistakes. Now, if you
don't shut up and go away, the next instalment in the _Wolf Cub_ will
have mistakes in it--see?"

"Is it the next bit of the 'Mysterious Tramp'?" cried the Cubs.


That did it. A Cub sat down each side of Akela and read over her
shoulder, and one jumped up and down in front, saying: "Miss, is it

Every now and then Akela made strange little squiggles in the
margin--secret signs only the printer-man could understand.

"_Coo!_ what silly mistakes he makes!" said one of the Cubs in derision.
"I wouldn't have done that in dictation even when I was in Standard I.!"

"_I_ think he makes very few mistakes," said Akela; "other printer-men
make lots more. You see, this one is printing the _Wolf Cub_, so he has
to _do his best_."

The cricket people had been "doing _their_ best" at cricket to such good
purpose that they had succeeded in splitting one of the bats.

So after tea Akela and some of them went down to the man who sells bats
and golf-balls, down by the tennis-courts. The road where his shop is
runs between the seashore and a big stretch of grassy land, called the

"That," said Akela, "is the very place where Billy got carried up by the
giant kite."

It was a favourite story of the Cubs, so they were pleased to see the

"Is that the fierce bull?" said one.

"No," said Akela, "that's a sleepy old cow."

The man said he would mend the bat in time for to-morrow's match.


The little church St. Francis had last restored was very wee, but it had
a very long name. It was called the Portiuncola, which meant "the little
portion." It was built all among the trees and long grass, and mossy,
fern-covered rocks; and the birds sang around it. St. Francis loved the
spot very much--it was like home to him--and he spent a lot of time
there. Besides, it was not far from the leper settlement, and he had now
taken on himself the rather horrible job of serving the poor lepers--a
job that was very pleasing to Our Lord, specially as He saw St. Francis
did it all for love of Him, and served each wretched man as if he was
Jesus Christ. Then, too, the Portiuncola was not very far from the town
where Francis begged his food.

Well, early one morning, while the sun shone outside on the dewy world,
and the birds sang their morning hymns of praise, a priest said Mass in
the little chapel, and St. Francis knelt praying with all his heart.
Presently the priest read out the Gospel, and, as usual, St. Francis
listened with great attention. And suddenly, as he listened, he felt
that those words of Our Lord which the priest was reading out were a
message from heaven for _him_--_the very "orders" he had been waiting
for_! These were the words:

"Going forth, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand. . . .
Possess not gold, nor silver, nor money in your houses, nor scrip for
your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff; for the workman is
worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town you shall enter,
inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till you go hence. And when
you come into a house, salute it, saying: Peace be to this house. . . .
Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise
as serpents, but simple as doves. . . . But when they shall deliver you
up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in
that hour what to speak" (Matt. x. 7-19).

Here were clear orders. Something in St. Francis answered to that call,
and this something was the Holy Spirit of God speaking in his heart, as
He always does in those who really wait and listen and _mean_ to obey
should God speak.

When the Mass was finished, St. Francis got the priest to read the words
over to him again. And then, feeling quite sure he had discovered God's
Holy Will, he began to obey it _at once_. He took off his shoes; he laid
aside his second garment, making himself a rough brown habit; he put
down his staff, and he exchanged his belt for a bit of rope. Then,
feeling full of joy, he set out along the stony road on his bare feet,
towards the town--not to beg this time, but to give the greeting of
"Peace," and to tell the people to make up their quarrels and forgive
each other, and turn with all their hearts to the Lord Christ.

The people of the town did not laugh now, and jeer; they saw that St.
Francis was speaking to them from the bottom of his pure heart--a heart
on fire with the love of God--and that the grace of Jesus Christ, his
Master, was upon him. And before long two men of Assisi had joined him
as the first of the great company who were to follow him--for you
remember how he was to be a leader, and that the palace of his dream had
been promised to him and his followers.

This is the story of St. Francis's first recruit. His name was Bernard
de Quintavalle, and he was a rich merchant, serious and God-fearing, and
not a bit like the gay, eager St. Francis. But seeing how unselfish and
hard-working a life St. Francis led, and that God's Holy Spirit was with
him, he began to visit the young preacher, and to receive him in his
house. St. Francis willingly gave his friendship to such a good man.

Bernard used to like St. Francis to sleep on a bed in his own room.
Often at night he would lie awake, thinking; and he would notice that
after a short sleep St. Francis got out of bed and knelt down, and spent
the rest of the night praying to God. The only words Bernard could hear
were just "My God and my All, my God and my All," which St. Francis
repeated over and over again, as if his soul was really seeing God, and
his heart was so full of love for Him that he could say nothing else.
And Bernard understood the secret of St. Francis's holiness and purity,
for to one who prays like that God pours out very much grace, so that he
can begin to be all that he knows he ought to be if he is really to
please the Lord Christ, his Master.

So one day Bernard told St. Francis that he wanted to give back to God
all his riches and become his poor brother. So St. Francis said what
they ought to do would be to go to the church and read in the Gospel,
where the words of Jesus Christ would show them what to do.

Before going to the church, however, they called for another friend of
theirs--a learned man called Peter Cathanii, who also wanted to serve
God perfectly, and had been trying humbly to learn how from St. Francis.

But St. Francis, though holy, and Bernard, though rich, and Peter,
though clever at his books, did not any of them know their way about in
the big Bible that was kept open in the church for all to read (for
there were no printed books in those days, and a Bible was very costly,
so that few people had a copy of their own).

So St. Francis prayed that he might come on the right place, and then he
opened the book. This was what he read out: "If thou wouldst be perfect,
go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matt. xix. 21).

That seemed just right! But perhaps Our Lord had still another message.
So he shut the big book, and opened it again, just anywhere, and it
said: "Take nothing for your journey, neither staff, nor scrip, nor
bread, nor money; neither have two coats" (Luke ix. 3).

Splendid! "Just _one_ more, please, Lord," he said in his heart, as he
opened the book for the third time. And Our Lord told him something very
wonderful and hard to follow, which was really the explanation of all
the others:

"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross, and follow Me" (Matt. xvi. 24).

So the three friends left the church very happy. And Bernard sold all
his rich stuffs and his house and his land; and Peter sold all his
precious books; and they carried all the gold to a square in front of
the old church of St. George, and St. Francis sat on the steps with his
lap full of money, and gave away great glittering handfuls to all the
poor people who crowded round.

When none was left, the three poor brothers, smiling with delight at
being really poor and true followers of Christ, went off to the dear
little chapel in the woods and began the life of the Friars.

Not long after, a third recruit turned up, and I _must_ tell you about
him. He was a simple working-man called Giles. When he heard about St.
Francis and his two Friars, and of this new way of learning to serve God
perfectly, he laid down his tools, and left the vineyards and tramped
into the town. He went to an early Mass at St. George's Church, hoping
to find St. Francis there, as it was St. George's Day; but not doing
so, he set out for the Portiuncola. He didn't know where that was, so
when he came to the crossroads he stopped and began to ask God somehow
to show him the way. And just then St. Francis came out of the wood.
Giles was delighted that God answered his prayer so quickly, and,
kneeling down at St. Francis's feet, "Brother Francis," he said, "I want
to be with you for the love of God."

St. Francis saw at once that this was a true brother, so he said:
"Knowest thou how great a favour the Lord has given thee? If, my
brother, the Emperor came to Assisi and wished to choose one of the
citizens to be his knight or chamberlain, many are they who would come
forward to claim the honour. How much more highly, then, shouldest thou
esteem it to be chosen by the Lord from out of so many, and to be called
to His Court!"

Then St. Francis took him back and showed him to Bernard and Peter, and
said: "See what a good brother the Lord hath sent us!"

Soon after this the four Friars set out, St. Francis and Brother Giles
going together, and Bernard and Peter, to tramp the roads from place to
place, and preach to the little knots of country or town people who
collected round them in the market-places. So strange did they look, and
so full of joy and love did they seem to be, that the people wondered at
them very much, and though some believed them to be servants of God,
others thought them mad.

When they returned to the Portiuncola three more men joined them. It was
then that the townspeople began to get angry, and say that St. Francis
was turning rich men into _beggars_. Even the Bishop spoke seriously to
him. Now, if St. Francis had not been so _sure_ that what he was doing
was _God's plan_, and not his own, he might have got discouraged and
given up trying to carry it out; but, relying on God's grace, he
listened humbly while people spoke angrily, or scoffed, or argued, or
pleaded, and then he bravely "carried on."

For the first few months the brothers lived in their little hut at the
Portiuncola, and prepared themselves (by prayer and the studying of the
perfect way of life and the correction of their faults) for the great
work God held for them. Part of the day was spent serving the lepers and
doing simple work in the fields. One more journey they went, and then,
four more brethren having joined them, and St. Francis having had a
wonderful vision which showed him that hundreds would soon be flocking
to join his Order from France and Germany and England and all the
countries, he set out for Rome, to get the Pope's approval of his work.
At first the Pope would not listen to this poor, unknown beggar-man,
full of eager new ideas, but in the end he received him kindly and,
after hearing all he had to tell, said: "My son, go and pray to Jesus
Christ that He may show us His will; and when we know His will more
certainly, we shall the more safely sanction your pious purpose."

So the brethren all prayed hard.

When St. Francis went again, the Pope was even more kind, for he
recognized St. Francis as the man he had seen in a dream. In his dream
he saw a church nearly falling and being held up by a small man in a
poor habit, and he knew it meant the Church of Christ was in trouble,
and that this man was going to make it strong again through all the

So the Pope gave the Friars his blessing, saying: "Go forth in the Lord,
brothers." And he gave them leave to preach penance, and told them to
come back to him later and he would do even more for them.

So the Friars went back to Assisi full of joy. For a time they lived in
a kind of wayside shelter called Rivo Torto; but later on the monks on
whose land was the Portiuncola gave the little chapel and the bit of
land to St. Francis (or rather rented it to him, the payment being one
basket of fish per year, caught in the river--for St. Francis did not
wish the Friars to _own_ anything).

Some more men joined the brothers, and now they lived as a very happy
family in their little huts, built of branches, around their beloved
chapel. St. Francis was like the loving Father of this family, always
kind, patient, cheery, ready to comfort the sad or nurse the sick, or
explain things to those who felt worried and did not understand how to
get rid of their faults and serve Christ in perfect purity of heart. You
Cubs would have loved St. Francis, for he was just like a boy himself. I
wish I had time to tell you all the lovely little stories about him and
the Friars at this time while his family was still small, but we must
keep them for another time, and go on now to the time when the Order had
grown so large that the Friars could no longer all live at the
Portiuncola, and began to have their poor, simple houses all over the
place, while hundreds of brothers set forth, tramping the world over,
preaching the Gospel of Christ, not only to the poor, but to the heathen
in barbarous countries. Some of the brothers were cruelly martyred, and
all had to suffer a lot of hardships, for often people would drive them
away, so that they had to go hungry and cold, with nowhere to lay their
heads for the night.

We cannot follow all the brothers and hear all their adventures, so I
will just tell you one or two which show what kind of men St. Francis
and his Friars were. Here is one which shows you their obedience and
humility. I daresay it will make you laugh!

The Friars had by now become quite noted for their preaching, and would
often go up into the pulpits of the churches, where large crowds
gathered to hear them, the Bishop even inviting St. Francis to preach in
the cathedral. Now, among the brethren there was one called Ruffino, who
was very shy and nervous and felt he simply _couldn't_ preach and face a
great crowd of people, all staring at him and waiting for his words.
Now, St. Francis hated that any of his Friars should _give in to
themselves_ about _anything_. He also loved them to _obey quickly_, and
do everything they were told at once, without a murmur. So one day he
told Brother Ruffino to go to a big church in the city and preach. But
Brother Ruffino, instead of obeying at once, begged St. Francis not to
command him this, as he had not the gift of preaching. St. Francis was
not pleased at this, and he said that, as Brother Ruffino had not obeyed
quickly, he must now take off his habit and go to the city and preach,
clad only in his breeches, and otherwise naked! So Brother Ruffino
stripped, and went off humble and obedient. But, of course, when he went
into the church and up into the pulpit dressed like that the men and
children of Assisi began to laugh and say the Friars had gone mad.
Meanwhile St. Francis presently began to be sorry he had sent off poor
Brother Ruffino clad only in breeches, especially considering he had
once been one of the noblest men in Assisi. He began to call himself
names for having been so hard on him; and, saying he would do himself
what he had told his poor brother to do, he stripped himself of his
habit and also set out, half naked, for the town! When he got to the
church, of course everyone laughed all the more to see _another_ Friar
in his breeches. Poor Brother Ruffino was in the pulpit struggling
bravely to preach in simple words. Then St. Francis mounted the pulpit,
and, standing by Brother Ruffino, preached a most wonderful sermon, so
that all the people of Assisi were touched to the heart, and many wept
to think of their sins and of the Passion of Christ. Then St. Francis
gave Brother Ruffino his habit and put on his own (for Brother Leo had
brought them to the church), and they returned home rejoicing.

Once when St. Francis was walking along the road he saw a great crowd of
birds in a field, and saying he _must_ go and preach to his "little
sisters, the birds," he went among them and preached a wonderful sermon
to them, telling them how they ought to praise God for all he had given
them. And the birds didn't fly away, but all crowded round to listen. At
the end St. Francis gave them his blessing and told them to fly away,
and they rose up in the air and flew away in the form of a great cross,
to north, south, east, and west. St. Francis loved all animals, even
earthworms, which he would pick up tenderly from the path and put into
safety. And he would never allow people to cut trees quite down, but
made them leave the roots, so that they might grow up all green and
beautiful once more. Little children he loved, too. Some day I will tell
you the story of a little boy who joined his Order and became a little
Friar, and had the great joy of seeing St. Francis at prayer one night
out on the mountain-side, with a wonderful gold light all round him, and
heavenly visions comforting him. But the little boy had to promise St.
Francis he would never tell anyone what he had seen as long as St.
Francis was living.

I must leave, too, the story of how St. Francis tamed a huge, fierce
wolf; and of how he went right into the Saracen camp during a Crusade
and preached to the Sultan of Turkey, and told him to be a Christian;
and how he called a great gathering of the Friars at the Portiuncola, to
which _five thousand brothers_ came, and how the people of the cities
round came with carts full of food and fed the Friars for more than a
week's time, freely. All these stories and many more I must leave, and
go on now to tell you of the wonderful, beautiful, and holy end of St.
Francis's life, and of the mysterious thing that happened to him. I want
you to remember that this mysterious thing is _perfectly true_, and
really did happen to St. Francis, and is a sign of how very closely his
soul had become united to Jesus Christ and His Passion on the Cross--for
he had never forgotten the heavenly message he had found in the book of
the Gospels: "He that will come after Me, let him deny himself, _and
take up his cross_, and follow Me."

St. Francis's Order was now established, and his Friars were renewing
the life of the Church by their wonderful preaching, their holy example,
and their pure lives. St. Francis himself, though not really old at all,
was almost worn out. His life of hardships; his great worries (for his
enormous family gave him much trouble as well as joy); his burning zeal
and passionate love of God and his fellow-men--all this had nearly used
up his strength, and now he was in constant pain, and very nearly blind.
He was always patient and happy--even merry, as of old. But at last came
a day when he felt he must go away and be alone a little with God. So,
taking a few chosen brothers with him, he retired to the top of a
beautiful mountain, called Mount Alverna, which belonged to a nobleman
who was a friend of St. Francis.

On this mountain, with only the sky and the rocks and the trees for
company, with the lovely peaks of other mountains stretching away as far
as eye could see, the six Friars made themselves a little camp of huts;
but St. Francis had his hut right away from the other Friars, and across
a little rocky ravine which was crossed by a plank. Here he could feel
_quite alone_ with God. Looking up, there was just the blue, blue sky
and the steady clouds; and looking down, there was a steep rock falling
away below him to a great depth, with little ferns and flowers clinging
to it. In this rocky solitude lived a falcon who became a very dear
friend of St. Francis, and for whom he had a great love. It knew the
time he liked to rise and pray in the night, and it would come and flap
against his hut and wake him at the right time, and then stay near him
while he prayed.

The Friars were not allowed to come near the spot; only Brother Leo came
with a little bread and water each day, and to join at midnight with
St. Francis in the Divine Office.

At times St. Francis was very happy, and the joy that fills the Blessed
in heaven seemed to glow in his heart, so that he understood the secrets
of God; and wonderful visions he had too. But sometimes he was filled
with sorrow and pain and temptation, for the Devil would torment him and
try in every way he could to separate the heart of St. Francis from God.

One day, after he had had a very wonderful vision, he went with Brother
Leo to the little chapel the Friars had made, and, casting himself on
the ground before the Altar, he prayed to God to make known to him the
mystery which He would teach him--for he felt there was some mysterious
reason why God had made him come up this mountain and dwell apart. Then
he told Leo to open the book of the Gospels three times, and see what it
said. And each place Leo opened on was about Christ's Passion.

Then St. Francis felt quite sure that it was God's will that somehow he
should share his Lord's pain, and reach the kingdom of God through
suffering. And he longed very much for this, and also to have in his
heart the love which made Christ so willing to suffer for men.

It was a few days after this that the strange and wonderful thing
happened. St. Francis was kneeling, absorbed in prayer, when suddenly a
wonderful Form came towards him, and stood on a stone a little above
him. Bright and shining was the Form, with the most beautiful, beautiful
face; and His arms were stretched out upon a cross, and feet joined
together. And He had two great wings with which He flew, and two
stretched up above His head, and two covered His body. And as St.
Francis gazed upon this crucified Seraph with the beautiful face full of
pain, a great throb of intense agony shot through his soul and his body,
so that he had never felt such pain or sorrow before. And then the
Seraph spoke to him as to a friend and revealed many mysteries. When He
had gone St. Francis rose from his knees and wondered what it could
mean; and then he saw what it meant. For in his own hands and feet had
come the marks of the crucified Christ: his hands and his feet were
pierced right through with red wounds, and in the palms of the hands and
on the instep of his feet were the round black heads of the nails, and
their points came out the other side, bent back. And in his side was a
big wound, as if made by a spear. And the pain of them all was very
great. And St. Francis understood that he had been allowed by God to
share in Our Lord's Passion.

At first he said nothing to the Friars; but after a while he told them,
but he did not show them the wounds, but kept his hands hidden in his
big sleeves. Only to Leo did he show them, so that he might wash and
bandage them because of the pain and the bleeding.

Then, leaving the Friars on the holy mountain, St. Francis went down
with Leo; but he rode on a donkey, because of the nails in his feet.

He scarcely noticed the places he passed through or the people he saw,
though he did several wonderful miracles. And at last he came home to
his beloved Portiuncola.

St. Francis's body was almost worn out, and greatly weakened, too, by
the bleeding from his wounds, but his soul seemed full of new life and
joy and energy. So, riding upon a donkey, he set out for a last journey
through the country he had loved so much, and along the familiar roads
he had so often tramped. I cannot now tell you of all that happened on
this journey and of the miracles that St. Francis performed; but it was
a wonderful last journey, and already the people had begun to speak of
him as "the Saint."

But towards the end of his journey St. Francis became so ill that he had
to be carried in a litter; and so it was that at last he came back to
the little Portiuncola chapel to die. As you can imagine, he was not
only brave in the face of death, but gay and cheerful. Many Friars had
gathered round their beloved Father, and he spoke comforting words to
them and blessed them; but he gave a very special blessing to Bernard,
who had been the first man to come and join him in those early days when
he was still alone. And he made the brothers sing, joyful and loud, the
song he had himself made up on his last journey, called "The Canticle of
Brother Sun"--a beautiful song all about Brother Sun and Sister Moon,
and the stars, and flowers, and birds, and grass, and Brother Wind, and
how they must all praise God Who made them. And when he knew he must
very soon die, he cried, "Welcome, Sister Death!" And he made them lay
him on the ground, without even his habit, and spread sackcloth over him
and sprinkle ashes upon him, and read to him the story of Our Blessed
Lord's Passion and Death from the Gospel of St. John.

All was still, and outside in the twilight the larks had gathered, and
were soaring up into the evening sky, singing with all their hearts, as
if rejoicing that in a few minutes the soul of their brother Francis
would be free to soar up with them, and away beyond even the reach of
their swift wings, to the beautiful garden of God.

And in the house all was of a sudden marvellously still. And the
brothers, bending down over the form on the floor, saw, through their
tears, that their friend and father had gone. Only for themselves they
wept, for they knew that St. Francis, beautiful and young and strong and
gay once more, was already with his Friend and Master, the Lord Christ,
Who with smile and outstretched hand would welcome him to his glorious
reward. And the Divine Hand outstretched, and the hand of St. Francis,
would bear the same print of nails, and St. Francis would understand the
great and wonderful thing that God had granted him.


When Akela woke up she could hear the roar of the sea dashing up on the
rocks. There was a regular gale blowing, and every now and then the wind
brought a lash of rain out of the grey sky. So she decided to let the
Cubs sleep as late as possible.

It was 8.30 before the first one woke up.

Arriving at the field, they found that Father and Mother and the two
orderlies had succeeded in getting the fire to burn (though the rain was
coming down pretty fast now), and hot porridge and tea were all ready.
Prayers and breakfast both had to be in the store tent--a bit of a
squash, but everyone was as cheery as usual.

After breakfast it cleared up--luckily, for a party of choirboys from
Portsmouth were coming over for the day.

They arrived about 1.0, and were quite ready for dinner, after the
tossing they had had on the boat. Dinner consisted of large beef and ham
sandwiches, and "spuds," and jam roly-poly. There was a real hurricane
blowing; the beef and ham and bread got blown off the plates as the
orderlies handed it round!

When everyone had eaten as much as they could hold, the Cubs collected
in the lee of the tent for their rest, and the choirboys, not being
Cubs, thought it a suitable moment to go in the swings and hammocks.

After that there was a cricket match, and then the Cubs and some of the
choirboys bathed.

A big London scout, who had met the Cubs in the street and claimed
brotherhood, also spent the day in camp. No one knew his name, and he
was just called "Kangaroo," because that was his patrol. When the
choirboys had gone, Kangaroo and the Cubs had a good rag.

That night in the Coach-house the big doors had to be shut, or the
candle would never have kept alight. You could hear the wind whipping up
the white horses all over the great black sea, and laughing to see the
way they jumped up over the rocks.

But it was nice and cosy in the Coach-house. The Cubs had got out some
extra blankets, and sat wrapped up in them like so many Indian chiefs.

"You promised to tell us St. Antony to-night," said Sam.

"Yes," said Akela; "I know you will like the story of his life. Well, he
was one of St. Francis's Friars--the most famous one of all. But when
you have heard his story you will see that with the Saints it was
possible for a man to be a 'wonder-worker,' as St. Antony was called,
and yet think nothing of himself at all, and expect no one else to pay
him honour and respect. So much did St. Antony hate swank and love
humility that he let no one know what wonderful powers he had, until one
day God made an adventure happen which showed everybody what he really

"Tell us--tell us," said the Cubs.

So Akela squatted down in the middle of the listening Cubs, and began.


To understand the story of St. Antony you must picture yourselves in the
beautiful, sunny land of Portugal. Oranges and purple grapes and all
kinds of lovely fruits ripen in the old gardens. Galleys full of rich
merchandise come sailing across the blue, blue sea and touch at the port
of Lisbon. All along the banks of the River Tagus are the big houses of
the nobility. It is in one of these houses that there lives a boy called

Fernando is one of those boys who will always have a good time. He is
very clever and quick, handsome, and full of life. He gets on
wonderfully well at school, and he has a fine time in the holidays, for
his people lead a gay life--feasts, sports, the chase, grand parties of
every sort. Fernando has the chance of seeing a good deal of life, for
he is the kind of boy the grown-ups are always ready to take out. He
gets a lot of admiration, and he enjoys everything to the full.

But, do you know, when he is alone there is a certain idea that often
comes to him, and he sits on his window-sill and gazes away across the
purple hills, and thinks and thinks and thinks. The idea is this: that,
after all, this pleasure and gaiety is not worth much; it's all rather
selfish and greedy and stupid. There must be something more worth while
in life. For one thing, there's _God_. How little we know of God! And
yet there is a lot to be learnt and understood about Him if only there
was time and quiet and books, and not all this bustle of parties and
grand people. Surely God wants men to get to know Him, and not be so
busy pleasing themselves that they quite forget all about Him. Then,
again, how rotten it would be to die and feel you had _done_ nothing in
life but please yourself! After all, there's no end of things to be done
to make the world a better, holier, wiser place. Fancy going out of the
world knowing you were leaving it no better than when you came--or
perhaps a little worse. Surely a man must feel rather nervous about
dying, and about the Judgment Day, when he knows he hasn't ever done
anything useful or kind. Why should God give such men the reward of
heaven? _Rewards_ are for people who have _worked hard_; and so is
_rest_. And then, again, when God came to earth and lived among men, He
didn't just spend His time seeking for pleasures; in fact, He seemed
never to think of Himself at all, but always of other people. That
thought held the boy Fernando more than all the others--the thought of
Christ, Who could have made Himself a King if He had liked, spending His
days for others, preaching and doing miracles, and the whole long night
out under the stars, under the whispering olive-trees talking to God.

These thoughts used to come to Fernando when he was quite a little chap,
and he had a kind of idea that when he was a man he would give himself
to God. But when he began to grow up a bit, and got about thirteen or
fourteen, he found that if he didn't look out he would get so keen on
the life of pleasure that he would become like the gay young men about
him, and quite forget all about God. He began to see that if he meant to
stick to his good ideas he must _do something_ about it before it was
too late. So, after a very hard struggle, he promised God the whole of
himself, with all his love and all the keen, strong desire within him to
do great things. He knew it would mean giving up all the pleasures that
filled his life, and all the riches and glory that would some day be
his. But somehow nothing mattered so long as he obeyed this sense that
God was calling.

Of course, his people told him he was a young fool, and did all they
could to stop him; but he stuck to his idea, and at the age of fifteen
he was admitted to a monastery of Canons, just outside the city, and
exchanged his rich clothes for the white habit.

It was a beautiful monastery, full of holy men and hundreds of wonderful
books, and in the quiet and peace young Fernando was very happy. He felt
he had really got near to God. He worked so hard at his studies that by
the time he had become a young man he was admired by all the Canons, who
thought him very clever and gifted, and told each other that some day he
would be a famous scholar and do great things. Fernando himself felt
that God had given him the gift of preaching; and that if he went out
and preached he would be able to attract great crowds to listen, and win
souls for God; so he worked and worked to learn all he could, so as to
be ready to stand up and defend the Christian Faith against heretics.

Fernando had gone to another great monastery at Coimbra, and had been
there eight years, when something happened which was the beginning of a
great change in his life--the beginning of a great adventure.

One day five dusty wayfarers tramped into the town and stopped at the
little house of the Franciscans, not far from the monastery of the White
Canons. The five strangers were really five heroes, for they were five
of St. Francis's Friars, bound on a quest so thrilling and so dangerous
that they felt quite sure they would never come back. They were going to
Morocco, in Africa, to preach to the heathen, and with shining eyes they
spoke of dying there, for the love of Christ, and winning the martyr's
crown! Full of joy they went on their way; but without knowing it they
had set on fire the heart of the young Canon, Fernando. In the quiet of
his peaceful monastery he could think of nothing but Africa, the
heathen, the chance of sharing Christ's suffering, and dying for His
sake. It was really the Holy Spirit Who was stirring up those thoughts
in Fernando's heart.

Well, some months later news came that the five brave Friars had been
put to a most horrible death by the Saracens. They were first scourged
till the whiplashes had almost cut their bodies to pieces. Boiling oil
and vinegar was then poured over them, and they were rolled on the
ground, over fragments of broken glass and pottery. They were then
promised their lives if they would give up Christ; but as, of course,
they wouldn't, they were beheaded. These were the first martyrs of St.
Francis's Order.

Can you imagine what Fernando felt when one day a solemn procession
stopped outside the church of his own monastery, and the coffins
containing the bodies of the martyrs were laid within it for a while on
their way to Spain?

Fernando now felt more sure than ever that God was calling him to be a
poor Friar, and to set out barefoot for some hot, dusty land away
beyond the seas, where cruel hands would torture him to death. Once
again he offered himself to God, but this time it took an even harder
struggle than it had before, for he loved his quiet life of prayer and
study in the beautiful monastery even more than he had loved the gay
life of his boyhood. Still, he did not _give in to himself_.

Next time the poor Friars came, in their old, patched habits, to beg at
the rich monastery, can you imagine their surprise when one of the most
learned and famous young Canons came out to them, in his stately white
habit, his beautiful face lighted up with a great resolve, and asked
them if they would give him a brown habit, and make him a Friar, and
send him to the Saracen country to win a martyr's crown?

Of course, they were delighted, and promised to bring him a habit the
very next day.

Fernando had a hard job to persuade the Canons to let him go. But at
last they did; and once more he turned his back on a happy home and set
out on an unknown adventure. As he left the monastery, one of the
Canons, a great friend of his, called after him: "Go--go! You will
doubtless become a Saint!" And Fernando called back to him: "When you
hear that I am a Saint give glory to God!" for he knew very well that it
is only God Who can make a man into a Saint, and that the man's own
efforts can never do it.

It must have been a great change for Fernando to find himself in the
poor little huts belonging to the Friars, and obliged to go barefoot,
dressed in a rough habit and cord, with only scraps of food to eat,
begged from the houses of the rich. These Friars were only poor,
ignorant men--very holy, but with no learning or refinement. They did
not know Fernando was a very clever man, a scholar. Of course, he did
not tell them, but humbly took his place as the newest and least
important of the brothers, never letting them see that he missed the
wonderful library, or the beautiful music of the monastery, or the quiet
cell where he had been able to pray and work in peace. So as to start
life quite fresh, he even gave up his noble name, Fernando, and took the
name of "Antony." So now we will begin to call him St. Antony.


_See page 81._]

Of course, the one thing he kept thinking about was the quest of the
martyr's crown, and at last he got his Superiors to send him, with one
companion, to the Saracen country. But now came the greatest
disappointment of his life, for no sooner had he got there than he fell
ill. All the winter he lay between life and death, with a terrible
fever, so ill that he could do nothing. He knew that he was now so weak
that he would never be able to go and preach to the Saracens and be
martyred. He would have to go home again, a failure. This was much
harder to him than any danger or suffering, and the way he bore it,
cheerfully and patiently for the love of Christ, made him much more
pleasing to God than anything else. For God loves humble people, who are
willing to do His Will, instead of choosing for themselves.

Seeing that God wanted his life rather than his death, St. Antony
decided to go back to his own country and become as strong and well as
possible. So he set sail. But when God sees that a man has altogether
given up his own will, He takes full control of his journey through
life, and makes things happen to show the man what to do. In this case
God made St. Antony's ship get driven ashore on the island of Sicily.
Here there happened to be a small house belonging to the Franciscans. It
was while St. Antony was resting there that he heard that there was
going to be a great chapter (or general meeting) of the Friars, at
Assisi, and that St. Francis would be there; so he asked leave to go,
and then set forth. This was to be the beginning of a new adventure.

When he got to Assisi he found two thousand Friars collected there for
the chapter. The country people were providing all their food free.

You can imagine what St. Antony felt when he saw St. Francis! But when
St. Francis called for volunteers to go on a dangerous mission to the
fierce Germans, it must have cost him an awful lot to keep quiet. But he
had learnt his lesson--God did not want of him a glorious death, only a
patient life.

When the chapter came to an end all the Friars dispersed, some going
gladly off on their dangerous quests, others collecting in little bands
under their "ministers," as the head ones were called, and starting to
tramp back to their friaries.

But St. Antony stood all alone. He had no brave quest to follow; no
minister looked for him to go home with a party of cheerful Friars; no
one cared what became of the young Portuguese stranger.

So St. Antony asked one of the ministers to take him and "form him in
the practice of religious discipline." The minister little knew the
wonderful gifts of this pale young stranger, with the beautiful, sad
face, and sent him to a humble friary on the top of a steep, rocky
mountain. There were only a few simple Friars there. One of them had
hewed out a little cave in the rock. This he gave to St. Antony, who
made it his cell. There he spent most of his day in prayer. But one job
he specially made his own. What do you think it was? Why, washing up the
plates and greasy dishes.

He didn't tell the Friars anything about himself, and of course they
never guessed that their new brother, who always chose the meanest jobs,
was a nobleman's son and a famous scholar of one of the greatest
monasteries in Portugal.

For a whole year St. Antony lived like this. Do you think he wished
himself back in the beautiful monastery in Portugal, with his books and
his clever, interesting friends? No; for he loved what was God's Will
for him above all things. People should not pine for the past, nor be
impatient for the future; they should live heart and soul in the
present, because the present is always what has just been provided by
God, and so it is the best possible thing.

But God meant His faithful servant to be made known, and I will tell
you, now, the wonderful way in which He made it happen.

In the town, not far from St. Antony's little friary, there was one day
a meeting of Franciscan and Dominican Friars for an important ceremony.
After the service the Superior asked the Dominicans, who were clever men
and good preachers, to preach a sermon. But they all said they were not
prepared; and so did the Franciscans. So the Superior turned to St.
Antony, who had come as a companion of his Minister, and ordered him to
preach. St. Antony tried to get out of it, but, finding he must obey, he
walked slowly up into the pulpit.

The Friars did not expect much of a sermon. This was only poor Brother
Antony, whose chief job was washing dishes.

St. Antony, ready to _do his best_ for God, did not think of himself a
bit. He just turned over in his mind what would be the best thing to
preach on so as to help his brothers and bring honour and glory to his
God. By the time he was in the pulpit the Holy Spirit had put a text
into his mind. He gave it out in his clear, ringing voice: "For us
Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Then he
began to preach.

The Friars sat up and stared. The young, unknown Friar was pouring forth
a wonderful flood of eloquence, full of the deepest thought, and showing
such learning as none of them possessed. Only a scholar could preach
like that; and only a scholar who was full of the fire of the Holy Ghost
could move the hearts of his hearers as this man did!

The Friars and their Superiors sat spellbound. They quite forgot the
preacher, and were carried away by his words into a greater love of God.
When at last he ceased, and walked quietly down from the pulpit, his
eyes on the ground, deep humility in his heart, his hearers turned to
each other in wonder and delight, and all said they had never heard such
a preacher in their lives.

Of course, the Superiors hurried off and told St. Francis all about it,
and you can imagine how delighted St. Francis was to hear he had such a
wonderful man among his Friars. It ended in St. Francis sending St.
Antony to do what many years ago he had longed to do--that is, preach to
the heretics who were teaching wrong things about the Christian Faith.

Still as humble as ever, St. Antony set out to tramp along the roads to
the places at which he was to preach. Through Italy he went, and then
France, and then Spain, and back to Italy, and on these journeys the
most wonderful things happened. Not only did God give him the power of
preaching such marvellous sermons that the people crowded in thousands
to hear him, but He gave him the power to do miracles, like He once gave
to His Apostles. As to the heretics, they simply couldn't stand up
against St. Antony, and thousands of them either had to stop their false
teaching and keep quiet, or else were converted and came over to St.
Antony's side. Because of this he got the name, "Hammer of Heretics."

But it wasn't only to the heretics he preached. The ordinary people used
to come in such crowds that there simply wasn't room in the churches for
them, and St. Antony had to preach out in the fields and plains. Rich
and poor used to come, clergy and ignorant peasants. The shopkeepers
used to shut up their shops. The people were so much moved by his
sermons that enemies forgave each other, men paid their debts, or
creditors forgave their debtors; wicked people gave up their sinful
life, and started trying to _do their best_ to become pleasing to God.

One day a band of twelve brigands who lived in the forest and robbed
passers-by heard about the famous preacher. So they disguised
themselves, and went to see if what was said of him was true. When he
began to preach he completely won their hearts, and they repented of
their sinful life. After the sermon they spoke to St. Antony, and
confessed what wicked men they had been. He told them they must never go
back to their robber life, and he said that those who gave it up would
go some day to heaven, but that if any went back to it they would have
miserable ends. And, sure enough, some who went back soon died horrible
deaths. St. Antony told them to try and do something to make up for
having been so wicked. One of them, he said, was to go twelve times in
pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome. Years and
years after, when this robber was an old, old man, he met a Friar on the
road, and he told him how when he was young he had heard St. Antony
preach, and how he had told him to go to Rome twelve times. "And now I
am on my way back from Rome for the twelfth time," he said. That shows
you what power St. Antony had.

There's no time now to tell you of all the miracles he did; but they
were so wonderful that he came to be called the "Wonder-worker," and it
showed everyone that God was with him.

And do you think all this honour and glory, and big crowds running after
him, and great men praising him, made St. Antony proud or even the least
bit pleased with himself? No; he stayed just as humble and retiring as
he was in the days when he used to wash dishes in the mountain friary.

But St. Antony's hard life was beginning to tell on his health. For a
long time he had secretly suffered from a very painful disease. It was
now about nine years since the day he preached his first sermon and was
sent forth by St. Francis on his great mission. As the summer drew on
St. Antony ceased to preach, so as not to hinder the people's work in
the vineyards. Also, he knew the end of his life was near. He longed for
a little peace and solitude and silence; he longed to be alone with God
to prepare for his great journey into the next world.

There was a nobleman called Count Tiso, who had a beautiful estate not
far from Padua, a city St. Antony loved very much. Here St. Antony went
for a time of rest. There was no rocky hill-side to make a cave which he
might use as his cell, so he got Count Tiso to make him a cell in the
great branches of a walnut-tree. These branches spread out not far above
the ground, and between them Count Tiso wove reeds and willow twigs, and
made a lovely little house for St. Antony. The thick, leafy branches
above sheltered him from the hot sun; a few rough steps led up to it;
and here St. Antony could spend his days in complete solitude.

But one evening when he had come down to have his evening meal with his
companions, in the little friary near by, he was taken very ill, and his
pain was so great that he could no longer sit upright.

He knew he was soon to die, and he longed to die at his beloved city,
Padua. He was really much too ill to be moved, but when his companions
saw how much he wanted this, they fetched a rough ox-cart and laid St.
Antony in it.

I told you how St. Antony had longed to share Christ's sufferings and
die a martyr's death--well, now was his chance. He was in such frightful
pain that any tiny movement hurt him, and now he had to go mile after
mile in a rough cart with no springs, jolting over the stony roads, the
broiling Italian sun beating down upon him, the thick white dust choking
his parched throat, the flies tormenting him. You can't imagine the
agony he must have suffered. And yet he never grumbled--he was _glad_ of
this chance of suffering; he felt he was really taking up his cross and
following his beloved Master along the painful way to Calvary.

When the cart had nearly reached Padua, a Friar who had been sent to
inquire after St. Antony met the little procession. He saw at once that
St. Antony would not live to reach the city, so he made the Friars lift
him from the cart and carry him to a little house of the Friars near by.
It had been St. Antony's last great wish to die at Padua; but even this
he gave up patiently and gladly and without a murmur.

In the little cell he lay, his pain getting worse and worse, and his
weakness greater and greater. The Friars gave him the last rites of
religion. "Then, raising his eyes," the old book says, "he looked
fixedly on high. As he continued to gaze steadfastly towards heaven, the
Friars asked him what he saw. He answered: 'I see my Lord.'"

Not long after, like one falling quietly asleep, he breathed out his
last breath. "His loving, holy soul quitted the body, and, conducted by
the good Jesus, entered into the joy of his Lord."

The little cell where St. Antony died still stands, and people can go in
and look on the very walls his eyes looked on, the very floor on which
his body lay. It is such a holy spot that a church has been built over
it, and the little square cell stands inside the church.

That is the story of one of the holiest and humblest men who ever lived.

       *       *       *       *       *

Very quietly the Cubs lay down on their palliasses, and fell asleep
thinking of their new friend, St. Antony.


A pouring day! Luckily the Cubs remained in the sunny land of dreams
till eight.

Meals had to be in the bell-tent. This was great fun! There was just
room for a council circle, only you had to be careful not to put your
feet in other people's porridge, or let your head rub against the tent.
If you did, a stream of water soon began to run down your neck, and
Akela said it _served you right_.

Every now and then the rain _nearly_ stopped, and everybody dashed out
for a few minutes; but no sooner were you out, than the weather-fairy
seemed to say, "Yah! Sold again!" and down came another sheet of rain
that sent everyone scuttling for shelter.

The Cubs decided that it would be a good day to have a concert, and that
there might be a rehearsal in the morning and the grand performance
later on. So they sat round and made a lovely row; and some people sang
some very pretty solos--but I will tell you about them when I tell you
about the grand performance.

It cleared up for a little while before dinner, and the Cubs went out
for a search for dry wood. Some of them went down to the shore, and
there they found some boys with donkeys and ponies for hire, so they had
some lovely rides up and down the sand, and no one fell off. Just as
they got home the rain started again in torrents.

In the tent they found two visitors--old friends who had once known them
in London. This made them think how lucky it was they had had a
rehearsal, for now they would be able to give the visitors a concert,
and then they would not be disappointed because of the rain. So after
dinner the concert began.

First the whole Pack shouted the camp chorus--the same one which I told
you they sang in the train. They then sang "John Peel." Then Bunny sang
a solo called "Hush thee, my Baby." This was followed by a very pretty
duet by Patsy and Mac--"'Tis the Last Rose of Summer" (Mac sang the alto
very well). Then the whole Pack sang a song called "Robin Hood," which
Akela had once made up for them. After that Bunny recited Brutus' speech
from Shakespeare's play, "Julius Cæsar"--he made you feel he really
_was_ Brutus, and everyone clapped him. Then four Cubs sang "Annie
Laurie," in parts. Then they all made Spongey sing a song. Spongey was
very shy, and said he couldn't. But in the end he sang a very short
song, in a very deep voice, called, "Oh-oh-oh, it's a Loverly War." Of
course, everyone cheered themselves hoarse.

Then the Pack sang "The Golden Vanity" right through all its many
verses. This was followed by a solo from Mac--a sad little Irish
song--and another duet by Mac and Patsy, "When Irish Eyes are Smiling,"
followed by "Oh Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast," sung in parts by Jack,
Patsy, and Mac. Then everyone sang choruses.

The visitors enjoyed it very much.

By the end of the programme it was quite impossible for the Cubs to sit
still for another moment. You can't get much exercise in a wet
bell-tent. So Akela had a bright idea. If you were _in_ the sea the rain
couldn't wet you--what about a bathe? Everyone cheered, and got into
their coats and macs, and ran down to the Stable, where they changed
into their bathing things. The sea felt awfully warm, and everyone
shrieked and splashed and made such a row that the visitors, all shut up
stuffy and cross in their lodgings, looked out of their windows and
wondered who _could_ be so cheerful on such a day.

Coming back to tea, the Cubs were delighted to find their Scoutmaster
sitting on the floor of the bell-tent, a large bun in one hand and a mug
of tea in the other. He had tramped all the way over from Quarr to see
how far the whole camp had been drowned. In case there were any
survivors, he brought two enormous bags of sweets.

That night all the Cubs prayed very hard for a real, proper, hot day for
their last in camp. It certainly did not look possible. But Spongey put
the matter in a nutshell when he stood in his long night-shirt, one eye
shut as usual, and remarked: "I think it'll sunshine to-morrer, 'cos
I've prayed very hard it will."

The Cubs had turned in early, to get out of the wet world into their
dry, cosy beds. There was plenty of time for a good long story, and they
settled down with wriggles of satisfaction and waited for Akela to


Nearly four hundred years after Our Lord had gone up to heaven, and left
His disciples and their followers to carry on, a boy was born who was
destined to be one of God's greatest Saints, and to bring thousands and
thousands of pagans into the Christian Faith. This boy was St. Patrick,
called the Apostle of Ireland, because he turned the whole of Ireland
Christian. For many hundreds of years after St. Patrick had died,
Ireland was like a fruitful garden in which sprang up hundreds of Saints
and holy and learned men, who helped to spread the knowledge and love of
Christ all over the world. So St. Patrick was truly an Apostle, and,
like St. John and St. Andrew and the others, one of the
foundation-stones of Christ's great Church.

But though he _ended_ in being so very important, and doing things that
made a great difference to the whole world, he _began_ as an ordinary
boy--and rather a naughty one, as he tells us himself. We know a great
deal about St. Patrick, and we know it is quite true, because when he
was over one hundred years old he wrote it all down himself. He called
the book his "Confession," and though he told us such a lot about
himself, beginning with the adventures of his boyhood, there is one
thing he did not put down in the book. Can you guess what? Well, he did
not put down how good he was. For, you see, the Saints never thought
themselves good, because, instead of comparing themselves with people
_less good than themselves_, as we are all so fond of doing, they kept
on comparing themselves with Our Blessed Lord, and of course, that made
them seem very, very far from perfect.

When St. Patrick was a boy he did not love God or believe all his
Christian teachers told him, nor was he obedient or ready to _do his
best_. One day some fierce pirates raided the land where he lived with
his father and mother, and carried him off captive with lots of other
boys. Sailing across the sea to Ireland, the pirates sold the boys as

St. Patrick was bought by a great chief called Milcho, and sent out on
to the hill-sides to watch the sheep. Do you think he was lonely and
afraid? No. For, when torn away from his home, from the friends who
loved him, he had discovered that there is one Friend that you can't be
dragged away from, and Who can be with you even in the midst of the
tossing green sea, on a pirate ship. For, though Patrick had forgotten
God, God had not forgotten Patrick. "The Lord," he says, "showed me my
unbelief, and had pity on my youth and ignorance."

So when he trudged out on to the mountain-side, he was not sad and
alone, but glad in the knowledge that his unseen Friend was with him.

          "Christ with me, Christ before me,
           Christ behind me, Christ in me,
           Christ above me, Christ beneath me,
           Christ in the chariot, Christ in the fort, Christ in the ship."

That is a prayer St. Patrick made up himself. There, on the rough
mountain-side, the boy St. Patrick spent all his lonely days talking to
God, so that, he says, "more and more the love of God and His faith and
fear grew in me, and my spirit was stirred." He tells us that he would
recite one hundred prayers in one day, and nearly as many in the night.

He had to sleep out with the sheep in some rough cave or hut. "Before
the dawn," he says, "I was called to pray by the snow, the ice, and the
rain." But he did not mind this outward cold, because of the burning
heart within him.

St. Patrick had learnt his lesson--the lesson of where to find the only
comfort and friendship and help worth having. God wanted him, now, for
the great work he was to do. One night a mysterious voice told him that
if he went to a certain place he would find a ship ready to take him
home. The place was about two hundred miles away, and St. Patrick had
never been there. However, trusting in God's help, he started off. At
last, after a long tramp, he reached the town, and, sure enough, there
was a ship at the quay about to set sail. St. Patrick asked to be taken
on board, but when the sailors heard he had no money they refused him a
passage. St. Patrick went sadly away, but as he went he prayed. Before
long he heard someone coming after him. Turning round, he found it was
one of the sailors, who said after all they would take him.

I can't tell you now of the adventures St. Patrick had on his way home,
but after being shipwrecked and nearly starved, and each time
wonderfully saved by God, he reached his father's house. But though he
was home again with those he loved, he did not forget the Friend Who had
been his all in those cold, hard days in Ireland. He thought of Him all
day, and of how best to please Him. He had already begun studying for a
life in God's service, when he had a wonderful vision of the people of
Ireland calling him to come to their help, and he knew it was a sign
from God that this was the work he was to do. You can imagine how
impatient he must have been to get a ship and go sailing back to Ireland
to tell the people about the true God, and how Christ had died on the
Cross for them, and all the rest; but for such a difficult and dangerous
job he needed a lot of training--not only in learning, but in the
strength and holiness and obedience to God which should make him able to
face the task before him. How long do you think God kept him at his
training? Thirty-eight years!

At the end of this time a holy man who was his friend and guide was sent
to preach in Britain. St. Patrick went with him. This was the first
step, and it ended in his being made a Bishop and sent--at last--to the
lifework he had so long waited for, the conversion of Ireland.

When St. Patrick's ship came to shore, the wild men of Leinster would
not let him land. So, trusting as usual to God, he sailed out again to
sea, and landed a little farther to the south. There seemed to be nobody
about, to stop him; and, tired out, I suppose, with a day of exploring
in the strange land, St. Patrick lay down and fell asleep. A little
Irish boy chanced to come along, and, seeing a stranger asleep, crept up
on tip-toe to look at him. What a lovely, kind face he had! The boy
thought to himself that he had never before seen anybody who looked so
nice, and he longed to do him some good turn. He couldn't think of
anything to do for someone who was asleep, but at last he got an idea.
Picking all the best flowers he could find, he put them round St.
Patrick for a surprise for him.

When St. Patrick woke up you can imagine how pleased he was with the
flowers, and still more pleased to see a little Irish boy smiling at him
shyly from among the bushes. Before long St. Patrick and the boy had
become great friends, and the boy simply wouldn't go away, but stuck to
St. Patrick. Then God made known a secret of the future to St. Patrick,
and he said: "Some day he will be the heir to my kingdom." And, sure
enough, the boy, whose name was Benignus, succeeded St. Patrick as
Bishop of Armagh. Don't you wish you were that boy, always to stay with
St. Patrick?

After this the most wonderful adventures began to befall St. Patrick;
but even more wonderful than the adventures were the miracles by which
he managed to escape out of them, not only alive, but victorious.

Getting into his ship again, St. Patrick landed farther north. Once more
the fierce Irish set on him and his little band, and their chief, Dichu,
raised his sword to bring it crashing down on St. Patrick's head. But,
somehow, his arm stayed stiff in mid-air, and he could not strike the
blow. Dichu was an honest man, and soon understood that such a miracle
must be a sign from the true God. If once you believe in God--well, the
only possible thing is to serve Him. So Dichu became a Christian, and
humbly learned from St. Patrick how he should serve God.

Then St. Patrick went to the house of the very chief who had kept him as
a slave, and converted his children to the true Faith. But it was at
Easter that something very thrilling happened, and was the beginning of
St. Patrick's real triumphs.

The Chief-King of Erin (as Ireland was called) was just going to hold
his solemn festival at Tara. All the Irish princes and all the priests
of the pagan religion had collected together. One of their ceremonies
was the lighting of fire at dawn, with magic rites and ceremonies. It
happened to be Holy Saturday, and on that day the Christians used to
light a beacon. St. Patrick lit his holy fire, as usual. The King saw it
blazing on a hill-top, and was very angry. One of his priests (or
Druids, as they were called) said: "If that fire is not put out before
morning, it never will be put out," and he meant the Christian Faith. So
the King sent for St. Patrick.

Surrounded by his Druids and bards, and all the Irish princes, the King
sat, fierce and proud, and awaited the strangers. It was Easter morning,
so, as St. Patrick and his little band advanced, they chanted the Easter
litanies. So noble and holy did St. Patrick look that one of the bards
rose as he drew near. This little act of politeness on the part of the
bard brought him special grace from heaven, and he accepted the
Christian Faith.

Standing quietly in the midst of the circle of priests and princes, St.
Patrick looked around him. He met countless pairs of fierce eyes fixed
upon him, as the princes sat in silence, "with the rims of their shields
against their chins"; and as he looked at them he longed to win them all
for God, and he prayed for grace and power to do what was needed. Then
he told them why he had come to Ireland.

The King left his Druids to reply. They did so by doing all sorts of
horrible magic. And certainly they made things happen, much as people
called "spiritists" do nowadays; but it was not by God's power, so it
must have been the Devil who helped them. Whatever the Druids did, St.
Patrick undid, and then did something more wonderful. The Druids were
furious, and no one knows what might have happened had not St. Patrick
caused an earthquake to happen, by God's power. So terrified were the
Irish that they went half mad and began killing each other, and St.
Patrick and his men escaped.

But the next day St. Patrick boldly came back, though he knew the King
meant to kill him. He was given a cup of poisoned wine to drink. Well,
what of that? Did not Our Lord say to His disciples, when He sent them
out to convert the world, "If you drink any deadly thing it shall not
hurt you"? St. Patrick made the sign of the cross over the cup and
drank it, and nothing happened.

Then the Druids arranged a horrible test. They laid two great fires, one
of dry faggots and the other of wet, green wood. On the dry wood they
laid the boy Benignus, dressed in a Druid's white robe. On the green
they put a Druid, clad in St. Patrick's cloak. Then they said they would
set fire to both piles. St. Patrick accepted the challenge. (If you had
been the boy, would you have "got the wind up," do you think, or would
you have trusted St. Patrick?)

Well, they set fire to the two piles of wood. Strange to say, the green
wood blazed up, with many sizzlings and cracklings and much smoke, but
the dry wood simply wouldn't light. There was, however, a sudden flame,
and the Druid's robe on the boy flared up and was soon burnt to ashes,
leaving Benignus quite all right, and, I expect, very pleased with
himself! Meanwhile, horrible noises had been coming from the other pile,
and when the smoke and flames died down there were only charred cinders
where there had once been a Druid. But St. Patrick's cloak had not been
burnt at all.

As the King still would not believe, St. Patrick had to make another
earthquake happen, which swallowed up so many of the King's subjects
that he gave in, and said St. Patrick might preach, though he himself
never accepted the Faith.

So, on the green plains of Tara, St. Patrick preached a wonderful sermon
to the Irish, who by this time had come crowding round to see the
stranger who could beat the Druids at their own game. During this sermon
St. Patrick stooped down and picked a leaf of shamrock, and, holding it
up, showed the people how the little green leaf was _three_ and yet
_one_. He said that would help them to understand how the Blessed
Trinity is three--God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy
Ghost--and yet is really only _one God_. That is why the Irish wear
shamrock on St. Patrick's Day (March 17th).


_See page 101._]

Many more miracles did St. Patrick which I can't tell you about now; and
he went from place to place, winning thousands of men for Christ, and
giving spiritual life to their souls by baptizing them.

One Shrove Tuesday St. Patrick went up on to the top of a lonely, rugged
mountain above the sea, and there he stayed without any food all through
Lent till Easter. And all the time he prayed and prayed and prayed for
the men of Ireland and their fate on the Judgment Day. At the end of his
long and painful time of prayer God sent an angel to tell him his
request was granted. So, with his heart full of joy, St. Patrick knelt
and blessed Ireland, and as he gave his blessing hundreds of poisonous
snakes came out of their holes and went slithering away into the sea,
where they were all drowned. (That is why you see pictures of St.
Patrick with snakes.) And now, every year, thousands of Irish people go
on pilgrimage up that mountain.

Before I end I must just tell you one little story about a young Irish
Prince who _didn't give in to himself_. This Prince and his followers,
after hearing St. Patrick preach, decided to become followers of Christ
and be baptized. St. Patrick, being a Bishop, carried a thing called a
crozier--a kind of long staff, like a shepherd's crook, because _Bishop_
means _shepherd_. St. Patrick's crozier had rather a sharp point at the
end, and during the ceremony of Baptism, somehow, by accident, he
pierced the Prince's bare foot with it, but did not notice what he had
done. The Prince said nothing, and did not wince or seem surprised.
Afterwards, when St. Patrick found out what he had done, and asked the
Prince why he had said nothing, the Prince replied: "I thought it was
the rule of faith." A bit of poetry has been written about it, which
puts it rather nicely. The Prince says, in it:

          "I thought, thus called to follow Him Whose Feet
           Were pierced with nails, haply the blissful rite
           Some little pain included."

Everywhere St. Patrick went he was loved, and soon the fame of him had
spread through the whole country. The superstitious religion of the
Druids altogether died down, and Ireland became a Christian country. St.
Patrick made a set of wise laws, and by these the Irish were governed
for a thousand years.

At last came the time when his great work was finished. The little boy,
Benignus, had grown up and taken over St. Patrick's work. St. Patrick
had written his "Confession." And now, at one hundred and twenty, he was
quite ready for the rest and the reward of heaven. He was very happy;
his great work had been accomplished. God had been very good to him. And
so, satisfied, he lay down to die, knowing that all the men of Ireland
were praying for their beloved father.

So, on March 17th, in the year 493, St. Patrick passed from this world
into the glory of Heaven.


As the Cubs one by one opened their eyes on the last day at camp, the
first thing they saw was that their prayers of last night had been
fully, _wonderfully_ answered. The sun shone with that clear golden
radiance of early morning sun. The sky was a misty blue, with just a few
small "flocks of sheep." The wind had dropped, and the world, washed
clean by the rain, was going to enjoy itself to-day.

Quickly the Cubs washed themselves and scrambled into their old clothes,
and were away up to the field in record time. The smell of wood smoke;
the cry of the sea-gulls; the _bigness_ of God's beautiful world--only
one more day of it all!

Porridge out in the sunshine, and lots and lots of bread-and-jam. Then
down to the shore.

On the way shorewards the Cubs met a kind lady who lived in the little
house at the end of the sea-wall. She had often seen them run past, and
now she stopped and asked Akela what they were. When she heard it was
their last day she said they might have her boat for the whole morning!

So the Cubs and Akela all got into their bathing things, and the boat
was rowed round from where it was anchored to the bit of the shore where
they always played. When everyone had been out and had learnt to row,
first with one oar and then with two; and when the tide had gone down,
down, down, as far as it could, Akela anchored the boat in shallow
water, and took away all the oars but one. Then the Cubs had a gorgeous
time, rowing by themselves, as far as the long rope would allow. I don't
know what that boat turned into--pirate vessels, the _Golden Hind_, and
everything else you can imagine, while the gallant crew had many an

Meanwhile, _another_ kind lady had appeared on the scene. She lived in a
nice house, with a very sloping lawn in front, and her garden steps came
right down on to the bit of sand where the Cubs always played. She came
down and offered a prize for the best little house or model village or
garden the Cubs could make. Four couples set to work, and by dinner-time
there were some splendid models ready. Then "Big Andy and Little Andy,"
clad only in their bathing-drawers, walked demurely up to the front-door
of the house, and asked the lady to come and see. She came out carrying
two lovely spades, two splendid shrimping-nets, and two very nice rubber

She decided the "Andies" had got first prize; they had made a model of
Quarr Abbey; Sam and Dick were second, with a church; while Bert and
Bunny came in a good third, with a very nice house standing in a large
and luxurious garden. After giving the prizes, this fairy godmother
invited the whole Pack to tea in her garden, at four o'clock, after the
afternoon bathe!

So, after dinner, they went to the Stable and made themselves a little
bit respectable, and then down to the shore and bathed, and afterwards
went up the smooth, steep lawn to the fairy godmother's house.

Soon a maid brought out tea; and it was _some_ tea--cake of all sorts,
and real bread-and-butter (not "marg."), and little jam-sandwiches (but,
as one Cub remarked, "it didn't _fill you up_, like camp-tea").

After tea, during which the Cubs were wonderfully quiet and
well-behaved, they entertained their hostess with various kinds of
somersaults and cart-wheels, and then went through a large part of the
famous concert for her benefit. Before going they gave her a Grand Howl,
and then all shook hands with her.

After that they played on the shore, and then ended up with a last
bathe, about seven.

Back to supper. Camp prayers for the last time in the soft evening
light. Good-night to Father and Mother and Godmother; and then to the
Stable, for the last story.

But as they squatted round waiting for the story, someone made a remark
that was the beginning of quite a long pow-wow. "Miss," he said, "shall
we be Cubs in _Heaven_, and will you be our Cubmaster?"

Everyone had questions to ask about Heaven--more than Akela knew how to
answer! And then they grew serious as someone mentioned two Cubs who had
died a year before. "Do you think Frank and Bob have found each other in
heaven?" "Yes," said Akela, "I'm sure they have; and I expect they've
found those two Cubs from two other Westminster Packs, who died of 'flu,
last winter."

And that is why this book is dedicated to Frank and Bob, for they were
two of the most faithful Cubs who ever lived. They died brave and
unselfish--Bob after a long and very painful illness, in which he never
_gave in to himself_, but was always thinking of other people and his
"little 'uns." At last, as he lay delirious, he used to think he was in
camp again, and say: "Oh, mother, look at the green fields--aren't they
lovely?" And as Akela knelt by his bed, holding his poor little hot
hand, she felt sure that soon he would be playing in the green fields of
Heaven--the best camp of all, where the Good Shepherd was already
waiting to carry him in His strong, kind arms.

And now someone else had a splendid idea: "Perhaps they've talked to the

"_We_ shall know a lot of the Saints when _we_ go to Heaven," said
another Cub; "_I_ shall look out for St. Antony first."

And so they decided to try and get to know as many Saints as possible
before they died, _and to try and copy them_, so that some day they
would find lots of friends in Heaven, who would not be ashamed to
receive the salutes of their little brothers, and to return them with
kind smiles of welcome.

Then the Cubs settled down for a last story.


"And now," said the Cubs, "a last story! Go on, Miss--make it an _extra_
good one, exciting and full of adventures, and the best of all, because
it's the last night."

"Very well," said Akela, "I'll tell you the story of the Patron Saint of
all Cubs and Scouts, and of England. Who's that?"

"St. George!" cried the Cubs in chorus. And although many of them knew
the story very well, they snuggled down in their blankets and prepared
to enjoy themselves.

Well (said Akela), I'm going to tell you the story of the Saint who was
more thought about and honoured in the old days than, perhaps, any other
Saint who ever lived. He was from the very earliest times--in fact, from
directly after his death--called "the Great Martyr." He became the
patron of many countries and orders of knighthood, but specially in
England was he loved, and his feast was kept as a great holiday, equal
to Christmas. Already, before William the Conqueror came to England, our
forefathers had begun to build churches in honour of St. George. But it
was King Richard Coeur de Lion who specially spread devotion to St.
George in England, because he took him as his own patron, and used his
name as his battle-cry. "For God and St. George!" he would shout, as he
swung his mighty battle-axe in the air and charged at the head of his
knights toward the Saracen lines.

St. George several times appeared on a white horse, and led the
Crusaders to victory when it seemed as if the enemy were going to put
them to flight and come off victorious.

Many people think of St. George as a knight on a prancing horse, who
killed a dragon and rescued a maiden in distress. But this is only a
kind of parable or picture of the real St. George and what he did. The
dragon is a picture of the wicked, heathen religion that tried to kill
the beautiful young Church that Our Lord had made. St. George fought
this dragon, and gave his life in the battle, but he rescued the maiden
(who represents the Church); for his death seems to have rallied the
Christians and filled them with new courage to fight bravely and stick
to it, until at last the heathen dragon was overcome, and the Church of
Christ was able to fill all the world with joy and truth and light.

Well, now I will tell you what the old books say about St. George; but
we have not many details about his life, as we have about St. Francis's.

St. George lived a bit more than three hundred years after Christ. He
was the son of a Roman soldier, a Christian, stationed in Palestine,
which was a Roman colony. St. George was one of those brave,
straightforward boys who are afraid of nothing--neither of themselves
and their weakness, nor of other people and their unkindness. He
practised "not giving in to himself," like a good Cub; and he thought a
great deal of his _honour_, like a good Scout. And he knew that
everything brave or good that he ever did was by the grace of his
Captain, Christ, and not because he was any better himself than anybody
else. He could ride well, shoot an arrow straight, and use a spear or a
broadsword as well as any Roman boy. But it was not so much this as his
way of obeying quickly, and keeping his word, and never giving in to
himself, which made him rise from promotion to promotion when he joined
the Roman army.

He was still very young when he was made what we should now call a
Colonel, and given a great deal of responsibility. In fact, the Emperor
thought no end of him, and people whispered that some day he would be
head of the army and one of the most important men in the Roman Empire.
This was rather wonderful, because the Emperor, Diocletian, was a
heathen and hated Christians, and, as I told you, St. George was a very
good Christian.

In those days the Christian Church was no longer hiding in the
Catacombs, but had come out into the open, and nearly half Diocletian's
Empire was Christian. But something--probably pride--made Diocletian
hate the Christians, and he decided to do all he could to destroy the
Church of Christ, and force the people back into the old religion, and
worship a god that was really not very different from Cæsar, the
Emperor, himself.

So he first tried burning down the churches, and then imprisoning the
priests and bishops. But one day he suddenly got mad, and gave an order
that if the people would not worship the Roman gods and offer incense to
them, and swear that they no longer believed in Christ, his soldiers
would kill them like beasts and leave them in the streets, as a ghastly
warning to any other fools who refused to obey.

So the soldiers went forth, sword in hand, and every man, woman, and
child who refused to give up Christ was killed, or wounded and left to
bleed to death.

Now, no one had thought that Diocletian would ever go as far as this,
and when the horrible news was brought to St. George he was filled with
rage. The Emperor was, of course, his master, but there and then he
vowed that he would not stay in the service of a vile murderer, a coward
who could stain his sword with the blood of women and little children;
and he prepared at once to go to the Emperor, and say straight out all
that was burning in his heart.

Now, his friends knew that nothing would more enrage the Emperor than
this, because he thought a lot of St. George, and yet he was proud and
obstinate, and nothing would make him stop persecuting the Christians.
If St. George spoke as he said he would, it would certainly mean _no
chance of promotion_, no becoming head of the army; perhaps, even, it
would mean imprisonment; possibly death. So they simply _begged_ St.
George not to go. But do you think he was that sort? Not much! The last
thing he wanted was promotion in the army of a man who was the cruel
enemy of Christ and the murderer of his fellow-Christians. So he set
spurs to his horse, and rode off for the Emperor's Court.

Diocletian was surprised to see him arrive suddenly, travel-stained and
apparently in a great hurry; and still more was he surprised when,
instead of speaking with reverence and respect, he let the words almost
burst forth from his full heart, and told the Emperor that it would be
better if he paid honour to the God from Whom he had received his
sceptre, instead of murdering the faithful servants of that God.

Diocletian was first surprised and then angry. But he tried to laugh it
off, because he was really fond of St. George. Then he tried reasoning
with the young soldier, and explaining that he had to keep the
Christians in good discipline in case they might revolt or get proud and
rebellious. But St. George would listen to no reasons or excuses, and,
unbuckling his sword, he laid it down, resigning his commission in the
army of a man who could act so dishonourably.

Then Diocletian got very angry indeed. He gave orders that St. George
should be put in a dark dungeon, and loaded with chains until his pride
should be broken, and he should be willing to humble himself before the
Emperor. So angry was he that he made up his cruel mind that now he
would even force St. George to give up the Christian religion himself,
and that no pains should be spared to make him do this.

Alone in the dark, dank, icy-cold dungeon, St. George lay in his heavy
chains, and wondered what was going to happen next. It was very
horrible, down there, and he ached in every limb, and he was very
hungry; but somehow he felt kind of glad inside, because he knew he was
suffering all this for Christ's sake.

One day, when his gaoler brought him his ration of hard bread, he told
him that he had heard a rumour that the executioner was coming to the
dungeon, and that if St. George did not give a satisfactory answer he
would be put to torture. The gaoler said it would, he thought, be a very
painful kind of torture, and St. George had better be reasonable.

When he had gone St. George sat in the darkness with his heart beating
rather fast. He wondered what sort of torture it would be, and if he
would be able to stick it. Then he remembered that Our Lord had suffered
awful tortures, and had foretold that His friends would have to, as
well. So he asked Our Lord to give him grace to be able to stick
_anything_ the Emperor should do, and then he felt quite happy again.

Well, the hours dragged by, and at last St. George heard the tramp of
feet on the stone stairs. Then there was a creak as the great key was
turned in the lock, and bolts were shot back. The door opened, and there
stood the executioner and two soldiers, one carrying a lantern.

The executioner, who had known St. George as a Colonel in the army,
spoke respectfully. He gave St. George a message from the Emperor,
saying that if he would come back and offer incense to the gods, and
apologize for his proud words, he would get his liberty and be given
back his commission. St. George laughed, and said he certainly wouldn't.
Then the executioner said that in that case the Emperor had commanded
that he should be tortured till he agreed to do all he was told.

The soldiers loosened his chains, and he was led out and up the stairs.
The blazing, blinding sun dazzled his eyes after the dimness of the
dungeon. The pavement of the courtyard seemed burning to his cold, bare
feet. Soldiers looked curiously at him as he passed, but of course
didn't salute, now. He was taken away to the horrible place of
execution, and there a new form of torture was applied to him--a great
wheel full of spikes into which he was thrust. When he was dragged out
his body was one mass of wounds, and his blood dripped down on to the
floor. He was carried on a stretcher back to the dungeon; and the
executioner felt quite sure that when he was well enough to answer he
would agree to do anything the Emperor wanted.

St. George was dazed with pain and loss of blood. His body seemed to
burn all over. The darkness made his eyes ache, and he lay hour after
hour, wondering how soon he would die. He had got to the point when he
thought he simply couldn't bear another moment, when he heard a Voice in
the darkness, and It said: "Fear not, George, for I am with thee."

His heart seemed to leap up, for he knew for certain that it was Our
Lord's Voice--he could not possibly mistake it. And suddenly all the
pain seemed a thousand times worth while, and he was glad he had had it;
and he didn't feel lonely any more; and he just lay in the darkness and
talked to Our Lord, knowing that He was near. And he forgot his pain.

Well, when a Roman officer came to receive his message to the Emperor
St. George was able to laugh--rather weakly this time--and say he had no
message for the Emperor, except that he had better stop murdering
Christians, and beg God's mercy before it was too late.

The officer thought St. George was rather a fool, and a very brave man,
and he went back to the Emperor.

A few days later the executioner arrived once more, and again led St.
George across the sunny courtyard. St. George remembered the Voice of
Christ saying, "I am with thee," and he was not afraid. This time they
rolled a great heavy stone over his body, so that his bones were crushed
and bruised, and then they carried him back to the dungeon.

When the officer came for his answer he could hardly believe that St.
George dared still to refuse. He told the Emperor what St. George had
said. The Emperor was surprised and sorry, for he saw that St. George
must be a very brave man. He also saw that it was no good waiting any
longer, or trying to force him, so he sent the executioner once again.

This time the executioner told St. George that his last chance had come.
Either he must give up Christ, or he must face death. The words sent a
kind of thrill through St. George--a thrill of horror at the thought of
death, which turned into a thrill of joy at the thought of going into
the presence of Christ, and hearing His wonderful Voice again, only this
time seeing Him, too. And he rejoiced, also, to think he would really be
a _martyr_. So he whispered faintly--for he could hardly speak now--that
nothing in all the world would make him give up Christ.

So the soldiers took off his chains and dragged him up to his feet, and
he walked slowly, with weak, swaying steps, into the sun.

"Fear not." He said the words over to himself. No, he wouldn't fear! "I
am with thee." How wonderful! "And soon," he said in his heart, "_I_
shall be with _Thee_!" And so he knelt down and waited.

And the executioner's great axe flashed in the sun as he swung it aloft,
and the next instant the blood of "the Great Martyr" was streaming
across the white pavement, as St. George's Cross streams scarlet across
the white ground of his flag.

The soul of "the Great Martyr" had entered Heaven, where the angels
rejoiced at his coming, when the Christians picked up his poor, broken
body and carried it away. It was buried in a beautiful tomb, and before
long a great church had been built over it. On every hand people talked
of "the Great Martyr," and the Christians rejoiced at his courage, and
cheered each other on to resist bravely. Many of the heathen, seeing
that St. George could suffer tortures and die for his faith, began to
believe in the Christ he loved, and were baptized. Diocletian himself
began to fear a little, and the butchering stopped.

And so it was that the maiden in distress, the persecuted Church of
Christ, was saved by her brave knight, St. George.


A grey morning, but quite fine. Some of the Cubs went off to bathe after
breakfast, others to do final shopping and buying of presents to take
home, while some stayed in the field to help with the packing. The tent
was struck and rolled up, swings and hammocks taken down, palliasses
emptied and done up in bales, and by twelve o'clock all was finished,
and the time came to change out of the comfy old camp clothes into full
uniform. How tight and hot boots and stockings seemed!

After dinner the Cubs gathered round into the council circle. Everyone
was feeling rather quiet. Akela had a short pow-wow, and then the Cubs
squatted and let off a mighty Grand Howl, as a "thank you" to everyone
concerned for the glorious time they had had, and as a sign that they
were going back to London meaning to _do their best_ as never before.

Then they fell in, two deep, and, with a last look at the field, marched

There was plenty of time before the boat was due to sail from Ryde, so,
after marching smartly through the village, they fell out and strolled
along the wall or the seashore. On reaching Ryde they fell in again, and
halted near the fountain, two at a time falling out for drinks. At
Smith's bookstall Akela bought a supply of "comics" to read in the

On board the ship an adventure happened. Big Andy _of course_ dropped
his cap overboard. The sea was rather rough and it seemed as if the cap
must be lost, two stars and all. It was too far down to reach with the
ship's mop or any stick. But luckily some thoughtful Cub had brought a
long piece of string with an open safety-pin on the end, in hopes of
catching a fish on the crossing. With this the cap was fished for,
while the people on the pier and the first-class passengers on the upper
deck looked on with eager interest. Akela thought there was no hope of
ever seeing the cap again on Andy's head. She little knew that two pious
Cubs were busy _praying_! Presently the cap was triumphantly pulled up,
amidst cheers from the pier and the upper deck.

"I prayed he'd get it!" cried a Cub.

"And so did I!" exclaimed another.

At Portsmouth there was a terrible crush for the train, but, as usual,
the Cubs did well, for the kind guard gave them two first-class
compartments and locked them in.

And so they travelled back to dear, smoky old London, very much browner
and a good deal fatter than when they set out.



       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 42, "at" changed to "as" (important as Akela)

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