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´╗┐Title: Heroes Every Child Should Know
Author: Mabie, Hamilton Wright
Language: English
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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 "Heroes Every Child Should Know" ***

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----EDITED BY----




The endeavour has been made in this volume to bring together the
heroic men of different races, periods and types; and in the
selection of material the most attractive, intelligent and
authoritative literature has been drawn upon. In cases in which the
material selected belongs distinctively to the best literature, no
changes have been made, although narratives have been abbreviated;
in cases in which the material has a historical rather than a
distinctively literary quality, the text has been treated for
"substance of doctrine," and omissions have been freely made, and
connecting words, phrases and even sentences have been introduced to
give the narrative clear connection and completeness. In the
preparation of the material for the volume the intelligence and
skill of Miss Kate Stephens have been so freely used that she is
entitled to the fullest recognition as associate editor.

H. W. M.


The editor and publishers wish to extend their thanks and
acknowledgment to the firms who have kindly permitted the use of
material in this volume:

To The Macmillan Co. for selections from "Heroes of Chivalry and
Romance," "Stories of Charlemagne and the Peers of France," "Old
English History," "The Crusaders," "Father Damien: A Journey from
Cashmere to His Home in Hawaii"; to Thomas Nelson & Son for material
from "Martyrs and Saints of the First Twelve Centuries"; to J. M.
Dent & Co. for selections from "Stories from Le Morte d'Arthur and
The Mabinogion" in the Temple Classics for Young People; to E. P.
Dutton & Co. for material from "Chronicle of the Cid"; to Longmans,
Green & Co. for material from "The Book of Romance"; to John C.
Winston Co. for material from "Stories from History"; to Lothrop,
Lee & Shepard for material from "The True Story of Abraham Lincoln."




    I. PERSEUS. Adapted from "The Heroes," by Charles Kingsley

   II. HERCULES. By Kate Stephens

  III. DANIEL. From Book of Daniel, Chapter vi., Verses 1 to 24

   IV. DAVID. From I. Book of Samuel, Chapter xvii

    V. ST. GEORGE. Adapted from "Martyrs and Saints of the First
                   Twelve Centuries," by Mrs. E. Rundle Charles

   VI. KING ARTHUR. Adapted from "Stories from Le Morte d'Arthur and
                    the Mabinogion," by Beatrice Clay

  VII. SIR GALAHAD. Adapted from "Stories from Le Morte d'Arthur and
                    the Mabinogion," by Beatrice Clay; followed by
                    "Sir Galahad," by Alfred Tennyson

 VIII. SIEGFRIED. Adapted from "Heroes of Chivalry and Romance," by
                  A. J. Church

   IX. ROLAND. Adapted from "Stories of Charlemagne and the Peers of
               France," by A. J. Church

    X. KING ALFRED. Adapted from "Old English History," by E. A.

   XI. THE CID. Adapted from "Chronicle of the Cid," from the Spanish,
                by Robert Southey

  XII. ROBIN HOOD. Adapted from "Book of Romance," edited by Andrew
                   Lang; including a version of the popular ballad,
                   "Robin Hood and the Butcher"

 XIII. RICHARD THE LION-HEARTED. Adapted from "The Crusaders," by A.
                                 J. Church

  XIV. SAINT Louis. Adapted from "The Crusaders," by A. J. Church

   XV. WILLIAM TELL. Adapted from "Stories from History," by Agnes

  XVI. ROBERT BRUCE. Adapted from "Tales of a Grandfather from
                     Scottish History," by Sir Walter Scott

 XVII. GEORGE WASHINGTON. Adapted from "Recollections and Private
                          Memoirs of Washington," by G. W. Parke Custis

XVIII. ROBERT E. LEE. From "Letters and Recollections of General
                      Lee," by Captain Robert E. Lee

  XIX. ABRAHAM: LINCOLN. Adapted from "The True Story of Abraham
                         Lincoln," by Elbridge S. Brooks

   XX. FATHER DAMIEN. Adapted from "Father Damien: A Journey from
                      Cashmere to His Home in Hawaii," by Edward


If there had been no real heroes there would have been created
imaginary ones, for men cannot live without them. The hero is just
as necessary as the farmer, the sailor, the carpenter and the
doctor; society could not get on without him. There have been a
great many different kinds of heroes, for in every age and among
every people the hero has stood for the qualities that were most
admired and sought after by the bravest and best; and all ages and
peoples have imagined or produced heroes as inevitably as they have
made ploughs for turning the soil or ships for getting through the
water or weapons with which to fight their enemies. To be some kind
of a hero has been the ambition of spirited boys from the beginning
of history; and if you want to know what the men and women of a
country care for most, you must study their heroes. To the boy the
hero stands for the highest success: to the grown man and woman he
stands for the deepest and richest life.

Men have always worked with their hands, but they have never been
content with that kind of work; they have looked up from the fields
and watched the sun and stars; they have cut wood for their fires in
the forest, but they have noticed the life which goes on among the
trees and they have heard the mysterious sounds which often fill the
air in the remotest places. From the beginning men have not only
used their hands but their intellect and their imagination; they
have had to work or starve, but they have seen the world, thought
about it and dreamed about it.

They had worked and thought and dreamed only a little time before
they began to explain the marvelous earth on which they found
themselves and the strange things that happened in it; the vastness
and beauty of the fields, woods, sky and sea, the force of the wind,
the coming and going of the day and night, the warmth of summer when
everything grew, and the cold of winter when everything died, the
rush of the storm and the terrible brightness of the lightning. They
had no idea of what we call law or force; they could not think of
anything being moved or any noise being made unless there was some
one like themselves to move things and make sounds; and so they made
stories of gods and giants and heroes and nymphs and fawns; and the
myths, which are poetic explanations of the world and of the life of
men in it, came into being.

But they did not stop with these great matters; they began to tell
stories about themselves and the things they wanted to do and the
kind of life they wanted to lead. They wanted ease, power, wealth,
happiness, freedom; so they created genii, built palaces, made magic
carpets which carried them to the ends of the earth and horses with
wings which bore them through the air, peopled the woods and fields
with friendly, frolicsome or mischievous little people, who made
fires for them if they were friendly, or milked cows, overturned
bowls, broke dishes and played all kinds of antics and made all
sorts of trouble if they were mischievous or unfriendly. Beside the
great myths, like wild flowers in the shade of great trees, there
sprang up among the people of almost all countries a host of poetic,
satirical, humorous or homely stories of fairies, genii, trolls,
giants, dwarfs, imps, and queer creatures of all kinds; so that to
the children of two hundred years ago the woods, the fields, the
solitary and quiet places everywhere, were full of folk who kept out
of sight, but who had a great deal to do with the fortunes and fates
of men and women.

From very early times great honor was paid to courage and strength;
qualities which won success and impressed the imagination in
primitive not less than in highly developed societies. The first
heroes were gods or demi-gods, or men of immense strength who did
difficult things. When men first began to live in the world they
were in constant peril and faced hardships of every kind; and from
the start they had very hard work to do. There were fields to be
cultivated, houses to be built, woods to be explored, beasts to be
killed and other beasts to be tamed and set to work. There were many
things to be done and no tools to work with; there were great storms
to be faced and no houses for protection; there was terrible cold
and no fire or clothing; there were diseases and no medicine; there
were perils on land, in the water and in the air, and no knowledge
of the ways of meeting them.

At the very start courage and strength were necessary if life was to
be preserved and men were to live together in safety and with
comfort. When a strong man appeared he helped his fellows to make
themselves more at ease in the world. Sometimes he did this by
simply making himself more comfortable and thus showing others how
to do it; sometimes he did it by working for his fellows. No matter
how selfish a man may be, if he does any real work in the world he
works not only for himself but for others. In this way a selfish man
like Napoleon does the work of a hero without meaning to do it: for
the world is so made that no capable man or woman can be entirely
selfish, no matter how hard they try to get and keep everything for

It was not long before men saw that strong men could not work for
themselves without working for others, and there came in very early
the idea of service as part of the idea of heroism, and the demi-
gods, who were among the earliest heroes, were servants as well as
masters. Hercules, the most powerful of the heroes to Greek and
Roman boys was set to do the most difficult things not for himself
but for others. He destroyed lions, hydras, wild boars, birds with
brazen beaks and wings, mad bulls, many-headed monsters, horses
which fed on human flesh, dragons, he mastered the three-headed dog
Cerberus, he tore asunder the rocks at the Strait of Gibraltar which
bear his name to open a channel between the Mediterranean and the
Atlantic. He fought the Centaur and brought back Alcestis, the wife
of Admetus, from the pale regions of death where she had gone to
save her husband's life. In all these labors, which were so great
that works of extraordinary magnitude have since been called
Herculean, the brave, patient, suffering hero, was helping other
people rather than helping himself.

And this was true of Thor, the strong god of the Norsemen whose
hammer was the most terrible weapon in the world, the roll and crash
of thunder being the sound of it and the blinding lightning the
flash of it. The gods were the friends of men, giving the light and
warmth and fertility of the summer that the fields might bear food
for them and the long, bright days might bring them peace and
happiness. And the giants were the enemies of men, tirelessly trying
to make the fields desolate and stop the singing of birds and shroud
the sky in darkness by driving away summer with the icy breath of
winter. In this perpetual conflict Thor was the hero of strength and
courage, beating back the giants, defeating their schemes and
fighting the battle for gods and men with tireless zeal; counting no
peril or hardship too great if there was heroic work to be done.

Courage and achievement are the two signs of the hero; he may
possess or lack many other qualities, but he must be daring and he
must do things and not dream or talk about them.

From the days of Hercules to those of Washington and Livingston, men
of heroic spirit have not stopped to count the cost when a deed must
be done but have done it, usually with very little talk or noise;
for heroes, as a rule, are much more interested in getting their
work done than in making themselves conspicuous or winning a
reputation. Heroes have often been harsh and even brutal, especially
in the earliest times when humane feeling and a compassionate spirit
had not been developed; Siegfried, Jason, Gustavas Adolphus and Von
Tromp were often arbitrary and oppressive in their attitude toward
men; and, in later times, Alfred the Great, William the Silent and
Nelson were not without serious defects of temper and sometimes of
character. Men are not great or heroic because they are faultless;
they are great and heroic because they dare, suffer, achieve and

And men love their heroes not because they have been perfect
characters under all conditions, but because they have been brave,
true, able, and unselfish, A man may have few faults and count for
very little in the world, because he lacks force, daring, the
greatness of soul which moves before a generation like a flaming
torch; a man may lead a stainless life, not because he is really
virtuous but because he has very few temptations within or without.
Some of the most heroic men have put forth more strength in
resisting a single temptation than men of theories and more
commonplace natures put forth in a life time. The serious faults of
heroes are not overlooked or forgotten; the great man is as much the
servant of the moral law as the little man, and pays the same price
for disobedience; but generosity of spirit, devotion to high aims
and capacity for self-sacrifice often outweigh serious offences.
Nelson is less a hero because he yielded to a great temptation; but
he remains a hero in spite of the stain on his fame. It is much
better not to be profane under any circumstances, but when
Washington swore fiercely at Charles Lee on the battle field of
Monmouth his profanity was the expression of the righteous wrath of
a good man. In judging the hero one must take into account the age
in which he lived, the differences in moral standards between the
past and the present, and the force of the temptations which come
with strength of body, passion, imagination, great position,
colossal enterprises; these do not conceal or excuse the faults of
heroes but they explain those faults.

The men whose bravery and great deeds are described in these pages
have been selected not because they are faultless in character and
life, but because they were brave, generous, self-forgetful, self-
sacrificing and capable of splendid deeds. Men love and honour them
not only because they owe them a great deal of gratitude, but
because they see in their heroes the kind of men they would like to
be; for the possibilities of the heroic are in almost all men.
Stories of the heroes have often made other men strong and brave and
true in the face of great perils and tasks, and this book is put
forth in the faith that it will not only pass on the fame of the
heroes of the past but help make heroes in the present.

H. W. M.



Once upon a time there were two princes who were twins. Their names
were Acrisius and Proetus, and they lived in the pleasant vale of
Argos, far away in Hellas. They had fruitful meadows and vineyards,
sheep and oxen, great herds of horses feeding down in Lerna Fen, and
all that men could need to make them blest: and yet they were
wretched, because they were jealous of each other. From the moment
they were born they began to quarrel; and when they grew up each
tried to take away the other's share of the kingdom, and keep all
for himself.

But there came a prophet to Acrisius and prophesied against him, and
said, "Because you have risen up against your own blood, your own
blood shall rise up against you; because you have sinned against
your kindred, by your kindred you shall be punished. Your daughter
Danae shall have a son, and by that son's hands you shall die. So
the gods have ordained, and it will surely come to pass."

And at that Acrisius was very much afraid; but he did not mend his
ways. He had been cruel to his own family, and, instead of repenting
and being kind to them, he went on to be more cruel than ever: for
he shut up his fair daughter Danae in a cavern underground, lined
with brass, that no one might come near her. So he fancied himself
more cunning than the gods: but you will see presently whether he
was able to escape them.

Now it came to pass that in time a son came to Danae: so beautiful a
babe that any but King Acrisius would have had pity on it. But he
had no pity; for he took Danae and her babe down to the seashore,
and put them into a great chest and thrust them out to sea, for the
winds and the waves to carry them whithersoever they would.

The northwest wind blew freshly out of the blue mountains, and down
the pleasant vale of Argos, and away and out to sea. And away and
out to sea before it floated the mother and her babe, while all who
watched them wept, save that cruel father, King Acrisius.

So they floated on and on, and the chest danced up and down upon the
billows, and the baby slept upon its mother's breast: but the poor
mother could not sleep, but watched and wept, and she sang to her
baby as they floated; and the song which she sang you shall learn
yourselves some day.

And now they are past the last blue headland, and in the open sea;
and there is nothing round them but the waves, and the sky, and the
wind. But the waves are gentle, and the sky is clear, and the breeze
is tender and low.

So a night passed, and a day, and a long day it was for Danae; and
another night and day beside, till Danae was faint with hunger and
weeping, and yet no land appeared. And all the while the babe slept
quietly; and at last poor Danae drooped her head and fell asleep
likewise with her cheek against the babe's.

After a while she was awakened suddenly; for the chest was jarring
and grinding, and the air was full of sound. She looked up, and over
her head were mighty cliffs, all red in the setting sun, and around
her rocks and breakers, and flying flakes of foam. She clasped her
hands together, and shrieked aloud for help. And when she cried,
help met her: for now there came over the rocks a tall and stately
man, and looked down wonderingly upon poor Danae tossing about in
the chest among the waves.

He wore a rough cloak of frieze, and on his head a broad hat to
shade his face; in his hand he carried a trident for spearing fish,
and over his shoulder was a casting-net; but Danae could see that he
was no common man by his stature, and his walk, and his flowing
golden hair and beard; and by the two servants who came behind him,
carrying baskets for his fish. But she had hardly time to look at
him before he had laid aside his trident and leapt down the rocks,
and thrown his casting-net so surely over Danae and the chest, that
he drew it, and her, and the baby, safe upon a ledge of rock.

Then the fisherman took Danae by the hand, and lifted her out of the
chest, and said:

"O beautiful damsel, what strange chance has brought you to this
island in so frail a ship? Who are you, and whence? Surely you are
some King's daughter and this boy has somewhat more than mortal."

And as he spoke he pointed to the babe; for its face shone like the
morning star.

But Danae only held down her head, and sobbed out:

"Tell me to what land I have come, unhappy that I am; and among what
men I have fallen!"

And he said, "This isle is called Seriphos, and I am a Hellen, and
dwell in it. I am the brother of Polydectes the King; and men call
me Dictys the netter, because I catch the fish of the shore."

Then Danae fell down at his feet, and embraced his knees and cried:

"Oh, sir, have pity upon a stranger, whom a cruel doom has driven to
your land; and let me live in your house as a servant; but treat me
honourably, for I was once a king's daughter, and this my boy (as
you have truly said) is of no common race. I will not be a charge to
you, or eat the bread of idleness; for I am more skilful in weaving
and embroidery than all the maidens of my land."

And she was going on; but Dictys stopped her, and raised her up, and

"My daughter, I am old, and my hairs are growing grey; while I have
no children to make my home cheerful. Come with me then, and you
shall be a daughter to me and to my wife, and this babe shall be our
grandchild. For I fear the gods, and show hospitality to all
strangers; knowing that good deeds, like evil ones, always return to
those who do them."

So Danae was comforted, and went home with Dictys the good
fisherman, and was a daughter to him and to his wife.

Fifteen years were passed and gone and the babe was now grown to a
tall lad and a sailor, and went many voyages after merchandise to
the islands round. His mother called him Perseus; but all the people
in Seriphos said that he was not the son of mortal man, and called
him Zeus, the son of the king of the Immortals. For though he was
but fifteen, he was taller by a head than any man in the island; and
he was the most skilful of all in running and wrestling and boxing,
and in throwing the quoit and the javelin, and in rowing with the
oar, and in playing on the harp, and in all which befits a man. And
he was brave and truthful, gentle and courteous, for good old Dictys
had trained him well; and well it was for Perseus that he had done

Now one day at Samos, while the ship was lading, Perseus wandered
into a pleasant wood to get out of the sun, and sat down on the turf
and fell asleep. And as he slept a strange dream came to him--the
strangest dream which he had ever had in his life.

There came a lady to him through the wood, taller than he, or any
mortal man; but beautiful exceedingly, with grey eyes, clear and
piercing, but strangely soft and mild. On her head was a helmet, and
in her hand a spear. And over her shoulder, above her long blue
robes, hung a goat-skin, which bore up a mighty shield of brass,
polished like a mirror. She stood and looked at him with her clear
grey eyes; and Perseus saw that her eyelids never moved, nor her
eyeballs, but looked straight through and through him, and into his
very heart, as if she could see all the secrets of his soul, and
knew all that he had ever thought or longed for since the day that
he was born. And Perseus dropped his eyes, trembling and blushing,
as the wonderful lady spoke.

"Perseus, you must do an errand for me."

"Who are you, lady? And how do you know my name?"

"I am Pallas Athene; and I know the thoughts of all men's hearts,
and discern their manhood or their baseness. And from the souls of
clay I turn away, and they are blest, but not by me. They fatten at
ease, like sheep in the pasture, and eat what they did not sow, like
oxen in the stall. They grow and spread, like the gourd along the
ground; but, like the gourd, they give no shade to the traveller,
and when they are ripe death gathers them, and they go down unloved
into hell, and their name vanishes out of the land.

"But to the souls of fire I give more fire, and to those who are
manful I give a might more than man's. These are the heroes, the
sons of the Immortals who are blest, but not like the souls of clay.
For I drive them forth by strange paths, Perseus, that they may
fight the Titans and the monsters, the enemies of gods and men.
Through doubt and need, danger and battle, I drive them; and some of
them are slain in the flower of youth, no man knows when or where;
and some of them win noble names, and a fair and green old age; but
what will be their latter end I know not, and none, save Zeus, the
father of gods and men. Tell me now, Perseus, which of these two
sorts of men seem to you more blest?"

Then Perseus answered boldly: "Better to die in the flower of youth,
on the chance of winning a noble name, than to live at ease like the
sheep, and die unloved and unrenowned."

Then that strange lady laughed, and held up her brazen shield, and
cried: "See here, Perseus; dare you face such a monster as this, and
slay it, that I may place its head upon this shield?"

And in the mirror of the shield there appeared a face and as Perseus
looked on it his blood ran cold. It was the face of a beautiful
woman; but her cheeks were pale as death, and her brows were knit
with everlasting pain, and her lips were thin and bitter like a
snake's; and, instead of hair, vipers wreathed about her temples,
and shot out their forked tongues; while round her head were folded
wings like an eagle's, and upon her bosom claws of brass.

And Perseus looked awhile, and then said: "If there is anything so
fierce and foul on earth, it were a noble deed to kill it. Where can
I find the monster?"

Then the strange lady smiled again, and said: "Not yet; you are too
young, and too unskilled; for this is Medusa the Gorgon, the mother
of a monstrous brood."

And Perseus said, "Try me; for since you spoke to me a new soul has
come into my breast, and I should be ashamed not to dare anything
which I can do. Show me, then, how I can do this!"

"Perseus," said Athene, "think well before you attempt; for this
deed requires a seven years' journey, in which you cannot repent or
turn back nor escape; but if your heart fails you, you must die in
the Unshapen Land, where no man will ever find your bones."

"Better so than live despised," said Perseus. "Tell me, then, oh
tell me, fair and wise Goddess, how I can do but this one thing, and
then, if need be, die!"

Then Athene smiled and said:

"Be patient, and listen; for if you forget my words, you will indeed
die. You must go northward to the country of the Hyperboreans, who
live beyond the pole, at the sources of the cold north wind, till
you find the three Grey Sisters, who have but one eye and one tooth
between them. You must ask them the way to the Nymphs, the daughters
of the Evening Star, who dance about the golden tree, in the
Atlantic island of the west. They will tell you the way to the
Gorgon, that you may slay her, my enemy, the mother of monstrous
beasts. Once she was a maiden as beautiful as morn, till in her
pride she sinned a sin at which the sun hid his face; and from that
day her hair was turned to vipers, and her hands to eagle's claws;
and her heart was filled with shame and rage, and her lips with
bitter venom; and her eyes became so terrible that whosover looks on
them is turned to stone; and her children are the winged horse and
the giant of the golden sword; and her grandchildren are Echidna the
witch-adder, and Geryon the three-headed tyrant, who feeds his herds
beside the herds of hell. So she became the sister of the Gorgons,
the daughters of the Queen of the Sea. Touch them not, for they are
immortal; but bring me only Medusa's head."

"And I will bring it!" said Perseus; "but how am I to escape her
eyes? Will she not freeze me too into stone?"

"You shall take this polished shield," said Athene, "and when you
come near her look not at her yourself, but at her image in the
brass; so you may strike her safely. And when you have struck off
her head, wrap it, with your face turned away, in the folds of the
goatskin on which the shield hangs. So you will bring it safely back
to me, and win to yourself renown, and a place among the heroes who
feast with the Immortals upon the peak where no winds blow."

Then Perseus said, "I will go, though I die in going. But how shall
I cross the seas without a ship? And who will show me my way? And
when I find her, how shall I slay her, if her scales be iron and

Now beside Athene appeared a young man more light-limbed than the
stag, whose eyes were like sparks of fire. By his side was a
scimitar of diamond, all of one clear precious stone, and on his
feet were golden sandals, from the heels of which grew living wings.

Then the young man spoke: "These sandals of mine will bear you
across the seas, and over hill and dale like a bird, as they bear me
all day long; for I am Hermes, the far-famed Argus-slayer, the
messenger of the Immortals who dwell on Olympus."

Then Perseus fell down and worshipped, while the young man spoke

"The sandals themselves will guide you on the road, for they are
divine and cannot stray; and this sword itself the Argus-slayer,
will kill her, for it is divine, and needs no second stroke. Arise,
and gird them on, and go forth."

So Perseus arose, and girded on the sandals and the sword.

And Athene cried, "Now leap from the cliff and be gone."

But Perseus lingered.

"May I not bid farewell to my mother and to Dictys? And may I not
offer burnt offerings to you, and to Hermes the far-famed Argus-
slayer, and to Father Zeus above?"

"You shall not bid farewell to your mother, lest your heart relent
at her weeping. I will comfort her and Dictys until you return in
peace. Nor shall you offer burnt offerings to the Olympians; for
your offering shall be Medusa's head. Leap, and trust in the armour
of the Immortals."

Then Perseus looked down the cliff and shuddered; but he was ashamed
to show his dread. Then he thought of Medusa and the renown before
him, and he leapt into the empty air.

And behold, instead of falling he floated, and stood, and ran along
the sky. He looked back, but Athene had vanished, and Hermes; and
the sandals led him on northward ever, like a crane who follows the
spring toward the Ister fens.

So Perseus started on his journey, going dry-shod over land and sea;
and his heart was high and joyful, for the winged sandals bore him
each day a seven days' journey. And he turned neither to the right
hand nor the left, till he came to the Unshapen Land, and the place
which has no name.

And seven days he walked through it on a path which few can tell,
till he came to the edge of the everlasting night, where the air was
full of feathers, and the soil was hard with ice; and there at last
he found the three Grey Sisters, by the shore of the freezing sea,
nodding upon a white log of driftwood, beneath the cold white winter
moon; and they chanted a low song together, "Why the old times were
better than the new."

There was no living thing around them, not a fly, not a moss upon
the rocks. Neither seal nor sea gull dare come near, lest the ice
should clutch them in its claws. The surge broke up in foam, but it
fell again in flakes of snow; and it frosted the hair of the three
Grey Sisters, and the bones in the ice cliff above their heads. They
passed the eye from one to the other, but for all that they could
not see; and they passed the tooth from one to the other, but for
all that they could not eat; and they sat in the full glare of the
moon, but they were none the warmer for her beams. And Perseus
pitied the three Grey Sisters; but they did not pity themselves.

So he said, "Oh, venerable mothers, wisdom is the daughter of old
age. You therefore should know many things. Tell me, if you can, the
path to the Gorgon."

Then one cried, "Who is this who reproaches us with old age?" And
another, "This is the voice of one of the children of men."

Then one cried, "Give me the eye, that I may see him"; and another,
"Give me the tooth, that I may bite him." But Perseus, when he saw
that they were foolish and proud, and did not love the children of
men, left off pitying them. Then he stepped close to them, and
watched till they passed the eye from hand to hand. And as they
groped about between themselves, he held out his own hand gently,
till one of them put the eye into it, fancying that it was the hand
of her sister. Then he sprang back, and laughed, and cried:

"Cruel and proud old women, I have your eye; and I will throw it
into the sea, unless you tell me the path to the Gorgon, and swear
to me that you tell me right."

Then they wept, and chattered, and scolded; but in vain. They were
forced to tell the truth, though, when they told it, Perseus could
hardly make out the road.

"You must go," they said, "foolish boy, to the southward, into the
ugly glare of the sun, till you come to Atlas the Giant, who holds
the heaven and the earth apart. And you must ask his daughters, the
Hesperides, who are young and foolish like yourself. And now give us
back our eye, for we have forgotten all the rest."

So Perseus gave them back their eye. And he leaped away to the
southward, leaving the snow and the ice behind. And the terns and
the sea gulls swept laughing round his head, and called to him to
stop and play, and the dolphins gambolled up as he passed, and
offered to carry him on their back. And all night long the sea
nymphs sang sweetly. Day by day the sun rose higher and leaped more
swiftly into the sea at night, and more swiftly out of the sea at
dawn; while Perseus skimmed over the billows like a sea gull, and
his feet were never wetted; and leapt on from wave to wave, and his
limbs were never weary, till he saw far away a mighty mountain, all
rose-red in the setting sun. Perseus knew that it was Atlas, who
holds the heavens and the earth apart.

He leapt on shore, and wandered upward, among pleasant valleys and
waterfalls. At last he heard sweet voices singing; and he guessed
that he was come to the garden of the Nymphs, the daughters of the
Evening Star. They sang like nightingales among the thickets, and
Perseus stopped to hear their song; but the words which they spoke
he could not understand. So he stepped forward and saw them dancing,
hand in hand around the charmed tree, which bent under its golden
fruit; and round the tree foot was coiled the dragon, old Ladon the
sleepless snake, who lies there for ever, listening to the song of
the maidens, blinking and watching with dry bright eyes.

Then Perseus stopped, not because he feared the dragon, but because
he was bashful before those fair maids; but when they saw him, they
too stopped, and called to him with trembling voices:

"Who are you, fair boy? Come dance with us around the tree in the
garden which knows no winter, the home of the south wind and the
sun. Come hither and play with us awhile; we have danced alone here
for a thousand years, and our hearts are weary with longing for a

"I cannot dance with you, fair maidens; for I must do the errand of
the Immortals. So tell me the way to the Gorgon, lest I wander and
perish in the waves."

Then they sighed and wept; and answered:

"The Gorgon! she will freeze you into stone."

"It is better to die like a hero than to live like an ox in a stall.
The Immortals have lent me weapons, and they will give me wit to use

Then they sighed again and answered: "Fair boy, if you are bent on
your own ruin, be it so. We know not the way to the Gorgon; but we
will ask the giant Atlas above upon the mountain peak." So they went
up the mountain to Atlas their uncle, and Perseus went up with them.
And they found the giant kneeling, as he held the heavens and the
earth apart.

They asked him, and he answered mildly, pointing to the sea board
with his mighty hand, "I can see the Gorgons lying on an island far
away, but this youth can never come near them, unless he has the hat
of darkness, which whosoever wears cannot be seen."

Then cried Perseus, "Where is that hat, that I may find it?"

But the giant smiled. "No living mortal can find that hat, for it
lies in the depths of Hades, in the regions of the dead. But my
nieces are immortal, and they shall fetch it for you, if you will
promise me one thing and keep your faith."

Then Perseus promised; and the giant said, "When you come back with
the head of Medusa, you shall show me the beautiful horror, that I
may lose my feeling and my breathing, and become a stone for ever;
for it is weary labour for me to hold the heavens and the earth

Then Perseus promised, and the eldest of the Nymphs went down, and
into a dark cavern among the cliffs, out of which came smoke and
thunder, for it was one of the mouths of hell.

And Perseus and the Nymphs sat down seven days and waited trembling,
till the Nymph came up again; and her face was pale, and her eyes
dazzled with the light for she had been long in the dreary darkness;
but in her hand was the magic hat.

Then all the Nymphs kissed Perseus, and wept over him a long while;
but he was only impatient to be gone. And at last they put the hat
upon his head, and he vanished out of their sight.

But Perseus went on boldly, past many an ugly sight, far away into
the heart of the Unshapen Land, till he heard the rustle of the
Gorgons' wings and saw the glitter of their brazen talons; and then
he knew that it was time to halt, lest Medusa should freeze him into

He thought awhile with himself, and remembered Athene's words. He
arose aloft into the air, and held the mirror of the shield above
his head, and looked up into it that he might see all that was below

And he saw the three Gorgons sleeping. He knew that they could not
see him, because the hat of darkness hid him; and yet he trembled as
he sank down near them, so terrible were those brazen claws.

Two of the Gorgons were foul as swine, and lay sleeping heavily,
with their mighty wings outspread; but Medusa tossed to and fro
restlessly, and as she tossed Perseus pitied her. But as he looked,
from among her tresses the vipers' heads awoke, and peeped up with
their bright dry eyes, and showed their fangs, and hissed; and
Medusa, as she tossed, threw back her wings and showed her brazen

Then Perseus came down and stepped to her boldly, and looked
steadfastly on his mirror, and struck with Herpe stoutly once; and
he did not need to strike again.

Then he wrapped the head in the goat-skin, turning away his eyes,
and sprang into the air aloft, faster than he ever sprang before.

For Medusa's wings and talons rattled as she sank dead upon the
rocks; and her two foul sisters woke, and saw her lying dead.

Into the air they sprang yelling, and looked for him who had done
the deed. They rushed, sweeping and flapping, like eagles after a
hare; and Perseus's blood ran cold as he saw them come howling on
his track; and he cried, "Bear me well now, brave sandals, for the
hounds of Death are at my heels!"

And well the brave sandals bore him, aloft through cloud and
sunshine, across the shoreless sea; and fast followed the hounds of
Death. But the sandals were too swift, even for Gorgons, and by
nightfall they were far behind, two black specks in the southern
sky, till the sun sank and he saw them no more.

Then he came again to Atlas, and the garden of the Nymphs; and when
the giant heard him coming he groaned, and said, "Fulfil thy promise
to me." Then Perseus held up to him the Gorgon's head, and he had
rest from all his toil; for he became a crag of stone, which sleeps
forever far above the clouds.

Perseus thanked the Nymphs, and asked them, "By what road shall I go
homeward again, for I have wandered far in coming hither?"

And they wept and cried, "Go home no more, but stay and play with
us, the lonely maidens, who dwell for ever far away from gods and

But he refused, and they told him his road. And he leapt down the
mountain, and went on, lessening and lessening like a sea gull, away
and out to sea.

So Perseus flitted onward to the northeast, over many a league of
sea, till he came to the rolling sand hills and the dreary Lybian

And he flitted on across the desert: over rock ledges, and banks of
shingle, and level wastes of sand, and shell drifts bleaching in the
sunshine, and the skeletons of great sea monsters, and dead bones of
ancient giants, strewn up and down upon the old sea floor. And as he
went the blood drops fell to the earth from the Gorgon's head, and
became poisonous asps and adders, which breed in the desert to this

Over the sands he went, till he saw the Dwarfs who fought with
cranes. Their spears were of reeds and rushes, and their houses of
the eggshells of the cranes; and Perseus laughed, and went his way
to the northeast, hoping all day long to see the blue Mediterranean
sparkling, that he might fly across it to his home.

But now came down a mighty wind, and swept him back southward toward
the desert. All day long he strove against it; but even the winged
sandals could not prevail. So he was forced to float down the wind
all night; and when the morning dawned there was nothing but the
blinding sun in the blinding blue; and round him there was nothing
but the blinding sand.

And Perseus said, "Surely I am not here without the will of the
Immortals, for Athene will not lie. Were not these sandals to lead
me in the right road? Then the road in which I have tried to go must
be a wrong road."

Then suddenly his ears were opened, and he heard the sound of
running water. And at that his heart was lifted up, though he
scarcely dare believe his ears; and within a bowshot of him was a
glen in the sand, and marble rocks, and date trees, and a lawn of
gay green grass. And through the lawn a streamlet sparkled and
wandered out beyond the trees, and vanished in the sand. And Perseus
laughed for joy, and leapt down the cliff and drank of the cool
water, and ate of the dates, and slept upon the turf, and leapt up
and went forward.

Then he towered in the air like an eagle, for his limbs were strong
again; and he flew all night across the mountain till the day began
to dawn, and rosy-fingered Eos came blushing up the sky. And then,
behold, beneath him was the long green garden of Egypt and the
shining stream of Nile.

And he saw cities walled up to heaven, and temples, and obelisks,
and pyramids, and giant gods of stone. And he came down amid fields
of barley and flax, and millet, and clambering gourds; and saw the
people coming out of the gates of a great city, and setting to work,
each in his place, among the water courses, parting the streams
among the plants cunningly with their feet, according to the wisdom
of the Egyptians. But when they saw him they all stopped their work,
and gathered round him, and cried:

"Who art thou, fair youth? and what Dearest thou beneath they goat--
skin there? Surely thou art one of the Immortals; for thy skin is
white like ivory, and ours is red like clay. Thy hair is like
threads of gold, and ours is black and curled. Surely thou art one
of the Immortals"; and they would have worshipped him then and
there; but Perseus said:

"I am not one of the Immortals; but I am a hero of the Hellens. And
I have slain the Gorgon in the wilderness, and bear her head with
me. Give me food, therefore, that I may go forward and finish my

Then they gave him food, and fruit, but they would not let him go.
And when the news came into the city that the Gorgon was slain, the
priests came out to meet him, and the maidens, with songs and
dances, and timbrels and harps; and they would have brought him to
their temple and to their King; but Perseus put on the hat of
darkness, and vanished away out of their sight.

And Perseus flew along the shore above the sea; and he went on all
the day; and he went on all the night.

And at the dawn of day he looked toward the cliffs; and at the
water's edge, under a black rock, he saw a white image stand.

"This," thought he, "must surely be the statue of some sea god; I
will go near and see what kind of gods these barbarians worship."

But when he came near, it was no statue, but a maiden of flesh and
blood; for he could see her tresses streaming in the breeze; and as
he came closer still, he could see how she shrank and shivered when
the waves sprinkled her with cold salt spray. Her arms were spread
above her head, and fastened to the rock with chains of brass; and
her head drooped on her bosom, either with sleep, or weariness, or
grief. But now and then she looked up and wailed, and called her
mother; yet she did not see Perseus, for the cap of darkness was on
his head.

Full of pity and indignation, Perseus drew near and looked upon the
maid. And, lifting the hat from his head, he flashed into her sight.
She shrieked with terror, and tried to hide her face with her hair,
for she could not with her hands; but Perseus cried:

"Do not fear me, fair one; I am a Hellen, and no barbarian. What
cruel men have bound you? But first I will set you free."

And he tore at the fetters, but they were too strong for him; while
the maiden cried:

"Touch me not; I am accursed, devoted as a victim to the sea gods.
They will slay you, if you dare to set me free."

"Let them try," said Perseus; and drawing Herpe from his thigh, he
cut through the brass as if it had been flax.

"Now," he said, "you belong to me, and not to these sea gods,
whosoever they may be!" But she only called the more on her mother.

"Why call on your mother? She can be no mother to have left you

And she answered, weeping:

"I am the daughter of Cepheus, King of Iopa, and my mother is
Cassiopoeia of the beautiful tresses, and they called me Andromeda,
as long as life was mine. And I stand bound here, hapless that I am,
for the sea monster's food, to atone for my mother's sin. For she
boasted of me once that I was fairer than the Queen of the Fishes;
so she in her wrath sent the sea floods, and her brother the Fire
King sent the earthquakes, and wasted all the land, and after the
floods a monster bred of the slime what devours all living things.
And now he must devour me, guiltless though I am--me who never
harmed a living thing, nor saw a fish upon the shore but I gave it
life, and threw it back into the sea; for in our land we eat no
fish, for fear of their queen. Yet the priests say that nothing but
my blood can atone for a sin which I never committed."

But Perseus laughed, and said, "A sea monster? I have fought with
worse than him: I would have faced Immortals for your sake: how much
more a beast of the sea?"

Then Andromeda looked up at him, and new hope was kindled in her
breast, so proud and fair did he stand with one hand round her, and
in the other the glittering sword. But she only sighed, and wept the
more, and cried:

"Why will you die, young as you are? Is there not death and sorrow
enough in the world already? It is noble for me to die, that I may
save the lives of a whole people; but you, better than them all, why
should I slay you too? Go you your way; I must go mine." And then,
suddenly looking up, she pointed to the sea, and shrieked:

"There he comes, with the sunrise, as they promised. I must die now.
How shall I endure it? Oh, go! Is it not dreadful enough to be torn
piecemeal, without having you to look on?" And she tried to thrust
him away.

But he said: "I go; yet promise me one thing ere I go: that if I
slay this beast you will be my wife, and come back with me to my
kingdom in fruitful Argos. Promise me, and seal it with a kiss."

Then she lifted up her face, and kissed him; and Perseus laughed for
joy, and flew upward, while Andromeda crouched trembling on the

On came the great sea monster, coasting along like a huge black
galley. His great sides were fringed with clustering shells and
seaweeds, and the water gurgled in and out of his wide jaws.

At last he saw Andromeda, and shot forward to take his prey, while
the waves foamed white behind him, and before him the fish fled

Then down from the height of the air fell Perseus like a shooting
star; down to the crests of the waves, while Andromeda hid her face
as he shouted; and then there was silence for a while.

At last she looked up trembling, and saw Perseus springing toward
her; and instead of the monster a long black rock, with the sea
rippling quietly round it.

Who then so proud as Perseus, as he leapt back to the rock, and
lifted his fair Andromeda in his arms, and flew with her to the
cliff top, as a falcon carries a dove?

Who so proud as Perseus, and who so joyful as all the AEthiop
people? For they had stood watching the monster from the cliffs,
wailing for the maiden's fate. And already a messenger had gone to
Cepheus and Cassiopoeia, where they sat in sackcloth and ashes on
the ground, in the innermost palace chambers, awaiting their
daughter's end. And they came, and all the city with them, to see
the wonder, with songs and with dances, with cymbals and harps, and
received their daughter back again, as one alive from the dead.

Then Cepheus said, "Hero of the Hellens, stay here with me and be my
son-in-law, and I will give you the half of my kingdom."

"I will be your son-in-law," said Perseus, "but of your kingdom I
will have none, for I long after the pleasant land of Greece, and my
mother who waits for me at home."

Then Cepheus said, "You must not take my daughter away at once, for
she is to us like one alive from the dead. Stay with us here a year,
and after that you shall return with honour." And Perseus consented.
So they went up to the palace; and when they came in, there stood in
the hall Phineus, the brother of Cepheus, chafing like a bear robbed
of her whelps, and with him his sons, and his servants, and many an
armed man, and he cried to Cepheus:

"You shall not marry your daughter to this stranger of whom no one
knows even the name. Was not Andromeda betrothed to my son? And now
she is safe again, has he not a right to claim her?"

But Perseus laughed, and answered: "If your son is in want of a
bride, let him save a maiden for himself."

Then he unveiled the Gorgon's head, and said, "This has delivered my
bride from one wild beast; it shall deliver her from many." And as
he spoke Phineus and all his men-at-arms stopped short, and
stiffened each man as he stood; and before Perseus had drawn the
goat-skin over the face again, they were all turned into stone. Then
Perseus bade the people bring levers and roll them out.

So they made a great wedding feast, which lasted seven whole days,
and who so happy as Perseus and Andromeda?

And when a year was ended Perseus hired Phoenicians from Tyre, and
cut down cedars, and built himself a a noble galley; and painted its
cheeks with vermilion and pitched its sides with pitch; and in it he
put Andromeda, and all her dowry of jewels, and rich shawls, and
spices from the East; and great was the weeping when they rowed
away. But the remembrance of his brave deed was left behind; and
Andromeda's rock was shown at Iopa in Palestine till more than a
thousand years were past.

So Perseus and the Phoenicians rowed to the westward, across the
sea, till they came to the pleasant Isles of Hellas, and Seriphos,
his ancient home.

Then he left his galley on the beach, and went up as of old; and he
embraced his mother, and Dictys his good foster-father, and they
wept over each other a long while, for it was seven years and more
since they had met.

Then he went home to Argos, and reigned there well with fair
Andromeda. But the will of the gods was accomplished towards
Acrisius, his grandfather, for he died from the falling of a quoit
which Perseus had thrown in a game.

Perseus and Andromeda had four sons and three daughters, and died in
a good old age. And when they died, the ancients say, Athene took
them up into the sky, with Cepheus and Cassiopoeia. And there on
starlight nights you may see them shining still; Cepheus with his
kingly crown, and Cassiopoeia in her ivory chair, plaiting her star-
spangled tresses, and Perseus with the Gorgon's head, and fair
Andromeda beside him, spreading her long white arms across the
heavens, as she stood when chained to the stone for the monster. All
night long they shine, for a beacon to wandering sailors; but all
day they feast with the gods, on the still blue peaks of Olympus.



Many, many years ago in the far-off land of Hellas, which we call
Greece, lived a happy young couple whose names were Alcmene and
Amphitryon. Now Amphitryon, the husband, owned many herds of cattle.
So also the father of Alcmene, who was King of Mycenae, owned many.

All these cattle grazing together and watering at the same springs
became united in one herd. And this was the cause of much trouble,
for Amphitryon fell to quarreling with the father of his wife about
his portion of the herd. At last he slew his father-in-law, and from
that day he fled his old home at Mycenae.

Alcmene went with her husband and the young couple settled at
Thebes, where were born to them two boys--twins--which were later
named Hercules and Iphicles.

From the child's very birth Zeus, the King of all heaven that is the
air and clouds, and the father of gods and men--from the boy's very
birth Zeus loved Hercules. But when Hera, wife of Zeus, who shared
his honours, saw this love she was angry. Especially she was angry
because Zeus foretold that Hercules should become the greatest of

Therefore one night, when the two babies were but eight months old,
Hera sent two huge serpents to destroy them. The children were
asleep in the great shield of brass which Amphitryon carried in
battle for his defence. It was a good bed, for it was round and
curved toward the centre, and filled with soft blankets which
Alcmene and the maids of the house had woven at their looms. Forward
toward this shield the huge snakes were creeping, and just as they
lifted their open mouths above the rim, and were making ready to
seize them, the twins opened their eyes. Iphicles screamed with
fright. His cries wakened their mother, Alcmene, who called in a
loud voice for help. But before Amphitryon and the men of the
household could draw their swords and rush to the rescue, the baby
Hercules, sitting up in the shield unterrified and seizing a serpent
in each hand, had choked and strangled them till they died.

From his early years Hercules was instructed in the learning of his
time. Castor, the most experienced charioteer of his day, taught
him, Eurytus also, how to shoot with a bow and arrows; Linus how to
play upon the lyre; and Eumolpus, grandson of the North Wind,
drilled him in singing. Thus time passed to his eighteenth year
when, so great already had become his strength and knowledge, he
killed a fierce lion which had preyed upon the flocks of Amphitryon
while they were grazing on Mount Cithaeron, and which had in fact
laid waste many a fat farm of the surrounding country.

But the anger of Hera still followed Hercules, and the goddess sent
upon him a madness. In this craze the hero did many unhappy deeds.
For punishment and in expiation he condemned himself to exile, and
at last he went to the great shrine of the god Apollo at Delphi to
ask whither he should go and where settle. The Pythia, or priestess
in the temple, desired him to settle at Tiryns, to serve as bondman
to Eurystheus, who ruled at Mycenae as King, and to perform the
great labours which Eurystheus should impose upon him. When these
tasks were all accomplished, the inspired priestess added, Hercules
should be numbered among the immortal gods.


The first task which Eurystheus required of Hercules was to bring
him the skin of a lion which no arrow nor other weapon could wound,
and which had long been a terror to the good people who lived in
Nemea. Hercules set forth armed with bow and quiver, but paused in
the outer wood of Nemea long enough to cut himself his famous club.
There too he fell in with an honest countryman who pledged him to
make a sacrifice to Zeus, the saviour, if he, Hercules, should
return victorious; but if he were slain by the monstrous lion, then
the countryman should make the sacrifice a funeral offering to
himself as a hero.

So Hercules proceeded, far into a dense wood, deserted because all
people feared the fierce beast it protected. On he went till after
many days he sighted the lion at rest near the cave which was its
den. Standing behind a tree of great girth, Hercules fitted and let
fly an arrow. It struck and glanced, leaving the animal unharmed.
Then he tried another shot, aiming at the heart. Again the arrow
failed. But the lion was by this time roused, and his eyes shot
fiery glances, and the heavy roar from his throat made the woods
most horribly resound. Then the devoted Hercules seized his heavy
wooden club, and rushing forward drove the lion by the suddenness
and fierceness of his assault into his den. But the den had two
entrances. Against one Hercules rolled huge stones, and entering the
cave by the other he grasped the lion's throat with both hands, and
thus held him struggling and gasping for breath till he lay at his
feet dead.

Hercules swung the mighty bulk upon his shoulders and proceeded to
seek the countryman with whom his pledge stood. So great had been
his journey, and so hard his search, that he did not find the good
man till the last of the thirty days. There he stood just on the
point of offering a sheep to Hercules, supposing him dead. Together
they sacrificed the sheep to Zeus instead, and Hercules, vigorous
and victorious, bore the mighty lion's body to Eurystheus at

Entering the place and throwing the carcass down before the king,
Hercules so terrified Eurystheus by this token of his wonderful
strength that the King forbade him ever again to enter the city.
Indeed some say that the terror of Eurystheus was so great that he
had a jar or vessel of brass secretly constructed underground which
he might use as a safe retreat in case of danger. This "jar" was
probably a chamber and its walls covered within with plates of
brass. For now in our own day is seen there at Mycenae a room under
the earth, and the nails which fastened the brass plates to the wall
still remain. Ever after the conquest of this lion Hercules clothed
himself with the skin.


The second task of Hercules was to destroy a hydra or water snake
which dwelt in the marsh of Lerna, a small lake near Mycenae. The
body of this snake was large and from its body sprang nine heads.
Eight of these heads were mortal, but the ninth head was undying.

Hercules stepped into his chariot and his dear nephew Iolaus, who
was permitted by the Delphic priestess to drive for him, took up the
reins. The way to Lerna was pleasant. In spring-time crocuses and
hyacinths sprang by the roadside, and in early summer the
nightingales sang in the olive groves, vineyard and forest. That so
great and horrible a monster could be near!

When Hercules and Iolaus came to Lerna they drew close to ground
rising near a spring, and Hercules dismounting and searching found
the very hole into which the hydra had retired. Into this he shot
fiery arrows. The arrows discomforting the snake it crawled forth
and, darting at him furiously, endeavoured to twine itself about his
legs. The hero began then to wield his mighty club. He crushed head
after head upon the snake's body, but for every one crushed two
sprang in its place.

At length the hydra had coiled so firmly round one leg, that
Hercules could not move an inch from the spot. And now an enormous
crab came from the water out of friendship for the hydra, and that
too crept up to Hercules and, seizing his foot, painfully wounded

Swinging his club with heroic vigor Hercules beat the crab to death.
Then he called to Iolaus to fire a little grove of trees near by.
Iolaus at once set the fire, and when the saplings were well aflame
he seized them and, standing by the hero, as fast as Hercules cut
off a head of the hydra he seared the neck with a flaming brand. The
searing prevented the heads from growing again. When all the eight
mortal heads had thus been dispatched Hercules struck off the one
said to be immortal and buried it in the roadway, setting a heavy
stone above. The body of the hydra he cut up and dipped his arrows
in the gall, which was so full of poison that the least scratch from
such an arrow would bring certain death.

Eurystheus received the news of the destruction of the water snake
with bad grace. He claimed that Hercules had not destroyed the
monster alone, but only with the assistance of Iolaus. All the
people, however, rejoiced greatly, and they hastened to drain the
marsh where the hydra had dwelt so that never again could such an
enemy abide upon their lands.


In the days in which Hercules lived, Arcadia was a beautiful country
of cool, sweet-scented woods, clear mountain streams, and sloping
meadow-sides from which rose every now and then the roof of a
hunter's cottage or a shepherd's hutch. It was a country also
peculiarly pleasing to Artemis, the goddess of the chase, and
peculiarly also it was the haunt of all animals especially dear to
the goddess.

A hind was there of such loveliness and grace that Artemis had
marked her for her own, and given her a pair of golden horns so that
she might be known from all other deer and her life thus preserved.
For no good Hellen, or Greek, would slay for food any animal sacred
to a god. This beautiful golden-horned hind Eurystheus ordered
Hercules to bring to him alive, for the irreverence of the King did
not go so far as to demand her dead.

So Hercules went forth for the hunting and, not wishing to wound the
hind, pursued her for one entire year. Up hill he went, down many a
mountain dale, across many a gleaming river, through deep forest and
open field, and always dancing before him were the golden tips of
horns of the hind--near enough to be seen, too far to be seized. At
last tired with the pursuit the lovely beast one day took refuge
upon a mountain side, and there as she sought the water of a river,
Hercules struck her with an arrow. The wound was slight, but it
helped the hero to catch the creature, and to lift her to his
shoulders. Thereupon, he started for the court of Eurystheus.

But the way was long, and it lay through a part of Arcadia where the
bush was heavy, and forests were deep, and mountains were high, and
while Hercules was pursuing his way and bearing his meek-eyed
burden, he one day met the fair goddess to whom the hind was sacred.
Her brother, the beautiful god Apollo, was with her.

Artemis seeing her captured deer cried to the hero, "Mortal, oho!
thus wilt thou violate a creature set aside by the gods?" "Mighty
Artemis and huntress," answered Hercules, "this hind I know is
thine. A twelve-month have I chased and at last caught her. But the
god Necessity forced me! Oh, immortal one, I am not impious.
Eurystheus commanded me to catch the hind and the priestess of
Apollo enjoined me to observe the King's command."

When Artemis understood how Hercules was bond-man she dismissed her
anger, and sent him forward with kind words, and thus he brought the
golden-horned hind to Mycenae and sent it in to the King.


In the northwestern part of the famed Arcadia where the golden-
horned hind roamed was a range of mountains called Erymanthus. Over
the high tops of this range wandered also a wild beast, but unlike
the lovely hind he was fierce and terrible of aspect and deadly in
encounter. He was known as the boar of Erymanthus. This tusked and
terrible being the King of Mycenae, Eurystheus, commanded the mighty
Hercules, his bondman, to bring alive to him.

Again Hercules set out, and again he fared over hill and across
bright waters, and as he went the birds sang spring songs to him
from vine and tree shade, and yellow crocuses carpeted the earth. In
his journey he came one day to the home of Pholus, a centaur, who
dwelt with other centaurs upon the side of a mountain. Now the
centaurs were, of all the dwellers of that distant land, most unlike
us modern folks. For report has it that they were half that noble
creature man, and half that noble creature horse: that is to say,
they were men as far as the waist, and then came the body of the
horse with its swift four feet. There are those, indeed, who claim
that the centaurs were men and rode their mountain ponies so deftly
that man and horse seemed one whole creature. Be that as it may,
upon this mountain side the centaur Pholus dwelt with others of his
kind, and there to visit with him came Hercules.

The centaur with his hospitable heart and own hands prepared a
dinner of roast meat for the hungry traveller, and as they sat at
the board in genial converse they had much enjoyment. But Hercules
was also thirsty, and the sparkling water from the mountain spring
seemed not to satisfy him. He asked the centaur for wine. "Ah, wine,
my guest-friend Hercules," answered Pholus, "I have none of my own.
Yonder is a jar of old vintage, but it belongs to all the centaurs
of our mountain and I cannot open it." "But friend Pholus," said
Hercules pressingly, "I would I had a little for my stomach's sake."

Now the centaur had a kind heart as we have said, and he rejoiced
that Hercules had come, and to give the hero his desires he opened
the jar. The wine was made from grapes that grew under the fair
skies of Arcadia and its fragrance was like a scent of lilies or of
roses, and when the soft winds entered the door, near which Hercules
sat drinking, it seized the perfume and bore it over the mountain
side. Now hear of all the mischief a little wine may make.

The fragrance in the air told the centaurs, wherever each happened
to be, that their wine jar had been opened, and they rushed to its
resting place perhaps to defend it from any wayfaring thief, perhaps
to help drink it, we do not know. But each came angrily to the mouth
of the cave of Pholus and all were armed with stones and staves
which they had seized as they hastened onward. When they first
entered with raging cries and threatening gesture Hercules grasped
the brands burning on the hospitable hearth and drove them back. As
others pressed behind them the hero drew forth his arrows poisoned
with the gall of the Lernean hydra, and sent among them many a
shaft. Thus they fought retreating and, they fleeing and Hercules
pursuing, came finally to the dwelling of Chiron, most famed of all
the centaurs and a teacher of Hercules in his youth, teacher of his
great art of surgery.

The wine raging in the veins of Hercules made him for the moment
forgetful of all the good Chiron had bestowed upon him, and still
letting fly his poisonous arrows he, aiming at another, hit the
noblest of the centaurs. Grief seized Hercules when he saw what he
had done and he ran and drew out the arrow and applied a soft
ointment which Chiron himself had taught him to make. But it was in
vain, for the centaur, inspiring teacher and famed for his love of
justice as he was, soon gave up the ghost.

Saddened at his own madness Hercules now returned to the cave of his
guest-friend Pholus. There among others his host lay, and stark
dead. He had drawn an arrow from the body of one who had died from
its wound, and, while examining it and wondering how so slight a
shaft could be so fatal, had accidentally dropped it out of his
hand. It struck his foot and he expired that very moment.

Hercules paid all funeral honour to his friends and afterward
departing from the unhappy neighbourhood took up his search of the

Heavy snows were lying on the crests of Erymanthus when Hercules
came upon the tracks of the wild creature, and following patiently
finally reached his lair. There the boar stood, his tusks pointed
outward ready for attack, his eyes snapping vindictively. He was
indeed a terrible thing to see.

Hercules, instead of shooting at the animal, began to call, and
shouting with loud cries he so confused the boar that he ran into
the vast snowdrift standing near by. Thereupon the hero seized and
bound him with a wild grapevine he had brought for the purpose. And
so swinging him over his shoulder he took his way toward Mycenae.

The King Eurystheus was terribly frightened at the very prospect of
having the boar to keep, and when he heard Hercules was coming to
town with the animal on his shoulders he took to the brazen
underground chamber, which he had built, when Hercules came in with
the body of the Nemean lion. There he stayed for several days,
according to a good old historian, Diodorus, who in writing of the
King told that he was so great a coward.


Although Eurystheus was seized with tremor at the coming of Hercules
with the Erymanthian boar, still he continued relentless, and
demanded the performance of the next task, which was nothing less
than the cleaning out in one day of stables where numerous cattle
had been confined for many years. These noisome stalls belonged to
Augeas, a King of Elis and a man rich in herds--so rich indeed that
as the years passed and his cattle increased he could not find men
enough to care for his kine and their house. Thus the animals had
continued, and had so littered their abiding place that it had
become well nigh intolerable and a source of disease and even of
pestilence to the people.

When Hercules came to King Augeas he said nothing to him of the
command Eurystheus had laid upon him, but looking through the
stables which covered a space of many meadows he spoke of the cattle
and the evil condition of their housing. "The moon-eyed kine will do
better in clean stables," said the wise Hercules, "and if thou wilt
pledge me a tenth of thy herds I will clean out thy stalls in a
day." To this Augeas delightedly agreed and, speaking as they were
in the presence of the young son of the King, Hercules called upon
the prince to witness the pact.

Now Hercules in going about the great stables had noticed that at
the upper end of their building flowed a swift river, and at the
lower end was a second swift stream. When therefore Augeas had
pledged himself to the work, Hercules, beginning early next day,
took down the walls at the upper end of the stalls and the walls at
the lower end. Then with his own mighty hands he dug channels and
canals and led the waters of the upper swift-flowing river into the
heavily littered floor of the stalls. And the waters rose and pushed
the litter before them and made one channel into the lower river,
and then another and another and so, working through the hours of
the day, the upper river scoured the stables clean and carried the
refuse to the lower river. And the lower river took the burden and
carried it out to the salt sea, which is ever and always cleaning
and purifying whatever comes to its waters. And when night fell
there stood the hero Hercules looking at his work--the filthy
stables of Augeas cleaned.

When next day Hercules asked for the tenth of the herds which the
King had pledged, Augeas refused to stand by his agreement. He had
learned that this labour of cleaning his stables had been imposed
upon Hercules, and he claimed he should pay nothing for it; in fact,
he denied he had promised anything, and offered to lay the matter
before judges. The cause therefore was tried, and at the trial the
young son of the King, who had witnessed the pact, testified to the
truth of Hercules' claim. This so enraged his father that in most
high-handed manner he banished both his son and the hero from Elis
without waiting for the judgment of the court. Hercules returned to
Mycenae. But again the cowardly and contemptible Eurystheus refused
to count this labour, saying Hercules had done it for hire.


Far in the famed land of Arcadia is a beautiful lake known so many
years ago, as in the time of Hercules, and even by us in our day, as
Lake Stymphalus. It is a lake of pure sweet water and it lies, as
such waters lie in our own country, high up in mountains and amid
hillsides covered with firs and poplars and clinging vines and wild

In our day the lake is a resort for gentle singing birds, but in the
time of Hercules other birds were there also. The other birds were
water fowls, and they had gathered at Lake Stymphalus because they
had been driven out of their old home by wolves, who alone were
hungrier and more destructive than they. These fowls had claws of
iron, and every feather of theirs was sharper than a barbed arrow,
and so strong and fierce and ravenous they were that they would dart
from the air and attack hunters, yea, and pecking them down would
tear and strip their flesh till but a bony skeleton remained of that
which a few minutes before had been a strong, active, buoyant man
seeking in the chase food for his hearthside.

To make way with this horrid tribe of the air was the sixth command
Eurystheus laid upon Hercules. Toward Lake Stymphalus therefore
turned our hero. Again he walked Arcadian waysides, and again as he
fared the spring sun shone above, and the birds sang welcome, and
the narcissus lifted its golden cup, and as he went his heart
rejoiced in his life, whatever the difficulty of his labour, and in
the beauty of the world before his eyes. And as he walked also he
thought of how he should accomplish the great undertaking upon which
he was bent.

While thus deliberating the grey-eyed goddess of wisdom, Athene,
came to him--just as this goddess even in our day comes to those who
think--and she suggested to his mind that he should scare the fowl
from their retreat by brazen rattles. The goddess did even more than
put the notion of using a rattle in the mind of Hercules. It is said
she actually brought him one, a huge, bronze clapper made for him by
the forger of the gods, limping Hephaestus.

Hercules took this rattle and mounting a neighbouring height shook
it in his great hands till every hill echoed and the very trees
quivered with the horrid sound. And the man-eating birds? Not one
remained hidden. Each and every one rose terrified in the air,
croaking and working its steely talons and sharp-pointed feathers in
dire fear.

Now from his quiver the hero fast picked his barbed arrows, and fast
he shot and every shot brought to his feet one of the terrible man-
eaters, till at last he had slain every one. Or, if indeed, any of
the tribe had escaped, they had flown far away, for never after, in
all the long history of Lake Stymphalus, have such creatures
appeared again above its fair waters.

So ended the sixth labour of Hercules.


Just as Zeus who, as we said in the beginning, was King of all
heaven that is the air and clouds, so Posidon was King of the sea.
With his queen, Amphitrite, he lived far down underneath the waves,
and dwelt in a palace splendid with all the beautiful things of the

In the midst of the blue waters of the Mediterranean where Posidon
had his home, lies an island called Crete, and long ago in the days
when Hercules laboured, a King, whose name was Minos, ruled over
this land. The island is long and narrow and has much sea coast, and
because of this fact King Minos stood in intimate relations with the
god of the sea.

Now one day in an especial burst of friendliness, Minos vowed to
sacrifice to Posidon whatever should come out of the salt waters.
The god in pleasure at the vow, and to test mayhap the devotion of
Minos, sent at once a beautiful bull leaping and swimming through
the waves. When the creature had come to the rocky coast and made
land, its side shone with such beauty, and its ivory-white horns
garlanded with lilies set so like a crown above its graceful head
that Minos and all the people who saw it marvelled that anywhere
could have grown such a bull. And a sort of greed and deceit seized
Minos as he gazed, and for his sacrifice to Posidon he resolved to
use another bull. And so he ordered his herdsman to take this fair
creature that had come from the sea and to put it among his herd,
and also to bring forth another for the offering.

Because of this avarice of Minos the god below the waves was angry
and he made the bull wild and furious, so that no herdsman dared
approach to feed or care for it. For his seventh task Eurystheus
commanded Hercules to fetch him this mad bull of Crete.

Hercules accordingly boarded one of the ships that plied in that
far-off day, as well as in this time of ours, between the rocky
coast of Crete and the fair land of Hellas, and in due time the hero
came to Minos' court. "I have come, sire," said Hercules, "for the
mad bull that terrifies thy herdsmen and is rumoured beyond
capture." "Ay, young man," cried the king, "thou hast come for my
bull and my bull shalt thou have. When thou hast taken it, it is
thine," and the King laughed grimly, for the strength and fury of
the creature he deemed beyond any man's control.

Hercules sought the grove where Posidon's gift had strayed from its
fellows, and there deftly seizing it by the horns, he bound its feet
with stout straps of bull's hide and its horns he padded with moss
of the sea from which it came, and so having made it powerless he
lifted it to his shoulders and carried it to the shore. A swift
black ship was just spreading sail from Crete, and entering upon it
the hero soon ended his journey and laid his capture before
Eurystheus. A day or two later Hercules loosed the bull, which,
after wandering through the woodlands of Arcadia, crossed the
isthmus and came to the plains of Marathon, whence, after doing much
damage, it swam off to sea and was never heard of after.

So far we have told how Hercules accomplished seven of the tasks
laid upon him. Space does not permit us to recount in detail the
other five. The eighth task was to bring to Eurystheus the man-
eating mares of the King of Windy Thrace. The ninth task was to
fetch a girdle which Ares, god of war, had given the Queen of the
Amazons--an exceedingly difficult labour, for the Amazons were a
nation of women-warriors renowned for valour. For the tenth task
Eurystheus demanded the purple oxen of a famous giant who dwelt on
an island far out in the ocean. The eleventh task was to bring
apples from the garden of the Hesperides--golden apples guarded by a
dragon with a hundred heads, no one of which ever closed its eyes in
sleep. And the twelfth and last task, which was to free the mighty
Hercules from his bondage to cowardly Eurystheus, was to fetch
Cerberus, the three-headed dog, who guarded the entrance to Hades,
the unseen abode of departed spirits.

Each and every one of these labours the strong hero accomplished.
Having won his freedom and gained the honours promised by the
priestess at Delphi many years before, Hercules worked many a noble
deed and finally in reward for his much enduring and his aid to
mortals, he was carried upon a thunder cloud to the upper air, and
entered into the very gates of heaven.



It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty
princes, which should be over the whole kingdom.

And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the
princes might give accounts unto them, and the King should have no

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes,
because an excellent spirit was in him; and the King thought to set
him over the whole realm.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against
Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor
fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or
fault found in him.

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this
Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the King,
and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.

All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes,
the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to
establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever
shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of
thee, O King, he shall be cast into the den of lions.

Now, O King, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be
not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which
altereth not.

Wherefore King Darius signed the writing and the decree.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his
house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem,
he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave
thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making
supplication before his God.

Then they came near, and spake before the King concerning the King's
decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask
a petition of any god or man within thirty days, save of thee, O
King, shall be cast into the den of lions? The King answered and
said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and
Persians, which altereth not.

Then answered they and said before the King, That Daniel, which is
of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O
King, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition
three times a day.

Then the King, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with
himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured
till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

Then these men assembled unto the King, and said unto the King,
Know, O King, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no
decree nor statute which the King establisheth may be changed.

Then the King commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into
the den of lions. Now the King spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God
whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the
King sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his
lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

Then the King went to his palace, and passed the night fasting:
neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep
went from him.

Then the King arose very early in the morning, and went in haste
unto the den of lions.

And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto
Daniel: and the King spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of
the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to
deliver thee from the lions?

Then said Daniel unto the King, O King, live for ever.

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that
they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found
in me: and also before thee, O King, have I done no hurt.

Then was the King exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they
should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of
the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he
believed in his God.



The Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were
gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched
between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.

And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched
by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the

And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel
stood on a mountain on the other side; and there was a valley
between them.

And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines,
named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a
coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels
of brass.

And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass
between his shoulders.

And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's
head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and one bearing a shield
went before him.

And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto
them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a
Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and
let him come down to me.

If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your
servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye
be our servants, and serve us.

And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give
me a man, that we may fight together.

When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they
were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose
name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men
for an old man in the days of Saul.

And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the
battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were
Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third

And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.

But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at

And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented
himself forty days.

And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an
ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the
camp to thy brethren;

And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and
look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.

Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of
Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a
keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came
to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted
for the battle.

For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array army
against army.

And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the
carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.

And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the
Philistine of Gam, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the
Philistines, and spake according to the same words; and David heard

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and
were sore afraid.

And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up?
surely to defy Israel is he come up; and it shall be, that the man
who killeth him, the King will enrich him with great riches, and
will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in

And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be
done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the
reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that
he should defy the armies of the living God?

And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it
be done to the man that killeth him.

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and
Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest
thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in
the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine
heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.

And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same
manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.

And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them
before Saul: and he sent for him.

And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy
servant will go and fight with this Philistine.

And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this
Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man
of war from his youth.

And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and
there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his
mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and
smote him, and slew him.

Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised
Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies
of the living God.

David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of
the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of
the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the
Lord be with thee.

And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass
upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.

And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he essayed to go;
for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with
these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones
out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had,
even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to
the Philistine.

And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man
that bore the shield went before him.

And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained
him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.

And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to
me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy
flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword,
and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name
of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou
hast defied.

This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite
thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses
of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air,
and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know
that there is a God in Israel.

And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword
and spear: for the battle is the Lord's and He will give you into
our hands.

And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew
nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to
meet the Philistine.

And David put his hand to his bag, and took thence a stone, and
slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone
sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a
stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no
sword in the hand of David.

Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his
sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut
off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion
was dead, they fled.

And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued
the Philistines, until thou comest to the valley, and to the gates
of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to
Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.

And the children of Irsael returned from chasing after the
Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.

And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to
Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said
unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth?
And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O King, I cannot tell.

And the King said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is.

And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner
took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the
Philistine in his hand.

And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David
answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.



In the year 280, in a town in Cappadocia, was born that great
soldier and champion of the oppressed whom we call St. George. His
parents were Christians, and by them, and especially by his mother,
he was most carefully instructed and trained.

When the youth came to the age of seventeen years he took up the
profession of arms, and since he was gifted with beauty of person,
intelligence, and an exquisite courtesy, he rose rapidly to a
considerable military rank. Especially he pleased his imperial
master, Diocletian.

One day while the Emperor, who was devoted to the worship of Apollo,
was consulting at a shrine of that god upon an affair of much
importance, from the dark depths of the cavern came forth a voice
saying, "The just who are on the earth keep me from telling the
truth. By them the inspiration of the Sacred Tripod is made a lie."
At once the Emperor was stricken with consternation and asked who
these just people were. "Master," answered one of the priests of
Apollo, "they are the Christians." This answer so enraged Diocletian
that he rekindled his persecutions.

Now from the first the young soldier George had burned with
indignation because of the unspeakable cruelties put upon
Christians, and he had spoken out boldly in defence of his brethren.
His friends had counselled silence and prudence. But George would
have none. He knew, however, that he might be called upon to suffer
at any time, and he hoped to do better work for the world and to die
after braver effort. He therefore distributed his money and his fine
apparel among the poor and needy, set free all the slaves he
possessed, and went forth upon knightly travel.

While pricking one day through the plains of Libya he came to a
certain city called Silene, the people of which were bewailing a
dire misfortune that had come upon them. An enormous dragon had
issued from a marsh neighbouring the town and had devoured all their
flocks and herds. Already the monster had taken dwelling near the
city walls, and at such distance the people had been able to keep
him only by granting him two sheep every day for his food and drink.
If they had failed in this he would have come within their walls and
poisoned every man, woman, and child with his plague-like breath.

But now already all the flocks and herds had been eaten. Nothing
remained to fill the insatiable maw of the dragon but the little
people of the homes and hearths of all the town. Every day two
children were now given him. Each child taken was under the age of
fifteen, and was chosen by lot. Thus it happened that every house
and every street and all the public squares echoed with the wailing
of unhappy parents and the cries of the innocents who were soon to
be offered.

Now it chanced that the King of the city had one daughter, an
exceeding fair girl both in mind and body, and after many days of
the choosing of lots for the sacrifice, and after many a blooming
girl and boy had met an unhappy death, the lot fell to this maiden,
Cleodolinda. When her father, the King, heard his misfortune, in his
despair he offered all the gold in the state treasury and even half
his kingdom, to redeem the maiden. But at this many fathers and
mothers who had lost their children murmured greatly and said, "O
King, art thou just? By thy edict thou hast made us desolate. And
now behold thou wouldst withhold thine own child!"

Thus the people spake, and speaking they waxed wroth greatly, and so
joining together they marched threatening to burn the King in his
palace unless he delivered the maiden to fulfil her lot. To such
demands the King perforce submitted, and at last he asked only a
delay of eight days which he might spend with the lovely girl and
bewail her fate. This the people granted.

At the end of the time agreed to the fair victim was led forth. She
fell at her father's feet asking his blessing and protesting she was
ready to die for her people. Then amid tears and lamentations she
was led to the walls and put without. The gates were shut and barred
against her.

She walked towards the dwelling of the dragon, slowly and painfully,
for the road was strewn with the bones of her playmates, and she
wept as she went on her way.

It was this very morning that George, courageously seeking to help
the weak, and strong to serve the truth, was passing by in his
knightly journeying. He saw stretched before him the noisome path,
and, moved to see so beautiful a maiden in tears, he checked his
charger and asked her why she wept. The whole pitiful story she
recounted, to which the valiant one answered, "Fear not; I will
deliver you."

"Oh noble youth," cried the fair victim, "tarry not here lest you
perish with me. Fly, I beseech you."

"God forbid that I should fly," said George in answer; "I will lift
my hand against this loathly thing, and I will deliver you through
the power that lives in all true followers of Christ."

At that moment the dragon was seen coming forth from his lair half
flying and half crawling towards them. "Fly, I beseech you, brave
knight," cried the fair girl trembling, "Leave me here to die."

But George answered not. Rather he put spurs to his horse and,
calling upon his Lord, rushed towards the monster, and, after a
terrible and prolonged combat, pinned the mighty hulk to the earth
with his lance. Then he called to the maiden to bring him her
girdle. With this he bound the dragon fast, and gave the end of the
girdle into her hand, and the subdued monster crawled after them
like a dog.

Walking in this way they approached the city. All the onlooking
people were stricken with terror, but George called out to them
saying, "Fear nothing. Only believe in Christ, through whose help I
have conquered this adversary, and live in accord with His
teachings, and I will destroy him before your eyes."

So the King and the people believed and such a life they endeavoured
to live.

Then St. George slew the dragon and cut off his head, and the King
gave great treasure to the knight. But all the rewards George
distributed among the sick and necessitous and kept nothing for
himself, and then he went further on his way of helpfulness.

About this time the Emperor Diocletian issued an edict which was
published the length and breadth of his empire. This edict was
nailed to the doors of temples, upon the walls of public markets, in
all places people frequented, and those who read it read it with
terror and hid their faces in despair. For it condemned all
Christians. But St. George when he saw the writing was filled with
indignation. That spirit and courage which comes to all of us from
communion with the eternal powers heartened and strengthened him,
and he tore down the unhappy utterance and trampled it under foot.

Thus prepared for death George approached the Emperor. "What wouldst
thou?" cried Diocletian angrily, having heard from his proconsul
Dacian that this young man deserved torture. "Liberty, sir, for the
innocent Christians," answered the martyr. "At the least liberty,
since their liberty can hurt no one."

"Young man," returned Diocletian with threatening looks, "think of
thine own liberty and thy future."

Before George could make answer the ill-will of the tyrant waxed to
ardent hatred and he summoned guards to take the martyr to prison.
Once within the dungeon the keepers threw him to the ground, put his
feet in stocks and placed a stone of great weight upon his chest.
But even so, in the midst of torture, the blessed one ceased not to
give thanks to God for this opportunity to bear witness to Christ's

The next day they stretched the martyr on a wheel full of sharp
spokes. But a voice from heaven came to comfort him and said,
"George, fear not; so it is with those who witness to the truth."
And there appeared to him an angel brighter than the sun, clothed in
a white robe, who stretched out a hand to embrace and encourage him
in his pain. Two of the officers of the prison who saw this
beautiful vision became Christians and from that day endeavoured to
live after the teachings of Christ.

There is still another tale that after George had been comforted by
the angel who descended from heaven, his tormentors flung him into a
cauldron of boiling lead, and when they believed they had subdued
him by the force of his agonies, they brought him to a temple to
assist in their worship, and the people ran in crowds to behold his
humiliation, and the priests mocked him.

The Emperor, seeing the constancy of George, once more sought to
move him by entreaties. But the great soldier refused to be judged
by words, only by deeds. He even demanded to go to see the gods
Diocletian himself worshipped.

The Emperor, believing that at length George was coming to his right
mind, and was about to yield, ordered the Roman Senate and people to
assemble in order that all might be witnesses of George's
acknowledgement of his own, Diocletian's, gods.

When they were thus gathered together in the Emperor's temple, and
the eyes of all the people were fixed upon the weak and tortured
saint to see what he would do, he drew near a statue of the sun-god
Apollo, and stretching out his hand toward the image he said slowly,
"Wouldst thou that I should offer thee sacrifices as to a god?" The
demon who was in the statue made answer, "I am not God. There is but
one God and Christ is his greatest prophet." At that very hour were
heard horrible wailing sounds coming from the mouths of idols the
world over, and the statues of the old gods either all fell over or
crumbled to dust. One account says that St. George knelt down and
prayed, and thunder and lightning from heaven fell upon the idols
and destroyed them.

Angry at the breaking of their power, the priests of the gods cried
to the Emperor that he must rid himself of so potent a magician and
cut off his head. The priests also incited the people to lay hands
on the martyr.

So it was commanded that George, the Christian knight, should be
beheaded. He was dragged to the place of execution, and there,
bending his neck to the sword of the executioner and absorbed in
prayer, he received bravely and thankfully the stroke of death in
April, 303.

So stands St. George ever before the youth of the world, one of the
champions of Christendom, a model of courage, a brave interceder for
the oppressed, an example of pure, firm and enduring doing for
others, a true soldier of Christ.



Long years ago, there ruled over Britain a King called Uther
Pendragon. A mighty prince was he, and feared by all men; yet, when
he sought the love of the fair Igraine of Cornwall, she would have
naught to do with him, so that, from grief and disappointment, Uther
fell sick, and at last seemed like to die.

Now in those days, there lived a famous magician named Merlin, so
powerful that he could change his form at will, or even make himself
invisible; nor was there any place so remote but that he could reach
it at once, merely by wishing himself there. One day, suddenly he
stood at Uther's bedside, and said: "Sir King, I know thy grief, and
am ready to help thee. Only promise to give me, at his birth, the
son that shall be born to thee, and thou shalt have thy heart's
desire." To this the King agreed joyfully, and Merlin kept his word:
for he gave Uther the form of one whom Igraine had loved dearly, and
so she took him willingly for her husband.

When the time had come that a child should be born to the King and
Queen, Merlin appeared before Uther to remind him of his promise;
and Uther swore it should be as he had said. Three days later, a
prince was born and, with pomp and ceremony, was christened by the
name of Arthur; but immediately thereafter, the King commanded that
the child should be carried to the postern-gate, there to be given
to the old man who would be found waiting without.

Not long after, Uther fell sick, and he knew that his end was come;
so, by Merlin's advice; he called together his knights and barons,
and said to them: "My death draws near. I charge you, therefore,
that ye obey my son even as ye have obeyed me; and my curse upon him
if he claim not the crown when he is a man grown." Then the King
turned his face to the wall and died.

Scarcely was Uther laid in his grave before disputes arose. Few of
the nobles had seen Arthur or even heard of him, and not one of them
would have been willing to be ruled by a child; rather, each thought
himself fitted to be King, and, strengthening his own castle, made
war on his neighbours until confusion alone was supreme and the poor
groaned because there was none to help them.

Now when Merlin carried away Arthur--for Merlin was the old man who
had stood at the postern-gate--he had known all that would happen,
and had taken the child to keep him safe from the fierce barons
until he should be of age to rule wisely and well, and perform all
the wonders prophesied of him. He gave the child to the care of the
good knight Sir Ector to bring up with his son Kay, but revealed not
to him that it was the son of Uther Pendragon that was given into
his charge.

At last, when years had passed and Arthur was grown a tall youth
well skilled in knightly exercises, Merlin went to the Archbishop of
Canterbury and advised him that he should call together at
Christmas-time all the chief men of the realm to the great cathedral
in London; "For," said Merlin, "there shall be seen a great marvel
by which it shall be made clear to all men who is the lawful King of
this land." The Archbishop did as Merlin counselled. Under pain of a
fearful curse, he bade barons and knights come to London to keep the
feast, and to pray heaven to send peace to the realm.

The people hastened to obey the Archbishop's commands, and, from all
sides, barons and knights came riding in to keep the birth-feast of
our Lord. And when they had prayed, and were coming forth from the
cathedral, they saw a strange sight. There, in the open space before
the church, stood, on a great stone, an anvil thrust through with a
sword; and on the stone were written these words: "Whoso can draw
forth this sword, is rightful King of Britain born."

At once there were fierce quarrels, each man clamouring to be the
first to try his fortune, none doubting his own success. Then the
Archbishop decreed that each should make the venture in turn, from
the greatest baron to the least knight, and each in turn, having put
forth his utmost strength, failed to move the sword one inch, and
drew back ashamed. So the Archbishop dismissed the company, and
having appointed guards to watch over the stone, sent messengers
through all the land to give word of great jousts to be held in
London at Easter, when each knight could give proof of his skill and
courage, and try whether the adventure of the sword was for him.

Among those who rode to London at Easter was the good Sir Ector, and
with him his son, Sir Kay, newly made a knight, and the young
Arthur. When the morning came that the jousts should begin, Sir Kay
and Arthur mounted their horses and set out for the lists; but
before they reached the field, Kay looked and saw that he had left
his sword behind. Immediately Arthur turned back to fetch it for
him, only to find the house fast shut, for all were gone to view the
tournament. Sore vexed was Arthur, fearing lest his brother Kay
should lose his chance of gaining glory, till, of a sudden, he
bethought him of the sword in the great anvil before the cathedral.
Thither he rode with all speed, and the guards having deserted their
post to view the tournament, there was none to forbid him the
adventure. He leapt from his horse, seized the hilt, and instantly
drew forth the sword as easily as from a scabbard; then, mounting
his horse and thinking no marvel of what he had done, he rode after
his brother and handed him the weapon.

When Kay looked at it, he saw at once that it was the wondrous sword
from the stone. In great joy he sought his father, and showing it to
him, said: "Then must I be King of Britain." But Sir Ector bade him
say how he came by the sword, and when Sir Kay told how Arthur had
brought it to him, Sir Ector bent his knee to the boy, and said:
"Sir, I perceive that ye are my King, and here I tender you my
homage"; and Kay did as his father. Then the three sought the
Archbishop, to whom they related all that had happened; and he, much
marvelling, called the people together to the great stone, and bade
Arthur thrust back the sword and draw it forth again in the presence
of all, which he did with ease. But an angry murmur arose from the
barons, who cried that what a boy could do, a man could do; so, at
the Archbishop's word, the sword was put back, and each man, whether
baron or knight, tried in his turn to draw it forth, and failed.
Then, for the third time, Arthur drew forth the sword. Immediately
there arose from the people a great shout: "Arthur is King! Arthur
is King! We will have no King but Arthur"; and, though the great
barons scowled and threatened, they fell on their knees before him
while the Archbishop placed the crown upon his head, and swore to
obey him faithfully as their lord and sovereign.

Thus Arthur was made King; and to all he did justice, righting
wrongs and giving to all their dues. Nor was he forgetful of those
that had been his friends; for Kay, whom he loved as a brother, he
made Seneschal and chief of his household, and to Sir Ector, his
foster father, he gave broad lands.

Thus Arthur was made King, but he had to fight for his own; for
eleven great kings drew together and refused to acknowledge him as
their lord, and chief amongst the rebels was King Lot of Orknev who
had married Arthur's sister, Bellicent.

By Merlin's advice, Arthur sent for help overseas, to Ban and Bors,
the two great Kings who ruled in Gaul. With their aid, he overthrew
his foes in a great battle near the river Trent; and then he passed
with them into their own lands and helped them drive out their
enemies. So there was ever great friendship between Arthur and the
Kings Ban and Bors, and all their kindred; and afterward some of the
most famous Knights of the Round Table were of that kin.

Then King Arthur set himself to restore order throughout his
kingdom. To all who would submit and amend their evil ways, he
showed kindness; but those who persisted in oppression and wrong he
removed, putting in their places others who would deal justly with
the people. And because the land had become overrun with forest
during the days of misrule, he cut roads through the thickets, that
no longer wild beasts and men, fiercer than the beasts, should lurk
in their gloom, to the harm of the weak and defenceless. Thus it
came to pass that soon the peasant ploughed his fields in safety,
and where had been wastes, men dwelt again in peace and prosperity.

Amongst the lesser Kings whom Arthur helped to rebuild their towns
and restore order, was King Leodegrance of Cameliard. Now
Leodegrance had one fair child, his daughter Guenevere; and from the
time that first he saw her, Arthur gave her all his love. So he
sought counsel of Merlin, his chief adviser. Merlin heard the King
sorrowfully, and he said: "Sir King, when a man's heart is set, he
may not change. Yet had it been well if ye had loved another."

So the King sent his knights to Leodegrance, to ask of him his
daughter; and Leodegrance consented, rejoicing to wed her to so good
and knightly a King. With great pomp, the princess was conducted to
Canterbury, and there the King met her, and they two were wed by the
Archbishop in the great Cathedral, amid the rejoicings of the

On that same day did Arthur found his Order of the Round Table, the
fame of which was to spread throughout Christendom and endure
through all time. Now the Round Table had been made for King Uther
Pendragon by Merlin, who had meant thereby to set forth plainly to
all men the roundness of the earth. After Uther died, King
Leodegrance had possessed it; but when Arthur was wed, he sent it to
him as a gift, and great was the King's joy at receiving it. One
hundred and fifty knights might take their places about it, and for
them Merlin made sieges, or seats. One hundred and twenty-eight did
Arthur knight at that great feast; thereafter, if any sieges were
empty, at the high festival of Pentecost new knights were ordained
to fill them, and by magic was the name of each knight found
inscribed, in letters of gold, in his proper siege. One seat only
long remained unoccupied, and that was the Siege Perilous. No knight
might occupy it until the coming of Sir Galahad; for, without danger
to his life, none might sit there who was not free from all stain of

With pomp and ceremony did each knight take upon him the vows of
true knighthood: to obey the King; to show mercy to all who asked
it; to defend the weak; and for no worldly gain to fight in a
wrongful cause: and all the knights rejoiced together, doing honour
to Arthur and to his Queen. Then they rode forth to right the wrong
and help the oppressed, and by their aid the King held his realm in
peace, doing justice to all.

Now, as time passed, King Arthur gathered into his Order of the
Round Table knights whose peers shall never be found in any age; and
foremost amongst them all was Sir Launcelot du Lac. Such was his
strength that none against whom he laid lance in rest could keep the
saddle, and no shield was proof against his sword dint; but for his
courtesy even more than for his courage and strength, Sir Launcelot
was famed far and near. Gentle he was and ever the first to rejoice
in the renown of another; and in the jousts, he would avoid
encounter with the young and untried knight, letting him pass to
gain glory if he might.

It would take a great book to record all the famous deeds of Sir
Launcelot, and all his adventures. He was of Gaul, for his father,
King Ban, ruled over Benwick; he was named Launcelot du Lac by the
Lady of the Lake who reared him when his mother died. Early he won
renown; then, when there was peace in his own land, he passed into
Britain, to Arthur's Court, where the King received him gladly, and
made him Knight of the Round Table and took him for his trustiest
friend. And so it was that, when Guenevere was to be brought to
Canterbury, to be married to the King, Launcelot was chief of the
knights sent to wait upon her, and of this came the sorrow of later
days. For, from the moment he saw her, Sir Launcelot loved
Guenevere, for her sake remaining wifeless all his days, and in all
things being her faithful knight. But busy-bodies and mischief-
makers spoke evil of Sir Launcelot and the Queen, and from their
talk came the undoing of the King and the downfall of his great
work. But that was after long years, and after many true knights had
lived their lives, honouring the King and Queen, and doing great

Before Merlin passed from the world of men, he had uttered many
marvellous prophesies, and one that boded ill to King Arthur; for he
foretold that, in the days to come, a son of Arthur's sister should
stir up bitter war against the King, and at last a great battle
should be fought, when many a brave knight should find his doom.

Now, among the nephews of Arthur, was one most dishonourable; his
name was Mordred. No knightly deed had he ever done, and he hated to
hear the good report of others because he himself was a coward and
envious. But of all the Round Table there was none that Mordred
hated more than Sir Launcelot du Lac, whom all true knights held in
most honour; and not the less did Mordred hate Launcelot that he was
the knight whom Queen Guenevere had in most esteem. So, at last, his
jealous rage passing all bounds, he spoke evil of the Queen and of
Launcelot, saying that they were traitors to the King. Now Sir
Gawain and Sir Gareth, Mordred's brothers, refused to give ear to
these slanders, holding that Sir Launcelot, in his knightly service
of the Queen, did honour to King Arthur also; but by ill-fortune
another brother, Sir Agravaine, had ill-will to the Queen, and
professed to believe Mordred's evil tales. So the two went to King
Arthur with their ill stories.

Now when Arthur had heard them, he was wroth; for never would he
lightly believe evil of any, and Sir Launcelot was the knight whom
he loved above all others. Sternly then he bade them begone and come
no more to him with unproven tales against any, and, least of all,
against Sir Launcelot and their lady, the Queen.

The two departed, but in their hearts was hatred against Launcelot
and the Queen, more bitter than ever for the rebuke they had called
down upon themselves.

Great was the King's grief. Despite all that Mordred could say, he
was slow to doubt Sir Launcelot, whom he loved, but his mind was
filled with forebodings; and well he knew that their kin would seek
vengeance on Sir Launcelot, and the noble fellowship of the Round
Table be utterly destroyed.

All too soon it proved even as the King had feared. Many were found
to hold with Sir Mordred; some from envy of the honour and worship
of the noble Sir Launcelot; and among them even were those who dared
to raise their voice against the Queen herself, calling for judgment
upon her as leagued with a traitor against the King, and as having
caused the death of so many good knights. Now in those days the law
was that if any one were accused of treason by witnesses, or taken
in the act, that one should die the death by burning, be it man or
woman, knight or churl. So then the murmurs grew to a loud clamour
that the law should have its course, and that King Arthur should
pass sentence on the Queen. Then was the King's woe doubled; "For,"
said he, "I sit as King to be a rightful judge and keep all the law;
wherefore I may not do battle for my own Queen, and now there is
none other to help her." So a decree was issued that Queen Guenevere
should be burnt at the stake outside the walls of Carlisle.

Forthwith, King Arthur sent for his nephew, Sir Gawain, and said to
him: "Fair nephew, I give it in charge to you to see that all is
done as has been decreed." But Sir Gawain answered boldly: "Sir
King, never will I be present to see my lady the Queen die. It is of
ill counsel that ye have consented to her death." Then the King bade
Gawain send his two young brothers, Sir Gareth and Sir Gaheris, to
receive his commands, and these he desired to attend the Queen to
the place of execution. So Gareth made answer for both: "My Lord the
King, we owe you obedience in all things, but know that it is sore
against our wills that we obey you in this; nor will we appear in
arms in the place where that noble lady shall die"; then sorrowfully
they mounted their horses and rode to Carlisle.

When the day appointed had come, the Queen was led forth to a place
without the walls of Carlisle, and there she was bound to the stake
to be burnt to death. Loud were her ladies' lamentations, and many a
lord was found to weep at that grievous sight of a Queen brought so
low; yet was there none who dared come forward as her champion, lest
he should be suspected of treason. As for Gareth and Gaheris, they
could not bear the sight and stood with their faces covered in their
mantles. Then, just as the torch was to be applied to the faggots,
there was a sound as of many horses galloping, and the next instant
a band of knights rushed upon the astonished throng, their leader
cutting down all who crossed his path until he had reached the
Queen, whom he lifted to his saddle and bore from the press. Then
all men knew that it was Sir Launcelot, come knightly to rescue the
Queen, and in their hearts they rejoiced. So with little hindrance
they rode away, Sir Launcelot and all his kin with the Queen in
their midst, till they came to the castle of the Joyous Garde where
they held the Queen in safety and all reverence.

At last Sir Launcelot desired of King Arthur assurance of liberty
for the Queen, as also safe conduct for himself and his knights,
that he might bring Dame Guenevere, with due honour, to the King at
Carlisle; and thereto the King pledged his word.

So Launcelot set forth with the Queen, and behind them rode a
hundred knights arrayed in green velvet, the housings of the horses
of the same all studded with precious stones; thus they passed
through the city of Carlisle, openly, in the sight of all, and there
were many who rejoiced that the Queen was come again and Sir
Launcelot with her, though they of Gawain's party scowled upon him.

When they were come into the great hall where Arthur sat, with Sir
Gawain and other great lords about him, Sir Launcelot led Guenevere
to the throne and both knelt before the King; then, rising, Sir
Launcelot lifted the Queen to her feet, and thus he spoke to King
Arthur, boldly and well before the whole court: "My lord, Sir
Arthur, I bring you here your Queen, than whom no truer nor nobler
lady ever lived; and here stand I, Sir Launcelot du Lac, ready to do
battle with any that dare gainsay it"; and with these words Sir
Launcelot turned and looked upon the lords and knights present in
their places, but none would challenge him in that cause, not even
Sir Gawain, for he had ever affirmed that Dame Guenevere was a true
and honourable lady.

Then Sir Launcelot spoke again; "Now, my Lord Arthur, in my own
defence it behooves me to say that never in aught have I been false
to you."

"Peace," said the King to Sir Launcelot: "We give you fifteen days
in which to leave this kingdom." Then Sir Launcelot sighed heavily
and said: "Full well I see that nothing availeth me." Then he went
to the Queen where she sat, and said: "Madam, the time is come when
I must leave this fair realm that I have loved. Think well of me, I
pray you, and send for me if ever there be aught in which a true
knight may serve lady." Therewith he turned him about and, without
greeting to any, passed through the hall, and with his faithful
knights rode to the Joyous Garde, though ever thereafter, in memory
of that sad day, he called it the Dolorous Garde.

In after times when the King had passed overseas to France, leaving
Sir Mordred to rule Britain in his stead, there came messengers from
Britain bearing letters for King Arthur; and more evil news than
they brought might not well be, for they told how Sir Mordred had
usurped his uncle's realm. First, he had caused it to be noised
abroad that King Arthur was slain in battle with Sir Launcelot, and,
since there be many ever ready to believe any idle rumour and eager
for any change, it had been no hard task for Sir Mordred to call the
lords to a Parliament and persuade them to make him King. But the
Queen could not be brought to believe that her lord was dead, so she
took refuge in the Tower of London from Sir Mordred's violence, nor
was she to be induced to leave her strong refuge for aught that
Mordred could promise or threaten.

Forthwith, King Arthur bade his host make ready to move, and when
they had reached the coast, they embarked and made sail to reach
Britain with all possible speed.

Sir Mordred, on his part, had heard of their sailing, and hasted to
get together a great army. It was grievous to see how many a stout
knight held by Mordred, ay, even many whom Arthur himself had raised
to honour and fortune; for it is the nature of men to be fickle.
Thus is was that, when Arthur drew near to Dover, he found Mordred
with a mighty host, waiting to oppose his landing. Then there was a
great sea-fight, those of Mordred's party going out in boats, to
board King Arthur's ships and slay him and his men or ever they
should come to land. Right valiantly did King Arthur bear him, as
was his wont, and boldly his followers fought in his cause, so that
at last they drove off their enemies and landed at Dover in spite of
Mordred and his array.

Now, by this time, many that Mordred had cheated by his lying
reports, had drawn unto King Arthur, to whom at heart they had ever
been loyal, knowing him for a true and noble King and hating
themselves for having been deceived by such a false usurper as Sir

One night, as King Arthur slept, he thought that Sir Gawain stood
before him, looking just as he did in life, and said to him: "My
uncle and my King, God in his great love has suffered me to come
unto you, to warn you that in no wise ye fight on the morrow; for if
ye do, ye shall be slain, and with you the most part of the people
on both sides. Make ye, therefore, a treaty." Immediately, the King
awoke and called to him the best and wisest of his knights. Then all
were agreed that, on any terms whatsoever, a treaty should be made
with Sir Mordred, even as Sir Gawain had said; and, with the dawn,
messengers went to the camp of the enemy, to call Sir Mordred to a
conference. So it was determined that the meeting should take place
in the sight of both armies, in an open space between the two camps,
and that King Arthur and Mordred should each be accompanied by
fourteen knights. Little enough faith had either in the other, so
when they set forth to the meeting, they bade their hosts join
battle if ever they saw a sword drawn.

Now as they talked, it befell that an adder, coming out of a bush
hard by, stung a knight in the foot; and he, seeing the snake, drew
his sword to kill it and thought no harm thereby. But on the instant
that the sword flashed, the trumpets blared on both sides and the
two hosts rushed to battle. Never was there fought a fight of such
enmity; for brother fought with brother, and comrade with comrade,
and fiercely they cut and thrust, with many a bitter word between;
while King Arthur himself, his heart hot within him, rode through
and through the battle, seeking the traitor Mordred. So they fought
all day, till at last the evening fell. Then Arthur, looking round
him, saw of his valiant knights but two left, Sir Lucan and Sir
Bedivere, and these sore wounded; and there, over against him, by a
great heap of the dead, stood Sir Mordred, the cause of all this
ruin. Thereupon the King, his heart nigh broken with grief for the
loss of his true knights, cried with a loud voice, "Traitor! now is
thy doom upon thee!" and with his spear gripped in both hands, he
rushed upon Sir Mordred and smote him that the weapon stood out a
fathom behind. And Sir Mordred knew that he had his death wound.
With all the might that he had, he thrust him up the spear to the
haft and, with his sword, struck King Arthur upon the head, that the
steel pierced the helmet and bit into the head; then Mordred fell
back, stark and dead.

Sir Lucan and Sir Bedivere went to the King where he lay, swooning
from the blow, and bore him to a little chapel on the seashore. As
they laid him on the ground, Sir Lucan fell dead beside the King,
and Arthur, coming to himself, found but Sir Bedivere alive beside

So King Arthur lay wounded to the death, grieving, not that his end
was come, but for the desolation of his kingdom and the loss of his
good knights. And looking upon the body of Sir Lucan, he sighed and
said: "Alas! true knight, dead for my sake! If I lived, I should
ever grieve for thy death, but now mine own end draws nigh." Then,
turning to Sir Bedivere, who stood sorrowing beside him, he said:
"Leave weeping now, for the time is short and much to do. Hereafter
shalt thou weep if thou wilt. But take now my sword Excalibur,
hasten to the water side, and fling it into the deep. Then, watch
what happens and bring me word thereof." "My Lord," said Sir
Bedivere, "your command shall be obeyed"; and, taking the sword, he
departed. But as he went on his way, he looked on the sword, how
wondrously it was formed and the hilt all studded with precious
stones; and, as he looked, he called to mind the marvel by which it
had come into the King's keeping. For on a certain day, as Arthur
walked on the shore of a great lake, there had appeared above the
surface of the water a hand brandishing a sword. On the instant, the
King had leaped into a boat, and, rowing into the lake, had got the
sword and brought it back to land. Then he had seen how, on one side
the blade, was written, "Keep me," but on the other, "Throw me
away," and, sore perplexed, he had shown it to Merlin, the great
wizard, who said: "Keep it now. The time for casting away has not
yet come." Thinking on this, it seemed to Bedivere that no good, but
harm, must come of obeying the King's word; so hiding the sword
under a tree, he hastened back to the little chapel. Then said the
King: "What saw'st thou?" "Sir," answered Bedivere, "I saw naught
but the waves, heard naught but the wind." "That is untrue," said
King Arthur; "I charge thee, as thou art true knight, go again and
spare not to throw away the sword."

Sir Bedivere departed a second time, and his mind was to obey his
lord; but when he took the sword in his hand, he thought: "Sin it is
and shameful, to throw away so glorious a sword" Then, hiding it
again, he hastened back to the King. "What saw'st thou?" said Sir
Arthur. "Sir, I saw the water lap on the crags." Then spoke the King
in great wrath: "Traitor and unkind! Twice hast thou betrayed me!
Art dazzled by the splendour of the jewels, thou that, till now,
hast ever been dear and true to me? Go yet again, but if thou fail
me this time, I will arise and, with mine own hands, slay thee."

Then Sir Bedivere left the King and, that time, he took the sword
quickly from the place where he had hidden it and, forbearing even
to look upon it, he twisted the belt about it and flung it with all
his force into the water. A wondrous sight he saw for, as the sword
touched the water, a hand rose from out the deep, caught it,
brandished it thrice, and drew it beneath the surface.

Sir Bedivere hastened back to the King and told him what he had
seen. "It is well," said Arthur; "now, bear me to the water's edge;
and hasten, I pray thee, for I have tarried overlong and my wound
has taken cold." So Sir Bedivere raised the King on. his back and
bore him tenderly to the lonely shore, where the lapping waves
floated many an empty helmet and the fitful moonlight fell on the
upturned faces of the dead. Scarce had they reached the shore when
there hove in sight a barge, and on its deck stood three tall women,
robed all in black and wearing crowns on their heads. "Place me in
the barge," said the King, and softly Sir Bedivere lifted the King
into it. And these three Queens wept sore over Arthur, and one took
his head in her lap and chafed his hands, crying: "Alas! my brother,
thou hast been overlong in coming and, I fear me, thy wound has
taken cold." Then the barge began to move slowly from the land. When
Sir Bedivere saw this, he lifted up his voice and cried with a
bitter cry: "Ah! my Lord Arthur, thou art taken from me! And I,
whither shall I go?" "Comfort thyself," said the King, "for in me is
no comfort more. I pass to the Valley of Avilion, to heal me of my
grievous wound. If thou seest me never again, pray for me."

So the barge floated away out of sight, and Sir Bedivere stood
straining his eyes after it till it had vanished utterly. Then he
turned him about and journeyed through the forest until, at
daybreak, he reached a hermitage. Entering it, he prayed the holy
hermit that he might abide with him, and there he spent the rest of
his life in prayer and holy exercise.

But of King Arthur is no more known. Some men, indeed, say that he
is not dead, but abides in the happy Valley of Avilion until such
time as his country's need is sorest, when he shall come again and
deliver it. Others say that, of a truth, he is dead, and that, in
the far West, his tomb may be seen, and written on it these words:

  "Here lies Arthur, once King
     and King to be"



Many times had the Feast of Pentecost come round, and many were the
knights that Arthur had made after he founded the Order of the Round
Table; yet no knight had appeared who dared claim the seat named by
Merlin the Siege Perilous. At last, one vigil of the great feast, a
lady came to Arthur's court at Camelot and asked Sir Launcelot to
ride with her into the forest hard by, for a purpose not then to be
revealed. Launcelot consenting, they rode together until they came
to a nunnery hidden deep in the forest; and there the lady bade
Launcelot dismount, and led him into a great and stately room.
Presently there entered twelve nuns and with them a youth, the
fairest that Launcelot had ever seen. "Sir," said the nuns, "we have
brought up this child in our midst, and now that he is grown to
manhood, we pray you make him knight, for of none worthier could he
receive the honour." "Is this thy own desire?" asked Launcelot of
the young squire; and when he said that so it was, Launcelot
promised to make him knight after the great festival had been
celebrated in the church next day.

So on the morrow, after they had worshipped, Launcelot knighted
Galahad--for that was the youth's name--and asked him if he would
ride at once with him to the King's court; but the young knight
excusing himself, Sir Launcelot rode back alone to Camelot, where
all rejoiced that he was returned in time to keep the feast with the
whole Order of the Round Table.

Now, according to his custom, King Arthur was waiting for some
marvel to befall before he and his knights sat down to the banquet.
Presently a squire entered the hall and said: "Sir King, a great
wonder has appeared. There floats on the river a mighty stone, as it
were a block of red marble, and it is thrust through by a sword, the
hilt of which is set thick with precious stones." On hearing this,
the King and all his knights went forth to view the stone and found
it as the squire had said; moreover, looking closer, they read these
words: "None shall draw me hence, but only he by whose side I must
hang; and he shall be the best knight in all the world."
Immediately, all bade Launcelot draw forth the sword, but he
refused, saying that the sword was not for him. Then, at the King's
command, Sir Gawain made the attempt and failed, as did Sir
Percivale after him. So the knights knew the adventure was not for
them, and returning to the hall, took their places about the Round

No sooner were they seated than an aged man, clothed all in white,
entered the hall, followed by a young knight in red armour, by whose
side hung an empty scabbard. The old man approached King Arthur and
bowing low before him, said: "Sir, I bring you a young knight of the
house and lineage of Joseph of Arimathea, and through him shall
great glory be won for all the land of Britain." Greatly did King
Arthur rejoice to hear this, and welcomed the two right royally.
Then when the young knight had saluted the King, the old man led him
to the Siege Perilous and drew off its silken cover; and all the
knights were amazed, for they saw that where had been engraved the
words, "The Siege Perilous," was written now in shining gold: "This
is the Siege of the noble prince, Sir Galahad." Straightway the
young man seated himself there where none other had ever sat without
danger to his life; and all who saw it said, one to another: "Surely
this is he that shall achieve the Holy Grail." Now the Holy Grail
was the blessed dish from which our Lord had eaten the Last Supper,
and it had been brought to the land of Britain by Joseph of
Arimathea; but because of men's sinfulness, it had been withdrawn
from human sight, only that, from time to to time, it appeared to
the pure in heart.

When all had partaken of the royal banquet, King Arthur bade Sir
Galahad come with him to the river's brink; and showing him the
floating stone with the sword thrust through it, told him how his
knights had failed to draw forth the sword. "Sir," said Galahad, "it
is no marvel that they failed, for the adventure was meant for me,
as my empty scabbard shows." So saying, lightly he drew the sword
from the heart of the stone, and lightly he slid it into the
scabbard at his side. While all yet wondered at this adventure of
the sword, there came riding to them a lady on a white palfrey who,
saluting King Arthur, said: "Sir King, Nacien the hermit sends thee
word that this day shall great honour be shown to thee and all thine
house; for the Holy Grail shall appear in thy hall, and thou and all
thy fellowship shall be fed therefrom." And so to Launcelot she
said: "Sir Knight, thou hast ever been the best knight of all the
world; but another has come to whom thou must yield precedence."
Then Launcelot answered humbly: "I know well I was never the best."
"Ay, of a truth thou wast and art still, of sinful men," said she,
and rode away before any could question her further.

So, that evening, when all were gathered about the Round Table, each
knight in his own siege, suddenly there was heard a crash of
thunder, so mighty that the hall trembled, and there flashed into
the hall a sunbeam, brighter far than any that had ever before been
seen; and then, draped all in white samite, there glided through the
air what none might see, yet what all knew to be the Holy Grail. And
all the air was filled with sweet odours, and on every one was shed
a light in which he looked fairer and nobler than ever before. So
they sat in an amazed silence, till presently King Arthur rose and
gave thanks to God for the grace given to him and to his court. Then
up sprang Sir Gawain and made his avow to follow for a year and a
day the Quest of the Holy Grail, if perchance he might be granted
the vision of it. Immediately other of the knights followed his
example, binding themselves to the Quest of the Holy Grail until, in
all, one hundred and fifty had vowed themselves to the adventure.

Then was King Arthur grieved, for he foresaw the ruin of his noble
Order. And turning to Sir Gawain, he said: "Nephew, ye have done
ill, for through you I am bereft of the noblest company of knights
that ever brought honour to any realm in Christendom. Well I know
that never again shall all of you gather in this hall, and it
grieves me to lose men I have loved as my life and through whom I
have won peace and righteousness for all my realm." So the King
mourned and his knights with him, but their oaths they could not

Great woe was there in Camelot next day when, after worship in the
cathedral, the knights who had vowed themselves to the Quest of the
Holy Grail got to horse and rode away. A goodly company it was that
passed through the streets, the townfolk weeping to see them go; Sir
Launcelot du Lac and his kin, Sir Galahad of whom all expected great
deeds, Sir Bors and Sir Percivale, and many another scarcely less
famed than they. So they rode together that day to the Castle of
Vagon, where they were entertained right hospitably, and the next
day they separated, each to ride his own way and see what adventures
should befall him.

So it came to pass that, after four days' ride, Sir Galahad reached
an abbey. Now Sir Galahad was still clothed in red armour as when he
came to the King's court, and by his side hung the wondrous sword;
but he was without a shield. They of the abbey received him right
heartily, as also did the brave King Bagdemagus, Knight of the Round
Table, who was resting there. When they greeted each other, Sir
Galahad asked King Bagdemagus what adventure had brought him there.
"Sir," said Bagdemagus, "I was told that in this abbey was preserved
a wondrous shield which none but the best knight in the world might
bear without grievous harm to himself. And though I know well that
there are better knights than I, to-morrow I purpose to make the
attempt. But, I pray you, bide at this monastery a while until you
hear from me; and if I fail, do ye take the adventure upon you." "So
be it," said Sir Galahad.

The next day, at their request, Sir Galahad and King Bagdemagus were
led into the church by a monk and shown where, behind the altar,
hung the wondrous shield, whiter than snow save for the blood-red
cross in its midst. Then the monk warned them of the danger to any
who, being unworthy, should dare to bear the shield. But King
Bagdemagus made answer: "I know well that I am not the best knight
in the world, yet will I try if I may bear it." So he hung it about
his neck, and, bidding farewell, rode away with his squire.

The two had not journeyed far before they saw a knight approach,
armed all in white mail and mounted upon a white horse. Immediately
he laid his spear in rest and, charging King Bagdemagus, pierced him
through the shoulder and bore him from his horse; and standing over
the wounded knight, he said: "Knight, thou hast shown great folly,
for none shall bear this shield save the peerless knight, Sir
Galahad." Then, taking the shield, he gave it to the squire and
said: "Bear this shield to the good Knight Galahad and greet him
well from me." "What is your name?" asked the squire. "That is not
for thee or any other to know." "One thing, I pray you," said the
squire; "why may this shield be borne by none but Sir Galahad
without danger?" "Because it belongs to him only," answered the
stranger knight, and vanished.

Then the squire took the shield and setting King Bagdemagus on his
horse, bore him back to the abbey where he lay long, sick unto
death. To Galahad the squire gave the shield and told him all that
had befallen. So Galahad hung the shield about his neck and rode the
way that Bagdemagus had gone the day before; and presently he met
the White Knight, whom he greeted courteously, begging that he would
make known to him the marvels of the red-cross shield. "That will I
gladly," answered the White Knight. "Ye must know, Sir Knight, that
this shield was made and given by Joseph of Arimathea to the good
King Evelake of Sarras, that, in the might of the holy symbol, he
should overthrow the heathen who threatened his kingdom. But
afterwards, King Evelake followed Joseph to this land of Britain
where they taught the true faith unto the people who before were
heathen. Then when Joseph lay dying, he bade King Evelake set the
shield in the monastery where ye lay last night, and foretold that
none should wear it without loss until that day when it should be
taken by the knight, ninth and last in descent from him, who should
come to that place the fifteenth day after receiving the degree of
knighthood. Even so has it been with you, Sir Knight." So saying,
the unknown knight disappeared and Sir Galahad rode on his way.

After Sir Launcelot had parted from his fellows at the Castle of
Vagon, he rode many days through the forest without adventure, till
he chanced upon a knight close by a little hermitage in the wood.
Immediately, as was the wont of errant knights, they prepared to
joust, and Launcelot, whom none before had overthrown, was borne
down, man and horse, by the stranger knight. Thereupon a nun, who
dwelt in the hermitage, cried: "God be with thee, best knight in all
this world," for she knew the victor for Sir Galahad. But Galahad,
not wishing to be known, rode swiftly away; and presently Sir
Launcelot got to horse again and rode slowly on his way, shamed and
doubting sorely in his heart whether this quest were meant for him.

Afterward Sir Galahad rescued Sir Percivale from twenty knights who
beset him, and rode on his way till night-fall, when he sought
shelter at a little hermitage. Thither there came in the night a
damsel who desired to speak with Sir Galahad; so he arose and went
to her. "Galahad," said she, "arm you and mount your horse and
follow me, for I am come to guide you in your quest." So they rode
together until they had come to the seashore and there the damsel
showed Galahad a great ship into which he must enter. Then she bade
him farewell, and he, going on to the ship, found there already the
good knights Sir Bors and Sir Percivale, who made much joy of the
meeting. They abode in that ship until they had come to the castle
of King Pelles, who welcomed them right gladly. Then, as they all
sat at supper that night, suddenly the hall was filled with a great
light, and the holy vessel appeared in their midst, covered all in
white samite. While they all rejoiced, there came a voice, saying:
"My Knights whom I have chosen, ye have seen the holy vessel dimly.
Continue your journey to the city of Sarras and there the perfect
vision shall be yours."

Now in the city of Sarras had dwelt a long time Joseph of Arimathea,
teaching its people the true faith, before ever he came into the
land of Britain; but when Sir Galahad and his fellows came there
after long voyage, they found it ruled by a heathen King named
Estorause, who cast them into a deep dungeon. There they were kept a
year, but at the end of that time, the tyrant died. Then the great
men of the land gathered together to consider who should be their
King; and, while they were in council, came a voice bidding them
take as their King the youngest of the three knights whom Estorause
had thrown into prison. So in fear and wonder they hastened to the
prison, and, releasing the three knights, made Galahad King as the
voice had bidden them.

Thus Sir Galahad became King of the famous city of Sarras, in far
Babylon. He had reigned a year when, one morning early, he and the
other two knights, his fellows, went into the chapel, and there they
saw, kneeling in prayer, an aged man, robed as a bishop, and round
him hovered many angels. The knights fell on their knees in awe and
reverence, whereupon he that seemed a bishop turned to them and
said: "I am Joseph of Arimathea, and I am come to show you the
perfect vision of the Holy Grail." On the instant there appeared
before them, without veil or cover, the holy vessel, in a radiance
of light such as almost blinded them. Sir Bors and Sir Percivale,
when at length they were recovered from the brightness of that
glory, looked up to find that the holy Joseph and the wondrous
vessel had passed from their sight. Then they went to Sir Galahad
where he still knelt as in prayer, and behold, he was dead; for it
had been with him even as he had prayed; in the moment when he had
seen the vision, his soul had gone back to God.

So the two knights buried him in that far city, themselves mourning
and all the people with them. And immediately after, Sir Percivale
put off his arms and took the habit of a monk, living a devout and
holy life until, a year and two months later, he also died and was
buried near Sir Galahad. Then Sir Bors armed him, and bidding
farewell to the city, sailed away until, after many weeks, he came
again to the land of Britain. There he took horse, and stayed not
till he had come to Camelot. Great was the rejoicing of Arthur and
all his knights when Sir Bors was once more among them. When he had
told all the adventures which had befallen him and the good knights,
his companions, all who heard were filled with amaze. But the King
he caused the wisest clerks in the land to write in great books of
the Holy Grail, that the fame of it should endure unto all time.




My good blade carves the casques of men,
 My tough lance thrusteth sure,

My strength is as the strength of ten,
 Because my heart is pure.

The shattering trumpet shrilleth high,
 The hard brands shiver on the steel,

The splinter'd spear-shafts crack and fly,
 The horse and rider reel:

They reel, they roll in clanging lists,
 And when the tide of combat stands,

Perfume and flowers fall in showers
 That lightly rain from ladies' hands.

 How sweet are looks that ladies bend
 On whom their favours fall!

For them I battle till the end,
 To save from shame and thrall:

But all my heart is drawn above,
 My knees are bow'd in crypt and shrine:

I never felt the kiss of love,
 Nor maiden's hand in mine.

More bounteous aspects on me beam,
 Me mightier transports move and thrill;

So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer
 A virgin heart in work and will.

 When down the stormy crescent goes,
 A light before me swims,

Between dark stems the forest glows,
 I hear a noise of hymns:

Then by some secret shrine I ride;
 I hear a voice, but none are there;

The stalls are void, the doors are wide,
 The tapers burning fair.

Fair gleams the snowy altar-cloth,
 The silver vessels sparkle clean,

The shrill bell rings, the censer swings,
 And solemn chaunts resound between.

 Sometimes on lonely mountain-meres
 I find a magic bark;

I leap on board: no helmsman steers
 I float till all is dark.

A gentle sound, an awful light!
 Three angels bear the Holy Grail:

With folded feet, in stoles of white,
 On sleeping wings they sail.

Ah, blessed vision! blood of God!
 My spirit beats her mortal bars,

As down dark tides the glory slides,
 And star-like mingles with the stars.

 When on my goodly charger borne
 Thro' dreaming towns I go,

The cock crows ere the Christmas morn,
 The streets are dumb with snow.

The tempest crackles on the leads,
 And, ringing, spins from brand and mail;

But o'er the dark a glory spreads,
 And gilds the driving hail.

I leave the plain, I climb the height;
 No branchy thicket shelter yields;

But blessed forms in whistling storms
 Fly o'er waste fens and windy fields.

 A maiden knight--to me is given
 Such hope, I know not fear,

I yearn to breathe the airs of heaven
 That often meet me here.

I muse on joy that will not cease,
 Pure spaces clothed in living beams,

Pure lilies of eternal peace,
 Whose odours haunt my dreams;

And, stricken by an angel's hand,
 This mortal armour that I wear,

This weight and size, this heart and eyes,
 Are touch'd, are turn'd to finest air.

 The clouds are broken in the sky,
 And thro' the mountain-walls

A rolling organ-harmony
 Swells up, and shakes and falls.

Then move the trees, the copses nod,
 Wings flutter, voices hover clear:

"O just and faithful knight of God!
 Ride on! the prize is near."

So pass I hostel, hall, and grange;
 By bridge and ford, by park and pale,

All-arm'd I ride, whate'er betide,
 Until I find the Holy Grail.



Now there dwelt in a castle in the Netherland a certain King,
Siegmund by name, who had to wife a fair lady Sieglind. These two
had a son whom they called Siegfried, a very gallant prince. Very
carefully did they train and teach him, but the root of the matter
was in the lad himself, for he had an honest and good heart, and was
in all things a very perfect knight. This Siegfried being come to
man's estate, and being well practised in arms, and having also as
much of wealth as he needed, turned his thoughts to marriage,
desiring to win a fair bride for himself.

It came to Prince Siegfried's ears that there was a very fair maiden
in the Rhineland, and that many noble knights had come from far and
wide to make their suits to her, but that she would have none of
them. Never yet had she seen the man whom she would take for her
husband. All this the Prince heard, and he said, "This Kriemhild
will I have for my wife." But King Siegmund, when he heard of his
son's purpose, was not a little troubled thereat; and Queen Sieglind
wept, for she knew the brother of Kriemhild, and she was aware of
the strength and valour of his warriors. So they said to the Prince,
"Son, this is not a wise wooing." But Siegfried made answer, "My
father, I will have none of wedlock, if I may not marry where I
love." Thereupon the King said. "If thou canst not forego this
maiden, then thou shalt have all the help that I can give."

Queen Sieglind said: "If you are still minded to go, then I will
prepare for you and your companions the best raiment that ever
warrior wore."

Siegfried bowed low to his mother, saying: "So be it; only remember
that twelve comrades only will I take with me."

So the Queen and her ladies sat stitching night and day, taking no
rest till the raiment was ready. King Siegmund the while commanded
that the men should polish their war-gear, coats of mail, and
helmets, and shields.

The thirteen comrades departed and, on the seventh day, they rode
into the town of Worms in Rhineland, a gallant company, bravely
arrayed, for their garments flashed with gold, and their war-gear,
over their coats of mail and their helmets, were newly polished.
Their long swords hung down by their sides, even to their spurs, and
sharp were the javelins which they held in their hands. The javelin
of Siegfried was two spans broad in the blade, and had a double
edge. Terrible were the wounds that it made. Their bridles were
gilded, and their horse-girths of silk. A comely sight they were to
see, and the people came from all round to gaze upon them.

Tidings had been brought to King Gunther that certain warriors were
come, very gallant to look upon and richly clad, but that no one
knew who they were, and whence they came. "Now," said the King,
"this troubles me much that no one can tell whence these warriors
come." To him Ortwein, the High Server, made answer, "Seeing, sire,
that no man knows aught about these strangers, let some one fetch
Hagen, my uncle; he knows all the kingdoms of the world, and the
dwellers therein."

So Hagen went to the window and looked at the men. Well pleased was
he with their clothing and their gear of war; but he had never seen
their like in the Rhineland. So he said: "Whencesoever these men
have come, my lord, that they are princes or of a prince's company
is clear. But stay; Siegfried, the famous hero, I have never seen
with my eyes, but I verily believe that is he. If it indeed be,
there is no warrior in this land, that is his match for strength and

"Once upon a time riding alone, with none to help him, he came upon
the treasure of the Nibelungs. It had been newly taken out of the
hollow of a mountain, and the Nibelungs were making ready to share
it. And when they saw him, one cried aloud, 'Here comes Siegfried,
the great champion from the Motherland!' So the two princes of the
Nibelungs bade him welcome, and would have him divide the treasure
among them. A mighty store it was, of jewels such plenty that scarce
five-score wagons could carry them away, and of red gold yet more.
All this they would have Siegfried divide among them. And for his
wages they gave him the Nibelungs' sword. But little did they know
what should befall at his hand. For lo! ere he had ended his
dividing, they stirred up strife against him. Twelve stout comrades
had the princes, and with these the princes thought to have slain
Siegfried. But they availed nought; with the very sword which they
had given him for his reward--Balmung was its name--he slew them
all. The giants he slew, and the Kings also, and when Albrich the
dwarf would have avenged his lords--for he was the keeper of the
treasure--Siegfried overcame him also, and wrested from him the Hood
of Darkness, which whoso dons, straightway he vanishes from the
sight of all men.

"But the treasure he would not take for himself. 'Carry it back,'
said he to Albrich the dwarf, 'to the hole whence it was taken, and
keep if for me. And you shall swear a great oath to do me any
service that I shall ask of you, whensoever and wheresoever may seem
good to me.'

"Another story have I heard tell of Siegfried, how he slew a dragon
with his own hand and sword, and how he bathed him in the dragon's
blood, and made his skin so hard and horny that no sword may pierce
it. Let us. therefore receive him with all courtesy; for verily he
is a right strong and valiant knight, and 'tis better, I ween, to be
his friend than his enemy."

"Methinks thou art right," said King Gunther. "Let us go down and
greet him courteously."

Never were guests more honoured as, of a surety, never guests had
bolder mien. And as the days went by the Kings and their guests gave
themselves to sport and pastime; but whatever they did, Siegfried
was ever the first; none could put the stone so far, or cast the
spear with so sure an aim. Sometimes the fair ladies of the court
looked on, and not a few looked on the young Prince from the
Netherland with favour. But he had ever one only in his heart, ever
the fair Kriemhild.

King Gunther purposed in his heart to marry a wife. No daughter of
his own land would he woo, though there were many fair maidens in
the Rhineland. But there came to him tidings of a Queen that dwelt
beyond the sea; not to be matched was she for beauty, nor had she
any peer for strength. Her love she proffered to any warrior who
could vanquish her at three games, hurling of the spear, and putting
the stone, and leaping. But if the suitor himself should be
vanquished, then must he lose his head. Such were the conditions of
her wooing, and many brave warriors had died for her.

On a certain day King Gunther and his chiefs sat in council, and the
matter was this--where shall the King seek a wife who shall both be
for a comfort to him and for a glory to the land? Then spake the
King, "I will seek Queen Brunhild and no other. For her will I
hazard my life; nor do I care to live if I may not win her for my
wife." To him spake Siegfried, "I would have you give up this
purpose. He who woos Brunhild plays for too high a stake. Take my
counsel, sire, and go not on such a journey." "I should think it
scorn," said he, "to fear a woman, were she ever so bold and
strong." "Ah, sire," Siegfried made answer, "you know not how strong
she is. Were you four men and not one only, you could not prevail
over her."

But King Gunther would not yield. "How strong soever she be, and
whatever the chances that befall me, I will woo this fair Brunhild,"
he said. Then said Hagen, the King's uncle, "Since you are resolved
to take in hand this enterprise, ask Prince Siegfried to help you."
Then said King Gunther to Siegfried, "Will you help me to win this
Brunhild for my wife? Do this, and ask of me what you will."
Siegfried made answer, "Give me your sister: I ask no other reward
but that I may have the fair Kriemhild to wife." "That I promise,"
said the King. "Of a surety, so soon as I shall have brought the
fair Brunhild to this realm, then will I give you my sister to wife;
and I pray from my heart that you may live long and happily
together." Then the two sware to each other.

"Tell me now," said Gunther, "how shall we travel to this land where
Brunhild dwells? Shall we go in such state as befits a King? If you
think fit, I could well bring together thirty thousand warriors."
"Thirty thousand would avail nothing." answered Siegfried, "so
strong she is and savage. We will take no army, but go as simple
knights, taking two companions with us, and the two shall be Sir
Hagen and Sir Dankwart." "And wherewithal shall we be clothed?" said
King Gunther. "As richly as maybe," answered Siegfried. "My mother
has a great store of goodly raiment," said the King. Then spake
Hagen, "Nay, sire, go not to the Queen, but rather to your sister.
She will provide all things that you need."

So they went to the Lady Kriemhild and told her all their purpose,
and how they should need goodly raiment, three changes for the day,
and that for four days. With good will did the fair Kriemhild
receive them, and promised that she would give them what they
needed. As she promised, so she did; for she and her ladies, thirty
maids skilful in the work of the needle, laboured night and day to
furnish a rich store of apparel. The fair Kriemhild planned them and
cut them to just measure with her own hand and her ladies sewed
them. Silks there were, some from Arabia, white as snow, and from
the Lesser Asia others, green as grass, and strange skins of fishes
from distant seas, and fur of the ermine, with black spots on snowy
white, and precious stones and gold of Arabia. In seven weeks all
was prepared, both apparel and also arms and armour; and there was
nothing that was either over-long or over-short, or that could be
surpassed for comeliness. Great thanks did the warriors give to each
fair seamstress, and to Kriemhild the beautiful the greatest thanks
of all.

So the four companions embarked on their ship, with Siegfried for
their helmsman, for he knew all the tides and currents of Rhine.
Well furnished were they with food and wine and all things that they
needed; and prosperous was their voyage, both while they sailed down
the river and while they crossed the sea.

On the twelfth morning they came to the land of Queen Brunhild. And
when King Gunther saw how the coast stretched far away, and how on
every height there stood a fair castle, he said to Siegfried, "Tell
me, Siegfried, if you can, whose are those castles, and this fair
land. Never in all my life, I assure you, have I seen castles so
fairly planned and built so well." Siegfried made answer, "These
castles and this fair land are Queen Brunhild's and this strong
fortress that you see is Isenstein. And now, my comrades, I have a
counsel for your ears. To-day we shall stand in Queen Brunhild's
court, and we must be wise and wary when we stand before her. Let
therefore one and the same story be found in the mouth of all--that
Gunther is my master, and that I am Gunther's man. If we would win
our purpose there is no surer plan than this." So spake Siegfried to
his comrades. And to the King he said, "Mark, I pray you, what I do
for the love of your fair sister."

While they talked one to the other the bark drifted so near to the
shore that they could see the maidens standing at the castle
windows. "Who are these?" said King Gunther to Siegfried. Said
Siegfried, "Look with all your eyes at these fair ladies, and tell
me which of them pleases you best, and which, could you win her, you
would choose for your wife." Gunther made answer, "One that I see at
yonder window in a snow-white vest is surely the loveliest of all.
She, if I can win her, shall surely be my wife." "You have chosen
well," said Siegfried; "that maiden in the snow-white vest is
Brunhild, the fairest and fiercest of women."

Meanwhile the Queen had bidden her maidens depart from the windows.
"'Tis a shame," said she, "that you should make yourselves a sight
for strangers."

And now came the four comrades from their bark to the castle.
Siegfried led a noble charger by the bridle, and stood by the
stirrup till King Gunther had mounted, serving him as a vassal
serves his lord. This Brunhild marked from where she stood. "A noble
lord," thought she in her heart, "whom such a vassal serves." Then
Siegfried mounted his own steed, and Hagen and Dankwart did the
like. A fairer company never was seen. The King and Siegfried were
clothed in white, and white were their horses, and their shields
flashed far as they moved. So, in lordly fashion, they rode to the
hall of Queen Brunhild, and the bells of gold that hung from their
saddles tinkled as they went. Hagen and Dankwart, on the other hand,
wore black apparel, and their chargers were black.

Meanwhile the fair Brunhild inquired of her nobles who these
strangers might be that had come across the sea, and on what errand
they had come. One of them answered, "Fair lady, I have never seen
these stout warriors, save one only, who is greatly like to the
noble Siegfried. If this be he, I would have you give him a hearty
welcome. Next to him is a man of right royal mien, a King, I trow,
who rules with his sceptre mighty lands and herd. The third has a
lowering brow, but is a stout warrior withal; the fourth is young
and modest of look, but for all his gentle bearing, we should all
rue it, I trow, if wrong were done to him."

Then spake Queen Brunhild, "Bring me now my royal vesture; if
Siegfried seeks to woo me for his wife, he must risk his life on the
cast; I fear him not so much as to yield to him without a struggle."
So the Queen arrayed her in her royal robes, and went to the hall of
audience, and a hundred maidens and more followed her, fair of face
and in fair array. And after the maidens came five hundred warriors
and more, each bearing his sword in his hand, the very flower of

Said Queen Brunhild to Siegfried, "You are welcome, good Sir
Siegfried. Show me, if you will, for what cause you have come
hither." "I thank you a thousand times," answered Siegfried, "that
you have greeted me so courteously, but know that I must give place
to this noble hero. He is my lord and master; I am his vassal. Let
your favour be for him. His kingdom is by the Rhine side, and we
have sailed all this way from thence that he may woo you for his
bride. That is his fixed intent, nor will he yield whatever may
befall. Gunther is his name; a great King is he, and nothing will
content him but to carry you back with him to the Rhine."

Queen Brunhild answered, "If he is the master and you the man, then
let him know that he must match me in my games and conquer me. If he
prevail, then will I be his wedded wife; but if I prevail, then must
he die, he and you and all his comrades." Then spake Sir Hagen,
"Lady, tell us now the games at which my master must contend; and
know that you must strive full hard, if you would conquer him, for
he has a full trust that he will win you for his bride." The Queen
answered, "He must cast the stone further than I, and also leap
behind it further than I leap; and also he must cast the spear with
me. It seems to me that you are over-hasty; let him count the cost,
ere he lose both fame and life." Then Siegfried whispered to the
King, "Have no fear for what shall be, and cast away all your care.
Let the fair Brunhild do what she will, I will bear you harmless."
So the King spake aloud, "Fairest of the fair, tell me your
pleasure; were it a greater task willingly would I undertake it, for
if I win you not for my bride, willingly will I lose my head."

Then the fair Brunhild called for her battle gear, her arms, and her
breastplate of gold and her mighty shield; and over all she drew a
surcoat of silk, marvellously made. Fierce and angry was her
countenance as she looked at the strangers, and Hagen and Dankwart
were troubled to see her, for they doubted how it might go with
their master. "'Tis a fatal journey," said they, "and will bring us
to trouble."

Meanwhile Siegfried hied him with nimble foot to the bark, and there
he took, from the secret corner where he kept it, the Hood of
Darkness, by which, at his will, he could make himself invisible.
Quickly did he go, and quickly returned, and now no one could see
him, for he wore the hood. Through the crowd he went at his
pleasure, seeing all but seen of none.

Meanwhile men had marked out the ring for the fray, and chiefs had
been chosen as umpires, seven hundred men in armour who should judge
betwixt the combatants. First of the two came the fair Brunhild. So
mighty was her presence, a man had thought her ready to match
herself in battle with all the Kings in the world. And there was
carried before her a mighty shield of ruddy gold, very thick and
broad and heavy, overlaid with studs of steel. Four chamberlains
could scarce bear the weight. Sir Hagen, when he saw it, said, "How
now, my lord King? this fair one whom you would woo must surely be
the devil's wife. "Next came three men who scarce could carry the
Queen's javelin, with its mighty spear-head, heavy and great as
though three had been melted into one. And when King Gunther saw it,
he said to himself, "This is a danger from which the devil himself
can scarce escape. I would that I were once more by the banks of
Rhine; he that would might woo and win this fair maiden for me."
After this there was brought the mighty stone which Brunhild was to
hurl. Twelve knights could scarce support it, so big it was.

And now the Queen addressed her to the contest, rolling her sleeves
about her arms, and fitting her buckler, and poising her mighty
spear in her hand. And the strangers, when they saw it, were sore
afraid for all their courage.

But now came Siegfried to King Gunther's side and touched his hand.
Greatly amazed was the King for he did not understand his champion's
device. "Who was it that touched me?" he said, and looked round, but
saw no one. "'Tis I," answered the Prince, "your trusty friend,
Siegfried. Have no fear of the maiden. Let me carry the buckler; you
shall seem to do each deed, but I will do it in truth. But be
careful to hide the device. Should the maiden discover it, she will
not spare to bring it to nought." Right glad was Gunther to know
that his strong ally was at hand.

And now the Queen threw the spear with all her might against the
shield Siegfried bore upon his arm. New was the shield and stout of
make, but the spearhead passed clean through it, and rang on the
hero's coat of mail, dealing him so sore a blow that the blood
gushed forth from his mouth. Of a truth, but for the Hood of
Darkness, that hour both the champions had died. Then Siegfried
caught the great spear in his hand, and tore it from the shield, and
hurled it back. "She is too fair to slay," said he to himself, and
he turned the spear point behind him, and smote the maiden with the
shaft on the silken vest that she wore. Loud rang the blow, and the
fire-sparks leapt from her armour. Never could Gunther, for all his
strength, have dealt such a blow, for it felled the strong Brunhild
to the ground. Lightly did she leap up again, crying, "King Gunther,
I thank you for the blow; 'twas shrewdly given," for she thought
that the King had dealt it.

But great was the wrath in her heart to find that her spear had sped
in vain. And now she turned to the great stone where it lay, and
poised it in her hand, and hurled it with all her might. And having
hurled it, she herself leapt after it. Twelve full arms' length
hurtled the great stone through the air, so mighty was the maiden,
and she herself overpassed it by a pace. Then came Gunther to the
place, with Siegfried unseen by his side. And Siegfried caught the
stone and poised it--but it seemed to all as if Gunther did it--and
threw it yet another arm's length beyond the cast of the maid, and
passed the stone himself, aye, and carried King Gunther along with
him, so mighty was he!

But when the Queen saw that she was vanquished, she flushed with
shame and wrath, and turning to her lords, she spake aloud, "Come
hither, my kinsmen and lieges. You must now be thralls of King
Gunther of Burgundy."

So the chiefs of Isenland laid their swords at Gunther's feet and
did him homage, for they thought that he had vanquished by his own
strength; and he, for he was a very gentle, courteous knight,
greeted the maid right pleasantly, and she, for her part, took him
by the hand and said, "Henceforth, Sir King, all the rule and power
that I have held is yours."

There is no need to tell how Gunther and Brunhild and all their
company travelled to Rhineland with great joy, and how Queen Ute and
her sons and the fair Kriemhild, and all the people of the land,
gave them a hearty welcome and how in due time King Gunther was
married to the fair Brunhild. Nor is there need of many words to
relate how Siegfried also took to wife the beautiful Kriemhild, as
it had been promised him. Nor were there any to gainsay save
Brunhild only, for she grudged that her husband's sister should be
given to a vassal, for such in truth she deemed him to be. Very ill
content she was, though the King would fain have satisfied her,
saying that he was a very noble knight, and was lord of many
woodlands, and had great store of gold and treasure.

So Siegfried wedded the fair Kriemhild and took her with him to his
own land. A goodly welcome did the Netherlands give her. And
Siegmund gave up his kingdom to his son, and the two lived in much
peace and love together; and when in the tenth year a son was born
to them, they called him by the name of his uncle Gunther.

Also Gunther and Brunhild lived together in much happiness. They
also had a son, and they called him by the name of Siegfried.

But Brunhild was ill content that Siegfried being, far so she
deemed, her husband's vassal, should pay no homage to his lord and
do no service for his fee. And she was very urgent with her husband
that he should suffer this no longer. But the King was fain to put
her off. "Nay," said he, "the journey is too long. Their land is far
from ours; why should we trouble him to come? Also he is a great
prince and a powerful." "Be he as great as he will," she answered,
"'tis a vassal's duty to pay homage to his lord." But Gunther
laughed to himself. Little thought had he of homage from Siegfried.
Then the Queen changed her voice. "Dear lord," she said, "how gladly
would I see Siegfried and your dear sister once more. Well do I
remember how fair she was and how kind, how gracious of speech when
we sat together, brides both of us." With such words she persuaded
her husband. "There are no guests that would be more welcome," said
he; "I will find messengers who shall bid them come to the

Great was the joy in Rhineland when the messengers returned and told
how they had been welcomed and royally entertained and loaded with
gifts, and how that Siegfried and his Queen Kriemhild and a company
of gallant knights were coming to the festival. Great was the joy
and manifold the preparations.

No sooner did the King hear the news than he sought out Queen
Brunhild where she sat in her chamber. "Bear you in mind," said he,
"how Kriemhild my sister welcomed you when you came hither from your
own land. Do you, therefore, dear wife, welcome her with the like
affection." "So shall it be," answered the Queen.

And indeed, when the guests came, right royal was the welcome that
they had. For Gunther and Brunhild rode forth from the city to meet
them, and greeted them most heartily. All was mirth and jollity. By
the day there were tilts and tournaments and sports of every kind,
and at night there was feasting in the hall. And so they did for
twelve days.

But Brunhild ever cherished a thought of mischief in her heart.
"Why," she said to herself, "why has Siegfried stayed so long to do
homage for that which he holds of us in fee? I shall not be content
till Kriemhild answer me in this."

It fell out on a certain day, while sundry knights were in the
castle court, that the two Queens sat together. The fair Kriemhild
then began, "My husband is so mighty a man that he should rule these
kingdoms of right." "Nay," answered Brunhild, "that might be were
you and your husband only alive, and all others dead, but so long as
Gunther lives he must needs be King." Then said fair Kriemhild, "See
how he shines among the knights, a very moon among the stars."
Brunhild answered, "However brave and strong he may be, and stately
to look upon, Gunther, your brother, is better than he." "Nay," said
Kriemhild, "better he is not, nay, nor even his peer." "How say
you?" answered Brunhild in wrath; "I spake not without cause. When I
saw the two for the first time, then I heard with my own ears how
Siegfried confessed that he was Gunther's man. Yea, I heard him say
it, and I hold him to be such." "This is folly," said Kriemhild;
"think you that my brothers could have given me to be bride to a
vassal? Away, Brunhild, with such idle talk, if we would still be
friends." "I will not away with it," Brunhild made answer. "Shall I
renounce the service which he and all the vassals are bound to
render to their lord?" "Renounce it you must," cried Kriemhild in
great wrath. "The service of a vassal he will never do; he is of
higher degree than Gunther my brother, though Gunther is a noble
King." "You bear yourself far too proudly," answered Brunhild.

But the deadliest cause of quarrel was yet to come. Said Queen
Kriemhild to Queen Brunhild when next she saw her: "Think you that
when you were vanquished in your own land it was Gunther, my
brother, that vanquished you?" "Yea," answered the Queen, "did I not
see it with my own eyes?" "Nay," said Kriemhild, "it was not so. See
you this ring?" And she took a ring that she had upon her finger and
held it forth. "Do you know it?" And Brunhild looked and knew it for
her own. "That," said Kriemhild, "Siegfried, my husband, took from
you when you were smitten by his spear and knew not what had
befallen you, so sore was the blow. You saw him not, for he had the
Hood of Darkness on him and was invisible. But it was he that smote
you with the spear, and put the stone further than you, and passed
you in the leap. And this ring he gave me for a token, if ever you
should boast yourself against me. Talk, therefore, no more of lords
and vassals. My husband feigned this vassalage that he might deceive
you the more readily."

But Brunhild held her peace, for the ring was a proof which she
could not gainsay. She held her peace, but she cherished her rage,
keeping it in the depths of her heart, and sware that she would be
avenged on the man that had so deceived her.

When Hagen saw that Queen Brunhild was in continual trouble and
sadness he would fain know the cause. "'Tis of Siegfried's doing,"
she answered. "He has wronged me beyond pardon." And she besought
him that he would avenge her and King Gunther upon him.

So Hagan plotted evil, saying enemies were coming against Gunther,
and Siegfried and his knights made them ready to go forth to the
King's defence. And of the chiefs of Rhineland not a few offered
themselves as comrades, knowing nothing of the treachery that Hagen
and his fellows were preparing against him.

But before they departed Hagen went to bid farewell to Queen
Kriemhild. Said she, "I have good comfort in my heart to think how
valiant a husband I have, and how zealous he is to help his friends,
for I have loved my kinsmen always, nor ever wished them ill." "Tell
me, dear lady," said Hagen, "what service I can do to your husband,
for there is no one whom I love better than him." The Queen made
answer, "I have no fear that my lord will fall in battle by any
man's sword, save only that he is too ready to follow even to
rashness his own warlike spirit." "Dear lady," said Hagen, "if there
is any danger which you hold in special fear, tell me that I may
defend him against it." Then Kriemhild, in the simpleness of her
heart, told him the secret. "In years gone by," said she, "my
husband slew a dragon among the mountains, and when he had slain the
monster, he bathed himself in its blood. So mighty was the charm,
that thenceforth no steel had power to wound him. And yet, for all
this, I am ever in fear lest by some mischance a weapon should
pierce him. Hearken now, my cousin, for you are of my kindred,
hearken, and see how I put my trust in your honour. While Siegfried
washed his limbs in the blood of the dragon, there fell a leaf from
a linden tree between his shoulders. There and there only can steel
harm him." "'Tis easy," said the false Hagen, "for me to defend so
small a spot. Only do you sew a little token on his cloak, that I
may the better know the spot that most needs protection when we
stand together in the fight." "I will do so," said the Queen; "I
will sew a little cross with threads of silk on his cloak, and you
will guard him when he fights in the throng of his foes." "That will
I do, dear lady," said the traitor.

Hagen went straightway to King Gunther and said, "I have learnt that
which I needed to know; put off this march; let us go on a hunt. So
that which we would do will be easier done." "I will order that,"
answered the King.

Siegfried, before he set out for the hunting, bade farewell to his
wife: "God grant," said he, "that we may soon meet happily again;
meanwhile be merry among your kinsfolk here." But Kriemhild thought
of how she had discovered the secret to Hagen, and was sore afraid,
yet dared not tell the truth. Only she said to her husband, "I pray
you to leave this hunting. Only this night past I had an evil dream.
I saw two wild boars pursuing you over the heath, and the flowers
were red as with blood. Greatly I fear some treason, my Siegfried."
"Nay," said he, "there is not one in Rhineland here that bears me
ill-will. Whom have I wronged?" "I know not," answered the Queen,
"but yet my heart bodes evil. For I had yet another dream. I seemed
to see two mountains fall with a terrible noise on your head. If you
go, you will break my heart." But he laughed at her fears, and
kissed her, and so departed.

Then Siegfried went on the hunting, and Gunther and Hagen went with
him, and a company of hunters and hounds. When they came to the
forest Siegfried said, "Now who shall begin the hunting?" Hagen made
answer, "Let us divide into two companies ere we begin, and each
shall beat the coverts as he will; so shall we see who is the more
skilful in the chase." "I need no pack," said Siegfried; "give me
one well-trained hound that can track the game through the coverts.
That will suffice for me." So a lime-hound was given to him. All
that the good hound started did Siegfried slay; no beast could
outrun him or escape him. A wild boar first he slew, and next to the
boar a lion; he shot an arrow through the beast from side to side.
After the lion he slew a buffalo and four elks, and a great store of
game besides, so that the huntsmen said, "Leave us something in our
woods, Sir Siegfried."

King Gunther bade blow the horn for breakfast. When Siegfried's
huntsman heard the blast he said: "Our hunting-time is over; we must
back to our comrades." So they went with all speed to the trysting-

The whole company sat down to their meal. There was plenty of every
kind, but wine was wanting. "How is this?" said Siegfried: "the
kitchen is plentiful; but where is the wine?" Said Gunther the King,
"'Tis Hagen's fault, who makes us all go dry." "True, Sir King,"
said Hagen, "my fault it is. But I know of a runnel, cold and clear,
that is hard by. Let us go thither and quench our thirst." Then
Siegfried rose from his place, for his thirst was sore, and would
have sought the place. Said Hagen, when he saw him rise, "I have
heard say that there is no man in all the land so fleet of foot as
Siegfried. Will he deign to let us see his speed?" "With all my
heart," cried the hero. "Let us race from hence to the runnel."
"'Tis agreed," said Hagen the traitor. "Furthermore," said
Siegfried, "I will carry all the equipment that I bare in the
chase." So Gunther and Hagen stripped them to their shirts, but
Siegfried carried sword and spear, all his hunting-gear, and yet was
far before the two at the runnel.

Yet, such was his courtesy, that he would not drink before the King
had quenched his thirst. He was ill repaid, I trow, for his grace.
For when the King had drunk, as Siegfried knelt plunging his head
into the stream, Sir Hagen took his spear and smote him on the
little crosslet mark that was worked on his cloak between his
shoulders. And when he had struck the blow he fled in mortal fear.
When Siegfried felt that he was wounded, he rose with a great bound
from his knees and sought for his weapons. But these the false Hagen
had taken and laid far away. Only the shield was left. This he took
in his hand and hurled at Hagen with such might that it felled the
traitor to the ground, and was itself broken to pieces. If the hero
had but had his good sword Balmung in his hand, the murderer had not
escaped with his life that day.

Then all the Rhineland warriors gathered about him. Among them was
King Gunther, making pretence to lament. To him said Siegfried,
"Little it profits to bewail the man whose murder you have plotted.
Did I not save you from shame and defeat? Is this the recompense
that you pay? And yet even of you I would ask one favour. Have some
kindness for my wife. She is your sister; if you have any knightly
faith and honour remaining, guard her well." Then there came upon
him the anguish of death. Yet one more word he spake, "Be sure that
in slaying me you have slain yourselves." And when he had so spoken
he died.

Then they laid his body on a shield and carried it back, having
agreed among themselves to tell this tale, that Sir Siegfried having
chosen to hunt by himself was slain by robbers in the wood.



The trumpets sounded and the army went on its way to France. The
next day King Charles called his lords together. "You see," said he,
"these narrow passes. Whom shall I place to command the rearguard?
Choose you a man yourselves." Said Ganelon, "Whom should we choose
but my son-in-law, Count Roland? You have no man in your host so
valiant. Of a truth he will be the salvation of France." The King
said when he heard these words, "What ails you, Ganelon? You look
like to one possessed."

When Count Roland knew what was proposed concerning him, he spake
out as a true knight should speak "I am right thankful to you, my
father-in-law, that you have caused me to be put in this place. Of a
truth the King of France shall lose nothing by my means, neither
charger, nor mule, nor packhorse, nor beast of burden."

Then Roland turned to the King and said, "Give me twenty thousand
only, so they be men of valour, and I will keep the passes in all
safety. So long as I shall live, you need fear no man."

Then Roland mounted his horse. With him were Oliver his comrade, and
Otho and Berenger, and Gerard of Roussillon, an aged warrior, and
others, men of renown. And Turpin the Archbishop cried, "By my head,
I will go also." So they chose twenty thousand warriors with whom to
keep the passes.

Meanwhile King Charles had entered the valley of Roncesvalles. High
were the mountains on either side of the way, and the valleys were
gloomy and dark. But when the army had passed through the valley,
they saw the fair land of Gascony, and as they saw it they thought
of their homes and their wives and daughters. There was not one of
them but wept for very tenderness of heart. But of all that company
there was none sadder than the King himself, when he thought how he
had left his nephew Count Roland behind him in the passes of Spain.

And now the Saracen King Marsilas began to gather his army. He laid
a strict command on all his nobles and chiefs that they should bring
with them to Saragossa as many men as they could gather together.
And when they were come to the city, it being the third day from the
issuing of the King's command, they saluted the great image of
Mahomet, the false prophet, that stood on the topmost tower. This
done they went forth from the city gates. They made all haste,
marching across the mountains and valleys of Spain till they came in
sight of the standard of France, where Roland and Oliver and the
Twelve Peers were ranged in battle array.

The Saracen champions donned their coats of mail, of double
substance most of them, and they set upon their heads helmets of
Saragossa of well tempered metal, and they girded themselves with
swords of Vienna. Fair were their shields to view, their lances were
from Valentia, their standards were of white, blue, and red. Their
mules they left with the servants, and, mounting their chargers, so
moved forwards. Fair was the day and bright the sun, as their armour
flashed in the light and the drums were beaten so loudly that the
Frenchmen heard the sound.

Said Oliver to Roland, "Comrade, methinks we shall soon do battle
with the Saracens." "God grant it," answered Roland. "'Tis our duty
to hold the place for the King, and we will do it, come what may. As
for me, I will not set an ill example."

Oliver climbed to the top of a hill, and saw from thence the whole
army of the heathen. He cried to Roland his companion, "I see the
flashing of arms. We men of France shall have no small trouble
therefrom. This is the doing of Ganelon the traitor."

"Be silent," answered Roland, "till you shall know; say no more
about him."

Oliver looked again from the hilltop, and saw how the Saracens came
on. So many there were that he could not count their battalions. He
descended to the plain with all speed, and came to the array of the
French, and said, "I have seen more heathen than man ever yet saw
together upon the earth. There are a hundred thousand at the least.
We shall have such a battle with them as has never before been
fought. My brethren of France, quit you like men, be strong; stand
firm that you be not conquered." And all the army shouted with one
voice, "Cursed be he that shall fly."

Then Oliver turned to Roland, and said, "Sound your horn; my friend,
Charles will hear it, and will return." "I were a fool," answered
Roland, "so to do. Not so; but I will deal these heathen some mighty
blows with Durendal my sword. They have been ill-advised to venture
into these passes. I swear that they are condemned to death, one and

After a while, Oliver said again, "Friend Roland sound your horn of
ivory. Then will the King returns and bring his army with him, to
our help." But Roland answered again, "I will not do dishonour to my
kinsmen, or to the fair land of France. I have my sword; that shall
suffice for me. These evil-minded heathen are gathered together
against us to their own hurt. Surely not one of them shall escape
from death." "As for me," said Oliver, "I see not where the
dishonour would be. I saw the valleys and the mountains covered with
the great multitude of Saracens. Theirs is, in truth, a mighty
array, and we are but few." "So much the better," answered Roland.
"It makes my courage grow. 'Tis better to die than to be disgraced.
And remember, the harder our blows the more the King will love us."

Roland was brave, but Oliver was wise. "Consider," he said,
"comrade. These enemies are over-near to us, and the King over-far.
Were he here, we should not be in danger; but there are some here
to-day who will never fight in another battle."

Then Turpin the Archbishop struck spurs into his horse, and rode to
a hilltop. Then he turned to the men of France, and spake: "Lords of
France, King Charles has left us here; our King he is, and it is our
duty to die for him. To-day our Christian Faith is in peril: do ye
fight for it. Fight ye must; be sure of that, for there under your
eyes are the Saracens. Confess, therefore, your sins, and pray to
God that He have mercy upon you. And now for your soul's health I
will give you all absolution. If you die, you will be God's martyrs,
every one of you, and your places are ready for you in His

Thereupon the men of France dismounted, and knelt upon the ground,
and the Archbishop blessed them in God's name. "But look," said he,
"I set you a penance--smite these pagans." Then the men of France
rose to their feet. They had received absolution, and were set free
from all their sins, and the Archbishop had blessed them in the name
of God. After this they mounted their swift steeds, and clad
themselves in armour, and made themselves ready for the battle.

Said Roland to Oliver, "Brother, you know that it is Ganelon who has
betrayed us. Good store he has had of gold and silver as a reward;
'tis the King Marsilas that has made merchandise of us, but verily
it is with our swords that he shall be paid." So saying, he rode on
to the pass, mounted on his good steed Veillantif. His spear he held
with the point to the sky; a white flag it bore with fringes of gold
which fell down to his hands. A stalwart man was he, and his
countenance was fair and smiling. Behind him followed Oliver, his
friend; and the men of France pointed to him, saying, "See our
champion!" Pride was in his eye when he looked towards the Saracens;
but to the men of France his regard was all sweetness and humility.
Full courteously he spake to them: "Ride not so fast, my lords," he
said; "verily these heathen are come hither, seeking martyrdom. 'Tis
a fair spoil that we shall gather from them to-day. Never has King
of France gained any so rich." And as he spake, the two hosts came

Said Oliver, "You did not deem it fit, my lord, to sound your horn.
Therefore you lack the help which the King would have sent. Not his
the blame, for he knows nothing of what has chanced. But do you,
lords of France, charge as fiercely as you may, and yield not one
whit to the enemy. Think upon these two things only--how to deal a
straight blow and to take it. And let us not forget King Charles's
cry of battle." Then all the men of France with one voice cried out,
"Mountjoy!" He that heard them so cry had never doubted that they
were men of valour. Proud was their array as they rode on to battle,
spurring their horses that they might speed the more. And the
Saracens, on their part, came forward with a good heart. Thus did
the Frenchmen and the heathen meet in the shock of battle.

Full many of the heathen warriors fell that day. Not one of the
Twelve Peers of France but slew his man. But of all none bare
himself so valiantly as Roland. Many a blow did he deal to the enemy
with his mighty spear, and when the spear was shivered in his hand,
fifteen warriors having fallen before it, then he seized his good
sword Durendal, and smote man after man to the ground. Red was he
with the blood of his enemies, red was his hauberk, red his arms,
red his shoulders, aye, and the neck of his horse. Not one of the
Twelve lingered in the rear, or was slow to strike, but Count Roland
was the bravest of the brave. "Well done, Sons of France!" cried
Turpin the Archbishop, when he saw them lay on in such sort.

Next to Roland for valour and hardihood came Oliver, his companion.
Many a heathen warrior did he slay, till at last his spear was
shivered in his hand. "What are you doing, comrade?" cried Roland,
when he was aware of the mishap. "A man wants no staff in such a
battle as this. 'Tis the steel and nothing else that he must have.
Where is your sword Hautclere, with its hilt of gold and its pommel
of crystal?" "On my word," said Oliver, "I have not had time to draw
it; I was so busy with striking." But as he spake he drew the good
sword from its scabbard, and smote a heathen knight, Justin of the
Iron Valley. A mighty blow it was, cleaving the man in twain down to
his saddle--aye, and the saddle itself with its adorning of gold and
jewels, and the very backbone also of the steed whereon he rode, so
that horse and man fell dead together on the plains. "Well done!"
cried Roland; "you are a true brother of mine. 'Tis such strokes as
this that make the King love us."

Nevertheless, for all the valour of Roland and his fellows the
battle went hard with the men of France. Many lances were shivered,
many flags torn, and many gallant youths cut off in their prime.
Never more would they see mother and wife. It was an ill deed that
the traitor Ganelon wrought when he sold his fellows to King

And now there befell a new trouble. King Almaris, with a great host
of heathen, coming by an unknown way, fell upon the rear of the host
where there was another pass. Fiercely did the noble Walter that
kept the same charge the newcomers, but they overpowered him and his
followers. He was wounded with four several lances, and four times
did he swoon, so that at the last he was constrained to leave the
field of battle, that he might call the Count Roland to his aid. But
small was the aid which Roland could give him or any one. Valiantly
he held up the battle, and with him Oliver, and Turpin the
Archbishop, and others also; but the lines of the men of France were
broken, and their armour thrust through, and then: spears shivered,
and their flags trodden in the dust. For all this they made such
slaughter among the heathen that King Almaris, who led the armies of
the enemy, scarcely could win back his way to his own people,
wounded in four places and sorely spent. A right good warrior was
he; had he but been a Christian but few had matched him in battle.

Count Roland saw how grievously his people had suffered and spake
thus to Oliver his comrade: "Dear comrade, you see how many brave
men lie dead upon the ground. Well may we mourn for fair France,
widowed as she is of so many valiant champions. But why is our King
not here? O Oliver, my brother, what shall we do to send him tidings
of our state?" "I know not," answered Oliver. "Only this I know--
that death is to be chosen rather than dishonour."

After a while Roland said again, "I shall blow my horn; King Charles
will hear it, where he has encamped beyond the passes, and he and
his host will come back." "That would be ill done," answered Oliver,
"and shame both you and your race. When I gave you this counsel you
would have none of it. Now I like it not. 'Tis not for a brave man
to sound the horn and cry for help now that we are in such case."
"The battle is too hard for us," said Roland again, "and I shall
sound my horn, that the King may hear." And Oliver answered again,
"When I gave you this counsel, you scorned it. Now I myself like it
not. 'Tis true that had the King been here, we had not suffered this
loss. But the blame is not his. 'Tis your folly, Count Roland, that
has done to death all these men of France. But for that we should
have conquered in this battle, and have taken and slain King
Marsilas. But now we can do nothing for France and the King. We can
but die. Woe is me for our country, aye, and for our friendship,
which will come to a grievous end this day."

The Archbishop perceived that the two friends were at variance, and
spurred his horse till he came where they stood. "Listen to me," he
said, "Sir Roland and Sir Oliver. I implore you not to fall out with
each other in this fashion. We, sons of France, that are in this
place, are of a truth condemned to death, neither will the sounding
of your horn save us, for the King is far away, and cannot come in
time. Nevertheless, I hold it to be well that you should sound it.
When the King and his army shall come, they will find us dead--that
I know full well. But they will avenge us, so that our enemies shall
not go away rejoicing. And they will also recover our bodies, and
will carry them away for burial in holy places, so that the dogs and
wolves shall not devour them."

"You say well," cried Roland, and he put his horn to his lips, and
gave so mighty a blast upon it, that the sound was heard thirty
leagues away. King Charles and his men heard it, and the King said,
"Our countrymen are fighting with the enemy." But Ganelon answered,
"Sire, had any but you so spoken, I had said that he spoke falsely."

Then Roland blew his horn a second time; with great pain and anguish
of body he blew it, and the red blood gushed from his lips; but the
sound was heard yet further than at first. Again the King heard it,
and all his nobles, and all his men. "That," said he, "is Roland's
horn; he never had sounded it were he not in battle with the enemy."
But Ganelon answered again: "Believe me, Sire, there is no battle.
You are an old man, and you have the fancies of a child. You know
what a mighty man of valour is this Roland. Think you that any one
would dare to attack him? No one, of a truth. Ride on, Sire, why
halt you here? The fair land of France is yet far away."

Roland blew his horn a third time, and when the King heard it he
said, "He that blew that horn drew a deep breath." And Duke Naymes
cried out, "Roland is in trouble; on my conscience he is fighting
with the enemy. Some one has betrayed him; 'tis he, I doubt not,
that would deceive you now. To arms, Sire! utter your war-cry, and
help your own house and your country. You have heard the cry of the
noble Roland."

Then King Charles bade all the trumpets sound, and forthwith all the
men of France armed themselves, with helmets, and hauberks, and
swords with pummels of gold. Mighty were their shields, and their
lances strong, and the flags that they carried were white and red
and blue. And when they made an end of their arming they rode back
with all haste. There was not one of them but said to his comrade,
"If we find Roland yet alive, what mighty strokes will we strike for

But Ganelon the King handed over to the knaves of his kitchen. "Take
this traitor," said he, "who has sold his country." Ill did Ganelon
fare among them. They pulled out his hair and his beard and smote
him with their staves; then they put a great chain, such as that
with which a bear is bound, about his neck, and made him fast to a

This done, the King and his army hastened with all speed to the help
of Roland. In the van and the rear sounded the trumpets as though
they would answer Roland's horn. Full of wrath was King Charles as
he rode; full of wrath were all the men of France. There was not one
among them but wept and sobbed; there was not one but prayed, "Now,
may God keep Roland alive till we come to the battlefield, so that
we may strike a blow for him." Alas! it was all in vain; they could
not come in time for all their speed.

Count Roland looked round on the mountain-sides and on the plains.
Alas! how many noble sons of France he saw lying dead upon them!
"Dear friends," he said, weeping as he spoke, "may God have mercy on
you and receive you into His Paradise! More loyal followers have I
never seen. How is the fair land of France widowed of her bravest,
and I can give you no help. Oliver, dear comrade, we must not part.
If the enemy slay me not here, surely I shall be slain by sorrow.
Come then, let us smite these heathen."

Thus did Roland again charge the enemy, his good sword Durendal in
his hand; as the stag flies before the hounds, so did the heathen
fly before Roland. "By my faith," cried the Archbishop when he saw
him, "that is a right good knight! Such courage, and such a steed,
and such arms I love well to see. If a man be not brave and a stout
fighter, he had better by far be a monk in some cloister where he
may pray all day long for our sins."

Now the heathen, when they saw how few the Frenchmen were, took
fresh courage. And the Caliph, spurring his horse, rode against
Oliver and smote him in the middle of his back, making his spear
pass right through him. "That is a shrewd blow," he cried; "I have
avenged my friends and countrymen upon you."

Then Oliver knew he was stricken to death, but he would not fall
unavenged. With his great sword Hautclere he smote the Caliph on his
head and cleft it to the teeth. "Curse on you, pagan. Neither your
wife nor any woman in the land of your birth shall boast that you
have taken a penny's worth from King Charles!" But to Roland he
cried, "Come, comrade, help me; well I know that we two shall part
in great sorrow this day."

Roland came with all speed, and saw his friend, how he lay all pale
and fainting on the ground and how the blood gushed in great streams
from his wound. "I know not what to do," he cried. "This is an ill
chance that has befallen you. Truly France is bereaved of her
bravest son." So saying he went near to swoon in the saddle as he
sat. Then there befell a strange thing. Oliver had lost so much of
his blood that he could not any more see clearly or know who it was
that was near him. So he raised up his arm and smote with all his
strength that yet remained to him on the helmet of Roland his
friend. The helmet he cleft in twain to the visor; but by good
fortune it wounded not the head. Roland looked at him and said in a
gentle voice, "Did you this of set purpose? I am Roland your friend,
and have not harmed you." "Ah!" said Oliver, "I hear you speak, but
I cannot see you. Pardon me that I struck you; it was not done of
set purpose." "It harmed me not," answered Roland; "with all my
heart and before God I forgive you." And this was the way these two
friends parted at the last.

And now Oliver felt the pains of death come over him. He could no
longer see nor hear. Therefore he turned his thoughts to making his
peace with God, and clasping his hands lifted them to heaven and
made his confession. "O Lord," he said, "take me into Paradise. And
do Thou bless King Charles and the sweet land of France." And when
he had said thus he died. And Roland looked at him as he lay. There
was not upon earth a more sorrowful man than he. "Dear comrade," he
said, "this is indeed an evil day. Many a year have we two been
together. Never have I done wrong to you; never have you done wrong
to me. How shall I bear to live without you?" And he swooned where
he sat on his horse. But the stirrup held him up that he did not
fall to the ground.

When Roland came to himself he looked about him and saw how great
was the calamity that had befallen his army. For now there were left
alive to him two only, Turpin the Archbishop and Walter of Hum.
Walter had but that moment come down from the hills where he had
been fighting so fiercely with the heathen that all his men were
dead; now he cried to Roland for help. "Noble Count, where are you?
I am Walter of Hum, and am not unworthy to be your friend. Help me
therefore. For see how my spear is broken and my shield cleft in
twain, my hauberk is in pieces, and my body sorely wounded. I am
about to die; but I have sold my life at a great price." When Roland
heard him cry he set spurs to his horse and galloped to him.
"Walter," said he, "you are a brave warrior and a trustworthy. Tell
me now where are the thousand valiant men whom you took from my
army. They were right good soldiers, and I am in sore need of them."

"They are dead," answered Walter; "you will see them no more. A sore
battle we had with the Saracens yonder on the hills; they had the
men of Canaan there and the men of Armenia and the Giants; there
were no better men in their army than these. We dealt with them so
that they will not boast themselves of this day's work. But it cost
us dear; all the men of France lie dead on the plain, and I am
wounded to the death. And now, Roland, blame me not that I fled; for
you are my lord, and all my trust is in you."

"I blame you not," said Roland, "only as long as you live help me
against the heathen." And as he spake he took his cloak and rent it
into strips and bound up Walter's wounds therewith. This done he and
Walter and the Archbishop set fiercely on the enemy. Five-and-twenty
did Roland slay, and Walter slew six, and the Archbishop five. Three
valiant men of war they were; fast and firm they stood one by the
other; hundreds there were of the heathen, but they dared not come
near to these three valiant champions of France. They stood far off,
and cast at the three spears and darts and javelins and weapons of
every kind. Walter of Hum was slain forthwith; and the Archbishop's
armour was broken, and he wounded, and his horse slain under him.
Nevertheless he lifted himself from the ground, still keeping a good
heart in his breast. "They have not overcome me yet"; said he, "as
long as a good soldier lives, he does not yield."

Roland took his horn once more and sounded it, for he would know
whether King Charles were coming. Ah me! it was a feeble blast that
he blew. But the King heard it, and he halted and listened. "My
lords!" said he, "things go ill for us, I doubt not. To-day we shall
lose, I fear me much, my brave nephew Roland. I know by the sound of
his horn that he has but a short time to live. Put your horses to
their full speed, if you would come in time to help him, and let a
blast be sounded by every trumpet that there is in the army." So all
the trumpets in the host sounded a blast; all the valleys and hills
re-echoed with the sound; sore discouraged were the heathen when
they heard it. "King Charles has come again," they cried; "we are
all as dead men. When he comes he shall not find Roland alive." Then
four hundred of them, the strongest and most valiant knights that
were in the army of the heathen, gathered themselves into one
company, and made a yet fiercer assault on Roland.

Roland saw them coming, and waited for them without fear. So long as
he lived he would not yield himself to the enemy or give place to
them. "Better death than flight," said he, as he mounted his good
steed Veillantif, and rode towards the enemy. And by his side went
Turpin the Archbishop on foot. Then said Roland to Turpin, "I am on
horseback and you are on foot. But let us keep together; never will
I leave you; we two will stand against these heathen dogs. They have
not, I warrant, among them such a sword as Durendal." "Good,"
answered the Archbishop. "Shame to the man who does not smite his
hardest. And though this be our last battle, I know well that King
Charles will take ample vengeance for us."

When the heathen saw these two stand together they fell back in fear
and hurled at them spears and darts and javelins without number.
Roland's shield they broke and his hauberk; but him they hurt not;
nevertheless they did him a grievous injury, for they killed his
good steed Veillantif. Thirty wounds did Veillantif receive, and he
fell dead under his master. At last the Archbishop was stricken and
Roland stood alone, for the heathen had fled from his presence.

When Roland saw that the Archbishop was dead, his heart was sorely
troubled in him. Never did he feel a greater sorrow for comrade
slain, save Oliver only. "Charles of France," he said, "come as
quickly as you may, many a gallant knight have you lost in
Roncesvalles. But King Marsilas, on his part, has lost his army. For
one that has fallen on this side there has fallen full forty on
that." So saying he turned to the Archbishop; he crossed the dead
man's hands upon his breast and said, "I commit thee to the Father's
mercy. Never has man served his God with a better will, never since
the beginning of the world has there lived a sturdier champion of
the faith. May God be good to you and give you all good things!"

Now Roland felt that his own death was near at hand. In one hand he
took his horn, and in the other his good sword Durendal, and made
his way the distance of a furlong or so till he came to a plain, and
in the midst of the plain a little hill. On the top of the hill in
the shade of two fair trees were four marble steps. There Roland
fell in a swoon upon the grass. There a certain Saracen spied him.
The fellow had feigned death, and had laid himself down among the
slain, having covered his body and his face with blood. When he saw
Roland, he raised himself from where he was lying among the slain
and ran to the place, and, being full of pride and fury, seized the
Count in his arms, crying aloud, "He is conquered, he is conquered,
he is conquered, the famous nephew of King Charles! See, here is his
sword; 'tis a noble spoil that I shall carry back with me to
Arabia." Thereupon he took the sword in one hand, with the other he
laid hold of Roland's beard. But as the man laid hold, Roland came
to himself, and knew that some one was taking his sword from him. He
opened his eyes but not a word did he speak save this only, "Fellow,
you are none of ours," and he smote him a mighty blow upon his
helmet. The steel he brake through and the head beneath, and laid
the man dead at his feet. "Coward," he said, "what made you so bold
that you dared lay hands on Roland? Whosoever knows him will think
you a fool for your deed."

And now Roland knew that death was near at hand. He raised himself
and gathered all his strength together--ah me! how pale his face
was!--and took in his hand his good sword Durendal. Before him was a
great rock and on this in his rage and pain he smote ten mighty
blows. Loud rang the steel upon the stone; but it neither brake nor
splintered. "Help me," he cried, "O Mary, our Lady. O my good sword,
my Durendal, what an evil lot is mine! In the day when I must part
with you, my power over you is lost. Many a battle I have won with
your help; and many a kingdom have I conquered, that my Lord Charles
possesses this day. Never has any one possessed you that would fly
before another. So long as I live, you shall not be taken from me,
so long have you been in the hands of a loyal knight."

Then he smote a second time with the sword, this time upon the
marble steps. Loud rang the steel, but neither brake nor splintered.
Then Roland began to bemoan himself, "O my good Durendal," he said,
"how bright and clear thou art, shining as shines the sun! Well I
mind me of the day when a voice that seemed to come from heaven bade
King Charles give thee to a valiant captain; and forthwith the good
King girded it on my side. Many a land have I conquered with thee
for him, and now how great is my grief! Can I die and leave thee to
be handled by some heathen?" And the third time he smote a rock with
it. Loud rang the steel, but it brake not, bounding back as though
it would rise to the sky. And when Count Roland saw that he could
not break the sword, he spake again but with more content in his
heart. "O Durendal," he said, "a fair sword art thou, and holy as
fair. There are holy relics in thy hilt, relics of St. Peter and St.
Denis and St. Basil. These heathen shall never possess thee; nor
shalt thou be held but by a Christian hand."

And now Roland knew that death was very near to him. He laid himself
down with his head upon the grass putting under him his horn and his
sword, with his face turned towards the heathen foe. Ask you why he
did so? To shew, forsooth, to Charlemagne and the men of France that
he died in the midst of victory. This done he made a loud confession
of his sins, stretching his hand to heaven. "Forgive me, Lord," he
cried, "my sins, little and great, all that I have committed since
the day of my birth to this hour in which I am stricken to death."
So he prayed; and, as he lay, he thought of many things, of the
countries which he had conquered, and of his dear Fatherland France,
and of his kinsfolk, and of the good King Charles. Nor, as he
thought, could he keep himself from sighs and tears; yet one thing
he remembered beyond all others--to pray for forgiveness of his
sins. "O Lord," he said, "Who art the God of truth, and didst save
Daniel Thy prophet from the lions, do Thou save my soul and defend
it against all perils!" So speaking he raised his right hand, with
the gauntlet yet upon it, to the sky, and his head fell back upon
his arm and the angels carried him to heaven. So died the great
Count Roland.



We now come to the great King Alfred, the best and greatest of all
English Kings. We know quite enough of his history to be able to say
that he really deserves to be so called, though I must warn you
that, just because he left so great a name behind him, people have
been fond of attributing to him things which really belonged to
others. Thus you may sometimes see nearly all English laws and
customs attributed to Alfred, as if he had invented them all for
himself. You will sometimes hear that Alfred founded Trial by Jury,
divided England into Counties, and did all kinds of other things.
Now the real truth is that the roots and beginnings of most of these
things are very much older than the time of Alfred, while the
particular forms in which we have them now are very much later. But
people have a way of fancying that everything must have been
invented by some particular man, and as Alfred was more famous than
anybody else, they hit upon Alfred as the most likely person to have
invented them.

But, putting aside fables, there is quite enough to show that there
have been very few Kings, and very few men of any sort, so great and
good as King Alfred. Perhaps the only equally good King we read of
is Saint Louis of France; and though he was quite as good, we cannot
set him down as being so great and wise as Alfred. Certainly no King
ever gave himself up more thoroughly than Alfred did fully to do the
duties of his office. His whole life seems to have been spent in
doing all that he could for the good of his people in every way. And
it is wonderful in how many ways his powers showed themselves. That
he was a brave warrior is in itself no particular praise in an age
when almost every man was the same. But it is a great thing for a
prince so large a part of whose time was spent in fighting to be
able to say that all his wars were waged to set free his country
from the most cruel enemies.

And we may admire too the wonderful way in which he kept his mind
always straight and firm, never either giving way to bad luck or
being puffed up by good luck. We read of nothing like pride or
cruelty or injustice of any kind either towards his own people or
towards his enemies. And if he was a brave warrior, he was many
other things besides. He was a lawgiver; at least he collected and
arranged the laws, and caused them to be most carefully
administered. He was a scholar, and wrote and translated many books
for the good of his people. He encouraged trade and enterprise of
all kinds, and sent men to visit distant parts of the world, and
bring home accounts of what they saw. And he was a thoroughly good
man and a devout Christian in all relations of life. In short, one
hardly knows any other character in all history so perfect; there is
so much that is good in so many different ways; and though no doubt
Alfred had his faults like other people, yet he clearly had none, at
any rate in the greater part of his life, which took away at all
seriously from his general goodness. One wonders that such a man was
never canonized as a Saint; most certainly many people have received
that name who did not deserve it nearly so well as he did.

Alfred, or, as his name should really be spelled, Aelfred,
[Footnote: That is, the rede or councel of the elves. A great many
Old-English names are called after the elves or fairies.] was the
youngest son of King Aethelwulf, and was born at Wantage in
Berkshire in 849. His mother was Osburh daughter of Oslac the King's
cup-bearer, who came of the royal house of the Jutes in Wight. Up to
the age of twelve years Alfred was fond of hunting and other sports
but he had not been taught any sort of learning, not so much as to
read his own tongue. But he loved the old English songs; and one day
his mother had a beautiful book of songs with rich pictures and fine
painted initial letters, such as you may often see in ancient books.
And she said to her children, "I will give this beautiful book to
the one of you who shall first be able to read it." And Alfred said,
"Mother, will you really give me the book when I have learned to
read it?" And Osburh said, "Yes, my son." So Alfred went and found a
master, and soon learned to read. Then he came to his mother, and
read the songs in the beautiful book and took the book for his own.

In 868, when he was in his twentieth year, while his brother
Aethelred was King, Alfred married. His wife's name was Ealhswyth;
she was the daughter of Aethelred called the Mickle or Big, Alderman
of the Gainas in Lincolnshire, and her mother Eadburh was of the
royal house of the Mercians. It is said that on the very day of his
marriage he was smitten with a strange disease, which for twenty
years never quite left him, and fits of which might come on at any
time. If this be true, it makes all the great things that he did
even more wonderful.

Meanwhile the great Danish invasion had begun in the northern parts
of England. There are many stories told in the old Northern Songs as
to the cause of it. Some tell how Ragnar Lodbrog, a great hero of
these Northern tales, was seized by Aella, King of the
Northumbrians, and was thrown into a dungeon full of serpents, and
how, while he was dying of the bites of the serpents, he sang a
wonderful death-song, telling of all his old fights, and calling on
his sons to come and avenge him. The year 871 the Danes for the
first time entered Wessex. Nine great battles, besides smaller
skirmishes, were fought this year, in some of which the English won
and in others the Danes. One famous battle was at Ashdown, in
Berkshire. We are told that the heathen men were in two divisions;
one was commanded by their two Kings Bagsecg and Halfdene, and the
other by five Earls, Sidroc the Old, Sidroc the Young, Osbeorn,
Fraena, and Harold. And King Aethelred was set against the Kings and
Alfred the Aetheling against the Earls. And the heathen men came on
against them. But King Aethelred heard mass in his tent. And men
said, "Come forth, O King, to the fight, for the heathen men press
hard upon us." And King Aethelred said, "I will serve God first and
man after, so I will not come forth till all the words of the mass
be ended." So King Aethelred abode praying, and the heathen men
fought against Alfred the Aetheling. And Alfred said, "I cannot
abide till the King my brother comes forth; I must either flee, or
fight alone with the heathen men." So Alfred the Aetheling and his
men fought against the five Earls. Now the heathen men stood on the
higher ground and the Christians on the lower. Yet did Alfred go
forth trusting in God, and he made his men hold close together with
their shields, and they went forth like a wild boar against the
hounds. And they fought against the heathen men and smote them, and
slew the five Earls, Sidroc the Old, Sidroc the Young, Osbeorn,
Fraena, and Harold. Then the mass was over, and King Aethelred came
forth and fought against the two Kings, and slew Bagsecg the King
with his own hand and smote the heathen men with a great slaughter
and chased them even unto Reading.

In 871, on Aethelred's death, Alfred became King of the West-Saxons
and Over-lord of all England, as his father had appointed so long
before with the consent of his Wise Men.

The Danes did not come again into Wessex till 876. But though the
West-Saxons had no fighting by land during these years, things were
not quite quiet, for in 875 King Alfred had a fight at sea against
some of the Danish pirates. This sea-fight is worth remembering as
being, I suppose, the first victory won by the Englishmen at sea,
where Englishmen have since won so many victories. King Alfred then
fought against seven Danish ships, of which he took one and put the
rest to flight. It is somewhat strange that we do not hear more than
we do of warfare by sea in these times, especially when we remember
how in earlier times the Angles and Saxons had roved about in their
ships, very much as the Danes and other Northmen were doing now. It
would seem that the English, after they settled in Britain, almost
left off being a seafaring people. We find Alfred and other Kings
doing what they could to keep up a fleet and to stir up a naval
spirit among their people. And in some degree they did so; still we
do not find the English, for a long while after this time, doing
nearly so much by sea as they did by land. This was a pity; for
ships might then, as in later times, have been wooden walls. It is
much better to meet an enemy at sea, and to keep him from landing in
your country, than to let him land, even if you can beat him when he
has landed.

But in 876 the Danes came again into Wessex; and we thus come to the
part of Alfred's life which is at once the saddest and the
brightest. It is the time when his luck was lowest and when his
spirit was highest. The army under Guthorm or Guthrum, the Danish
King of East-Anglia, came suddenly to Wareham in Dorsetshire. The
Chronicle says that they "bestole"--that is, came secretly or
escaped--from the West-Saxon army, which seems to have been waiting
for them. This time Alfred made peace with the Danes, and they gave
him some of their chief men for hostages, and they swore to go out
of the land. They swore this on the holy bracelet, which was the
most solemn oath in use among the heathen Northmen, and on which
they had never before sworn at any of the times when they had made
peace with the English. But they did not keep their oath any better
for taking it in this more solemn way. The part of the host which
had horses "bestole away." King Alfred rode after the Danish horse
as far as Exeter, but he did not overtake them till they had got
there, and were safe in the stronghold. Then they made peace,
swearing oaths, and giving as many hostages as the King asked for.

And now we come to the terrible year 878, the greatest and saddest
and most glorious in all Alfred's life. In the very beginning of the
year, just after Twelfth-night, the Danish host again came suddenly-
-"bestole" as the Chronicle says--to Chippenham. Then "they rode
through the West-Saxons' land, and there sat down, and mickle of the
folk over the sea they drove, and of the others the most deal they
rode over; all but the King Alfred; he with a little band hardly
fared [went] after the woods and on the moor-fastnesses." This time
of utter distress lasted only a very little while, for in a few
months Alfred was again at the head of an army and able to fight
against the Danes.

It was during this trouble that Alfred stayed in the hut of a
neatherd or swineherd of his, who knew who he was, though his wife
did not know him. One day the woman set some cakes to bake, and bade
the King, who was sitting by the fire mending his bow and arrows, to
tend them. Alfred thought more of his bow and arrows than he did of
the cakes, and let them burn. Then the woman ran in and cried out,
"There, don't you see the cakes on fire? Then wherefore turn them
not? You are glad enough to eat them when they are piping hot."

We are told that this swineherd or neatherd afterwards became Bishop
of Winchester. They say that his name was Denewulf, and that the
King saw that, though he was in so lowly a rank, he was naturally a
very wise man. So he had him taught, and at last gave him the

I do not think that I can do better than tell you the next happening
to Alfred, as it is in the Chronicle, only changing those words
which you might not understand.

"And that ilk [same] winter was Iwer's and Healfdene's brother among
the West-Saxons in Devonshire; and him there men slew and eight
hundred men with him and forty men of his host. And there was the
banner taken which they the Raven hight [call]. And after this
Easter wrought King Alfred with his little band a work [fortress] at
Athelney, and out of that work was he striving with the [Danish]
host, and the army sold [gave] him hostages and mickle oaths, and
eke they promised him that their King should receive baptism. And
this they fulfilled. And three weeks after came King Guthrum with
thirty of the men that in the host were worthiest, at Aller, that is
near Athelney. And him the King received at his baptism, [Footnote:
That is, was his godfather.] and his chrisom-loosing [Footnote: That
is, he laid aside the chrisom or white garment which a newly
baptised person wore.] was at Wedmore. And he was twelve nights with
the King, and he honoured him and his feres [companions] with mickle
fee [money]."

Thus you see how soon King Alfred's good luck came back to him
again. The Raven was a famous banner of the Danes, said to have been
worked by the daughters of Ragnar Lodbrog. It was thought to have
wonderful powers, so that they could tell by the way in which the
raven held his wings whether they would win or not in battle.

You see the time of utter distress lasted only from soon after
Twelfth-night to Easter, and even during that time the taking of the
Raven must have cheered the English a good deal. After Easter things
began to mend, when Alfred built his fort at Athelney and began to
skirmish with the Danes, and seven weeks later came the great
victory at Ethandun, which set Wessex free. Some say that the white
horse which is cut in the side of the chalk hills near Edington was
cut then, that men might remember the great battle of Ethandun. But
it has been altered in modern times to make it look more like a real

All this time Alfred seems to have kept his headquarters at
Athelney. Thence they went to Wedmore. There the Wise Men came
together, and Alfred and Guthorm (or, to give him the name by which
he was baptised, Aethelstan) made a treaty. This treaty was very
much better kept than any treaty with the Danes had ever been kept
before. The Danes got much the larger part of England; still Alfred
contrived to keep London. Some accounts say that only those of the
Danes stayed in England who chose to become Christians, and that the
rest went away into Gaul under a famous leader of theirs named
Hasting. Anyhow, in 880 they went quite away into what was now their
own land of East-Anglia, and divided it among themselves. Thus
Alfred had quite freed his own Kingdom from the Danes, though he was
obliged to leave so much of the island in their hands. And even
through all these misfortunes, the Kingdom of Wessex did in some
sort become greater. Remember that in 880, when Alfred had done so
many great things, he was still only thirty-one years old.

We can see how much people always remembered and thought of Alfred,
by there being many more stories told of him than of almost any
other of the old Kings. One story is that Alfred, wishing to know
what the Danes were about and how strong they were, set out one day
from Athelney in the disguise of a minstrel or juggler, and went
into the Danish camp, and stayed there several days, amusing the
Danes with his playing, till he had seen all that he wanted, and
then went back without any one finding him out. This is what you may
call a soldier's story, while some of the others are rather what
monks and clergymen would like to tell. Thus there is a tale which
is told in a great many different ways, but of which the following
is the oldest shape.

"Now King Alfred was driven from his Kingdom by the Danes, and he
lay hid for three years in the isle of Glastonbury. And it came to
pass on a day that all his folk were gone out to fish, save only
Alfred himself and his wife and one servant whom he loved. And there
came a pilgrim to the King, and begged for food. And the King said
to his servant, 'What food have we in the house?' And his servant
answered, 'My Lord, we have in the house but one loaf and a little
wine.' Then the King gave thanks to God, and said, 'Give half of the
loaf and half of the wine to this poor pilgrim.' So the servant did
as his lord commanded him, and gave to the pilgrim half of the loaf
and half of the wine, and the pilgrim gave great thanks to the King.
And when the servant returned, he found the loaf whole, and the wine
as much as there had been aforetime. And he greatly wondered, and he
wondered also how the pilgrim had come into the isle, for that no
man could come there save by water, and the pilgrim had no boat. And
the King greatly wondered also. And at the ninth hour came back the
folk who had gone to fish. And they had three boats full of fish,
and they said, 'Lo, we have caught more fish this day than in all
the three years that we have tarried in this island.' And the King
was glad, and he and his folk were merry; yet he pondered much upon
that which had come to pass. And when night came, the King went to
his bed with Ealhswyth his wife. And the Lady slept, but the King
lay awake and thought of all that had come to pass by day. And
presently he saw a great light, like the brightness of the sun, and
he saw an old man with black hair, clothed in priest's garments, and
with a mitre on his head, and holding in his right hand a book of
the Gospels adorned with gold and gems. And the old man blessed the
King, and the King said unto him, 'Who art thou?' And he answered,
'Alfred, my son, rejoice; for I am he to whom thou didst this day
give thine alms, and I am called Cuthberht the soldier of Christ.
Now be strong and very courageous, and be of joyful heart, and
hearken diligently to the things which I say unto thee; for
henceforth I will be thy shield and thy friend, and I will watch
over thee and over thy sons after thee. And now I will tell thee
what thou must do. Rise up early in the morning, and blow thine horn
thrice, that thy enemies may hear it and fear, and by the ninth hour
thou shalt have around thee five hundred men harnassed for the
battle. And this shall be a sign unto thee that thou mayest believe.
And after seven days thou shalt have by God's gift and my help all
the folk of this land gathered unto thee upon the mount that is
called Assandun. And thus shalt thou fight against thine enemies,
and doubt not that thou shalt overcome them. Be thou therefore glad
of heart, and be strong and very courageous, and fear not, for God
hath given thine enemies into thine hand. And He hath given thee
also all this land and the Kingdom of thy fathers, to thee and to
thy sons and to thy sons' sons after thee. Be thou faithful to me
and to my folk, because that unto thee is given all the land of
Albion. Be thou righteous, because thou art chosen to be the King of
all Britain. So may God be merciful unto thee, and I will be thy
friend, and none of thine enemies shall ever be able to overcome
thee.' Then was King Alfred glad at heart, and he was strong and
very courageous, for that he knew that he would overcome his enemies
by the help of God and Saint Cuthberht his patron. So in the morning
he arose, and sailed to the land, and blew his horn three times, and
when his friends heard it they were glad, and when his enemies heard
it they feared. And by the ninth hour, according to the word of the
Lord, there were gathered unto him five hundred men of the bravest
and dearest of his friends. And he spake unto them and told them all
that God had said unto him by the mouth of his servant Cuthberht,
and he told them that, by the gift of God and by the help of Saint
Cuthberht, they would overcome their enemies and win back their own
land. And he bade them as Saint Cuthberht had taught him, to fear
God alway and to be alway righteous toward all men. And he bade his
son Edward who was by him to be faithful to God and Saint Cuthberht,
and so he should alway have the victory over his enemies. So they
went forth to battle and smote their enemies and overcame them, and
King Alfred took the Kingdom of all Britain, and he ruled well and
wisely over the just and the unjust for the rest of his days."

Now is there any truth in all this story? I think there is thus
much, that Alfred, for some reason or other, thought he was under
the special protection of Saint Cuthberht. For several years after
880 there was peace in the land, and for a good many more years
still there was much less fighting than there had been before. It
was no doubt at this time that Alfred was able to do all those
things for the good of his people of which we hear so much. He had
now more time than either before or after for making his laws,
writing his books, founding his monasteries, and doing all that he
did. You may wonder how he found time to do so much; but it was by
the only way by which anybody can do anything, namely, by never
wasting his time, and by having fixed times of the day for
everything. Alfred did not, like most other writers of that time,
write in Latin, so that hardly anybody but the clergy could read or
understand what he wrote. He loved our own tongue, and was
especially fond of the Old-English songs, and all that he wrote he
wrote in English that all his people might understand. His works
were chiefly translations from Latin books; what we should have
valued most of all, his notebook or handbook, containing his remarks
on various matters, is lost. He translated into English the History
of Basda, the History of Orosius, some of the works of Pope Gregory
the Great, and the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius. Perhaps
you will ask why he did not rather translate some of the great and
famous Greek and Latin writers of earlier times. Now we may be sure
that King Alfred did not understand Greek at all; very few people in
those days in the West of Europe knew any Greek, except those who
needed to use the language for dealing with the men in the Eastern
Empire who still spoke it. Indeed Alfred complains that, when he
came to the Crown, very few people, even among the clergy,
understood even Latin at all well. And as for Latin books, no doubt
Alfred thought that the writings of Christians would be more
edifying to his people than those of the old heathens. He chose the
History of Orosius, as a general history of the world, and that of
Basda, as a particular history of England. Boethius was a Roman
Consul in the beginning of the sixth century, who was put to death
by the great Theodoric, King of the East-Goths, who then ruled over
Italy. While he was in prison he wrote the book which King Alfred
translated. He seems not to have been a Christian; at least there is
not a single Christian expression in his book. But people fancied
that he was not only a Christian, but a saint and a martyr, most
likely because Theodoric, who put him to death, was not an orthodox
Christian, but an Arian. Alfred, in translating his books, did not
always care to translate them quite exactly, but he often altered
and put in things of his own, if he thought he could thus make them
more improving. So in translating Boethius, he altered a good deal,
to make the wise heathen speak like a Christian. So in translating
Orosius, where Orosius gives an account of the world, Alfred greatly
enlarged the account of all the northern part of Europe, of which
Alfred naturally knew much more than Orosius did.

Alfred was also very careful in the government of his Kingdom,
especially in seeing that justice was properly administered. So men
said of him in their songs, much as they had long before said of
King Edwin in Northumberland, that he hung up golden bracelets by
the roadside, and that no man dared to steal them. In his collection
of laws, he chiefly put in order the laws of the older Kings, not
adding many of his own, because he said that he did not know how
those who came after him might like them.

King Alfred was very attentive to religious matters, and gave great
alms to the poor and gifts to churches. He also founded two
monasteries; one was for nuns, at Shaftesbury in Dorsetshire, of
which he made his own daughter, Aethelgifu, abbess. The other was
for monks at Athelney; you can easily see why he should build it
there. He also sent several embassies to Rome, where he got Pope
Marinus to grant certain privileges to the English School at Rome;
the Pope also sent him what was thought to be a piece of the wood of
the True Cross, that on which our Lord Jesus Christ died. He also
sent an embassy to Jerusalem, and had letters from Abel the
Patriarch there. And what seems stranger than all, he sent an
embassy all the way to India, with alms for the Christians there,
called the Christians of Saint Thomas and Saint Bartholomew.

Lastly, there seems some reason to think that the Chronicle began to
be put together in its present shape in Alfred's time, and that it
was regularly gone on with afterward, so that from the time of
Alfred onward we have a history which was regularly written down as
things happened.

All these things happened mainly in the middle years of the reign of
Alfred, when there was so much less fighting than there was before
and after, and when some years seem to have been quite peaceable.
Guthorm Aethelstan and his Danes in East-Anglia were for some years
true to the treaty of Wedmore, and the other Danes seem just now to
have been busy in invading Gaul and other parts of the continent
rather than England. Also King Alfred had now got a fleet, so that
he often met them at sea and kept them from landing. This he did in
882, and we do not find that any Danes landed again in England till
885. In that year part of the army which had been plundering along
the coast of Flanders and Holland came over to England, landed in
Kent, and besieged Rochester. But the citizens withstood them
bravely, and Alfred gathered an army and drove the Danes to their
ships. They seem then to have gone to Essex and to have plundered
there with their ships, getting help from the Danes who were settled
in East-Anglia, or at least from such of them as still were
heathens. Alfred's fleet however quite overcame them and took away
their treasure, but his fleet was again attacked and defeated by the
East-Anglian Danes. It would seem that in some part of this war
Guthorm Aethelstan was helped by Hrolf, otherwise called Rollo, the
great Northern chief.

The Danish wars began again in 893. For years now there was a great
deal of fighting. Two large bodies of Danes, one of them under the
famous chief Hasting, landed in Kent in 893 and fixed themselves in
fortresses which they built. And the Danes who had settled in
Northumberland and East-Anglia helped them, though they had all
sworn oaths to King Alfred, and those in East-Anglia had also given
hostages. There was fighting all over the south of England
throughout 894, and the King had to go constantly backward and
forward to keep up with the Danes. One time Alfred took a fort in
Kent, in which were the wife and two sons of Hasting. Now Hasting
had not long before given oaths and hostages to Alfred, and the two
boys had been baptised, the King being godfather to one of them and
Alderman Aethelred to the other. But Hasting did not at all keep to
his oath, but went on plundering all the same. Still, when the boys
and their mother were taken, Alfred would not do them any harm, but
gave them up again to Hasting.

In 897 we read that Alfred made some improvements in his ships.
"They were full-nigh twice as long as the others; some had sixty
oars, some more; they were both swifter and steadier and eke higher
than the others; they were neither on the Frisian shape nor on the
Danish, but as himself thought that they useful might be." These new
ships seem to have done good service, though one time they got
aground, seemingly because they were so large, and the Danes were
therefore able to sail out before them. These sea-fights along the
south coast were nearly the last things that we hear of in Alfred's
reign. The crews of two Danish ships were brought to Winchester to
Alfred and there hanged. One cannot blame him for this, as these
Danes were mere pirates, not engaged in any lawful war, and many of
them had been spared, and had made oaths to Alfred, and had broken
them, over and over again.

This was in 897; the rest of King Alfred's reign seems to have been
spent in peace. In 901 the great King died himself. He was then only
fifty-two years old. Alfred's wife, the Lady Ealhswyth, lived a
little while after her husband, till 903 or 905. King Alfred was
buried at Winchester in the New Minster which he himself began to
found and which was finished by his son Edward. It then stood close
to the Old Minster, that is, the cathedral church. Afterward it was
moved out of the city and was called Hyde Abbey. But you cannot see
King Alfred's grave there now, because everything has been
destroyed, and the bones of the great King have been turned out, to
make room for a prison.



Afterwards the Castillians arrived, and they kissed his hands in
homage, all, save only my Cid. And when King Don Alfonso saw that
the Cid did not do homage and kiss his hand, as all the other chief
persons had done, he said, "Since now ye have all received me for
your Lord, and given me authority over ye, I would know of the Cid
Ruydiez why he will not kiss my hand and acknowledge me; for I would
do something for him, as I promised unto my father King Don
Ferrando, when he commended him to me and to my brethren." And the
Cid arose and said, "Sir, all whom you see here present, suspect
that by your counsel the King Don Sancho your brother came to his
death; and therefore I say unto you that, unless you clear yourself
of this, as by right you should do, I will never kiss your hand, nor
receive you for my lord." Then said the King, "Cid, what you say
pleases me well; and here I swear to God and to St. Mary, that I
never slew him, nor took counsel for his death. And I beseech ye
therefore all, as friends and true vassals, that ye tell me how I
may clear myself." And the chiefs who were present said, that he and
twelve of the knights who came with him from Toledo, should make
this oath in the church at St. Gadea at Burgos, and that so he
should be cleared.

So the King and all his company took horse and went to Burgos. And
when the day appointed for the oath was come, the King came forward
upon a high stage that all the people might see him, and my Cid came
to him to receive the oath; and my Cid took the book of the Gospels
and opened it, and laid it upon the altar, and the King laid his
hands upon it, and the Cid said unto him, "King Don Alfonso, you
come here to swear concerning the death of King Don Sancho your
brother, that you neither slew him nor took counsel for his death;
say now you and these hidalgos, if ye swear this." And the King and
the hidalgos answered and said, "Yea, we swear it." And the Cid
said, "If ye knew of this thing, or gave command that it should be
done, may you die even such a death as your brother the King Don
Sancho, by the hand of a villain whom you trust; one who is not a
hidalgo, from another land, not a Castillian"; and the King and the
knights who were with him said "Amen." And the King's colour
changed; and the Cid repeated the oath unto him a second time, and
the King and the twelve knights said "Amen" to it in like manner,
and in like manner the countenance of the King was changed again.
And my Cid repeated the oath unto him a third time, and the King and
the knights said "Amen." But the wrath of the King was exceedingly
great, and he said to the Cid, "Ruydiez, why dost thou thus press
me, man? To-day thou swearest me, and to-morrow thou wilt kiss my
hand." And from that day forward there was no love toward my Cid in
the heart of the King.

After this King Don Alfonso assembled together all his power and
went against the Moors. And the Cid should have gone with him, but
he fell sick and perforce therefore abode at home. And while the
King was going through Andalusia, having the land at his mercy, a
great power of the Moors assembled together on the other side, and
entered the land, and did much evil. At this time the Cid was
gathering strength; and when he heard that the Moors were in the
country, laying waste before them, he gathered together what force
he could, and went after them; and the Moors, when they heard this,
began to fly. And the Cid followed them as far as Toledo, slaying
and burning, and plundering and destroying, and laying hands on all
whom he found, so that he brought back seven thousand prisoners, men
and women; and he and all his people returned rich and with great
honour. But when the King of Toledo heard of the hurt which he had
received at the hands of the Cid, he sent to King Don Alfonso to
complain thereof. And the King was greatly troubled. And he went
with all speed to Burgos, and sent from thence to bid the Cid come
unto him.

Now my Cid knew the evil disposition of the King toward him, and
when he received his bidding he made answer that he would meet him
between Burgos and Bivar. And the King went out from Burgos and came
nigh unto Bivar; and the Cid came up to him and would have kissed
his hand, but the King withheld it, and said angrily unto him,
"Ruydiez, quit my land." Then the Cid clapt spurs to the mule upon
which he rode, and vaulted into a piece of ground which was his own
inheritance, and answered, "Sir, I am not in your land, but in my
own." And the King replied full wrathfully, "Go out of my kingdoms
without any delay." And the Cid made answer, "Give me then thirty
days' time, as is the right of the hidalgos"; and the King said he
would not, but that if he were not gone in nine days' time he would
come and look for him. The counts were well pleased at this; but all
the people of the land were sorrowful. And then the King and the Cid
parted. And the Cid sent for all his friends and his kinsmen and
vassals, and told them how King Don Alfonso had banished him from
the land, and asked of them who would follow him into banishment,
and who would remain at home. Then Alvar Fanez, who was his cousin-
german, came forward and said, "Cid, we will all go with you,
through desert and through peopled country, and never fail you. In
your service will we spend our mules and horses, our wealth and our
parments, and ever while we live be unto you loyal friends and
vassals." And they all confirmed what Alvar Fanez had said; and the
Cid thanked them for their love, and said that there might come a
time in which he should guerdon them.

And as he was about to depart he looked back upon his own home, and
when he saw his hall deserted, the household chests unfastened, the
doors open, no cloaks hanging up, no seats in the porch, no hawks
upon the perches, the tears came into his eyes, and he said, "My
enemies have done this. God be praised for all things." And he
turned toward the East and knelt and said, "Holy Mary Mother, and
all Saints, pray to God for me, that He may give me strength to
destroy all the Pagans, and to win enough from them to requite my
friends therewith, and all those who follow and help me." Then he
called for Alvar Fanez and said unto him, "Cousin, the poor have no
part in the wrong which the King hath done us; see now that no wrong
be done unto them along our road," and he called for his horse.

My Cid Ruydiez entered Burgos, having sixty streamers in his
company. And men and women went forth to see him. and the men of
Burgos and the women of Burgos were at their windows, weeping, so
great was their sorrow; and they said with one accord, "God, how
good a vassal if he had but a good Lord!" and willingly would each
have bade him come in, but no one dared so to do. For King Don
Alfonso in his anger had sent letters to Burgos, saying that no man
should give the Cid a lodging; and that whosoever disobeyed should
lose all that he had, and moreover the eyes in his head. Great
sorrow had these Christian folk at this, and they hid themselves
when he came near them because they did not dare speak to him; and
my Cid went to his Posada, and when he came to the door he found it
fastened, for fear of the King. And his people called out with a
loud voice, but they within made no answer. And the Cid rode up to
the door, and took his foot out of the stirrup, and gave it a kick,
but the door did not open with it, for it was well secured. A little
girl of nine years old then came out of one of the houses and said
unto him, "O Cid, the King hath forbidden us to receive you. We dare
not open our doors to you, for we should lose our houses and all
that we have, and the eyes in our head. Cid, our evil would not help
you, but God and all His saints be with you." And when she had said
this she returned into the house. And when the Cid knew what the
King had done he turned away from the door and rode up to St.
Mary's, and there he alighted and knelt down, and prayed with all
his heart; and then he mounted again and rode out of the town and
pitched his tent near Arlanzon, upon the sands. My Cid Ruydiez, he
who in a happy hour first girt on his sword, took up his lodging
upon the sands, because there was none who would receive him within
their door. He had a good company round about him, and there he

Moreover the King had given orders that no food should be sold them
in Burgos, so that they could not buy even a pennyworth. But Martin
Antolinez, who was a good Burgalese, he supplied my Cid and all his
company with bread and wine abundantly. "Campeador," said he to the
Cid, "to-night we will rest here, and tomorrow we will be gone: I
shall be accused for what I have done in serving you, and shall be
in the King's displeasure; but following your fortunes, sooner or
later, the King will have me for his friend, and if not, I do not
care a fig for what I leave behind." Now this Martin Antolinez was
nephew unto the Cid, being the son of his brother, Ferrando Diaz.
And the Cid said unto him, "Martin Antolinez, you are a bold
lancier; if I live I will double you your pay. You see I have
nothing with me, and yet must provide for my companions. I will take
two chests and fill them with sand, and do you go in secret to
Rachel and Vidas, and tell them to come hither privately; for I
cannot take my treasures with me because of their weight, and will
pledge them in their hands. Let them come for the chests at night,
that no man may see them. God knows that I do this thing more of
necessity than of wilfulness; but by God's good help I shall redeem
all." Now Rachel and Vidas were rich Jews, from whom the Cid used to
receive money for his spoils. And Martin Antolinez went in quest of
them, and he passed through Burgos and entered into the Castle; and
when he saw them he said, "Ah Rachel and Vidas, my dear friends! now
let me speak with ye in secret." And they three went apart. And he
said to them, "Give me your hands that you will not discover me,
neither to Moor nor Christian! I will make you rich men for ever.
The Campeador went for the tribute and he took great wealth, and
some of it he has kept for himself. He has two chests full of gold;
ye know that the King is in anger against him, and he cannot carry
these away with him without their being seen. He will leave them
therefore in your hands, and you shall lend him money upon them,
swearing with great oaths and upon your faith, that ye will not open
them till a year be past." Rachel and Vidas took counsel together
and answered, "We well knew he got something when he entered the
land of the Moors; he who has treasures does not sleep without
suspicion; we will take the chests, and place them where they shall
not be seen. But tell us with what will the Cid be contented, and
what gain will he give us for the year?" Martin Antolinez answered
like a prudent man, "My Cid requires what is reasonable; he will ask
but little to leave his treasures in safety. Men come to him from
all parts. He must have six hundred marks." And the Jews said, "We
will advance him so much." "Well then," said Martin Antolinez, "ye
see that the night is advancing; the Cid is in haste, give us the
marks." "This is not the way of business," said they; "we must take
first, and then give." "Ye say well," replied the Burgalese: "come
then to the Campeador, and we will help you to bring away the
chests, so that neither Moors nor Christians may see us." So they
went to horse and rode out together, and they did not cross the
bridge, but rode through the water that no man might see them, and
they came to the tent of the Cid.

Meantime the Cid had taken two chests, which were covered with
leather of red and gold, and the nails which fastened down the
leather were well gilt; they were ribbed with bands of iron, and
each fastened with three locks; they were heavy, and he filled them
with sand. And when Rachel and Vidas entered his tent with Martin
Antolinez, they kissed his hand; and the Cid smiled and said to
them, "Ye see that I am going out of the land, because of the King's
displeasure; but I shall leave something with ye." And they made
answer, "Martin Antolinez has covenanted with us, that we shall give
you six hundred marks upon these chests, and keep them a full year,
swearing not to open them till that time be expired, else shall we
be perjured." "Take the chests," said Martin Antolinez; "I will go
with you, and bring back the marks, for my Cid must move before
cock-crow." So they took the chests, and though they were both
strong men they could not raise them from the ground; and they were
full glad of the bargain which they had made. And Rachel then went
to the Cid and kissed his hand and said, "Now, Campeador, you are
going from Castille among strange nations, and your gain will be
great, even as your fortune is. I kiss your hand, Cid, and have a
gift for you, a red skin; it is Moorish and honourable." And the Cid
laid, "It pleases me: give it me if ye have brought it; if not,
reckon it upon the chests." And they departed with the chests, and
Martin Antolinez and his people helped them, and went with them. And
when they had placed the chests in safety, they spread a carpet in
the middle of the hall, and laid a sheet upon it, and they threw
down upon it three hundred marks of silver. Don Martin counted them,
and took them without weighing. The other three hundred they paid in

When Martin Antolinez came into the Cid's tent he said unto him, "I
have sped well, Campeador! you have gained six hundred marks. Now
then strike your tent and be gone. The time draws on, and you may be
with your Lady Wife at St. Pedro de Cardena, before the cock crows."

The cocks were crowing again, and the day began to break, when the
good Campeador reached St. Pedro's. The Abbot Don Sisebuto was
saying matins, and Dona Ximena and five of her ladies of good
lineage were with him, praying to God and St. Peter to help my Cid.
And when he called at the gate and they knew his voice, God, what a
joyful man was the Abbot Don Sisebuto! Out into the courtyard they
went with torches and with tapers, and the Abbot gave thanks to God
that he now beheld the face of my Cid. And the Cid told him all that
had befallen him, and how he was a banished man; and he gave him
fifty marks for himself, and a hundred for Dona Ximena and her
children. "Abbot," said he, "I leave two little girls behind me,
whom I commend to your care. Take you care of them and of my wife
and of her ladies: when this money be gone, if it be not enough,
supply them abundantly; for every mark which you spend upon them I
will give the monastery four." And the Abbot promised to do this
with a right good will. Then Dona Ximena came up weeping bitterly,
and she said to her husband, "Lo now you are banished from the land
by mischief-making men, and here am I with your daughters, who are
little ones and of tender years, and we and you must be parted, even
in your lifetime. For the love of St. Mary tell me now what we shall
do." And the Cid took the children in his arms, and held them to his
heart and wept, for he dearly loved them. "Please God and St. Mary,"
said he, "I shall yet live to give these my daughters in marriage
with my own hands, and to do you service yet, my honoured wife, whom
I have ever loved, even as my own soul." Now hath my Cid left the
kingdom of King Don Alfonso, and entered the country of the Moors.
And at day-break they were near the brow of the Sierra, and they
halted there upon the top of the mountains, and gave barley to their
horses, and remained there until evening. And they set forward when
the evening had closed, that none might see them, and continued
their way all night, and before dawn they came near to Castrejon,
which is upon the Henares. And Alvar Fanez said unto the Cid, that
he would take with him two hundred horsemen, and scour the country
and lay hands on whatever he could find, without fear either of King
Alfonso or of the Moors. And he counselled him to remain in ambush
where he was, and surprise the castle of Castrejon: and it seemed
good unto my Cid. Away went Alvar Fanez, and the two hundred
horsemen; and the Cid remained in ambush with the rest of his
company. And as soon as it was morning, the Moors of Castrejon,
knowing nothing of these who were so near them, opened the castle
gates, and went out to their work as they were wont to do. And the
Cid rose from ambush and fell upon them, and took all their flocks,
and made straight for the gates, pursuing them. And there was a cry
within the castle that the Christians were upon them, and they who
were within ran to the gates to defend them, but my Cid came up
sword in hand; eleven Moors did he slay with his own hand, and they
forsook the gate and fled before him to hide themselves within, so
that he won the castle presently, and took gold and silver, and
whatever else he would.

Alvar Fanez meantime scoured the country along the Henares as far as
Alcala, and he returned driving flocks and herds before him, with
great stores of wearing apparel, and of other plunder. And when the
Cid knew that he was nigh at hand he went out to meet him, and
praised him greatly for what he had done, and gave thanks to God.
And he gave order that all the spoils should be heaped together,
both what Alvar Fanez had brought, and what had been taken in the
castle; and he said to him, "Brother, of all this which God hath
given us, take you the fifth, for you well deserve it"; but Minaya
would not, saying, "You have need of it for our support." And the
Cid divided the spoil among the knights and foot-soldiers, to each
his due portion; to every horseman a hundred marks of silver, and
half as much to the foot-soldiers: and because he could find none to
whom to sell his fifth, he spake to the Moors telling them that they
might come safely to purchase the spoil, and the prisoners also whom
he had taken, both men prisoners and women. And they came, and
valued the spoil and the prisoners, and gave for them three thousand
marks of silver, which they paid within three days: they bought also
much of the spoil which had been divided, making great gain, so that
all who were in my Cid's company were full rich. And the heart of my
Cid was joyous, and he sent to King Don Alfonso, telling him that he
and his companions would yet do him service upon the Moors.

Then my Cid assembled together his good men and said unto them,
"Friends, we cannot take up our abode in this castle, for there is
no water in it, and moreover the King is at peace with these Moors,
and I know that the treaty between them hath been written; so that
if we should abide here he would come against us with all his power,
and with all the power of the Moors, and we could not stand against
him. If therefore it seem good unto you, let us leave the rest of
our prisoners here, that we may be free from all encumbrance, like
men who are to live by war." And it pleased them well that it should
be so. And he said to them, "Ye have all had your shares, neither is
there anything owing to any one among ye. Now then let us be ready
to take horse betimes on the morrow, for I would not fight against
my Lord the King." So on the morrow they went to horse and departed,
being rich with the spoils which they had won: and they left the
castle to the Moors, who remained blessing them for this bounty
which they had received at their hands. Then my Cid and his company
went up the Henares as fast as they could go; great were the spoils
which they collected as they went along. And on the morrow they came
against Alcocer. There my Cid pitched his tents upon a round hill,
which was a great hill and a strong; and the river Salon ran near
them, so that the water could not be cut off. My Cid thought to take
Alcocer: so he pitched his tents securely, having the Sierra on one
side, and the river on the other, and he made all his people dig a
trench, that they might not be alarmed, neither by day nor by night.

When my Cid had thus encamped, he went to look at the Alcazar, and
see if he could by any means enter it. And the Moors offered tribute
to him, if he would leave them in peace; but this he would not do,
and he lay before the town. And news went through all the land that
the Cid was come among them. And my Cid lay before Alcocer fifteen
weeks; and when he saw that the town did not surrender, he ordered
his people to break up their camp, as if they were flying, and they
took their way along the Salon, with their banners spread. And when
the Moors saw this they rejoiced greatly, and they praised
themselves for what they had done in withstanding him, and said that
the Cid's bread and barley had failed him, and he had fled away, and
left one of his tents behind him. And they said among themselves,
"Let us pursue them and spoil them." And they went out after him,
great and little, leaving the gates open and shouting as they went;
and there was not left in the town a man who could bear arms. And
when my Cid saw them coming he gave orders to quicken their speed,
as if he was in fear, and would not let his people turn till the
Moors were far from the town. But when he saw that there was a good
distance between them and the gates, he bade his banner turn, and
spurred toward them crying, "Lay on, knights, by God's mercy the
spoil is our own." God! what a good joy was theirs that morning! My
Cid's vassals laid on without mercy; in one hour, and in a little
space, three hundred Moors were slain, and my Cid won the place, and
planted his banner upon the highest point of the castle. And the Cid
said, "Blessed be God and all His saints, we have bettered our
quarters both for horses and men." And he said to Alvar Fanez and
all his knights, "Hear me, we shall get nothing by killing these
Moors--let us take them and they shall show us their treasures which
they have hidden in their houses, and we will dwell here and they
shall serve us." In this manner did my Cid win Alcocer, and take up
his abode therein.

In three weeks time after this returned Alvar Fanez from Castille.
And my Cid rode up to him, and embraced him without speaking, and
kissed his mouth and the eyes in his head. God, how joyful was that
whole host because Alvar Fanez was returned! for he brought them
greetings from their kinswomen and their brethren and the fair
comrades whom they had left behind. God, how joyful was my Cid with
the fleecy beard, that Minaya had purchased the thousand masses, and
had brought him the biddings of his wife and daughters! God, what a
joyful man was he!

Now it came to pass that the days of King Almudafar were fulfilled:
and he left his two sons Zulema and Abenalfange, and Zulema had the
kingdom of Zaragoza, and Abenalfange the kingdom of Denia. And
Zulema put his kingdom under my Cid's protection, and bade all his
people obey him even as they would himself. Now there began to be
great enmity between the two brethren, and they made war upon each
other. And the Count Don Ramon Berenguer of Barcelona helped
Abenalfange, and was enemy to the Cid because he defended Zulema.
And my Cid chose out two hundred horsemen and went out by night, and
fell upon the lands of Alcaniz and brought away great booty. Great
was the talk among the Moors; how my Cid was over-running the

When Don Ramon Berenguer the Count of Barcelona heard this, it
troubled him to the heart, and he held it for a great dishonour,
because that part of the land of the Moors was in his keeping. And
he spake boastfully saying, "Great wrong doth that Cid of Bivar
offer unto me; he ravages the lands which are in my keeping, and I
have never renounced his friendship; but since he goes on in this
way I must take vengeance." So he and King Abenalfange gathered
together a great power both of Moors and Christians, and went in
pursuit of the Cid, and after three days and two nights they came up
with him in the pine-forest of Tebar. And when the Cid heard this he
sent to Don Ramon saying, that the booty which he had won was none
of his, and bidding him let him go on his way in peace: but the
Count made answer, that my Cid should now learn whom he had
dishonoured. Then my Cid sent the booty forward, and bade his
knights make ready. "They are coming upon us," said he, "with a
great power both of Moors and Christians, to take from us the spoils
which we have so hardly won, and without doing battle we cannot be
quit of them; for if we should proceed they would follow till they
overtook us: therefore let the battle be here, and I trust in God
that we shall win more honour, and something to boot. They come down
the hill, drest in their hose, with their gay saddles, and their
girths wet. Before they get upon the plain ground let us give them
the points of our lances; and Ramon Berenguer will then see whom he
has overtaken to-day in the pine-forest of Tebar, thinking to
despoil him of booty won from the enemies of God and of the faith."

While my Cid was speaking, his knights had taken their arms, and
were ready on horseback for the charge. Presently they saw the
Frenchmen coming down the hill, and when they had not yet set foot
upon the plain ground, my Cid bade his people charge, which they did
with a right good will, thrusting their spears so stiffly, that by
God's good pleasure not a man whom they encountered but lost his
seat. The Count's people stood firm round their Lord; but my Cid was
in search of him, and when he saw where he was, he made up to him,
clearing the way as he went, and gave him such a stroke with his
lance that he felled him. When the Frenchmen saw their Lord in this
plight they fled away and left him; and the pursuit lasted three
leagues, and would have been continued farther if the conquerors had
not had tired horses. Thus was Count Ramon Berenguer made prisoner,
and my Cid won from him that day the good sword Colada, which was
worth more than a thousand marks of silver. That night did my Cid
and his men make merry, rejoicing over their gains. And the Count
was taken to my Cid's tent, and a good supper was set before him;
nevertheless he would not eat, though my Cid besought him so to do.
And on the morrow my Cid ordered a feast to be made, that he might
do pleasure to the Count, but the Count said that for all Spain he
would not eat one mouthful, but would rather die, since he had been
beaten in battle by such a set of ragged fellows. And Ruydiez said
to him, "Eat and drink, Count, for this is the chance of war; if you
do as I say you shall be free; and if not you will never return
again into your own lands." And Don Ramond answered, "Eat you, Don
Rodrigo, for your fortune is fair and you deserve it; take you your
pleasure, but leave me to die." And in this mood he continued for
three days, refusing all food. But then my Cid said to him, "Take
food, Count, and be sure that I will set you free, you and any two
of your knights, and give you wherewith to return into your own
country." And when Don Ramond heard this, he took comfort and said,
"If you will indeed do this thing I shall marvel at you as long as I
live." "Eat then," said Ruydiez, "and I will do it: but mark you, of
the spoil which we have taken from you I will give you nothing; for
to that you have no claim neither by right nor custom, and besides
we want it for ourselves, being banished men, who must live by
taking from you and from others as long as it shall please God."
Then was the Count full joyful, being well pleased that what should
be given him was not of the spoils which he had lost; and he called
for water and washed his hands, and chose two of his kinsmen to be
set free with him. And my Cid sate at the table with them, and said,
"If you do not eat well, Count, you and I shall not part yet." Never
since he was Count did he eat with better will than that day! And
when they had done he said, "Now, Cid, if it be your pleasure let us
depart." And my Cid clothed him and his kinsmen well with goodly
skins and mantles, and gave them each a goodly palfrey, with rich
caparisons, and he rode out with them on their way. And when he took
leave of the Count he said to him, "Now go freely, and I thank you
for what you have left behind; if you wish to play for it again let
me know, and you shall either have something back in its stead, or
leave what you bring to be added to it." The Count answered, "Cid,
you jest safely now, for I have paid you and all your company for
this twelve--months, and shall not be coming to see you again so

Then Count Ramond pricked on more than apace, and many times looked
behind him, fearing that my Cid would repent what he had done, and
send to take him back to prison, which the perfect one would not
have done for the whole world, for never did he do disloyal thing.

At last after long and pitiful fighting it was bruited abroad
throughout all lands, how the Cid Ruydiez had won the noble city of

And now the Cid bethought him of Dona Ximena his wife, and of his
daughters Dona Elvira and Dona Sol, whom he had left in the
monastery of St. Pedro de Cardena and he called for Alvar Fanez and
Martin Antolinez of Burgos, and spake with them, and besought them
that they would go to Castille, to King Don Alfonso and take him a
present from the riches which God had given them; and the present
should be a hundred horses, saddled and bridled; and that they would
kiss the King's hand for him, and beseech him to send to him his
wife Dona Ximena, and his daughters; and that they would tell the
King all the mercy which God had shown him, and how he was at his
service with Valencia and with all that he had. Moreover he bade
them take a thousand marks of silver to the monastery of St. Pedro
de Cardena, and give them to the Abbot, and thirty marks of gold for
his wife and daughters, that they might prepare themselves and come
in honourable guise. And he ordered three hundred marks of gold to
be given them, and three hundred marks of silver, to redeem the
chests full of sand which he had pledged in Burgos to the Jews; and
he bade them ask Rachel and Vidas to forgive him the deceit of the
sand, for he had done it because of his great need.

Then Alvar Fanez and Martin Antolinez dispeeded themselves of the
King, and took their way toward Burgos. When they reached Burgos
they sent for Rachel and for Vidas, and demanded from them the
chests, and paid unto them the three hundred marks of gold and the
three hundred of silver as the Cid had commanded, and they besought
them to forgive the Cid the deceit of the chests, for it was done
because of his great necessity. And they said they heartily forgave
him, and held themselves well paid; and they prayed God to grant him
long life and good health, and to give him power to advance
Christendom, and put down Pagandom. And when it was known through
the city of Burgos the goodness and the gentleness which the Cid had
shown to these merchants in redeeming from them the chests full of
sand and earth and stones, the people held it for a great wonder,
and there was not a place in all Burgos where they did not talk of
the gentleness and loyalty of the Cid; and they besought blessings
upon him, and prayed that he and his people might be advanced in
honour. When they had done this, they went to the monastery of St.
Pedro de Cardena, and the porter of the King went with them, and
gave order everywhere that everything which they wanted should be
given them. If they were well received, and if there was great joy
in St. Pedro de Cardena over them, it is not a thing to ask, for
Dona Ximena and her daughters were like people beside themselves
with the great joy which they had, and they came running out on foot
to meet them, weeping plenteously.

After a long life-time of adventure the Cid sickened of a malady.
And the day before his weakness waxed great, he ordered the gates of
Valencia to be shut, and went to the Church of St. Peter; and there
the Bishop Don Hieronymo being present, and all the clergy who were
in Valencia, and the knights and honourable men and honourable
dames, as many as the church could hold, the Cid Ruydiez stood up,
and made a full noble preaching, showing that no man, however
honourable or fortunate he may be in this world, can escape death,
to which, said he, "I am now full near; and since ye know that this
body of mine hath never yet been conquered, nor put to shame, I
beseech ye let not this befall it at the end, for the good fortune
of man is only accomplished at his end." Then he took leave of the
people, weeping plenteously, and returned to the Alcazar, and betook
himself to his bed, and never rose from it again; and every day he
waxed weaker and weaker. He called for the caskets of gold in which
was the balsam and the myrrh which the Soldan of Persia had sent
him; and when these were put before him he bade them bring him the
golden cup, of which he was wont to drink; and he took of that
balsam and of that myrrh as much as a little spoonful, and mingled
it in the cup with rose-water, and drank of it; and for the seven
days which he lived he neither ate nor drank aught else than a
little of that myrrh and balsam mingled with water. And every day
after he did this, his body and his countenance appeared fairer and
fresher than before, and his voice clearer, though he waxed weaker
and weaker daily, so that he could not move in his bed.

On the twenty-ninth day, being the day before he departed, he called
for Dona Ximena, and for the Bishop Don Hieronymo, and Don Alvar
Fanez Minaya, and Pero Bermudez, and his trusty Gil Diaz; and when
they were all five before him, he began to direct them what they
should do after his death; and he said to them, "Ye know that King
Bucar will presently be here to besiege this city, with seven and
thirty Kings whom he bringeth with him, and with a mighty power of
Moors. Now therefore the first thing which ye do after I have
departed, wash my body with rose-water many times and well, and when
it has been well washed and made clean, ye shall dry it well, and
anoint it with this myrrh and balsam, from these golden caskets,
from head to foot, so that every part shall be anointed. And you, my
Dona Ximena, and your women, see that ye utter no cries, neither
make any lamentation for me, that the Moors may not know of my
death. And when the day shall come in which King Bucar arrives,
order all the people of Valencia to go upon the walls, and sound
your trumpets and tambours and make the greatest rejoicings that ye
can. For certes ye cannot keep the city, neither abide therein after
they know of my death. And see that sumpter beasts be laden with all
that there is in Valencia, so that nothing which can profit may be
left. And this I leave especially to your charge, Gil Diaz. Then
saddle ye my horse Bavieca, and arm him well; and apparel my body
full seemlily, and place me upon the horse, and fasten and tie me
thereon so that it cannot fall: and fasten my sword Tizona in my
hand. And let the Bishop Don Hieronymo go on one side of me, and my
trusty Gil Diaz on the other, and he shall lead my horse. You, Pero
Bermudez, shall bear my banner, as you were wont to bear it; and
you, Alvar Fanez, my cousin, gather your company together, and put
the host in order as you are wont to do. And go ye forth and fight
with King Bucar: for be ye certain and doubt not that ye shall win
this battle; God hath granted me this. And when ye have won the
fight, and the Moors are discomfited, ye may spoil the field at
pleasure. Ye will find great riches."

And this noble Baron yielded up his soul, which was pure and without
spot, to God, on that Sunday which is called Quinquagesima, being
the twenty and ninth of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand
and ninety and nine, and in the seventy and third year of his life.
After he had thus made his end they washed his body and embalmed it
as he had commanded. And then all the honourable men, and all the
clergy who were in Valencia, assembled and carried it to the Church
of St. Mary of the Virtues, which is near the Alcazar, and there
kept their vigil, and said prayer and performed masses, as was meet
for so honourable a man.

Three days after the Cid had departed King Bucar came into the port
of Valencia, and landed with all his power. And there came with him
thirty and six Kings, and one Moorish Queen, and she brought with
her two hundred horsewomen, all negresses like herself, all having
their hair shorn save a tuft on the top, and they were all armed in
coats of mail and with Turkish bows. King Bucar ordered his tents to
be pitched round about Valencia. And his people thought that the Cid
dared not come out against them, and they were the more encouraged,
and began to think of making engines wherewith to combat the city.

All this while the company of the Cid were preparing all things to
go into Castille, as he had commanded before his death; and his
trusty Gil Diaz did nothing else but labour at this. And the body of
the Cid was prepared and the virtue of the balsam and myrrh was such
that the flesh remained firm and fair, having its natural colour and
his countenance as it was wont to be, and the eyes open, and his
long beard in order, so that there was not a man who would have
thought him dead if he had seen him. And on the second day after he
had departed, Gil Diaz placed the body upon a right noble saddle.
And he took two boards and fitted them to the body, one to the
breast and the other to the shoulders; these were so hollowed out
and fitted that they met at the sides and under the arms, and these
boards were fastened into the saddle, so that the body could not
move. All this was done by the morning of the twelfth day; and all
that day the people of the Cid were busied in making ready their
arms, and in loading beasts with all that they had. When it was
midnight they took the body of the Cid fastened to the saddle as it
was, and placed it upon his horse Bavieca, and fastened the saddle
well: and the body sate so upright and well that it seemed as if he
was alive. And it had on painted hose of black and white, so
cunningly painted that no man who saw them would have thought but
that they were grieves, unless he had laid his hand upon them; and
they put on it a surcoat of green sendal, having his arms blazoned
thereon, and a helmet of parchment, which was cunningly painted that
every one might have believed it to be iron; and his shield was hung
around his neck, and they placed the sword Tizona in his hand, and
they raised his arm, and fastened it up so subtly that it was a
marvel to see how upright he held the sword. And the Bishop Don
Hieronymo went on one side of him, and the trusty Gil Diaz on the
other, and he led the horse Bavieca, as the Cid had commanded him.
And when all this had been made ready, they went out from Valencia
at midnight, through the gate of Roseros, which is towards Castille.
Pero Bermudez went first with the banner of the Cid, and with him
five hundred knights who guarded it, all well appointed. Then came
the body of the Cid with an hundred knights, all chosen men, and
behind them Dona Ximena with all her company, and six hundred
knights in the rear. All these went out so silently, and with such a
measured pace, that it seemed as if there were only a score. And by
the time that they had all gone out it was broad day.

Now, while the Bishop Don Hieronymo and Gil Diaz led away the body
of the Cid, and Dona Ximena, and the baggage, Alvar Fanez Minaya
fell upon the Moors. First he attacked the tents of that Moorish
Queen, the Negress, who lay nearest to the city; and this onset was
so sudden, that they killed full a hundred and fifty Moors before
they had time to take arms or go to horse. But that Moorish Negress,
so skilful in drawing the Turkish bow, that they called her the Star
of the Archers, was the first that got on horseback, and with some
fifty that were with her, did some hurt to the company of the Cid;
but in fine they slew her, and her people fled to the camp. And
so great was the uproar and confusion, that few there were who took
arms, but instead thereof they turned their backs and fled toward
the sea. And when King Bucar and his Kings saw this they were
astonished. And it seemed to them that there came against them on
the part of the Christians full seventy thousand knights, all as
white as snow: and before them a knight of great stature upon a
white horse. And King Bucar and the other Kings were so greatly
dismayed that they never checked the reins till they had ridden into
the sea; and the company of the Cid rode after them, smiting and
slaying and giving them, no respite. And when the Moors came to the
sea, so great was the press among them to get to the ships, that
more than ten thousand died in the water. And King Bucar and they
who escaped with him hoisted sails and went their way, and never
more turned their heads.

Then Alvar Fanez and his people went after the Bishop Don Hieronymo
and Gil Diaz, who, with the body of the Cid, and Dona Ximena, and
the baggage, had gone on till they were clear of the host, and then
waited for those who were gone against the Moors. And so great was
the spoil, gold, and silver, and other precious things that the
poorest man among the Christians, horseman or on foot, became rich
with what he won that day. And when they were all met together, they
took the road toward Castille; and they halted that night in a
village which is called Siete Aguas, that is to say, the Seven
Waters, which is nine leagues from Valencia.

When the company of the Cid departed from the Siete Aguas, they held
their way by short journeys. And the Cid went alway upon his horse
Bavieca, as they had brought him out from Valencia, save only that
he wore no arms, but was clad in right noble garments, Great was the
concourse of people to see the Cid Ruydiez coming in that guise.
They came from all the country round about, and when they saw him
their wonder was the greater, and hardly could they be persuaded
that he was dead.

At this time King Don Alfonso abode in Toledo, and when the letters
came unto him saying how the Cid Campeador was departed, and after
what manner he had discomfited King Bucar, and how they brought him
in this goodly manner upon his horse Bavieca, he set out from
Toledo, taking long journeys till he came to San Pedro de Cardena to
do honour to the Cid at his funeral. And when the King Don Alfonso
saw so great a company and in such goodly array, and the Cid Ruydiez
so nobly clad and upon his horse Bavieca, he was greatly astonished.
And the King beheld his countenance, and seeing it so fresh and
comely, and his eyes so bright and fair, and so even and open that
he seemed alive, he marvelled greatly.

On the third day after the coming of King Don Alfonso, they would
have interred the body of the Cid, but when the King heard what Dona
Ximena had said, that while it was so fair and comely it should not
be laid in a coffin, he held that what she said was good. And he
sent for the ivory chair which had been carried to the Cortes of
Toledo, and gave order that it should be placed on the right of the
altar of St. Peter; and he laid a cloth of gold upon it, and he
ordered a graven tabernacle to be made over the chair, richly
wrought with azure and gold. And he himself, and the King of Navarre
and the Infante of Aragon, and the Bishop Don Hieronymo, to do
honour to the Cid, helped to take his body from between the two
boards, in which it had been fastened at Valencia. And when they had
taken it out, the body was so firm that it bent not on either side,
and the flesh so firm and comely, that it seemed as if he were yet
alive. And the King thought that what they purported to do and had
thus begun, might full well be effected. And they clad the body in
cloth of purple, which the Soldan of Persia had sent him, and put
him on hose of the same, and set him in his ivory chair; and in his
left hand they placed his sword Tizona in its scabbard, and the
strings of his mantle in his right. And in this fashion the body of
the Cid remained there ten years and more, till it was taken thence
and buried.

Gil Diaz took great delight in tending the horse Bavieca, so that
there were few days in which he did not lead him to water, and bring
him back with his own hand. And from the day in which the dead body
of the Cid was taken off his back, never man was suffered to
bestride that horse, but he was alway led when they took him to
water, and when they brought him back. And this good horse lived two
years and a half after the death of his master the Cid, and then he
died also, having lived full forty years. And Gil Diaz buried him
before the gate of the monastery, in the public place, on the right
hand; and he planted two elms upon the grave, the one at his head
and the other at his feet, and these elms grew and became great
trees, and are yet to be seen before the gate of the monastery.



Because of the hardness towards the English people of William the
Conqueror, and of William's successors to several generations, many
an Englishman exiled himself from town and passed his life in the
greenwood. These men were called "outlaws." First they went forth
out of love for the ancient liberties of England. Then in their
living in the forest, they put themselves without the law by their
ways of gaining their livelihood. Of such men none were more
renowned than Robin Hood and his company.

We do not know anything about Robin Hood, who he was, or where he
lived, or what evil deed he had done. Any man might kill him and
never pay penalty for it. But, outlaw or not, the poor people loved
him and looked on him as their friend, and many a stout fellow came
to join him, and led a merry life in the greenwood, with moss and
fern for bed, and for meat the King's deer, which it was death to
slay. Tillers of the land, yeomen, and some say knights, went on
their ways freely, for of them Robin took no toll; but lordly
churchmen with money-bags well filled, or proud bishops with their
richly dressed followers, trembled as they drew near to Sherwood
Forest--who was to know whether behind every tree there did not lurk
Robin Hood or one of his men?

One day Robin was walking alone in the wood, and reached a river
spanned by a very narrow bridge, over which one man only could pass.
In the midst stood a stranger, and Robin bade him go back and let
him go over. "I am no man of yours," was all the answer Robin got,
and in anger he drew his bow and fitted an arrow to it, "Would you
shoot a man who has no arms but a staff?" asked the stranger in
scorn; and with shame Robin laid down his bow, and unbuckled an
oaken stick at his side. "We will fight till one of us falls into
the water," he said; and fight they did, till the stranger planted a
blow so well that Robin rolled over into the river. "You are a brave
soul," said he, when he had waded to land, and he blew a blast with
his horn which brought fifty good fellows, clad in green, to the
little bridge. "Have you fallen into the river that your clothes are
wet?" asked one; and Robin made answer, "No, but this stranger,
fighting on the bridge, got the better of me, and tumbled me into
the stream."

At this the foresters seized the stranger, and would have ducked him
had not their leader bade them stop, and begged the stranger to stay
with them and make one of themselves. "Here is my hand," replied the
stranger, "and my heart with it. My name, if you would know it, is
John Little."

"That must be altered," cried Will Scarlett; "we will call a feast,
and henceforth, because he is full seven feet tall and round the
waist at least an ell, he shall be called Little John." And thus it
was done; but at the feast Little John, who always liked to know
exactly what work he had to do, put some questions to Robin Hood.
"Before I join hands with you, tell me first what sort of life is
this you lead? How am I to know whose goods I shall take, and whose
I shall leave? Whom I shall beat, and whom I shall refrain from

And Robin answered: "Look that you harm not any tiller of the
ground, nor any yeoman of the greenwood--no knight, no squire,
unless you have heard him ill spoken of. But if bishops or
archbishops come your way, see that you spoil them, and mark that
you always hold in your mind the High Sheriff of Nottingham."

This being settled, Robin Hood declared Little John to be second in
command to himself among the brotherhood of the forest, and the new
outlaw never forgot to "hold in his mind" the High Sheriff of
Nottingham, who was the bitterest enemy the foresters had.


Upon a time it chanced so,
 Bold Robin in forest did spy
 A jolly butcher, with a bonny fine mare,
 With his flesh to the market did hie.

"Good morrow, good fellow," said jolly Robin,
 "What food hast thou? tell unto me;
 Thy trade to me tell, and where thou dost dwell,
 For I like well thy company."

The butcher he answer'd jolly Robin,
 "No matter where I dwell;
 For a butcher I am, and to Nottingham
 I am going, my flesh to sell."

"What's the price of thy flesh?" said jolly Robin,
 "Come, tell it soon unto me;
 And the price of thy mare, be she never so dear,
 For a butcher fain would I be."

"The price of my flesh," the butcher replied,
 "I soon will tell unto thee;
 With my bonny mare, and they are not dear,
 Four marks thou must give unto me."

"Four marks I will give thee," said jolly Robin,
 "Four marks shall be thy fee;
 The money come count, and let me mount,
 For a butcher I fain would be."

Now Robin he is to Nottingham gone,
 His butcher's trade to begin;
 With good intent to the Sheriff he went,
 And there he took up his inn.

When other butchers did open their meat,
 Bold Robin got gold and fee,
 For he sold more meat for one penny
 Than others did sell for three.

Which made the butchers of Nottingham
 To study as they did stand,
 Saying, "Surely he is some prodigal
 That has sold his father's land."

"This is a mad blade," the butchers still said;
 Said the Sheriff, "He is some prodigal,
 That some land has sold for silver and gold,
 And now he doth mean to spend all.

"Hast thou any horn-beasts," the Sheriff asked,
 "Good fellow, to sell to me?"
 "Yes, that I have, good Master Sheriff,
 I have hundreds, two or three.

"And a hundred acres of good free land,
 If you please it to see:
 And I'll make you as good assurance of it,
 As ever my father made me."

The Sheriff he saddled his good palfrey,
 And with three hundred pounds of gold,
 Away he went with bold Robin Hood,
 His horned beasts to behold.

Away then the Sheriff and Robin did ride,
 To the forest of merry Sherwood;
 Then the Sheriff did say, "God keep us this day
 From a man they call Robin Hood."

But when a little farther they came,
 Bold Robin he chanced to spy
 A hundred head of good red deer,
 Come tripping the Sheriff full nigh.

"How like you my horn-beasts, good Master Sheriff?
 They be fat and fair to see";
 "I tell thee, good fellow, I would I were gone,
 For I like not thy company."

Then Robin set his horn to his mouth,
 And blew but blasts three;
 Then quickly anon there came Little John,
 And all his company.

"What is your will?" then said Little John,
 "Good master, come tell unto me";
 "I have brought hither the Sheriff of Nottingham
 This day to dine with thee,"

Then Robin took his cloak from his back
 And laid it upon the ground;
 And out of the Sheriff's portmanteau
 He took three hundred pound.

He then led the Sheriff through the wood,
 And set him on his dapple grey;
 "Commend Robin Hood to your wife at home,"
 He said, and went laughing away.

Now Robin Hood had no liking for a company of idle men about him,
and sent off Little John and Will Scarlett to the great road known
as Watling Street, with orders to hide among the trees and wait till
some adventure might come to them; and if they took captive earl or
baron, abbot or knight, he was to be brought unharmed back to Robin

But all along Watling Street the road was bare; white and hard it
lay in the sun, without the tiniest cloud of dust to show that a
rich company might be coming: east and west the land lay still.

At length, just where a side path turned into the broad highway,
there rode a knight, and a sorrier man than he never sat a horse on
summer day. One foot only was in the stirrup, the other hung
carelessly by his side; his head was bowed, the reins dropped loose,
and his horse went on as he would. At so sad a sight the hearts of
the outlaws were filled with pity, and Little John fell on his knees
and bade the knight welcome in the name of his master.

"Who is your master?" asked the knight.

"Robin Hood," answered Little John.

"I have heard much good of him," replied the knight, "and will go
with you gladly."

Then they all set off together, tears running down the knight's
cheeks as he rode, but he said nothing, neither was anything said to
him. And in this wise they came to Robin Hood.

"Welcome, Sir Knight," cried he, "and thrice welcome, for I waited
to break my fast till you or some other had come to me."

"God save you, good Robin," answered the knight, and after they had
washed themselves in the stream they sat down to dine off bread,
with flesh of the King's deer, and swans and pheasants. "Such a
dinner have I not had for three weeks and more," said the knight.
"And if I ever come again this way, good Robin, I will give you as
fine a dinner as you have given me."

"I thank you," replied Robin, "my dinner is always welcome; still, I
am none so greedy but I can wait for it. But before you go, pay me,
I pray you, for the food which you have had. It was never the custom
for a yeoman to pay for a knight."

"My bag is empty," said the knight, "save for ten shillings only."

"Go, Little John, and look in his wallet," said Robin, "and, Sir
Knight, if in truth you have no more, not one penny will I take;
nay, I will give you all that you shall need."

So Little John spread out the knight's mantle, and opened the bag,
and therein lay ten shillings and naught besides.

"What tidings, Little John?" cried his master.

"Sir, the knight speaks truly," said Little John.

"Then tell me, Sir Knight, whether it is your own ill doings which
have brought you to this sorry pass."

"For an hundred years my fathers have dwelt in the forest," answered
the knight, "and four hundred pounds might they spend yearly. But
within two years misfortune has befallen me, and my wife and
children also."

"How did this evil come to pass?" asked Robin.

"Through my own folly," answered the knight, "and because of my
great love I bore my son, who would never be guided of my counsel,
and slew, ere he was twenty years old, a knight of Lancaster and his
squire. For their deaths I had to pay a large sum, which I could not
raise without giving my lands in pledge to the rich Abbot of St.
Mary's. If I cannot bring him the money by a certain day they will
be lost to me for ever."

"What is the sum?" asked Robin. "Tell me truly."

"It is four hundred pounds," said the knight.

"And what will you do if you lose your lands?" asked Robin again.

"Hide myself over the sea," said the knight, "and bid farewell to my
friends and country. There is no better way open to me."

At this tears fell from his eyes, and he turned him to depart. "Good
day, my friend," he said to Robin, "I cannot pay you what I should--"
But Robin held him fast. "Where are your friends?" asked he.

"Sir, they have all forsaken me since I became poor, and they turn
away their heads if we meet upon the road, though when I was rich
they were ever in my castle."

When Little John and Will Scarlett and the rest heard this they wept
for very shame and fury.

"Little John," said Robin, "go to my treasure chest, and bring me
thence four hundred pounds. And be sure you count it truly."

So Little John went, and Will Scarlett, and they brought back the

"Sir," said Little John, when Robin had counted it and found it no
more and no less, "look at his clothes, how thin they are! You have
stores of garments, green and scarlet, in your coffers-no merchant
in England can boast the like. I will measure some out with my bow."
And thus he did.

"Master," spoke Little John again, "there is still something else.
You must give him a horse, that he may go as beseems his quality to
the Abbey."

"Take the grey horse," said Robin, "and put a new saddle on it, and
take likewise a good palfrey and a pair of boots, with gilt spurs on
them. And as it were a shame for a knight to ride by himself on this
errand, I will lend you Little John as squire--perchance he may
stand you in yeoman's stead."

"When shall we meet again?" asked the knight.

"This day twelve months," said Robin, "under the greenwood tree."

Then the knight rode on his way, with Little John behind him, and as
he went he thought of Robin Hood and his men, and blessed them for
the goodness they had shown towards him.

"To-morrow," he said to Little John, "I must be at the Abbey of St.
Mary, which is in the city of York, for if I am but so much as a day
late my lands are lost for ever, and though I were to bring the
money I should not be suffered to redeem them."

Now the Abbot had been counting the days as well as the knight, and
the next morning he said to his monks: "This day year there came a
knight and borrowed of me four hundred pounds, giving his lands in
surety. And if he come not to pay his debt ere midnight tolls they
will be ours forever."

"It is full early yet," answered the Prior, "he may still be

"He is far beyond the sea," said the Abbot, "and suffers from hunger
and cold. How is he to get here?"

"It were a shame," said the Prior, "for you to take his lands. And
you do him much wrong if you drive such a hard bargain."

"He is dead or hanged," spake a fat-headed monk who was the
cellarer, "and we shall have his four hundred pounds to spend on our
gardens and our wines," and he went with the Abbot to attend the
court of justice wherein the knight's lands would he declared
forfeited by the High Justiciar.

"If he come not this day," cried the Abbot, rubbing his hands, "if
he come not this day, they will be ours."

"He will not come yet," said the Justiciar, but he knew not that the
knight was already at the outer gate, and Little John with him.

"Welcome, Sir Knight," said the porter. "The horse that you ride is
the noblest that ever I saw. Let me lead them both to the stable,
that they may have food and rest."

"They shall not pass these gates," answered the knight, sternly, and
he entered the hall alone, where the monks were sitting at meat, and
knelt down and bowed to them.

"I have come back, my lord," he said to the Abbot, who had just
returned from the court. "I have come back this day as I promised."

"Have you brought my money? What do you here without it?" cried the
Abbot in angry tones.

"I have come to pray you for a longer day," answered the knight,

"The day was fixed and cannot be gainsaid," replied the Justiciar;
"I am with the Abbot."

"Good Sir Abbot, be my friend," prayed the knight again, "and give
me one chance more to get the money and free my lands. I will serve
you day and night till I have four hundred pounds to redeem them."

But the Abbot only swore a great oath, and vowed that the money must
be paid that day or the lands be forfeited.

The knight stood up straight and tall: "It is well," said he, "to
prove one's friends against the hour of need," and he looked the
Abbot full in the face, and the Abbot felt uneasy, he did not know
why, and hated the knight more than ever. "Out of my hall, false
knight!" cried he, pretending to a courage which he did not feel.
But the knight stayed where he was, and answered him, "You lie,
Abbot. Never was I false, and that I have shown in jousts and in

"Give him two hundred pounds more," said the Justiciar to the Abbot,
"and keep the lands yourself."

"No, by Heaven!" answered the knight, "not if you offered me a
thousand pounds would I do it! Neither Justiciar, abbot, nor monk
shall be heir of mine." Then he strode up to a table and emptied out
four hundred pounds. "Take your gold, Sir Abbot, which you lent to
me a year agone. Had you but received me civilly, I would have paid
you something more.

    "Sir Abbot, and ye men of law,
     Now have I kept my day!
     Now shall I have my land again,
     For aught that you may say."

So he passed out of the hall singing merrily, leaving the Abbot
staring silently after him, and rode back to his house in Verisdale,
where his wife met him at the gate.

    "Welcome, my lord," said his lady,
    "Sir, lost is all your good."
    "Be merry, dame," said the knight,
    "And pray for Robin Hood.

But for his kindness, we would have been beggars."

After this the knight dwelt at home, looking after his lands and
saving his money carefully till the four hundred pounds lay ready
for Robin Hood. Then he bought a hundred bows and a hundred arrows,
and every arrow was an ell long, and had a head of silver and
peacock's feathers. And clothing himself in white and red, and with
a hundred men in his train, he set off to Sherwood Forest.

On the way he passed an open space near a bridge where there was a
wrestling, and the knight stopped and looked, for he himself had
taken many a prize in that sport. Here the prizes were such as to
fill any man with envy; a fine horse, saddled and bridled, a great
white bull, a pair of gloves, and a ring of bright red gold. There
was not a yeoman present who did not hope to win one of them. But
when the wrestling was over, the yeoman who had beaten them all was
a man who kept apart from his fellows, and was said to think much of
himself. Therefore the men grudged him his skill, and set upon him
with blows, and would have killed him, had not the knight, for love
of Robin Hood, taken pity on him, while his followers fought with
the crowd, and would not suffer them to touch the prizes a better
man had won.

When the wrestling was finished the knight rode on, and there under
the greenwood tree, in the place appointed, he found Robin Hood and
his merry men waiting for him, according to the tryst that they had
fixed last year:

   "God save thee, Robin Hood,
     And all this company."
    "Welcome be thou, gentle knight,
     And right welcome to me."

   "Hast thou thy land again?" said Robin,
    "Truth then thou tell me."
    "Yea, for God," said the knight,
    "And that thank I God and thee."

   "Have here four hundred pounds," said the knight,
    "The which you lent to me;
    And here are also twenty marks
    For your courtesie."

But Robin would not take the money. Then he noticed the bows and
arrows which the knight had brought, and asked what they were. "A
poor present to you," answered the knight, and Robin, who would not
be outdone, sent Little John once more to his treasury, and bade him
bring forth four hundred pounds, which was given to the knight.
After that they parted, in much love, and Robin prayed the knight if
he were in any strait "to let him know at the greenwood tree, and
while there was any gold there he should have it."

Now the King had no mind that Robin Hood should do as he willed, and
called his knights to follow him to Nottingham, where they would lay
plans how best to take captive the felon. Here they heard sad tales
of Robin's misdoings, and how of the many herds of wild deer that
had been wont to roam the forest in some places scarce one remained.
This was the work of Robin Hood and his merry men, on whom the king
swore vengeance with a great oath.

"I would I had this Robin Hood in my hands," cried he, "and an end
should soon be put to his doings." So spake the King; but an old
knight, full of days and wisdom, answered him and warned him that
the task of taking Robin Hood would be a sore one, and best let
alone. The King, who had seen the vanity of his hot words the moment
that he had uttered them, listened to the old man, and resolved to
bide his time, if perchance some day Robin should fall into his

All this time and for six weeks later that he dwelt in Nottingham
the King could hear nothing of Robin, who seemed to have vanished
into the earth with his merry men, though one by one the deer were
vanishing too!

At last one day a forester came to the King, and told him that if he
would see Robin he must come with him and take five of his best
knights. The King eagerly sprang up to do his bidding, and the six
men clad in monk's clothes mounted their palfreys and rode down to
the Abbey, the King wearing an Abbot's broad hat over his crown and
singing as he passed through the greenwood.

Suddenly at the turn of the path Robin and his archers appeared
before them.

"By your leave, Sir Abbot," said Robin, seizing the King's bridle,
"you will stay a while with us. Know that we are yeomen, who live
upon the King's deer, and other food have we none. Now you have
abbeys and churches, and gold in plenty; therefore give us some of
it, in the name of holy charity."

"I have no more than forty pounds with me," answered the King, "but
sorry I am it is not a hundred, for you should have had it all."

So Robin took the forty pounds, and gave half to his men, and then
told the King he might go on his way. "I thank you," said the King,
"but I would have you know that our liege lord has bid me bear you
his seal, and pray you to come to Nottingham."

At this message Robin bent his knee.

    "I love no man in all the world
     So well as I do my King,"

he cried, "and, Sir Abbot, for thy tidings, which fill my heart with
joy, to-day thou shalt dine with me, for love of my King." Then he
led the King into an open place, and Robin took a horn and blew it
loud, and at its blast seven-score of young men came speedily to do
his will.

"They are quicker to do his bidding than my men are to do mine,"
said the King to himself.

Speedily the foresters set out the dinner, venison and white bread,
and Robin and Little John served the King. "Make good cheer, Abbot,
for charity," said Robin, "and then you shall see what sort of life
we lead, that so you may tell our King."

When he had finished eating the archers took their bows, and hung
rose-garlands up with a string, and every man was to shoot through
the garland. If he failed, he should have a buffet on the head from

Good bowmen as they were, few managed to stand the test. Little John
and Will Scarlett, and Much, all shot wide of the mark, and at
length no one was left in but Robin himself and Gilbert of the White
Hand. Then Robin fired his last bolt, and it fell three fingers from
the garland. "Master," said Gilbert, "you have lost, stand forth and
take your punishment."

"I will take it," answered Robin, "but, Sir Abbot, I pray you that I
may suffer it at your hands."

The King hesitated. "It did not become him," he said, "to smite such
a stout yeoman," but Robin bade him smite on; so he turned up his
sleeve, and gave Robin such a buffet on the head that he rolled upon
the ground.

"There is pith in your arm," said Robin. "Come, shoot a-main with
me." And the King took up a bow, and in so doing his hat fell back
and Robin saw his face.

"My lord the King of England, now I know you well," cried he, and he
fell on his knees and all the outlaws with him. "Mercy I ask, my
lord the King, for my men and me."

"Mercy I grant," then said the King, "and therefore I came hither,
to bid you and your men leave the greenwood and dwell in my court
with me."

"So it shall be," answered Robin, "I and my men will come to your
court, and see how your service liketh us."

"Have you any green cloth," asked the King, "that you could sell to
me?" and Robin brought out thirty yards and more, and clad the King
and his men in coats of Lincoln green. "Now we will all ride to
Nottingham," said he, and they went merrily, shooting by the way.

The people of Nottingham saw them coming, and trembled as they
watched the dark mass of Lincoln green drawing near over the fields.
"I fear lest our King be slain," whispered one to another, "and if
Robin Hood gets into the town there is not one of us whose life is
safe"; and every man, woman, and child made ready to fly.

The King laughed out when he saw their fright, and called them back.
Right glad were they to hear his voice, and they feasted and made
merry. A few days later the King returned to London, and Robin dwelt
in his court for twelve months. By that time he had spent a hundred
pounds, for he gave largely to the knights and squires he met, and
great renown he had for his openhandedness.

But his men who had been born under the shadow of the forest, could
not live amid streets and houses. One by one they slipped away, till
only little John and Will Scarlett were left. Then Robin himself
grew home-sick, and at the sight of some young men shooting thought
upon the time when he was accounted the best archer in all England,
and went straightway to the King and begged for leave to go on a
pilgrimage to Bernisdale.

"I may not say you nay," answered the King; "seven nights you may be
gone and no more." And Robin thanked him, and that evening set out
for the greenwood.

It was early morning when he reached it at last, and listened
thirstily to the notes of singing birds, great and small.

"It seems long since I was here," he said to himself; "It would give
me great joy if I could bring down a deer once more," and he shot a
great hart, and blew his horn, and all the outlaws of the forest
came flocking round him. "Welcome," they said, "our dear master,
back to the greenwood tree," and they threw off their caps and fell
on their knees before him in delight at his return.

For two and twenty years Robin Hood dwelt in Sherwood forest after
he had run away from court, and naught that the King could say would
tempt him back again. At the end of that time he fell ill; he
neither ate nor drank, and had no care for the things he loved. "I
must go to merry Kirkley," said he, "and have my blood let."

But Will Scarlett, who heard his words, spoke roundly to him. "Not
by MY leave, nor without a hundred bowmen at your back. For there
abides an evil man, who is sure to quarrel with you, and you will
need us badly."

"If you are afraid, Will Scarlett, you may stay at home, for me,"
said Robin, "and in truth no man will I take with me, save Little
John only, to carry my bow."

"Bear your bow yourself, master, and I will bear mine."

"Very well, let it be so," said Robin, and they went on merrily
enough till they came to some women weeping sorely near a stream.

"What is the matter, good wives?" said Robin Hood.

"We weep for Robin Hood and his dear body, which to-day must let
blood," was the answer.

"Pray why do you weep for me?" asked Robin; "the Prioress is the
daughter of my aunt, and well I know she would not do me harm for
all the world." And he passed on, with Little John at his side.

Soon they reached the Priory, where they were let in by the Prioress
herself, who bade them welcome heartily, and not the less because
Robin handed her twenty pounds in gold as payment for his stay, and
told her if he cost her more, she was to let him know of it. Then
she began to bleed him, and for long Robin said nothing, giving her
credit for kindness and for knowing her art, but at length so much
blood came from him that he suspected treason. He tried to open the
door, for she had left him alone in the room, but it was locked
fast, and while the blood was still flowing he could not escape from
the casement. So he lay down for many hours, and none came near him,
and at length the blood stopped. Slowly Robin uprose and staggered
to the lattice-window, and blew thrice on his horn; but the blast
was so low, and so little like what Robin was wont to give, that
Little John, who was watching for some sound, felt that his master
must be nigh to death.

At this thought he started to his feet, and ran swiftly to the
Priory. He broke the locks of all the doors that stood between him
and Robin Hood, and soon entered the chamber where his master lay,
white, with nigh all his blood gone from him.

"I crave a boon of you, dear master," cried Little John.

"And what is that boon," said Robin Hood, "which Little John begs of
me?" And Little John answered, "It is to burn Kirkley Hall, and all
the nunnery."

But Robin Hood, in spite of the wrong that had been done him, would
not listen to Little John's cry for revenge. "I never hurt a woman
in all my life," he said, "nor a man that was in her company. But
now my time is done. That know I well. So give me my bow and a broad
arrow, and wheresoever it falls there shall my grave be digged. Lay
a green sod under my head and another at my feet, and put beside me
my bow, which ever made sweetest music to my ears, and see that
green and gravel make my grave. And, Little John, take care that I
have length enough and breadth enough to lie in." So Robin he
loosened his last arrow from the string. He then died. And where the
arrow fell Robin was buried.



King Richard, with his chief nobles, disembarked at Acre an hour
before noon on the 8th day of June, 1191. I had the good fortune to
see him without difficulty, by the favour of one who has a charge in
the ordering of the harbour. Nor was this a small thing, for there
was such a press and crowding of men.

The King was as noble a warrior as ever I have seen. Some that I
have known were taller of stature, but never one that bore himself
more bravely and showed more likelihood of strength and courage.
They that are learned in such things said that his arms were over-
long for the height of his body; but this is scarce a fault in a
swordsman, another inch of length adding I know not how much of
strength to a blow. He was of a ruddy complexion, his eyes blue,
with a most uncommon fire in them, such as few could dare to look
into if his wrath was kindled, his countenance, such as befitted a
ruler of men, being of an aspect both generous and commanding.

Some ten days after his coming to the camp King Richard was taken
with sickness. This was never altogether absent, but it grew worse,
as might indeed be looked for, in the heats of summer. The King
sickened on the day which the Christians celebrate as the Feast of
St. Barnabas. [Footnote: The longest day according to the old
calendar. So the old adage has it: "Barnaby bright, Barnaby bright;
Longest day and shortest night."] I was called to see him, having,
as I have said, no small fame as a healer. Never have I seen a sick
man more intractable. My medicine he swallowed readily, I may say,
even greedily. Had I suffered it, he would have taken it at
intervals shorter by far than I ordered. Doubtless he thought that
the more a man has of a good thing, the better it is for him. (So
indeed many believe, and of other things besides medicine, but
wholly without reason). But in this I hindered him, leaving with
those who ministered to him sufficient for one dose only.

He was troubled about many things, about the siege, which, as he
justly thought, had already been too much drawn out, about King
Philip of France, whom he loved not nor trusted, about his engines
of war, of which the greater part had not yet reached the camp; the
ships that bore them having been outsailed by the rest of the fleet.
His fever was of the intermittent sort, coming upon him on alternate
days. On the days when he was whole, or as nearly whole as a man
sick of this ague may ever be, he was busy in the field, causing
such engines as he had to be set in convenient places for the
assault of the town, and in other cares such as fall to a general.
When he was perforce shut in his pavilion by access of the fever, he
suffered himself to take no rest. Messengers were coming and going
from morning to night with news of the siege--he could never hear
enough of the doings of the French King--and there were always near
him men skilful in the working and making of engines. One would show
him some new thing pictured upon paper; another would bring a little
image, so to speak, of an engine, made in wood or iron. Never was a
child more occupied with a toy than was King Richard with these
things. I am myself no judge of such matters, but I have heard it
said by men well acquainted with them, that the King had a
marvellous understanding of such contrivances. But these cares were
a great hindrance to recovery. So at least I judged, and doubtless
it had been thus in the case of most men. But the King was not as
others, and, as it seemed to me, he drove away his disease by sheer
force of will.

On a certain evening when King Richard was mending apace of his
fever one carne to his tent--an English knight, Hugh Brown by name--
who brought the news that the King of the French had commanded that
a general assault should be made on the town the very next day. The
King would fain know the cause of this sudden resolve. "Well," said
the English knight, "it came about, as I understand, in this
fashion. The Turks have this day destroyed two engines of King
Philip on which he had spent much time and gold." "Aye!" said King
Richard, "I know the two; the cat and the mantlet. They are pretty
contrivings the both of them, but I set not such store on them as
does my brother of France." And here I should say that the cat was
like to a tent made of hides long and narrow and low upon the
ground, with a pointed end as it might be a ploughshare, which could
be brought up to the walls by men moving it from within, and so
sheltered from the stones and darts of the enemy. As for the
mantlet, it was made in somewhat the same fashion, only it was less
in size, nor was it to be brought near to the wall. King Philip
loved dearly to sit in it, cross-bow in hand--the French, I noted,
like rather the cross-bow, the English the long-bow--and would shoot
his bolts at any Turk that might show himself upon the walls.

But to come back to the knight's story. "An hour or so after noon,
when the cat had been brought close to the wall, and the mantlet was
in its accustomed place, some fifty yards distant, the Turks made an
attack on both at the same moment of time. On to the cat they
dropped a heavy beam; and when this with its weight had broken in
the roof, or I should rather say the back of the cat, a great
quantity of brushwood, and after the brushwood a whole pailful of
Greek fire [Footnote: A composition, supposedly of asphalt, nitre
and sulphur. It burnt under water.]--the machine was over near to
the wall, so that these things could be dropped on it from above. At
the mantlet they aimed bolts from a strong engine which they had
newly put in place, and by ill luck broke it through. And verily
before the nimblest-tongued priest in the whole realm of England
could say a hunting-mass, both were in a blaze."

What the man might mean by the priest and the hunting-mass I knew
not then, but heard after, that when a noble will go forth hunting,
the service which they call the mass is shortened to the utmost, and
the priest that can say it more speedily than his brethren is best

"And my brother of France," cried the King, "how fared he?" "He had
as narrow an escape with his life," answered the knight, "as ever
had Christian king. His mantle, nay his very hair was singed, and as
for his cross-bow, he was constrained to leave it behind." "And he
gave commands for the assault in his anger?" said the King. "'Tis
even so," answered Sir Hugh.

"My brother of France is, methinks, too greedy of gain and glory; if
he had been willing to ask our help, he had done better." But King
Richard sorrowed for the brave men, fellow-soldiers of the Cross
with him, who had fallen to no purpose. Nevertheless, in his secret
heart, he was not ill-pleased that the French King had not taken the
town of Acre.

On the second day after the failure of the French assault upon the
town, King Richard would make his own essay. He was not yet wholly
recovered of his sickness; but it would have passed the wit of man
to devise means by which he could be kept within his pavilion; nor
must it be forgotten that such restraint might have done him more of
harm than of good. So his physicians, for he had those who regularly
waited on him (though I make bold to say that he trusted in me
rather than in them), gave him the permission which he had taken. He
had caused a mantlet to be built for him which was brought up to the
edge of the ditch with which the town was surrounded. In this he
sat, with a cross-bow in hand, and shot not a few of the enemy,
being skilful beyond the common in the use of this weapon. But towns
are not taken by the shooting of bolts, howsoever well aimed they
may be. This may not be done save by coming to close quarters.

It was on the thirty-fourth day after the coming of King Richard
that the town was given up. Proclamation was made throughout the
camp that no one should trespass by deed or word against the
departing Turks. And, indeed, he who would insult men so brave would
be of a poor and churlish spirit. To the last they bore themselves
with great courage and dignity. On the morning of the day of their
departure they dressed themselves in their richest apparel, and
being so drest showed themselves on the walls. This done, they laid
aside their garments, piling them in a great heap in the market-
place, and so marched forth from the town, each clad in his shirt
only, but with a most cheerful contenance.

When the last of the Turks had left the town the Christian army
entered. Half of it was given to the French king, who had for his
own abode the House of the Templars, and half to King Richard, to
whom was assigned the palace of the Caliph. In like manner the
prisoners and all the treasure were equally divided.

For one shameful deed the English King must answer. Of this deed I
will now tell the story. When the army had had sufficient rest--and
the King knew well that no army must have more than is sufficient,
suffering more from excess than from defect in this matter--and it
was now time to advance, there arose a great question touching the
agreement made when the town was given up. There was much going to
and fro of messengers and embassies between the English King and the
Caliph Saladin, much debating, and many accusations bandied to and
fro. Even to this day no man can speak certainly of what was done or
not done in this matter. What I write, I write according to the best
of my knowledge. First, then, it is beyond all doubt that the Caliph
did not send either the Holy Cross or the money which had been
covenanted, or the prisoners whom he had promised to deliver up; but
as to the cause wherefore he did not send them there is no
agreement, the Christians affirming one thing, the followers of
Mahomet another. As to the Holy Cross, let that be put out of the
account. No man that I ever talked with--and I have talked with
many--ever saw it. 'Tis much to be doubted whether it was in being.
As to the money, that the Caliph had it, or a great portion of it,
at hand, is certainly true. It was seen and counted by King
Richard's own envoys. As to the prisoners, it is hard to discover
the truth. For my part, I believe that the Caliph was ready to
deliver up all that he had in his own hands or could find elsewhere,
but that he had promised more in respect of this than he was able to
perform. Many of those whom he had covenanted to restore were dead,
either of disease or by violence. As for disease, it must be noted
that a sick man was likely to fare worse in the hands of Turks; as
for violence, there was not much diversity between the Christians
and the followers of Mahomet. But this may be said, that one who
invades the land of others is like to suffer worse injury should he
come into their power than he would have the disposition to inflict
upon them. Whatever, then, the cause, the Caliph had engaged in this
matter far more than he was able to perform. But he did not fail
from want of good faith. I take it that it was from the matter of
the money that there came the breaking of the agreement. To put it
very shortly, the Caliph said, "Restore to me the hostages and you
shall receive the gold"; King Richard said, "Send on the gold and
you shall receive the hostages." And neither was the Caliph willing
to trust the good faith of the King, nor the King the good faith of
the Caliph.

So there was delay after delay, much talk to no purpose, and the
hearts of men, both on one side and on the other, growing more hot
with anger from day to day. And there was also the need which
increased from day to day, as, indeed, it needs must, for the
Christians to be about the business on which they came. They had
taken the town of Acre, but that was but the beginning of their
enterprise, for they had to conquer the whole land. And how could
the army march with a whole multitude of prisoners in their hands? It
would need no small number of men to keep watch over them, lest they
should escape, or, what was more to be feared, do an injury to the
army. What could be worse in a doubtful battle than that there
should be these enemies in its very midst? I set these things down
because I would not do an injustice to the English King, whom I have
always held as one to be greatly admired. Nevertheless I say again,
that in the matter of the prisoners he did a shameful deed. For on
the 20th day of August he commanded that all the prisoners that were
in his hands, whether they had been taken in battle, or delivered up
as hostages for the fulfilment of the covenant, should be led out of
the city and slain. These were in number between two and three
thousand. Some the King kept alive, for whom, as being of high
nobility and great wealth, he hoped to receive a ransom; others were
saved by private persons, a few for compassion's sake; and others in
the hope of gain. But the greater part were slain without mercy, the
soldiers falling upon them, without arms and helpless as they were.

It was soon made plain to all that the spirit of the Caliph and his
Turks was not broken by the losing of Acre. Rather were they stirred
up by it to more earnestness and courage; nor did they forget how
their countrymen had been cruelly slaughtered. For a time they were
content to watch the King's army as it went on its way, taking such
occasion as offered itself of plundering or slaying. If any lagged
behind, falling out of the line of march by reason of weariness, or
seeking refreshment on the way, as when there was a spring of water
near to the road, or a vineyard with grapes--'twas just the time of
the ripening of grapes--then the Turkish horsemen would be upon him.
Such loiterers escaped but seldom. And for this business the Turks
had a particular fitness, so quickly did they come and depart. The
Christian knights were clad in armour, a great defense, indeed,
against arrows and stones, but a great hindrance if a man would move
quickly; the horses also had armour on them. Why do they set men on
horses but that they may go speedily to and fro as occasion may
call? but these knights are like to fortresses rather than to
riders. A man on foot can easily outrun them; as for the Turks who
rode on horses from the desert--than which there is no creature on
earth lighter and speedier--they flew from the Christian who would
pursue them, as a bird flies from a child who would catch it.

All this while the Turks were close at hand, and ready to assault
the King's army so soon as a convenient occasion would arise. But
they did not take King Richard unaware, for indeed he was as
watchful as he was brave.

I will now set forth as briefly as may be the order of the army as
it was set out for battle at Arsuf. On the right hand of the army
was the sea, its front being set towards the south. In the van were
the Templars, and next to these the Frenchmen in two divisions, the
second being led by that Guy who called himself King of Jerusalem,
and after the Frenchmen King Richard with his Englishmen; last of
all, holding the rear-guard, were the Hospitallers. These are ever
rivals of the Templars, and it was the King's custom so to order his
disposition that this rivalry should work for the common good. On
one day the Templars would lead, and the Hospitallers bring up the
rear; on another each would take the other's place; and there was
ever a mighty contention between the two companies which would bear
itself the better. These two posts, it should be said, were the most
full of peril; nor was any part of the army save only these two
companies suffered to hold either the one or the other. Between the
divisions there was a small space, not more that sufficient to mark
one from the other: otherwise the soldiers stood and marched in as
close array as might be. Also they moved very slowly, travelling
less than a league in the space of two hours. And even the King with
some chosen knights rode up and down the lines, watching at the same
time the Turks, so that whenever they might make assault the army
might be ready to meet them.

Now King Richard's commandment had been that the Christians should
on no account break their lines to attack the enemy, but should only
defend themselves as best they could. There is nothing harder in the
whole duty of a soldier than so to stand; even they who have been
men of war from their youth grow greatly impatient; as for the
younger sort they often fail to endure altogether. Many a man will
sooner throw himself upon almost sure death than abide danger less
by far standing still. And so it could be seen that day in the
Christian army. The first to fail were the men that carried the
cross-bows; nor, indeed, is it to be wondered at that when they had
spent their store of bolts, they, having but short swords wherewith
to defend themselves, should be ill content to hold their place.
Many I did see throw away their bows and fly, thrusting themselves
by main force into the ranks of the men-at-arms, who liked not to
beat them back, nor yet to suffer them to pass. And they themselves
had much ado to hold their ground, for it was a very fierce assault
that they had to endure. In the first place there was such a shower
of darts and stones and arrows that the very light of the sun itself
was darkened, a thing which I had always before judged to be a
fable, but saw that day to be possible. The greater part of them, it
is true, fell without effect to the ground, for of twenty missiles
scarce one served its purpose, but some were not cast in vain. As
for the number, they lay so thick upon the ground that a man might
gather twenty into his hand without moving from his place.

About noon the Knights Hospitallers themselves, than whom, as I have
said, there were no braver men in the whole army, sent word to the
King that they could bear up no longer, unless they should be
suffered to charge the enemy. But they got small comfort from the
King. "Close up your lines," he said to the messenger, "and be
patient. Be sure that you shall not miss your reward." A second time
did they send to him, the Master of the Company himself going on the
errand, but he also came back with nothing done. Now the King's plan
was this, that when the Turks should have spent their strength, and
should also, through over-confidence and contempt of their
adversaries, have fallen into disorder, then the trumpets should
sound, and the whole army with one consent and moving all together,
so that the whole of its strength should be put, as it were, into
one blow, should fall upon the enemy. 'Twas a wisely conceived plan,
save in this that there was needed for the full carrying out more
than the King was like to find. He laid upon his soldiers a greater
burden of patience than they could bear.

As for the King, he was, I can scarce doubt, glad at heart that the
season of waiting was over. Certain it is that not only did he not
seek to call back his men from the charge--doubtless he knew full
well that to do this was beyond the power of mortal--but he himself
joined in it with the greatest vehemence; none that saw him but must
have believed that the affair was altogether to his liking. If
others were before him at the first, but a short time had passed
when he was to be seen in the front rank, aye, and before it. Where
he rode, it was as if Azrael had passed, for the dead lay upon the
ground on either side.

Never had the Caliph Saladin suffered so great a defeat as that
which fell upon him in the battle of Arsuf; never, indeed, after
that day did he dare to meet King Richard in the open field.
Nevertheless, from that very day did the hope of the Christians that
they should accomplish the end of their warfare grow less and less.
But, if any one ask what was the cause of this falling, and who
should bear the blame, I, for one, know not what answer should be
made to him. There was not one in the whole army more brave and more
generous in this matter than King Richard; yet even he, I hold, had
not a wholly single heart. He was ever thinking of worldly things;
he desired greatly to win the city of Jerusalem, yet he desired it
as much for his own sake, for his own glory and renown, and the
increase of his royal power, as for any other cause.

There is no need to tell of all the combats, skirmishes, and the
like that took place, how on one day a company of the Templars fell
into an ambush, how on another the Hospitallers suffered some
damage. For the most part the Christians had the better in these
things, and this not a little because of the great skill and valour
of the English King. Nevertheless, the fortunes of the army seemed
to go backwards rather than forwards.

About this time the King began to have dealings for peace with the
Caliph Saladin, sending an embassage to him, and receiving the like
from him. But it was ever thus that the King asked more than he
looked for the Caliph to give; and the Caliph promised more than he
had the purpose to fulfil. There were many courtesies passed between
them, and gifts also. King Richard would send a set of hawks, and,
indeed, he had not much that he could give; but the presents that
came from the Caliph were of exceeding richness and splendour; there
was a tent made of cloth of gold, and horses such as Kings only have
in their stalls, and rare beasts and birds, and snow from Lebanon,
for the cooling of wines, and many other things, both for show and
for use, of which it were long to tell. And these things, for all
that they were costly, served the Caliph's purpose well, and for
this reason, they seemed to show his good will, and all the while he
was busy destroying the towns and laying waste the country. Of these
things the King heard something, but not all, for in the matter of
news he was ill served. And all the while the Turks ceased not to do
all the mischief that they could, slaying such as strayed from the
camp, yea, and coming into the camp itself, and doing men to death
in their very tents, and Saladin, or rather Saphadin, his brother,
for he it was who held converse with King Richard, when complaints
were made of their deeds, affirmed that they were done by robbers
and others who were not subject to him, and paid no reverence to his
commands; of which pretence there need be said this only, that these
robbers or murderers, whether they were the Caliph's men or no,
never harmed any but such as were his enemies.

For all this King Richard still strove by all means that he could
devise to come to a peaceful agreement with his adversaries. Nor did
he refuse any instrument by which he might hope to compass this end.

When a whole moon had been wasted in parleying and the sending of
messengers to and fro, the King, seeing that he must accomplish his
purpose by force of arms or not at all, led his army towards the
Holy City. It would serve no profitable end to tell of the other
places where he pitched his camp, or of the days which he tarried in
this or that. Let it suffice to say that in a month's time he
traversed so much space only as an army well equipped might pass
over in a single day's march; and that about twenty-one days after
the winter solstice the army of the Christians came to a certain
place which is named the Casal of Beitenoble, and which in ancient
times was, if I err not, a city of the priests. There it tarried
some twelve days, being much troubled by storms and rains, for the
winds blew and the rains fell during the whole of this time, in such
a fashion as I have never seen. As for the tents, only such as were
appointed with ropes and so forth could be kept in their place, so
violent were the blasts, so that the greater part of the army lay
under the open sky, not a little to the damage of their health. The
horses also were in evil case. These creatures, all men know, suffer
from much sickness, and multitudes of them perished. Also there was
a great scarcity of victuals; for the corn and even the biscuit were
spoilt by the rain, and the hogs' flesh grew corrupt.

Though not a few died of sickness, yet did the host daily grow
greater. Many who had stayed behind in various cities, their zeal
having grown stale, now came back to the camp, judging that they
would do well to take part in an enterprise that was now near to
success. Also many that had tarried on the march for the cause of
sickness now made shift to come to the camp. Some I saw carried in
litters, and others that could scarce set one foot before the other
crawled painfully along the road. Many of these were slain by the
Turks, but not the less did the rest brave the dangers of the
journey. And in the camp there was a great furbishing of arms and
armour, and trimming of the plumes of helmets, for it was counted an
unseemly thing that any man should enter such a place as the Holy
City save in his best array.

On a certain evening, some eleven days after the coming of the army
to Beitenoble, there was a council held in the tent of King Richard,
at which were present the Master of the Templars and the Master of
the Hospitallers, and other chief men in the army. About an hour
after sunset the council came to an end; darkness had long since
fallen, but it chanced to be full moon, and the faces of them that
had been present at the council were plain to be seen. Before ever a
word was said, it was manifest to all that a great misfortune had
befallen them. For the faces of these men were clouded with
discouragement. And straightway all the multitude that had been
gathered together departed every man to his own place. There needed
no proclaiming that neither on the morrow nor on any other day would
there be a marching to the Holy City.

On the 8th day of January the army departed from Beitenoble, and on
the 20th it came, after much toil and suffering, for the rain and
tempest scarcely abated for a single hour through the twelve days,
to the city of Ascalon.

For some little time, King Richard and his army dwelt in peace in
the city of Ascalon. Nor can it be denied that they gathered
strength; the sick, being duly handled by their physicians, were
restored to a sound body, and they that were wearied with the
labours of long-continued warfare had rest and refreshment.
Nevertheless it may be doubted whether the King was able to
advance the cause at all which he had in hand, namely, the taking of
the Holy City. And the chief cause was this, that the Christians,
not having for the present a common foe with whom to contend, began
to quarrel among themselves more grievously than ever. So the King
and the French, among whom, now that the French King had departed to
his own land, a certain Duke of Burgundy was chief, fell out, and
this with such heat, that the duke departed from Ascalon to Acre in
great haste, and all the Frenchmen followed him.

Now about this same time there came a messenger to King Richard
bearing a letter from one that he had set to rule in England in his
stead while he should be absent from his kingdom. In this letter
there were written many things about the doings of Prince John the
King's brother: how he had commerce with the French to the King's
damage, and was troubling all loyal men, and had taken all the money
that was in the treasury. When the King heard these things he was
sore distraught. And indeed he was in a great strait. On the one
hand there was the purpose for which he had come on his present
journey, the taking again of the Holy City; and, on the other, there
was the loss of his own kingdom at home. For in the letter it was
plainly written that if he was not speedy in returning, all the
realm of England would be lost to him.

At the first he made no doubt of departing with but as little delay
as might be. "I must be gone," he said, "or my kingdom will not be
worth a silver penny." But before many days his purpose was changed.
'Twas said that a holy man, a priest of the land of France, took
courage to speak to him and set before him his duty in this matter.
He said that the hearts of all were sorely troubled by the King's
purpose to depart--and this was most certainly true, seeing that
they who were most jealous of the King and chafed most at his
command were not less dismayed by the news of his departure than
were his best friends. "Think too," he is reported to have spoken,
"how that you will greatly dim your kingly renown. You have done
well, O King, and God has manifestly bestowed His blessings on you.
Will you then be ungrateful, and, if your royal grace will suffer me
to say so much, unfaithful to Him? Verily there is a great reward
laid up for him that recovers the Holy City out of the hands of the
heathen, and will you give this up on the bare rumour of mischief
that may befall your estate in this world?" So the holy man is
reported to have spoken. Such words may have had weight with the
King, who was ever greatly moved by eloquent words. But I also
believe that when he came to himself he judged that there was no
great need of haste in the matter; that the Prince John his brother
was not greatly loved, nor was ever like to be; that when the people
of England had had a year's trial of his rule, if such should come
to pass, they would be the less likely to stand by him; and,
moreover, that if Richard should go back to his country in high
esteem among all men, as having set up yet again a Christian Kingdom
in the Holy City, his enemies would be brought nought by the mere
rumour of his coming. Certain it is that, let the cause be what it
might, he caused it to be made known throughout the army that they
would set out for the Holy City in three days' time.

Again there was great joy in the army; again the sick rose from
their beds, and the lame threw away there crutches, that they might
go without hindrance on this great journey. Again did the army come
almost in sight of the Holy City; again were all things ready for
the assault. And then once more the more skilful and prudent of the
leaders hindered the matter. It was not well, they said to run into
such danger. It might well be that if they should assail the city
they would not take it; it was well-nigh certain that even if they
should take it, they could not hold it to any good purpose. And so
it came to pass that King Richard and the army having once more come
to Beitenoble, once more departed, leaving their task

When the leaders had taken this resolve that they would turn back
and the army was now about to depart, there came to King Richard a
certain man-at-arms, who was well acquainted with the country, for
indeed, he had travelled on foot as a pilgrim from the coast to
Jerusalem, and this not once only but twice or thrice. This man
said, "My lord King, if you are minded to see the Holy City, you can
do so at little pains. If you will ride a mile or so you will come
to a hill from whence you can see the walls, and the hill on which
the temple was built and other of the Holy places." But the King
answered, "I thank you much, nor, indeed, is there any sight in the
whole world on which I would more gladly look with my eyes, but I am
not worthy of so great a favour. If it had been the will of God that
I should see His city, I do not doubt that I had done so, not as one
who looks upon some spectacle from far, but as the conqueror in some
great battle looks upon the thing that he has won. But of this grace
I, by reason I doubt not of my sins, have been judged unworthy." And
when he had so spoken he turned his horse's head to the west, as
being minded to return yet again to the sea-coast. And this he did.

I have spoken of the King's courage and skill in arms and wisdom in
leadership, nor need I say these things again. But one thing I will
add, namely, that of all the men that came to this land from the
West none left behind him so great a fame as did King Richard. So if
a mother was minded to make a crying child hold his peace, she would
say, "Hush, child, or King Richard shall have thee"; or if a horse
started unaware, his rider would say, "Dost see King Richard in the

On the 9th day of October, 1192, did King Richard set sail to return
to his own country. But it fared ill with him on his journey. For it
fell out that he was separated from all his friends, and that when
he was in this case a certain duke, with whom he had had a strife,
laid hands upon him, and laid him in prison. There he remained for
the space of a year and more, fretting much, I doubt not, against
his condition, for never surely was a man more impatient of bonds.
But he could not escape, nor did his friends so much as know where
he was. And when this was discovered by some strange chance, there
was yet much delay, nor indeed was he set free till there had been
paid for him a ransom of many thousands of gold pieces. Not many
years after he was slain by a chance arrow shot from the walls of a
certain castle which he was besieging, being then in the forty-
second year of his age.



King Louis sailing from Cyprus about the 24th day of May, 1249, came
with a fair wind to Egypt in some four days, having a great fleet of
ships, numbering in all, it was said, some eighteen hundred, great
and small. And now there fell upon him the first stroke of
misfortune. There arose a strong wind from the south which scattered
the fleet, so that not more than a third part remained with the
King. As for the others, they were blown far to the north, even to
the town of Acre, and, though none were cast away, it was many days
before they could return. Now the King's purpose was to lay siege to
the town of Damietta, a town which is built on the midmost of the
seven mouths of the Nile. It was commonly agreed that whoever should
hold possession of this said town of Damietta might go whithersoever
he would in the whole land of Egypt, and further, that whosoever
should be master of Egypt could do what he would in the land of

When the King came with what was left to him over against the city
of Damietta there was much debate between him and his counsellors as
to what might best be done. "I have no mind," said he, "to turn
back, having, by the grace of God, come so far. Say you that I
should do well to wait for those who have been separated from us?
That I would gladly do, for it grieves me much that they lose, so
far, their share in this great enterprise. But two reasons constrain
me to do otherwise. First, it would put the infidel in great heart
if they should see me so delay to make trial of them; and, second,
there is here no harbour or safe anchorage where I might wait. Nay,
my lords, it is my purpose to attack the enemy without delay, for
the Lord our God can save by few or by many."

The King being thus steadfastly resolved to have no more delay, his
nobles and knights could not choose but obey him. This being so,
they strove among themselves who should be the first to come to
blows with the enemy. There were small boats with the larger of the
ships, and these were filled with men and rowed to the shore. This
was not done wholly without loss, for some slipped as they descended
from the ships, or missed their feet, the boat moving from under
them with the motion of the waves, so that some were drowned and
others hardly saved.

Meanwhile they took the great flag of Saint Denys, from the ship in
which it was, and carried it to the shore. But when the King saw the
flag on the shore he would tarry no longer, but leapt into the sea,
accoutred as he was, and the water came up to his armpits. When he
saw the Saracens, he said to the knight that followed him, "Who are
these?" And the knight answered, "These, sir, are the Saracens."
When he heard this he put his lance in rest, and held his shield
before him, and would have charged them, but his counsellors would
not suffer it.

When the enemy saw that the King and his men had landed, they sent a
message to the Sultan by carrier-pigeons; this they did three times.
But it so chanced that the Sultan was in a fit of the fever which
troubled him in the summer time, and he sent no answer. Then his
men, thinking that he was dead, for they knew already that he was
sick, fled straightway from the town of Damietta. When the King knew
this for certain, the bishops that were in the army sang the Te Deum
with great joy. The army which King Louis brought with him numbered
thirty thousand men.

The army being thus established in the town of Damietta, there was
much debate as to what should be done. The King was set upon
assailing the enemy without delay. "It is by delay," he said, and
said truly, "that these enterprises have been ruined heretofore, for
not only does an army grow less and less with every day by sickness-
-keep it as carefully as you will, such loss must needs happen--but
the first fire of zeal begins to burn low." To such purpose the King
spoke to his counsellors, nor could they gainsay his words. Yet they
had to urge on the other part reasons so weighty that they could not
be resisted.

The truth is that there could not have been chosen a worse time for
the waging of war in Egypt than that at which the King arrived.
Whereas other rivers overflow their banks in the winier season, the
Nile overflows his in summer, and this he does because his stream is
swollen, not by rains that fall in the land of Egypt, for such rains
are more scanty than in any other country of the world, but by those
that fall in countries far inland and, haply, by the melting of
snows. So it is that in that part of Egypt which is nearest to the
sea the river begins to rise in the month of June, and for a quarter
of a year or so thereafter an army must rest perforce. The King was
very ill served in his ministers when he was suffered to remain in
ignorance of these things. Nevertheless, the case being so, he had
no choice but to accept the counsel of delay. It was agreed,
therefore, that the army should tarry in Damietta till the floods of
the river should have ceased.

In the beginning of the month of December the King set out for Cairo
with his army. Now the Sultan had sent five hundred of his knights,
the bravest warriors and the best mounted that he could find in his
whole army, to the end that they should harass the King's army as
much as might be. Now the King being very careful of the lives of
his men, as knowing that a soldier lost could not be replaced, had
given a strict commandment that no one should presume to leave the
line of march and charge the enemy. When the Turks saw this, or,
haply, had learnt from their spies that the King had given this
commandment, they grew bolder and bolder, till one of them, riding
up to the line, overthrew one of the Knights Templar. This was done
under the very eyes of the Master of the Temple, who, when he saw
it, could no longer endure to be quiet. So he cried to his brethren,
"At them, good sirs, for this is more than can be borne." So he
spurred his horse, and the other Templars with him, and charged the
Turks. And because their horses were fresh and the horses of the
Turks weary, they bore them down. It was said that not one of the
five hundred escaped, many being ridden down, and the rest being
drowned in the river.

After this the King encamped between the two branches of the Nile,
that which flows by Damietta and that which is the next to it toward
the sunsetting. On the other side of this branch was ranged the army
of the Sultan, to hinder the Christians from passing, an easy thing
seeing that there was no ford, nor any place where a man might cross
save by swimming.

While they were in this strait there came a Bedouin to the camp, who
said that for five hundred pieces of gold he would show them a good
ford. When the Constable Imbert, to whom the Bedouin had spoken of
this ford, told the matter to the King, the King said, "I will give
the gold right willingly; only be sure that the man perform his part
of the bargain." So the constable parleyed with the man; but the
Bedouin would not depart from his purpose. "Give me the gold," said
he, "and I will show you the ford." And because the King was in a
strait, he consented; so the man received the five hundred pieces,
and he showed the ford to certain that were sent with him.

It was agreed that the Duke of Burgundy and other nobles who were
not of France should keep guard in the camp, and that the King with
his brothers should ford the river at the place which the Arab
should show. So, all being ready, at daybreak they came down to the
water. A ford there was, but not such as a man would choose save in
the greatest need.

The King, having with him the main body of the army, crossed amidst
a great sounding of horns and trumpets. It was a noble sight to see,
and nothing in it nobler and more admirable than the King himself. A
fairer knight there never was, and he stood with a gilded helmet on
his head, and a long German sword in his hand, being by his head and
shoulders taller than the crowd. Then he and his knights charged the
Saracens, who by this time had taken a stand again on the river
bank. It was a great feat of arms. No man drew long-bow that day or
plied cross-bow. The Crusaders and the Saracens fought with mace and
sword, neither keeping their ranks, but all being confused together.

But the Crusaders, for all their valour, could scarce hold their
own, because the enemy outnumbered them by much. Also there was a
division of counsel among them. Also there came a messenger from
them that were shut up in Mansoura, telling the King how hard
pressed they were, and in what instant need of succour.

And now the Sacarens grew more and more confident, for they were
greatly the better in numbers; and if, man for man and in the matter
of arms and armour, they were scarce equal to the Crusaders, yet the
difference was not so great. They pushed on, therefore, and drove
the Christians back to the river. These were very hard pressed, and
some were for swimming across the river to the camp, but by this
time their horses were weary, and not a few perished by drowning.

Nevertheless as time passed the Crusaders fared somewhat better, for
they drew more together, and the enemy, seeing that they still held
their ground, and being themselves not a little weary, drew back. In
the end the King and such of the chiefs as were left got back into
the camp. Right glad they were to rest, for the battle had been long
and fierce.

But they had but little peace, for that very night the Saracens made
an attack upon the camp. A great disturbance they made, and most
unwelcome to men who had been fighting all the day. But they did not
work much harm. Many valiant deeds were done by the Christians.

But the Saracens were making ready for attacking the camp with more
force than before. And their leader could be seen from the camp,
taking account of the Crusaders, and strengthening his battalions
where he thought that the King's camp might be most conveniently

The first attack was made on the Count of Anjou. He held that part
of the camp that was nearest to the city of Cairo. Some of the enemy
were on horseback and some on foot; there were some also that threw
Greek fire among the count's men. Between them they pressed the
count so sorely that he was fain to send to the King for help. This
the King gave without loss of time; he led the men himself, and it
was not long before they chased the Saracens from this part of the

When the battle was over the King called the barons to his tent, and
thanked them for all that they had done, and gave them great
encouragement, saying that as they had driven back the Saracens over
and again, it would, beyond doubt, go well with them in the end.

And now the army was sore distressed for want both of food and of
water. In Damietta, indeed, there were yet stores of barley, rice,
and other grains; but in the camp scarce anything that could be
eaten. Some small fishes were caught in the river; but these were
very ill savoured, and all the more so--so, at least, it seemed to
such as eat them under constraint of hunger--because they fed on
dead bodies, of which many were thrown into the river. For a while
some portion of the stores that were in the city were carried across
the river to the camp. But this the Saracens hindered, for by this
time their ships had the mastery over the ships of the Christians.
They kept, therefore, the river, suffering nothing to pass. If
anything was carried across, it was but a trifle. Some things the
country people brought into the camp, but these were not to be
purchased save for large sums of money, and money was by this time
scarce even among the richer sort. And when it was judged expedient
that the King's army should cross the river again and return to the
camp, things were worse rather than better, so far as victuals were
concerned. It was well that the army should be brought together,
both for attack and for defence, but with the greater multitude the
famine grew worse and worse.

After a while there was a treating for peace between the King and
the Saracens; and for a while it seemed as if they might come to an
agreement, and this not without advantage to the King. But the
matter came to naught, because the Saracens would have the King
himself as a hostage for the due performance of the treaty. The
Christians would have given the King's brothers, and these were
willing to go; but the King they could not give. "It would be
better," said one of the bravest knights in the army, and in this
matter he spake the mind of all, "that we should all be taken
captive or slain, than that we should leave the King in pledge."

The King, seeing that the condition of the army still grew from bad
to worse, and that if they tarried they would all be dead men,
commanded that they should make their way into the town of Damietta.
And this the army began to do the very next night. Now the first
thing to be cared for was the taking of the sick, of whom there was
a great multitude, on board the ships. But while this was being
done, the Saracens entered the camp on the other side. When the
sailors who were busy in embarking the sick saw this, they loosed
the cables by which they were moored to the shore, and made as if
they would fly. Now the King was on the bank of the river, and there
was a galley in waiting for him, whereon, if he had been so minded,
he might easily have escaped. Nor could he have been blamed
therefor, because he was afflicted with the dysentery that prevailed
in the camp. But this he would not do; "Nay," he said, "I will stay
with my people." But when there was now no hope of safety, one of
his officers took him, mounted as he was on a pony, to a village
hard by, defending him all the way from such as chanced to fall in
with him--but none knew that he was the King. When he was come to
the village they took him into a house that there was, and laid him
down almost dead. A good woman of Paris that was there took his head
upon her lap, and there was no one but thought that he would die
before nightfall. Then one of the nobles coming in asked the King
whether he should not go to the chief of the Saracens, and see
whether a treaty might not yet be made on such terms as they would.
The King said yes; so he went. Now there was a company of the
Saracens round the house, whither by this time not a few of the
Christians had assembled. And one of the King's officers cried-
whether from fear or with traitorous intent cannot be said--"Sir
knights, surrender yourselves! The King will have it so; if you do
not, the King will perish." So the knights gave up their swords, and
the Saracens took them as prisoners. When the chief of the Saracens,
with whom the noble aforesaid was talking, saw them, he said, "There
can be no talk of truce and agreement with these men; they are

And now the question was not of a treaty but a ransom. About this
there was no little debate between the Sultan and the King. First
the Sultan required that the King should surrender to him the
castles of the Knights Templars and of the Hospitallers of St. John.
"Nay," said the King, "that I cannot do, for they are not mine to
give." This answer greatly provoked the Sultan, and he threatened to
put the King to the torture, to which the King answered this only,
that he was a prisoner in their hands, and that they could do with
him as they would.

When they saw that they could not turn him from his purpose by
threats or by fear, they asked him how much money he was willing to
pay to the Sultan for his ransom, such money being over and above
the rendering up of the town of Damietta. Then the King made answer:
"If the Sultan will take a reasonable sum in money for ransom, I
will recommend it to the Queen that she should pay the same." "Nay,"
said the envoy of the Sultan, "why do you not say outright that you
will have it so?" "Because," answered the King, "in this matter it
is for the Queen to say yea or nay. I am a prisoner, and my royal
power is gone from me." So it was agreed that if the Queen would pay
a thousand thousand gold pieces by way of ransom, the King should go
free. Said the King, "Will the Sultan swear to this bargain?" They
said that he would. So it was agreed that the King should pay for
the ransom of his army a thousand thousand gold pieces, and for his
own ransom the town of Damietta, "for," said he, "a King cannot be
bought and sold for money." When the Sultan heard this, he said, "On
my word, this is a noble thing of the Frenchman that he makes no
bargaining concerning so great a thing. Tell him that I give him as
a free gift the fifth part of the sum which he has covenanted to

All things were now settled, and there were but four days before the
fulfilling of the treaty, when the King should give up Damietta to
the Sultan, and the Sultan, on his part, should suffer the King and
his people to go free. But lo! there came to pass that which was
like to bring the whole matter to nothing. The emirs of the Sultan
made a conspiracy against him. "Know this," they said one to
another, "that so soon as he shall find himself master of Damietta,
he will slay us. Let us therefore be beforehand with him." And it
was agreed that this should be done. First, when the Sultan was
going to his chamber after a banquet which he had given to the
emirs, one, who was, indeed, his sword-bearer, dealt him a blow and
struck off his hand. But the Sultan, being young and nimble, escaped
into a strong tower that was hard by his chamber, and three of his
priests were with him. The emirs called upon him to give himself up.
"That," said he, "I will do, if you will give me a promise of my
life." "Nay," they answered, "we will give you no promises. If you
surrender not of your own free will, then will we compel you." Then
they threw Greek fire at the tower, and the tower, which was built
of pine-wood, caught fire on the instant. When the Sultan saw this
he ran down with all the speed that he could, seeking to reach the
river, if so be he could find a ship. But the emirs and their men
were ranged along the way, nor was it long before they slew him. And
he that dealt him the last blow came to the King, his hand yet
dripping with blood, and said, "What will you give me? I have slain
your enemy, who would assuredly have done you to death had he
lived." But the King answered him not a word.

Now the covenant between the King and the Saracen chiefs was
renewed, nor was any change made in the conditions; only the payment
was differently ordered; that is to say, one-half of the ransom was
to be paid before the King left the place where he was, and the
other half in the town of Acre.

Then the emirs on the one part and the King on the other took the
oaths that were held to be the most binding on them. The King indeed
held staunchly by his faith, and when the emirs would have had him
swear in a way that he thought to be unseemly to him as a Christian
man he would not. And the emirs paid him the more honour and
reverence for this very cause. It was said, indeed, that they would
have made him Sultan of Cairo, if he had been minded to receive that
dignity at their hands; furthermore, some that knew the King
affirmed that he was not altogether set against it. But none knew
for certain the truth in the matter. Yet it was well said by one of
the emirs, "There surely never was better or more steadfast
Christian than this King Louis. Verily if he had been made our
sultan he would never have been content till he had either made us
all Christians, or, failing this, had put us all to the sword."

And now there came a time of great peril to the prisoners. First the
town of Damietta was given up to the Saracens, the gates being
opened and their flag hoisted On the towers.

On the next day the paying of the ransom was begun. When the money
was counted it was found to be short by some thirty thousand pieces.
These were taken from the treasury of the Templars much against
their will, but the necessities of the prisoners prevailed.

As for the King, there could not have been a man more loyal in the
fulfilling of his promise. When one of those that counted the money
said that the Saracens had received less than their due by some ten
thousand pieces, the King would not suffer but that the whole matter
should be looked into, lest the Saracens should have wrong. The
counter, indeed, averred that this thing was said in jest; but the
King answered that such a jest was out of season, and that above all
things it was necessary that a Christian should show good faith.

Not many days after the paying of the ransom the King sent for his
chief counsellors and opened his mind to them in the matter of his
return to France. He said, "The Queen, my mother, begs me to come
back to France, saying that my kingdom is in great peril seeing,
that I have no peace, nor even a truce, with England. Tell me, then,
what you think. And because it is a great matter, I give you eight
days to consider it."

After this the King went to Acre, where he tarried till what was
left over of the ransom was paid.

On the day appointed the counsellors came before the King, who said
to them, "What do you advise? Shall I go, or shall I stay?" They
said that they had chosen one from among them, a certain Guy
Malvoisin, to speak for them. Thereupon this Guy said, "These lords
have taken counsel together, and are agreed that you cannot tarry in
this country without damage to yourself and your kingdom. For think
how that of all the knights whom you had in Cyprus, two thousand
eight hundred in number, there remain with you here in Acre scarce
one hundred. Our counsel, therefore, is that you return to France,
and there gather another army, with which you may come hither again
and take vengeance on your enemies for their trespasses against God
and against you."

Then the King turned to a certain John, who was Count of Jaffa, and
asked him for his judgment. Count John answered: "Ask me not, sire;
my domain is here, and if I bid you stay, then it will be said that
I did this for my own profit." But when the King was urgent for his
advice he said, "If you stay for a year it will be for your honour."
And one other of the counsellors gave the same judgment; but all the
rest were urgent for the King's return. Then the King said, "I will
tell you eight days hence what it is my pleasure to do."

On the day appointed they all came together again, and the King
said, "I thank you, my lords, for your counsel--both those who have
advised my going back and those who have advised my staying. Now I
hold that if I stay, my kingdom of France will be in no peril,
seeing that the Queen, my mother, is well able to keep it in charge;
but that if I depart, then the kingdom of Jerusalem will most
certainly be lost, because no man will be bold enough to stay after
I am gone. Now, it was for the sake of this same kingdom of
Jerusalem that I have come hither. My purpose, therefore, is to
stay." There was no little trouble among the barons when they heard
these words. There were some among them who could not hold back
their tears. But though the King resolved himself to stay, yet he
commanded his brothers to depart. And this they did before many

While the King tarried at Acre there came to him messengers from the
Old Man of the Mountain. One of the messengers was the spokesman,
and had his place in front; the second had in his hand three
daggers, to signify what danger threatened him who should not listen
to the message; the third carried a shroud of buckram for him who
should be smitten with the daggers. The King said to the first
envoy, "Speak on." Then the envoy said, "My master says, 'Know you
me?'" The King answered, "I know him not, for I have never seen him;
yet I have often heard others talk of him." "Why, then," went on the
envoy, "have you not sent him such gifts as would have gained his
friendship, even as the Emperor of Germany and the King of Hungary
and other princes have done, yea, and do now year after year,
knowing well that they cannot live save by my lord's pleasure?" The
King made no answer, but bade the envoys come again in the
afternoon. When they came they found the King sitting with the
Master of the Templars on one side and the Master of the
Hospitallers on the other. Now the Old Man is in great awe of these
two, for he knows that if he slay them there will be put in their
place other two as good or better. The envoys were not a little
disturbed when they saw the two. And the Master of the Templars
said, "Your lord is over bold to send you with such a message for
the King. Now be sure that we would have drowned you in the sea, but
that so doing might be a wrong to him. Go now to your lord, and come
again in fourteen days with such a token and such gifts as may
suffice for the making of peace."

So the envoys departed, and came again in the time appointed, and
they brought with them the shirt of the Old Man and his ring, which
was of the finest gold, and with these things this message: "As man
wears no garment that is nearer to him than his shirt, so the Old
Man would have the King nearer to him than any other King upon
earth; and as a ring is the sign of marriage by which two are made
one, so the Old Man would have himself and the King to be one."
Other gifts there were, an elephant of crystal, very cunningly
wrought, and a monster which they call a giraffe, also of crystal,
and draughts and chessmen, all finely made. The King, on his part,
sent to the Old Man a great store of newels, and scarlet cloth, and
dishes of gold and bridles of silver.

While the King was at Jaffa it was told him that if he desired to
make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem the Sultan of Damascus would give him
a safe-conduct. The King consulted his nobles on the matter, and
both he and they were of one mind in the matter, to wit, that he
should not go. "For," said they, "if the King should go as a
pilgrim, when he has not been able to take the Holy City itself out
of the hands of the infidel, then will other Kings in time to come
do the same. They will be content to go as pilgrims, but will take
no thought as to the city, whether it be held by Christian or

After these things the King went to the city of Sidon and fortified
it with strong walls, for he was greatly unwilling to give up his
hope of winning the whole land out of the hands of the infidel. But
when he had brought this work to an end, there came news to him from
his own country that the Queen his mother, who was charged with the
government thereof, was dead. Then he took counsel with his nobles
what he should do, and it seemed to them that he must of necessity
return to France. One among them put the case before the King as

"Sire, we see that it will not profit the kingdom of Jerusalem that
you tarry longer here. You have done what was in your power. You
have fortified the city of Sidon, and Cassarea, and Jaffa, and you
have made the city of Acre much stronger than it was. And now for
your own kingdom's sake, you must needs depart." And to this the
King gave his consent, though with an unwilling heart. So he
departed, and this, as it chanced, on his birthday. As the ship went
forth from the harbour he said to the Lord of Joinville, who stood
by him, "On this day I was born." And the Lord of Joinville said to
him, "Truly, sire, I should say that you are beginning another life,
now that you are safely quit of this land of death."

Some seventeen years after the things last recorded, I took a
journey to the Island of Sardinia, and made my abode at a town on
the west coast, called Neapolis. When I had sojourned there two
months there came in sight on a certain day a great fleet of ships,
which those who were acquainted with such things declared to be from
the land of France. As for the crowd that came ashore that day, it
were best to say little. It is more to the purpose to say that I met
with one whom I knew, having consorted with him in time past, and
this the more constantly because he followed the same occupation as
I. I asked him, "How came you hither? If you are bound for
Palestine, this is but a short stage in your journey." He answered
me with something of a smile in his eye, though his mouth was set,
"Where could we more conveniently halt than here, for we are bound
for Tunis?" "For Tunis?" said I; "but how shall this help you for
the taking of Jerusalem?" "That," said he, "you must ask of some one
that has more wisdom than I. But this I know that the King was told,
by whom I know not, that the Bey of Tunis desired to be baptised.
This, then, is cause sufficient for him. Are you minded to come with
me? If so, I can find you a place in the King's ship, for it is in
it that I sail."

When I heard that, I consented without delay. So that night I gave
my friend the shelter of my lodging; and the next day he took me
with him, and commended me to one of the chief officers of the ship,
bearing witness to my skill as a physician. On the fourth day we
sailed, and came in two days, the wind blowing from the north, to
the harbour of Tunis. As for the King, I saw him but once. His
valets carried him up on the deck; and, to tell the truth, he looked
as little fit for doing feats of arms as man could look. But I
thought that the sickness which takes many men upon the sea might be
the cause.

Scarce had the army landed than there began a most grievous
sickness. In truth the place for the camp had been ill chosen, for
there was a little stream into which much of the filth of the city
was wont to run. From this there came a most evil smell. Many also,
for want of good water, would drink of the stream, than which there
could be no more deadly thing.

On the very day after he landed from his ship the King fell sick.
His physician being disabled by the same malady, I was called in to
the King's help; and from the first I saw that, save by a miracle,
he could not live. On the fourth day he died, making as good and
devout an end as any that I have ever seen. He would know the truth,
for he was not one of those who buoy themselves up with false hopes.
And when he knew it, then first with the help of the priests that
attended him he prepared his soul, and afterward he gave what time
remained to teaching the son who should be King after him how he
should best do his duty to God and man.

I heard much from him who had put it in my mind to come from the
island of Sardinia concerning King Louis. Never, he told me, was a
King more bent on doing justice and judgment. These he maintained
with his whole heart and strength, not having any respect of
persons, or having regard to his own profit. Though he held bishops
and priests in great reverence, being most careful of all the
offices of religion, yet he would withstand even these when they
seemed to seek that which was not fair and just. He was a lover of
peace far beyond the wont of Kings, who indeed, for the most part,
care but little for it, so that men say in a proverb, "War is the
game of Kings." Of the poor he was a great and constant favourer.
Every day he had a multitude of them fed at his cost in his palace,
and sometimes he would serve himself, and it was his custom on a
certain day to wash the feet of poor men. In his eating and drinking
he was as temperate as man could be, drinking, for example, but one
cup of wine, and that largely mingled with water. In all things
wherein great men ofttimes offend he was wholly blameless and beyond
reproach. Of all men that I had any knowledge of, whether by sight
or by hearing, in this business of the Crusades there was not one
who could be so much as named in comparison with King Louis. To King
Louis religion was as life itself. It filled, as it were, his whole
soul; he judged of all things by it; he hungered and thirsted after
it. And yet of all who bore the cross this man, being, as he was, so
much the most faithful to his vow, by far the truest cross-bearer of
all, yet failed the most utterly. Of such things I have not the wit
to judge; yet this, methinks, is manifest, that the Kingdom of God
is not set forward by the power of armies. I do believe that if King
Louis, being what he was, a man after God's own heart, had come, not
with the sword, but preaching the truth by his life, he had done
more for the cause that he had at heart. As it was, he furthered it
not at all, so far as I can discern, but rather set it back. That he
did not gain for Christendom so much as a single foot of earth is
not so much to be lamented, as that he made wider the breach between
Christian men and the followers of Mahomet. And this he did, though
he was in very truth the most Christlike of all the men that I have
ever seen.



William Tell was born toward the close of the thirteenth century. I
cannot tell you the precise year of his birth; but in the year 1307
he was a married man, and lived with his wife and children, in the
village of Burglen, near the great town of Altdorf, in the canton of

Tell maintained his family chiefly by hunting the chamois, and
shooting other wild game. So skilful was he in the use of the bow,
that the fame of his exploits in that way had obtained for him the
name of "The Crossbowman of Burglen." He was also very skilful in
the management of boats upon the lakes. His father had followed the
profession of a pilot, and William Tell, though he preferred the
life of a hunter, understood the navigation of the lakes better than
almost any boatman in the canton of Uri. It was a saying, "That
William Tell knew how to handle the rudder as expertly as the bow."
In short, he was a person of strong natural talents, who observed on
everything he saw, and acquired all the knowledge he could.

Switzerland was at that time in a state of slavery to Albert, Duke
of Austria, who had recently been selected Emperor of Germany. He
had taken great offence with the Swiss, because they wished Count
Adolph of Nassau to be elected Emperor of Germany instead of him.
The first use he made of his power was to punish the Swiss for
having favoured the cause of his rival; and he was so unwise as to
declare publicly, "that he would no longer treat them as subjects,
but as slaves." In pursuance of this wicked resolution he deprived
them of many of their rights and privileges, and altered their
ancient laws and customs.

By these proceedings the Emperor rendered his government very
unpopular, and when he found that the people expressed
dissatisfaction, he built castles and fortresses all over the
country, and filled them with soldiers to awe the people into
submission. In each of these fortresses he placed a governor, who
exercised despotic power in the district over which his sway
extended. The inhabitants of the canton Uri, in particular, had to
complain of the oppression of their German governor, Gessler, who
had committed several murders, and acted in such a manner as to
excite general indignation, by his pride, cruelty, and injustice.
The whole country was indeed ripe for a revolt, in case an
opportunity should occur of throwing off the German yoke.

One cold autumnal evening, the blaze of the cheerful fire which the
wife of William Tell had kindled on the hearth, against her
husband's return, gleamed through the rude latticed casements of
their cottage window. The earthern floor of the humble dwelling bad
been freshly swept; a clean cloth of the matron's own spinning, was
spread on the homely board, which was garnished with wooden bowls
and spoons of the most snowy whiteness; and a kettle of fish-soup,
with herbs, was stewing over the fire. Some flat oaten cakes,
designed to be eaten hot with butter, were baking on the hearth.

The babe was sleeping peacefully in the cradle; two or three of the
other little ones, weary with their sportive play, had been laid in
their cribs. Henric and Lewis, two lovely boys of five and six years
old, having promised to be very good, if allowed to sit up till
their father's return, were watching their mother, who was employed
in roasting a fine fat quail which their cousin, Lalotte, who had
arrived at the discreet age of fourteen, was basting, and spinning
the string by which it was suspended before the fire.

"Mother," said Henric, "if my father does not come home very soon,
that quail will be done too much."

"What then?" asked Lalotte.

"I was thinking, cousin Lalotte, that it would be a pity for it to
be spoiled, after you and mother have taken so much pains in cooking
it; and it smells so very good."

"Oh, fie! you greedy child; you want to eat the bird that is cooking
for your father's supper," said Lalotte. "If I were my aunt, I would
send you to bed only for thinking of such a thing."

"You are not the mistress--you are not the mistress!" cried the
sturdy rebel Henric; "and I shall not go to bed at your desire."

"But you shall go to bed, young sir, if your cousin Lalotte tells
you so to do," said his father, who had entered during the dispute.

"Alack!" cried Henric turning to his little brother, "if we had only
been patient, Lewis, we should have tasted the nice quail, and heard
all our father's news into the bargain."

"There now, see what you have lost by being naughty children," cried
Lalotte, as she led the offenders into their little bedroom.

"Thy father's news is not for thy young ears, my boys," murmured
William Tell, as the door closed after the unconscious children.

"There is a sadness in thy voice and trouble on thy brow," said the
anxious wife of Tell, looking earnestly in his face. "Wilt thou not
trust me with the cause of thy care?"

"Annette," replied Tell, "thou hast been a good and faithful wife to
me--yea, and a prudent counsellor and friend in the time of need.
Why, then, should I do a thing and conceal it from thee, my well-

"What is it thou hast done, my husband?"

"That for which thou wilt blame me, perchance."

"Nay, say not so; thou art a good man."

"Thou knowest, my loving wife, the sad state of slavery to which
this unhappy country of Switzerland is reduced by the unlawful
oppression of our foreign rulers," said Tell.

"I do," she replied; "but what have peasants to do with matters so
much above them?"

"Much!" returned Tell. "If the good laws made by the worthies of the
olden time, for the comfort and protection of all ranks of people,
be set at naught by strangers, and all the ancient institutions,
which were the pride and the glory of our land, be overthrown, by
those to whom we owe neither the love of children, nor the
allegiance of subjects, then, methinks, good wife, it becomes the
duty of peasants to stand forth in defence of their rights. I have
engaged myself, with three-and-thirty of my valiant countrymen, who
met this night on the little promontory of land that juts into a
lonely angle of the Lake, to concert with them means for the
deliverance of my country."

"But how can three-and-thirty men hope to oppose the power of those
who enthral Switzerland?" asked the wife of Tell.

"Great objects are often effected by small instruments," replied he.
"The whole population of Switzerland is exasperated against the
German tyrants, who have of late abused their power so far as to
rouse the indignation even of women and of children against them.
The father of Arnold Melchthal, one of the 'Brothers of Rutli,' as
our band is called, was recently put to a cruel death by the unjust
sentence of Gessler, the governor of our own canton of Uri; and who
knoweth, gentle wife, whether his jealous caprice may not induce him
to single me out for his next victim?"

"Single thee out, my husband!" exclaimed Annette turning pale. "Nay,
what accusation could he bring against thee?"

"That of being the friend of my country, which is, of course, a
crime not to be forgiven by a person of Gessler's disposition."

"But Gessler is too much exalted above our humble sphere of life, to
be aware of a peasant's sentiments on such matters," said Annette.

"Gessler will not permit us to indulge the thoughts of our hearts in
secret," said Tell; "for he hath recently devised a shrewd test,
whereby he is enabled to discern the freeman from the slave
throughout this province."

"And what is the test which the governor of Uri employeth for that

"Thou hast heard our good pastor read in the Scripture of the
prophet Daniel, of the golden image, which the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar
caused to be erected. He made a decree that all nations and people
of the world should bow down and worship it, and that those who
refused to do so should be cast into a burning fiery furnace.
Rememberest thou this, my beloved?"

"Certainly," Annette replied. "But what hath Gessler to do with that
presumptuous folly of the King of Babylon?"

"Gessler," replied Tell, "imitates the presumption, albeit it is not
in his power to rival the grandeur, of Nebuchadnezzar; for he hath
set up an idol in the market-place of Altdorf, to which he requireth
blind homage to be paid by fools and cowards. Now, the King of
Babylon's idol, the prophet tells us, was of solid gold, a metal
which the world is, I grieve to say, too prone to worship; but
Gessler's paltry Baal is but the empty ducal bonnet of Austria,
which he hath exalted on a pole; and he commands the men of Uri to
bow down before it, under penalty of death. Wouldst thou wish thy
husband to degrade the name of a Swiss, by stooping to such an

"No," she replied, "I should blush for thee, if thou wert capable of
such baseness."

"Thou hast spoken like a free woman," he exclaimed. "Yea, and thou
shalt be the mother of free children: for the first time I go to
Altdorf I will resist the edict, which enjoins me and my countrymen
to pay homage to the senseless bauble which the German governor hath
exalted in the market-place."

"But why go to Altdorf at all, my husband?" said the wife to Tell.

"My business calls me to Altdorf, and I shall go thither like an
honest man, in the performance of my duty," replied Tell. "Thinkest
thou that I am either to confess myself a slave, by bending my body
to an empty cap, or to permit it to be a scarecrow, that shall
fright me from entering the capital city of my native province, lest
I should draw upon myself the penalty of refusing to perform a
contemptible action, enjoined by a wicked man? No, no, my sweet
wife; I shall go to Altdorf, when occasion may require, without
considering myself bound to observe Gessler's foolish edict."

The return of Lalotte put an end to this discourse; and Annette
began to assist her in taking up the supper.

Lalotte was the orphan of Tell's brother. Her parents had both died
when she and her brother Philip were very young, and they had been
adopted into the family of her kind uncle soon after his marriage
with Annette. Lalotte was affectionate, sprightly, and industrious.
She assisted her aunt in the household work and the dairy; and it was
her business to take charge of the children, whom she carefully
instructed in such things as she knew, and laboured to render them
virtuous and obedient.

Philip, her brother, who was about a year older than herself, had
been unfortunately a spoiled child. He was self-willed and
intractable, and, though far from a bad disposition, was always
getting himself and others into scrapes and difficulties.

That night his place at the board was vacant, which his uncle
observing, said,

"Lalotte, where is your brother Philip?"

"Absent, uncle, I am sorry to say," replied Lalotte.

"It is not usual for Philip to desert the supper meal," observed
Tell, "even if he be absent the rest of the day. I am afraid he is
after no good."

A hasty step was heard; and Lalotte exclaimed, "I should not wonder
if that were my scrapegrace brother!"

"It does not sound well of you to call him so, Lalotte, though he is
a sad plague to us all," said Tell.

The door was hastily opened, and Philip bounced in out of breath,
and covered with mud. He flung himself on a wooden settle beside the
fire, and gave way to fits of laughter.

"How now, Philip! what is the cause of all this?" asked Tell

"Hurrah!" shouted he, springing from his seat, and capering about,
"I have done such a deed!"

"Some notable piece of folly, no doubt," observed his uncle; "what
is it, boy?"

"A deed that will render my name famous throughout the whole
province of Uri, my good uncle. Everybody is talking about it in
Altdorf at this very moment," exclaimed Philip, rubbing his hands.

"You have long been celebrated there as the ringleader of mischief,"
observed Tell; "but I doubt whether you will have much reason to
exult in the evil reputation you have acquired, Philip. Therefore go
to bed, and when you say your prayers, ask for grace to reform your
evil habits."

"My good uncle," replied Philip, "be content. This night I have
turned patriot, raised a rabble of boys, and pelted down the fool's
cap which old Gessler had stuck up in the market-place of Altdorf,
for Switzers to pay homage to. Is not that a glorious deed!"

"It is of a piece with the rest of your folly. Were you called upon
to pay homage to the cap?"

"By no means, uncle, else must I perforce have made my obeisance to
the empty bonnet of the Emperor-Duke of Austria. But this exploit of
mine was after dark, when one boy could not be distinguished from
another; and there were fully fifty of us engaged in pelting at the
mock majesty till down it came, feathers and all, souse into the
mud. Then, oh stars! how we all ran! But it was my stone that hit
it, take notice: ha! ha! ha!"

"Your head must be as devoid of brains as the empty cap you pelted,
Philip, or you never would have engaged in any such adventure."

"How, uncle!" cried Philip in amaze; "would you have me pay homage
to the ducal bonnet without a head in it?"

"It seems you were not required to do so, Philip; therefore you had
no pretext for raising a riot to break the peace."

"But, uncle, do you intend to yield obedience to the governor's
tyrannous edict?"

"Philip," replied Tell, "I am a man, and of age to form a correct
judgment of the things which it may be expedient to do or proper to
refuse. But it is not meet for idle boys to breed riots and commit
acts of open violence, calculated to plunge a whole country into

Philip withdrew with an air of great mortification and the family
soon after retired to rest.

The next day William Tell took his thoughtless nephew with him, on a
hunting excursion, since it was necessary he should find some better
occupation than throwing stones. After several days they returned,
loaded with the skins of the chamois that had been slain by the
unerring arrow of Tell.

His wife and children hastened to the cottage door to welcome him,
when they beheld him coming. "Behold, my beloved," said Tell, "how
well I have sped in the chase! These skins will bring in a mine of
wealth against the winter season. To-morrow is Altdorf fair and I
shall go thither to sell them."

"Hurrah!" shouted Philip. "Is Altdorf fair to-morrow? Oh, my faith,
I had forgotten it. Well, I shall go thither, and have some fun."

"And I mean to go too, cousin Philip," said Henric.

"Not so fast, young men," cried Tell. "Altdorf fair will be full of
soldiers and turbulent people, and is not a proper place for rash
boys and children."

"But you will take care of us, father, dear father," said Henric,
stroking his father's arm caressingly.

"I shall have enough to do to take care of myself, Henric," replied
Tell. "So you must be a good boy, and stay with your mother."

"But I won't be a good boy, if you leave me at home," muttered the
little rebel.

"Then you must be whipped, sir," said his father; "for we love you
too well to permit you to be naughty without punishing you."

On hearing this, Henric began to weep with anger. So his father told
Lalotte to put him to bed without his supper.

Now Philip was a silly, good-natured fellow, and fancied that his
little cousin, Henric, of whom he was very fond, was ill-treated by
his father. So he took an opportunity of slipping a sweet-cake into
his pouch, from the supper-board, with which he slily stole to
Henric's crib.

"Never mind my cross uncle, sweet cousin," said he: "see, I have
brought you a nice cake."

"Oh! I don't care about cakes," cried Henric. "I want to go to
Altdorf fair to-morrow."

"And you shall go to Altdorf fair," said Philip.

"But how can I go, when father says he won't take me?" sobbed

"There, dry your eyes, and go to sleep," whispered Philip; "as soon
as my uncle is gone I will take you to the fair with me; for I mean
to go, in spite of all he has said to the contrary."

"But what will mother say?" asked Henric.

"We won't let her know anything about it," said Philip.

"But Lalotte won't let us go; for Lalotte is very cross, and wants
to master me."

"A fig for Lalotte!" cried the rude Philip; "do you think I care for

"I won't care for Lalotte when I grow a great big boy like you,
cousin Philip; but she makes me mind her now," said Henric.

"Never fear; we will find some way of outwitting Mademoiselle
Lalotte to-morrow," said Philip.

The next morning William Tell rose at an early hour, and proceeded
to the fair at Altdorf, to sell his chamois skins.

Philip instead of getting up, and offering to carry them for his
uncle, lay in bed till after he was gone. He was pondering on his
undutiful scheme of taking little Henric to the fair, in defiance of
Tell's express commands that both should stay at home that day.

Henric could eat no breakfast that morning for thinking of the
project in which Philip had tempted him to engage. His kind mother
patted his curly head, and gave him a piece of honeycomb for not
crying to go to the fair. He blushed crimson-red at this
commendation, and was just going to tell his mother all about it,
when Philip, guessing his thoughts, held up his finger, and shook
his head at him.

When his mother and Lalotte went into the dairy to churn the butter
they begged Henric and Philip to take care of Lewis and the other
little ones, so that they should not get into any mischief. No
sooner, however, were they gone, than Philip said, "Now, Henric, is
our time to make our escape, and go to the fair."

"But," said Henric, "my mother gave me some sweet and honeycomb just
now, for being a good boy; and it will be very naughty of me to
disobey my father's commands after that. So, dear Philip, I was
thinking that I would stay at home to-day, if you would stay too,
and make little boats for me to float on the lake."

"I shall do no such thing, I promise you," replied Philip; "for I
mean to go to the fair, and see the fun. You may stay at home, if
you like--for I don't want to be plagued with your company."

"Oh, dear!" cried Henric, "but I want very much to go to the fair,
and see the fun too."

"Come along then," said Philip; "or we shall not get there in time
to see the tumblers, or the apes and dancing bears, or the fire-
eaters, or any other of the shows."

It was nearly two hours before the truants were missed by Henric's
mother and Lalotte; for they were all that time busy in the dairy.
At length they heard the children cry; on which, Lalotte ran into
the room, and found no one with them but Lewis.

"What a shame," cried Lalotte, "for that lazy boy Philip, to leave
all these little ones, with only you, Lewis. Where is Henric, pray?"

"Oh! Henric is gone to the fair with cousin Philip," lisped little

"Oh that wicked Philip!" cried Lalotte. "Aunt! aunt! Philip has run
off to Altdorf fair, and taken Henric with him!"

"My dear Lalotte," said her aunt, "you must put on your hood and
sabots, and run after them. Perhaps, as you are light-footed, you
can overtake them, and bring Henric back. I am sure, some mischief
will befall him."

Lalotte hastily threw her gray serge cloak about her, and drew the
hood over her head. She slipped her little feet into her sabots, or
wooden shoes, and took the road to Altdorf, hurrying along as fast
as she could, in hope of overtaking the truants before they reached
the town.

More than once the little maiden thought of turning back, but the
remembrance of Philip's rash and inconsiderate temper filled her
with alarm for the safety of the child whom he had tempted away from
home. She reflected that, as her uncle was at Altdorf, it would be
her wisest course to proceed thither to seek him out, and to inform
him of his little boy being then in the fair.

Lalotte entered the market-place of Altdorf, at the moment when her
uncle, having disposed of his chamois-skins to advantage, was
crossing from the carriers' stalls to a clothier's booth to purchase
woollen cloths for winter garments. Fairs were formerly marts, where
merchants and artisans brought their goods for sale; and persons
resorted thither, not for the purpose of riot and revelling, but to
purchase useful commodities, clothing, and household goods at the
best advantage.

William Tell had been requested by his careful wife to purchase a
variety of articles for the use of the family. He was so intent in
performing all her biddings, to the best of his ability, that he
never once thought of the cap which the insolent governor, Gessler,
had erected in the market-place, till he found himself opposite to
the lofty pole on which it was exalted. He would have passed it
unconsciously had he not been stopped by the German soldiers, who
were under arms on either side the pole, to enforce obedience to the
insulting edict of the governor of Uri. Tell then paused, and,
raising his eyes to the object to which the captain of the guard,
with an authoritative gesture, directed his attention, beheld the
ducal cap of Austria just above him.

The colour mounted to the cheek of the free-born hunter of the Alps,
at the sight of this badge of slavery of his fallen country. Casting
an indignant glance upon the foreign soldiers who had impeded his
progress, he moved sternly forward, without offering the prescribed
act of homage to the cap.

"Stop!" cried the captain of the guard; "you are incurring the
penalty of death, rash man, by your disobedience to the edict of his
excellency the Governor of Uri."

"Indeed!" replied Tell. "I was not aware that I was doing anything

"You have insulted the majesty of our lord the Emperor by passing
that cap without bowing to it," said the officer.

"I wist not that more respect were due to an empty cap, than to a
cloak and doublet, or a pair of hose," replied Tell.

"Insolent traitor! dost thou presume to level thy rude gibes at the
badge of royalty?" cried the governor, stepping forward from behind
the soldiers, where he had been listening to the dispute between
Tell and the officer.

Poor Lalotte, meantime, having caught a glimpse of her uncle's tall,
manly figure through the crowd, had pressed near enough to hear the
alarming dialogue in which he had been engaged with the German
soldiers. While, pale with terror, she stood listening with
breathless attention, she recognised Philip at no great distance,
with little Henric in his arms, among the spectators.

The thoughtless Philip was evidently neither aware how near he was
to his uncle, nor of the peril in which he stood. With foolish glee,
he was pointing out the cap to little Henric; and though Lalotte
could not hear what he was saying, she fancied he was rashly
boasting to the child of the share in the exploit of pelting it down
a few nights previous.

While her attention was thus painfully excited she heard some of the
people round her saying,

"Who is it that has ventured to resist the governor's decree?"

"It is William Tell, the crossbow-man of Burglen," replied many

"William Tell!" said one of the soldiers; "why it was his kinsman
who raised a rabble to insult the ducal bonnet the other night."

"Ay, it was the scapegrace, Philip Tell, who assailed the cap of our
sovereign with stones, till he struck it down," cried another.

"Behold where the young villain stands," exclaimed a third, pointing
to Philip.

"Hallo, hallo! seize the young traitor, in the name of the Emperor
and the governor!" shouted the Germans.

"Run, Philip, run--run for your life!" cried a party of his youthful

Philip hastily set his little cousin on his feet, and started off
with the speed of the wild chamois of the Alpine mountains; leaving
little Henric to shift for himself.

"The child, the child! the precious boy! he will be trampled to
death!" shrieked Lalotte.

Henric had caught sight of his father among the crowd while Philip
was holding him up to look at the ducal cap, and he had been much
alarmed lest his father should see him. But the moment he found
himself abandoned by Philip, he lifted up his voice, and screamed
with all his might, "Father, father!"

The helplessness, the distress, together with the uncommon beauty of
the child, moved the heart of a peasant near him, to compassion.
"Who is your father, my fair boy?" said he. "Point him out, and I
will lead you to him."

"My father is William Tell, the crossbow-man of Burglen," said the
child. "There he is close to the cap on the pole yonder."

"Is he your father, poor babe?" said the peasant. "Well, you will
find him in rare trouble, and I hope you may not be the means of
adding to it, my little man."

No sooner had the kind man cleared the way through the crowd for his
young companion, and conducted him within a few yards of the spot
where William Tell stood, than the urchin drew his hand away from
his new friend, and running to his father, flung his little arms
about his knees, sobbing, "Father, dear father, pray forgive me this
once, and I will never disobey you again."

Henric made his appearance at an unlucky moment both for his father
and himself; for the cruel governor of Uri, exasperated at the manly
courage of Tell, seized the boy by the arm and sternly demanded if
he were his son.

"Harm not the child, I pray thee," cried Tell: "he is my first

"It is not my intention to do him harm," replied the governor. "If
any mischief befall the child, it will be by thy own hand, traitor.
Here," cried he to one of his soldiers, "take this boy, tie him
beneath yon linden-tree, in the centre of the market-place, and
place an apple on his head--"

"What means this?" cried Tell.

"I am minded to see a specimen of your skill as an archer," replied
Gessler. "I am told that you are the best marksman in all Uri; and,
therefore, your life being forfeited by your presumptuous act of
disobedience, I am inclined, out of the clemency of my nature, to
allow you a chance of saving it. This you may do, if you can shoot
an arrow so truly aimed as to cleave the apple upon thy boy's head.
But if thou either miss the apple, or slay the child, then shall the
sentence of death be instantly executed."

"Unfeeling tyrant!" exclaimed Tell; "dost thou think that I could
endeavour to preserve my own life by risking that of my precious

"Nay," replied Gessler, "I thought I was doing thee a great favour
by offering thee an alternative, whereby thou mightest preserve thy
forfeited life by a lucky chance."

"A lucky chance!" exclaimed Tell: "and dost thou believe that I
would stake my child's life on such a desperate chance as the cast
of an arrow launched by the agitated hand of an anxious father, at
such a mark as that? Nay, look at the child thyself, my lord. Though
he be no kin to thee, and thou knowest none of his pretty ways and
winning wiles, whereby he endeareth himself to a parent's heart--yet
consider his innocent countenance, the artless beauty of his
features, and the rosy freshness of his rounded cheeks, which are
dimpling with joy at the sight of me, though the tears yet hang upon
them--and then say, whether thou couldst find in thine heart to aim
an arrow that perchance might harm him?"

"I swear," replied Gessler, "that thou shalt either shoot the arrow,
or die!"

"My choice is soon made," said Tell, dropping the bow from his hand.
"Let me die!"

"Ay, but the child shall be slain before thy face ere thine own
sentence be executed, traitor!" cried the governor, "if thou shoot
not at him."

"Give me the bow once more!" exclaimed Tell, in a hoarse, deep
voice; "but in mercy let some one turn the child's face away from
me. If I meet the glance of those sweet eyes of his, it will unnerve
my hand; and then, perchance, the shaft, on whose true aim his life
and mine depend, may err."

Lalotte, knowing that all depended on his remaining quiet, as soon
as the soldiers had placed him with his face averted from his
father, sprang forward, and whispered in Henric's ear, "Stand firm,
dear boy, without moving, for five minutes, and you will be forgiven
for your fault of this morning."

There was a sudden pause of awe and expectation among the dense
crowd that had gathered round the group planted within a bow-shot of
the linden-tree beneath which the child was bound. Tell, whose arms
were now released, unbuckled the quiver that was slung across his
shoulder, and carefully examined his arrows, one by one. He selected
two: one of them he placed in his girdle, the other he fitted to his
bow-string; and then he raised his eyes to Heaven, and his lips
moved in prayer. He relied not upon his own skill but he asked the
assistance of One in whose hands are the issues of life and death;
and he did not ask in vain. The trembling, agitated hand that a
moment before shook with the strong emotion of a parent's anxious
fears, became suddenly firm and steady; his swimming eyes resumed
their keen, clear sight, and his mind recovered its wonted energy of
purpose at the proper moment.

Lalotte's young voice was the first to proclaim, aloud, "The arrow
hath cleft the apple in twain! and the child is safe."

"God hath sped my shaft, and blessed be His name!" exclaimed the
pious archer, on whose ear the thunders of applause, with which the
assembled multitude hailed his successful shot, had fallen unheeded.

The soldiers now unbound the child; and Lalotte fearlessly advanced,
and led him to his father. But before the fond parent could fold his
darling to his bosom, the tyrant Gessler sternly demanded for what
purpose he had reserved the second arrow, which he had seen him
select and place in his belt.

"That arrow," replied Tell, giving way to a sudden burst of passion,
"that arrow was designed to avenge the death of my child, if I had
slain him with the other."

"How to avenge?" exclaimed the governor, furiously. "To avenge,
saidst thou? and on whom didst thou intend thy vengeance would

"On thee, tyrant!" replied Tell, fixing his eyes sternly on the
governor. "My next mark would have been thy bosom, had I failed in
my first. Thou perceivest that mine is not a shaft to miscarry."

"Well, thou hast spoken frankly," said Gessler; "and since I have
promised thee thy life I will not swerve from my word. But as I have
now reason for personal apprehensions from thy malice, I shall
closet thee henceforth so safely in the dungeons of Kussnacht, that
the light of sun or moon shall never more visit thine eyes; and thy
fatal bow shall hereafter be harmless."

On this the guard once more laid hands on the intrepid archer, whom
they seized and bound, in spite of the entreaties of Lalotte, and
the cries and tears of little Henric, who hung weeping about his

"Take him home to his mother, Lalotte; and bear my last fond
greetings to her and the little ones, whom I, peradventure, shall
see no more," said Tell, bursting into tears. The mighty heart which
had remained firm and unshaken in the midst of all his perils and
trials, now melted within him at the sight of his child's tears, the
remembrance of his home, and anticipations of the sufferings of his
tender wife.

The inhuman Gessler scarcely permitted his prisoner the satisfaction
of a parting embrace with Henric and Lalotte, ere he ordered him to
be hurried on board a small vessel in which he embarked also with
his armed followers. He commanded the crew to row to Brunnen, where
it was his intention to land, and, passing through the territory of
Schwyz, to lodge the captive Tell in the dungeon of Kussnacht, and
there to immure him for life.

The sails were hoisted and the vessel under weigh, when suddenly one
of those storms common on the lake of Uri overtook them, accompanied
with such violent gusts of wind, that the terrified pilot forsook
the helm; and the bark, with the governor and his crew, was in
danger of being ingulfed in the raging waters. Gessler, like most
wicked people, was in great terror at the prospect of death, when
one of his attendants reminded him that the prisoner, William Tell,
was no less skilful in the management of a boat than in the exercise
of the bow. So he ordered that Tell should be unbound, and placed at
the helm.

The boat, steered by the master-hand of the intrepid Tell, now kept
its course steadily through, the mountain surge; and Tell observed,
"that by the grace of God, he trusted a deliverance was at hand."

As the prow of the vessel was driven inland, Tell perceived a
solitary table rock and called aloud the rowers to redouble their
efforts, till they should have passed the precipice ahead. At the
instant they came abreast this point he snatched his bow from the
plank, where it was lying forgotten during the storm, and, turning
the helm suddenly toward the rock, he sprang lightly on shore,
scaled the mountain, and was out of sight and beyond reach of
pursuit, before any on board had recovered from consternation.

Tell, meantime, entered Schwyz, and having reached the heights which
border the main road to Kussnacht, concealed himself among the
brushwood in a small hollow of the road, where he knew Gessler would
pass on his way to his own castle, in case he and his followers
escaped and came safely to shore. This, it appeared they did, and
having effected a landing at Brunnen, they took horse, and proceeded
towards Kussnacht, in the direction. of the only road to the castle.

While they were passing the spot where Tell lay concealed, he heard
the cruel tyrant denouncing the most deadly vengeance, not only on
himself, but his helpless family: "If I live to return to Altdorf,"
he exclaimed, "I will destroy the whole brood of the traitor Tell,
mother and children, in the same hour."

"Monster, thou shalt return to Altdorf no more!" murmured Tell. So,
raising himself up in his lair, and fitting an arrow to his bow, he
took deadly aim at the relentless bosom that was planning the
destruction of all his family.

The arrow flew as truly to the mark as that which he had shot in the
market-place of Altdorf, and the tyrant Gessler fell from his horse,
pierced with a mortal wound.

The daring archer thought that he had taken his aim unseen by human
eye; but, to his surprise, a familiar voice whispered in his ear,
"Bravo, uncle! that was the best-aimed shaft you ever shot. Gessler
is down, and we are a free people now."

"Thou incorrigible varlet, what brings thee here?" replied Tell, in
an undervoice, giving Philip a rough grip of the arm.

"It is no time to answer questions," returned Philip. "The Rutli
band are waiting for thee, if so be thou canst escape from this
dangerous place; and my business here was to give thee notice of the

On this, Tell softly crept from the thicket, and, followed by his
nephew, took the road to Stienen, which under cover of darkness,
they reached that night.

Philip, by the way, after expressing much contrition for having
seduced little Henric to go to the fair with him, informed his uncle
that Henric and Lalotte had been safely conducted home by one of the
band of the Rutli who chanced to be at Altdorf fair.

When they reached Stienen Tell was received with open arms by
Stauffacher, the leader of the Rutli band; and with him and the
other confederates, he so well concerted measures for the
deliverance of Switzerland from the German yoke, that, in the course
of a few days, the whole country was in arms. The Emperor of
Germany's forces were everywhere defeated; and on the first day of
the year, 1308, the independence of Switzerland was declared.

His grateful countrymen would have chosen William Tell for their
sovereign, but he nobly rejected the offer, declaring that he was
perfectly contented with the station of life in which he was born,
and wished to be remembered in history by no other title than that
of the Deliverer of Switzerland.

This true patriot lived happily in the bosom of his family for many
years, and had the satisfaction of seeing his children grow up in
the fear of God and the practice of virtue.



I hope you have not forgotten, my dear child, that all the cruel
wars of Scotland arose out of the debate between the great lords who
claimed the throne after King Alexander the Third's death. The
Scottish nobility rashly submitted the decision of that matter to
King Edward I of England, and thus opened the way to his
endeavouring to seize the kingdom of Scotland to himself. It was
natural that such of the people as were still determined to fight
for the deliverance of their country from the English, should look
round for some other King, under whom they might unite themselves,
to combat the power of England.

Amongst these, the principal candidates, were two powerful noblemen.
The first was Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick; the other was John
Comyn, or Cuming, of Badenoch, usually called the Red Comyn, to
distinguish him from his kinsman, the Black Comyn, so named from his
swarthy complexion. These two great and powerful barons had taken
part with Sir William Wallace in the wars against England; but,
after his defeat, being careful of losing their great estates, and
considering the freedom of Scotland as beyond the possibility of
being recovered, both Bruce and Comyn had not only submitted
themselves to Edward, and acknowledged his title as King of
Scotland, but even borne arms, along with the English, against such
of their countrymen as still continued to resist the usurper. But
the feelings of Bruce concerning the baseness of this conduct, are
said, by the old tradition of Scotland, to have been awakened by the
following incident. In one of the numerous battles, or skirmishes,
which took place at the time between the English and their adherents
on the one side, and the insurgent or patriotic Scots upon the
other, Robert the Bruce was present, and assisted the English to
gain the victory. After the battle was over, he sat down to dinner
among his southern friends and allies, without washing his hands, on
which there still remained spots of the blood which he had shed
during the action. The English lords, observing this whispered to
each other in mockery, "Look at that Scotsman, who is eating his own
blood!" Bruce heard what they said, and began to reflect that the
blood upon his hands might be indeed called his own, since it was
that of his brave countrymen who were fighting for the independence
of Scotland, whilst he was assisting its oppressors, who only
laughed at and mocked him for his unnatural conduct. He was so much
shocked and disgusted that he arose from table, and, going into a
neighbouring chapel, shed many tears, and, asking pardon of God for
the great crime he had been guilty of, made a solemn vow that he
would atone for it by doing all in his power to deliver Scotland
from the foreign yoke. Accordingly, he left, it is said, the English
army, and never joined it again, but remained watching an
opportunity for restoring the freedom of his country.

Now, this Robert the Bruce was held the best warrior in Scotland. He
was very wise and prudent, and an excellent general; that is, he
knew how to conduct an army, and place them in order for battle, as
well or better than any great man of his time. He was generous, too,
and courteous by nature; but he had some faults, which perhaps
belonged as much to the fierce period in which he lived as to his
own character. He was rash and passionate, and in his passion he was
sometimes relentless and cruel.

Robert the Brace had fixed his purpose, as I told you, to attempt
once again to drive the English out of Scotland, and he desired to
prevail upon Sir John, the Red Comyn, who was his rival in his
pretensions to the throne, to join with him in expelling the foreign
enemy by their common efforts. With this purpose, Bruce requested an
interview with John Comyn. They met in the Church of the Minorites
in Dunfries, before the high altar. What passed betwixt them is not
known with certainty; but they quarrelled, either concerning their
mutual pretensions to the Crown, or because Comyn refused to join
Bruce in the proposed insurrection against the English; or, as many
writers say, because Bruce charged Comyn with having betrayed to the
English his purpose of rising up against King Edward. It is,
however, certain, that these two haughty barons came to high and
abusive words, until at length Bruce forgot the sacred character of
the place in which they stood, and struck Comyn a blow with his
dagger. Having done this rash deed, he instantly ran out of the
church and called for his horse. Two friends of Bruce were in
attendance on him. Seeing him pale, bloody, and in much agitation
they eagerly inquired what was the matter.

"I doubt," said Bruce, "that I have slain the Red Comyn."

"Do you leave such a matter in doubt?" said one, "I will make
sicker!"--that is, I will make certain. Accordingly, he and his
companion rushed into the church and made the matter certain with a
vengeance, by dispatching the wounded Comyn with their daggers. His
uncle, Sir Robert Comyn, was slain at the same time.

This slaughter of Comyn was a rash and cruel action. It was followed
by the displeasure of Heaven; for no man ever went through more
misfortunes than Robert Bruce, although he at length rose to great
honour. After the deed was done, Bruce might be called desperate. He
had committed an action which was sure to bring down upon him the
vengeance of all Comyn's relations, the resentment of the King of
England, and the displeasure of the Church, on account of having
slain his enemy within consecrated ground. He determined, therefore,
to bid them all defiance at once, and to assert his pretensions to
the throne of Scotland. He drew his own followers together, summoned
to meet him such barons as still entertained hopes of the freedom of
the country, and was crowned King at the Abbey of Scone, the usual
place where the Kings of Scotland assumed their authority.

Everything relating to the ceremony was hastily performed. A small
circlet of gold was hurriedly made, to represent the ancient crown
of Scotland, which Edward had carried off to England. The Earl of
Fife, descendant of the brave Macduff, whose duty it was to have
placed the crown on the King's head, would not give his attendance,
but the ceremonial was performed by his sister, Isabella, Countess
of Buchan.

Edward was dreadfully incensed when he heard that, after all the
pains which he had taken, and all the blood which had been spilled,
the Scots were making this new attempt to shake off his authority.
Though now old, feeble, and sickly, he made a solemn vow, in
presence of all his court, that he would take the most ample
vengeance upon Robert the Bruce and his adherents; after which he
would never again draw his sword upon a Christian, but would only
fight against the unbelieving Saracens for the recovery of the Holy
Land. He marched against Bruce accordingly, at the head of a
powerful army.

The commencement of Bruce's undertaking was most disastrous. He was
crowned on the twenty-ninth of March, 1306. On the eighteenth of May
he was ex-communicated by the Pope, on account of the murder of
Comyn within consecrated ground, a sentence which excluded him from
all benefits of religion, and authorized any one to kill him.
Finally, on the nineteenth of June, the new King was completely
defeated near Methven by the English Earl of Pembroke. Robert's
horse was killed under him in the action, and he was for a moment a
prisoner. But he had fallen into the power of a Scottish knight,
who, though he served in the English army, did not choose to be the
instrument of putting Bruce into their hands, and allowed him to

Bruce, with a few brave adherents, among whom was the young lord of
Douglas, who was afterward called the Good Lord James, retired into
the Highland mountains. The Bruce's wife, now Queen of Scotland,
with several other ladies, accompanied her husband and his few
followers during their wanderings. There was no way of providing for
them save by hunting and fishing. Driven from one place in the
Highlands to another, starved out of some districts, and forced from
others by the opposition of the inhabitants, Bruce attempted to
force his way into Lorn; but he found enemies everywhere. The
MacDougals, a powerful family, then called Lords of Lorn, were
friendly to the English, and attacked Bruce and his wandering
companions as soon as they attempted to enter their territory. The
chief, called John of Lorn, hated Bruce on account of his having
slain the Red Comyn, to whom this MacDougal was nearly related.
Bruce was again defeated by this chief. He directed his men to
retreat through a narrow pass, and, placing himself last of the
party, he fought with and slew such of the enemy as attempted to
press hard on them. Three followers of MacDougal, a father and two
sons, called MacAndrosser, all very strong men, when they saw Bruce
thus protecting the retreat of his followers, rushed on the King at
once. Bruce was on horseback, in the strait pass betwixt a
precipitous rock and a deep lake. He struck the first man a blow
with his sword, as cut off his hand and freed the bridle. The man
bled to death. The other brother had meantime grasped Bruce by the
leg, and was attempting to throw him from horseback. The King,
setting spurs to his horse, made the animal suddenly spring forward,
so that the Highlander fell under the horse's feet, and, as he was
endeavouring to rise again, Bruce cleft his head in two with his
sword. The father, seeing his two sons thus slain, flew desperately
at the King, and grasped him by the mantle so close to his body,
that he could not have room to wield his long sword. But with the
heavy pummel of that weapon the King struck this third assailant so
dreadful a blow, that he dashed out his brains. Still, however, the
Highlander kept his dying grasp on the King's mantle; so that, to be
free of the dead body, Bruce was obliged to undo the brooch, or
clasp, by which it was fastened, and leave that, and the mantle
itself, behind him. The brooch, which fell thus into the possession
of MacDougal of Lorn, is still preserved in that ancient family as a

The King met with many such encounters amidst his dangerous and
dismal wanderings; yet, though almost always defeated by the
superior numbers of the English, and of such Scots as sided with
them, he still kept up his own spirits and those of his followers.
He was a better scholar than was usual in those days, when, except
clergymen, few people learned to read and write. But King Robert
could do both very well; and we are told that he sometimes read
aloud to his companions, to amuse them, when they were crossing the
great Highland lakes, in such wretched leaky boats as they could
find for that purpose. Loch Lomond, in particular, is said to have
been the scene of such a lecture. You may see by this, how useful it
is to possess knowledge.

At last dangers increased so much around the brave King Robert, that
he was obliged to separate himself from his Queen and her ladies. So
Bruce left his Queen, with the Countess of Buchan and others, in the
only castle which remained to him, which was called Kildrummie, and
is situated near the head of the river Don in Aberdeenshire. The
King also left his brother, Nigel Bruce, to defend the castle
against the English; and he himself, with his second brother Edward,
who was a very brave man, went over to an island called Rachrin, on
the coast of Ireland, where Bruce and the few men who followed his
fortunes passed the winter of 1306. In the meantime the castle of
Kildrummie was taken by the English, and Nigel Bruce, a beautiful
and brave youth, was cruelly put to death by the victors. The ladies
who had attended on Robert's Queen, as well as the Queen herself,
and the Countess of Buchan, were thrown into strict confinement.

The Countess of Buchan had given Edward great offence by being
the person who placed the crown on the head of Robert Bruce. She was
imprisoned within the Castle of Berwick, in a cage. The cage was a
strong wooden and iron piece of frame-work, placed within an
apartment, and resembling one of those places in which wild-beasts
are confined. There were such cages in most old prisons to which
captives were consigned, who were to be confined with peculiar

The news of the taking of Kildrummie, the captivity of his wife, and
the execution of his brother, reached Bruce while he was residing in
a miserable dwelling at Rachrin, and reduced him to the point of
despair. After receiving the intelligence from Scotland, Bruce was
lying one morning on his wretched bed, and deliberating with himself
whether he had not better resign all thoughts of again attempting to
make good his right to the Scottish crown, and, dismissing his
followers, transport himself and his brothers to the Holy Land, and
spend the rest of his life in fighting against the Saracens. But
then, on the other hand, he thought it would be both criminal and
cowardly to give up his attempts to restore freedom to Scotland
while there yet remained the least chance of his being successful in
an undertaking, which, rightly considered, was much more his duty
than to drive the infidels out of Palestine.

While he was divided betwixt these reflections, and doubtful of what
he should do, Bruce was looking upward to the roof of the cabin in
which he lay; and his eye was attracted by a spider, which, hanging
at the end of a long thread of its own spinning, was endeavouring to
swing itself from one beam in the roof to another, for the purpose
of fixing the line on which it meant to stretch its web. The insect
made the attempt again and again without success; at length Bruce
counted that it had tried to carry its point six times, and been as
often unable to do so. It came into his head that he had himself
fought just six battles against the English and their allies, and
that the poor persevering spider was exactly in the same situation
with himself, having made as many trials and been as often
disappointed in what it aimed at. "Now," thought Bruce, "as I have
no means of knowing what is best to be done, I will be guided by the
luck which shall attend this spider. If the insect shall make
another effort to fix its thread, and shall be successful, I will
venture a seventh time to try my fortune in Scotland; but if the
spider shall fail, I will go to the wars in Palestine, and never
return to my native country more."

While Bruce was forming this resolution the spider made another
exertion with all the force it could muster, and fairly succeeded in
fastening its thread to the beam which it had so often in vain
attempted to reach. Bruce seeing the success of the spider, resolved
to try his own fortune; and as he had never before gained a victory,
so he never afterward sustained any considerable or decisive check
or defeat. I have often met with people of the name of Bruce, so
completely persuaded of the truth of this story, that they would not
on any account kill a spider, because it was that insect which had
shown the example of perseverance, and given a signal of good luck
to their great namesake. Having determined to renew his efforts to
obtain possession of Scotland, the Bruce removed himself and his
followers from Rachrin to the island of Arran, which lies in the
mouth of the Clyde. The King landed, and inquired of the first woman
he met what armed men were in the island. She returned for answer
that there had arrived there very lately a body of armed strangers,
who had defeated an English governor of the castle, and were now
amusing themselves with hunting about the island. The King, having
caused himself to be guided to the woods which these strangers most
frequented, there blew his horn repeatedly. Now, the chief of the
strangers who had taken the castle was James Douglas, one of the
best of Bruce's friends, and he was accompanied by some of the
bravest of that patriotic band. When he heard Robert Bruce's horn,
he knew the sound well, and cried out, that yonder was the King, he
knew by his manner of blowing. So he and his companions hastened to
meet King Robert. They could not help weeping when they considered
their own forlorn condition, but they were stout-hearted men, and
yet looked forward to freeing their country.

The Bruce was now where the people were most likely to be attached
to him. He continued to keep himself concealed in his own earldom of
Carrick, and in the neighboring country of Galloway, until he should
have matters ready for a general attack upon the English. He was
obliged, in the meantime, to keep very few men with him, both for
the sake of secrecy, and from the difficulty of finding provisions.

Now, many of the people of Galloway were unfriendly to Bruce. They
lived under the government of one MacDougal, related to the Lord of
Lorn, who had defeated Bruce. These Galloway men had heard that
Bruce was in their country, having no more than sixty men with him;
so they resolved to attack him by surprise, and for this purpose
they got together and brought with them two or three bloodhounds. At
that time bloodhounds, or sleuthhounds, were used for the purpose of
pursuing great criminals. The men of Galloway thought that if they
missed taking Bruce, or killing him at the first onset, and if he
should escape into the woods, they would find him out by means of
these bloodhounds.

The good King Robert Bruce, who was always watchful and vigilant,
received some information of the intention of the party to come upon
him suddenly and by night. Accordingly, he quartered his little
troop of sixty men on the side of a deep and swift-running river,
that had very steep and rocky banks. There was but one ford by which
this river could be crossed in that neighbourhood, and that ford was
deep and narrow, so that two men could scarcely get through abreast;
the ground on which they were to land, on the side where the King
was, was steep, and the path which led upward from the water's edge
to the top of the bank, extremely narrow and difficult.

Bruce caused his men to lie down to take some sleep, at a place
about half a mile distant from the river, while he himself, with two
attendants, went down to watch the ford. He stood looking at the
ford, and thinking how easily the enemy might be kept from passing
there, provided it was bravely defended, when he heard, always
coming nearer and nearer, the baying of a hound. This was the
bloodhound which was tracing the King's steps to the ford where he
had crossed, and two hundred Galloway men were along with the
animal, and guided by it. Bruce at first thought of going back to
awaken his men; but then he reflected that it might be only some
shepherd's dog. "My men," said he, "are sorely tired; I will not
disturb their sleep for the yelping of a cur, till I know something
more of the matter." So he stood and listened; and by and by, as the
cry of the hound came nearer, he began to hear a trampling of
horses, and the voices of men, and the ringing and clattering of
armour, and then he was sure the enemy were coming to the river
side. Then the King thought, "If I go back to give my men the alarm,
these Galloway men will get through the ford without opposition; and
that would be a pity, since it is a place so advantageous to make
defence against them." So he looked again at the steep path, and the
deep river, and he thought that they gave him so much advantage,
that he himself could defend the passage with his own hand, until
his men came to assist him. He therefore sent his followers to waken
his men, and remained alone by the river.

The noise and trampling of the horses increased, and the moon being
bright, Bruce beheld the glancing arms of two hundred men, on the
opposite bank. The men of Galloway, on their part, saw but one
solitary figure guarding the ford, and the foremost of them plunged
into the river without minding him. But as they could only pass the
ford one by one, the Bruce, who stood high above them on the bank
where they were to land, killed the foremost man with a thrust of
his long spear, and with a second thrust stabbed the horse, which
fell down, kicking and plunging in his agonies, on the narrow path,
and so prevented the others who were following from getting out of
the river. Bruce had thus an opportunity of dealing his blows among
them, while they could not strike at him. In the confusion, five or
six of the enemy were slain, or, having been borne down with the
current, were drowned. The rest were terrified, and drew back.

But when the Galloway men looked again, and saw they were opposed by
only one man, they themselves being so many, they cried out, that
their honour would be lost forever if they did not force their way;
and encouraged each other, with loud cries, to plunge through and
assault him. But by this time the King's soldiers came up to his
assistance, and the Galloway men gave up their enterprise.

About the time when the Bruce was yet at the head of but few men,
Sir Aymer de Valence, who was Earl of Pembroke, together with Sir
John of Lorn, came into Galloway, each of them being at the head of
a large body of men. John of Lorn had a bloodhound with him, which
it was said had formerly belonged to Robert Bruce himself; and
having been fed by the King with his own hands, it became attached
to him, and would follow his footsteps anywhere, as dogs are well
known to trace their master's steps, whether they be bloodhounds or
not. By means of this hound, John of Lorn thought he should
certainly find out Bruce, and take revenge on him for the death of
his relation Comyn.

The King saw that he was followed by a large body, and being
determined to escape from them, he made all the people who were with
him disperse themselves different ways, thinking thus that the enemy
must needs lose trace of him. He kept only one man along with him,
and that was his own foster-brother, or the son of his nurse. When
John of Lorn came to the place where Bruce's companions had
dispersed themselves, the bloodhound, after it had sniffed up and
down for a little, quitted the footsteps of all the other fugitives,
and ran barking upon the track of two men out of the whole number.
Then John of Lorn knew that one of these two must needs be King
Robert. Accordingly, he commanded five of his men that were speedy
of foot to chase after him, and either make him prisoner or slay
him. The Highlanders started off accordingly, and ran so fast, that
they gained sight of Robert and his foster-brother. The King asked
his companion what help he could give him, and his foster-brother
answered he was ready to do his best. So these two turned on the
five men of John of Lorn, and killed them all.

But by this time Bruce very much fatigued, and yet they dared not
sit down to take any rest; for whenever they stopped for an instant,
they heard the cry of the bloodhound behind them, and knew by that,
that their enemies were coming up fast after them. At length, they
came to a wood, through which ran a small river. Then Bruce said to
his foster-brother, "Let us wade down this stream for a great way,
instead of going straight across, and so this unhappy hound will
lose the scent; for if we were once clear of him, I should not be
afraid of getting away from the pursuers." Accordingly, the King and
his attendant walked a great way down the stream, taking care to
keep their feet in the water, which could not retain any scent where
they had stepped. Then they came ashore on the further side from the
enemy, and went deep into the wood before they stopped to rest
themselves. In the meanwhile, the hound led John of Lorn straight to
the place where the King went into the water, but there the dog
began to be puzzled, not knowing where to go next. So, John of Lorn,
seeing the dog had lost track, gave up the chase, and returned to
join with Aymer de Valence.

But King Robert's adventures were not yet ended. It was now near
night, and he went boldy into a farmhouse, where he found the
mistress, an old, true-hearted Scotswoman, sitting alone. Upon
seeing a stranger enter she asked him who and what he was. The King
answered that he was a traveller, who was journeying through the

"All travellers," answered the good woman, "are welcome here, for
the sake of one."

"And who is that one," said the King, "for whose sake you make all

"It is our rightful King, Robert the Bruce," answered the mistress,
"and although he is now pursued and hunted after with hounds and
horns, I hope to live to see him King over all Scotland."

"Since you love him so well, madame," said the King, "know that you
see him before you. I am Robert the Bruce."

"You!" said the good woman, in great surprise; "and wherefore are
you thus alone? where are all your men?"

"I have none with me at this moment," answered Bruce, "and therefore
I must travel alone."

"But that shall not be," said the brave old dame, "for I have two
stout sons, gallant and trusty men, who shall be your servants for
life and death."

So she brought her two sons, and though she well knew the dangers to
which she exposed them, she made them swear fidelity to the King.

Now, the loyal woman was getting everything ready for the King's
supper, when suddenly there was a great trampling of horses heard
round the house. They thought it must be some of the English, or
John of Lorn's men, and the good wife called upon her sons to fight
to the last for King Robert. But shortly after, they heard the voice
of the good Lord James of Douglas, and of Edward Bruce, the King's
brother, who had come with a hundred and fifty horsemen, according
to the instructions that the King had left with them at parting.

Robert the Bruce was right joyful to meet his brother, and his
faithful friend Lord James; and had no sooner found himself once
more at the head of such a considerable body of followers, than he
forgot hunger and weariness. There was nothing but mount and ride;
and as the Scots rushed suddenly into the village where the English
were quartered, they easily dispersed and cut them to pieces.

The consequence of these successes of King Robert was that soldiers
came to join him on all sides, and that he obtained several
victories over English commanders; until at length the English were
afraid to venture into the open country, as formerly, unless when
they could assemble themselves in considerable bodies. They thought
it safer to lie still in the towns and castles which they had

Edward I would have entered Scotland at the head of a large army,
before he had left Bruce time to conquer back the country. But very
fortunately for the Scots, that wise and skilful, though ambitious
King, died when he was on the point of marching into Scotland. His
son Edward II neglected the Scottish war, and thus lost the
opportunity of defeating Bruce, when his force was small. But when
Sir Philip Mowbray, the governor of Stirling, came to London, to
tell the King, that Stirling, the last Scottish town of importance
which remained in possession of the English, was to be surrendered
if it were not relieved by force of arms before midsummer, then all
the English nobles called out, it would be a sin and shame to permit
the fair conquest which Edward I had made, to be forfeited to the
Scots for want of fighting.

King Edward II, therefore, assembled one of the greatest armies
which a King of England ever commanded. There were troops brought
from all his dominions, many brave soldiers from the French
provinces, many Irish, many Welsh, and all the great English nobles
and barons, with their followers. The number was not less than one
hundred thousand men.

King Robert the Brace summoned all his nobles and barons to join
him, when he heard of the great preparations which the King of
England was making. They were not so numerous as the English by many
thousand men. In fact, his whole army did not very much exceed
thirty thousand, and they were much worse armed than the wealthy
Englishmen; but then, Robert was one of the most expert generals of
the time; and the officers he had under him, were his brother
Edward, his faithful follower the Douglas, and other brave and
experienced leaders. His men had been accustomed to fight and gain
victories under every disadvantage of situation and numbers.

The King, on his part, studied how he might supply, by address and
stratagem, what he wanted in numbers and strength. He knew the
superiority of the English in their heavy-armed cavalry, and in
their archers. Both these advantages he resolved to provide against.
With this purpose, he led his army down into a plain near Stirling.
The English army must needs pass through a boggy country, broken
with water-courses, while the Scots occupied hard dry ground. He
then caused all the ground upon the front of his line of battle, to
be dug full of holes, about as deep as a man's knee. They were
filled with light brushwood, and the turf was laid on the top, so
that it appeared a plain field, while in reality it was as full of
these pits as a honeycomb is of holes. He also, it is said, caused
steel spikes, called calthrops, to be scattered up and down in the
plain, where the English cavalry were most likely to advance,
trusting in that manner to lame and destroy their horses.

When the Scottish army was drawn up, the line stretched north and
south. On the south, it was terminated by the banks of the brook
called Bannockburn, which are so rocky, that no troops could attack
them there. On the left, the Scottish line extended near to the town
of Stirling. Bruce reviewed his troops very carefully. He then spoke
to the soldiers, and expressed his determination to gain the
victory, or to lose his life on the field of battle. He desired that
all those who did not propose to fight to the last, should leave the
field before the battle began, and that none should remain except
those who were determined to take the issue of victory or death, as
God should send it. When the main body of his army was thus placed
in order, the King dispatched James of Douglas, and Sir Robert
Keith, the Mareschal of the Scottish army, in order that they might
survey the English force. They returned with information, that the
approach of that vast host was one of the most beautiful and
terrible sights which could be seen--that the whole country seemed
covered with men-at-arms on horse and foot.

It was upon the twenty-third of June, 1314, the King of Scotland
heard the news, that the English army was approaching Stirling. The
van now came in sight, and a number of their bravest knights drew
near to see what the Scots were doing. They saw King Robert dressed
in his armour, and distinguished by a gold crown, which he wore over
his helmet. He was not mounted on his great war-horse, because he
did not expect to fight that evening. But he rode on a little pony
up and down the ranks of his army, putting his men in order, and
carried in his hand a sort of battle-axe made of steel. When the
King saw the English horsemen draw near, he advanced a little before
his own men, that he might look at them more nearly.

There was a knight among the English, called Sir Henry de Bohun, who
thought this would be a good opportunity to gain great fame to
himself, and put an end to the war, by killing King Robert. The King
being poorly mounted, and having no lance, Bohun galloped on him
suddenly and furiously, thinking, with his long spear, and his tall,
powerful horse, easily to bear him down to the ground. King Robert
saw him, and permitted him to come very near, then suddenly turned
his pony a little to one side, so that Sir Henry missed him with the
lance-point, and was in the act of being carried past him by the
career of his horse. But as he passed, King Robert rose up in his
stirrups, and struck Sir Henry on the head with his battle-axe so
terrible a blow, that it broke to pieces his iron helmet as if it
had been a nut-shell, and hurled him from his saddle. He was dead
before he reached the ground. This gallant action was blamed by the
Scottish leaders, who thought Bruce ought not to have exposed
himself to so much danger, when the safety of the whole army
depended on him. The King only kept looking at his weapon, which was
injured by the force of the blow, and said, "I have broken my good

The next morning the English King ordered his men to begin the
battle. The archers then bent their bows, and began to shoot so
closely together, that the arrows fell like flakes of snow on a
Christmas day. They killed many of the Scots, and might have decided
the victory; but Bruce was prepared for them. A body of men-at-arms,
well mounted, rode at full gallop among them, and as the archers had
no weapons save their bows and arrows, which they could not use when
they were attacked hand to hand, they were cut down in great numbers
by the Scottish horsemen, and thrown into total confusion. The fine
English cavalry then advanced to support their archers. But coming
over the ground which was dug full of pits the horses fell into
these holes and the riders lay tumbling about, without any means of
defence, and unable to rise, from the weight of their armour.

While the battle was obstinately maintained on both sides, an event
happened which decided the victory. The servants and attendants on
the Scottish camp had been sent behind the army to a place afterward
called the Gillies' hill. But when they saw that their masters were
likely to gain the day, they rushed from their place of concealment
with such weapons as they could get, that they might have their
share in the victory and in the spoil. The English, seeing them come
suddenly over the hill, mistook this disorderly rabble for a new
army coming up to sustain the Scots, and, losing all heart, began to
shift every man for himself. Edward himself left the field as fast
as he could ride.

The English, after this great defeat, were no longer in a condition
to support their pretensions to be masters of Scotland, or to
continue to send armies into that country to overcome it. On the
contrary, they became for a time scarce able to defend their own
frontiers against King Robert and his soldiers.

Thus did Robert Bruce arise from the condition of an exile, hunted
with bloodhounds like a stag or beast of prey, to the rank of an
independent sovereign, universally acknowledged to be one of the
wisest and bravest Kings who then lived. The nation of Scotland was
also raised once more from the situation of a distressed and
conquered province to that of a free and independent state, governed
by its own laws.

Robert Bruce continued to reign gloriously for several years, and
the Scots seemed, during his government, to have acquired a complete
superiority over their neighbours. But then we must remember, that
Edward II who then reigned in England, was a foolish prince, and
listened to bad counsels; so that it is no wonder that he was beaten
by so wise and experienced a general as Robert Bruce, who had fought
his way to the crown through so many disasters, and acquired in
consequence so much renown.

In the last year of Robert the Bruce's reign, he became extremely
sickly and infirm, chiefly owing to a disorder called the leprosy,
which he had caught during the hardships and misfortunes of his
youth, when he was so frequently obliged to hide himself in woods
and morasses, without a roof to shelter him. He lived at a castle
called Cardross, on the beautiful banks of the river Clyde, near to
where it joins the sea; and his chief amusement was to go upon the
river, and down to the sea in a ship, which he kept for his
pleasure. He was no longer able to sit upon his war-horse, or to
lead his army to the field.

While Bruce was in this feeble state, Edward II, King of England,
died, and was succeeded by his son Edward III. He turned out
afterward to be one of the wisest and bravest Kings whom England
ever had; but when he first mounted the throne he was very young.
The war between the English and the Scots still lasted at the time.

But finally a peace was concluded with Robert Bruce, on terms highly
honourable to Scotland; for the English King renounced all
pretensions to the sovereignty of the country.

Good King Robert did not long survive this joyful event. He was not
aged more than four-and-fifty years, but his bad health was caused
by the hardships which he sustained during his youth, and at length
he became very ill. Finding that he could not recover, he assembled
around his bedside the nobles and counsellors in whom he most
trusted. He told them, that now, being on his death-bed, he sorely
repented all his misdeeds, and particularly, that he had, in his
passion, killed Comyn with his own hand, in the church and before
the altar. He said that if he had lived, he had intended to go to
Jerusalem to make war upon the Saracens who held the Holy Land, as
some expiation for the evil deeds he had done. But since he was
about to die, he requested of his dearest friend and bravest
warrior, and that was the good Lord James Douglas, that he should
carry his heart to the Holy Land. Douglas wept bitterly as he
accepted this office--the last mark of the Brace's confidence and

The King soon afterward expired; and his heart was taken out from
his body and embalmed, that is, prepared with spices and perfumes,
that it might remain a long time fresh and uncorrupted. Then the
Douglas caused a case of silver to be made, into which he put the
Bruce's heart, and wore it around his neck, by a string of silk and
gold. And he set forward for the Holy Land, with a gallant train of
the bravest men in Scotland, who, to show their value of and sorrow
for their brave King Robert Bruce, resolved to attend his heart to
the city of Jerusalem. In going to Palestine Douglas landed in
Spain, where the Saracen King, or Sultan of Granada, called Osmyn,
was invading the realms of Alphonso, the Spanish King of Castile.
King Alphonso received Douglas with great honour and distinction,
and easily persuaded the Scottish Earl that he would do good service
to the Christian cause, by assisting him to drive back the Saracens
of Granada before proceeding on his voyage to Jerusalem. Lord
Douglas and his followers went accordingly to a great battle against
Osmyn, and had little difficulty in defeating the Saracens. But
being ignorant of the mode of fighting among the cavalry of the
East, the Scots pursued the chase too far, and the Moors, when they
saw them scattered and separated from each other, turned suddenly
back, with a loud cry of ALLAH ILLAH ALLAH, which is their shout of
battle, and surrounded such of the Scottish knights and squires as
were dispersed from each other.

In this new skirmish, Douglas saw Sir William St. Clair of Roslyn
fighting desperately, surrounded by many Moors, who were having at
him with their sabres. "Yonder worthy knight will be slain," Douglas
said, "unless he have instant help." With that he galloped to his
rescue, but presently was himself also surrounded by many Moors.
When he found the enemy press so thick round him, as to leave him no
chance of escaping, the Earl took from his neck the Bruce's heart,
and speaking to it, as he would have done to the King, had he been
alive--"Pass first in fight," he said, "as thou wert wont to do, and
Douglas will follow thee, or die."

He then threw the King's heart among the enemy, and rushing forward
to the place where it fell, was there slain. His body was found
lying above the silver case, as if it had been his last object to
defend the Bruce's heart.

Such of the Scottish knights as remained alive returned to their own
country. They brought back the heart of the Bruce, and the bones of
the good Lord James. The Bruce's heart was buried below the high
altar in Melrose Abbey. As for his body, it was laid in the
sepulchre in the midst of the church of Dunfermline, under a marble
stone. The church afterward becoming ruinous, and the roof falling
down with age, the monument was broken to pieces, and nobody could
tell where it stood. But when they were repairing the church at
Dunfermline, and removing the rubbish, lo! they found fragments of
the marble tomb of Robert Bruce. Then they began to dig farther,
thinking to discover the body of this celebrated monarch; and at
length they came to the skeleton of a tall man, and they knew it
must be that of King Robert, both as he was known to have been
buried in a winding sheet of cloth of gold, of which many fragments
were found about this skeleton, and also because the breastbone
appeared to have been sawed through, in order to take the heart. A
new tomb was prepared into which the bones were laid with profound



On the 4th of March, 1797, Washington went to the inauguration of
his successor as President of the United States. The Federal
Government was sitting in Philadelphia at that time and Congress
held sessions in the courthouse on the corner of Sixth and Chestnut

At the appointed hour Washington entered the hall followed by John
Adams, who was to take the oath of office. When they were seated
Washington arose and introduced Mr. Adams to the audience, and then
proceeded to read in a firm clear voice his brief valedictory--not
his great "Farewell Address," for that had already been published. A
lady who sat on "the front bench," "immediately in front" of
Washington describes the scene in these words:

"There was a narrow passage from the door of entrance to the room.
General Washington stopped at the end to let Mr. Adams pass to the
chair. The latter always wore a full suit of bright drab, with loose
cuffs to his coat. General Washington's dress was a full suit of
black. His military hat had the black cockade. There stood the
'Father of his Country' acknowledged by nations the first in war,
first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen. No
marshals with gold-coloured scarfs attended him; there was no
cheering, no noise; the most profound silence greeted him as if the
great assembly desired to hear him breathe. Mr. Adams covered his
face with both his hands; the sleeves of his coat and his hands were
covered with tears. Every now and then there was a suppressed sob. I
cannot describe Washington's appearance as I felt it--perfectly
composed and self-possessed till the close of his address. Then when
strong, nervous sobs broke loose, when tears covered the faces, then
the great man was shaken. I never took my eyes from his face. Large
drops came from his eyes. He looked as if his heart was with them,
and would be to the end."

On Washington's retirement from the Presidency one of his first
employments was to arrange his papers and letters. Then on returning
to his home the venerable master found many things to repair. His
landed estate comprised eight thousand acres, and was divided into
farms, with enclosures and farm-buildings. And now with body and
mind alike sound and vigorous, he bent his energies to directing the
improvements that marked his last days at Mount Vernon.

In his earlier as well as in later life, his tour of the farms would
average from eight to twelve or fourteen miles a day. He rode upon
his farms entirely unattended, opening his gates, pulling down and
putting up his fences as he passed, visiting his labourers at their
work, inspecting all the operations of his extensive establishment
with a careful eye, directing useful improvements and superintending
them in their progress.

He usually rode at a moderate pace in passing through his fields.
But when behind time this most punctual of men would display the
horsemanship of his earlier days, and a hard gallop would bring him
up to time so that the sound of his horse's hoofs and the first
dinner bell would be heard together at a quarter before three.

A story is told that one day an elderly stranger meeting a
Revolutionary worthy out hunting, a long-tried and valued friend of
the chief, accosted him, and asked whether Washington was to be
found at the mansion house, or whether he was off riding over his
estate. The friend answered that he was visiting his farms, and
directed the stranger the road to take, adding, "You will meet, sir,
with an old gentleman riding alone in plain drab clothes, a broad-
brimmed white hat, a hickory switch in his hand, and carrying an
umbrella with a long staff, which is attached to his saddle-bow--
that person, sir, is General Washington."

Precisely at a quarter before three the industrious farmer returned,
dressed, and dined at three o'clock. At this meal he ate heartily,
but was not particular in his diet with the exception of fish, of
which he was excessively fond. Touching his liking for fish, and
illustrative of his practical economy and abhorrence of waste and
extravagance, an anecdote is told of the time he was President and
living in Philadelphia. It happened that a single shad had been
caught in the Delaware, and brought to the city market. His steward,
Sam Fraunces, pounced upon the fish with the speed of an osprey,
delighted that he had secured a delicacy agreeable to the palate of
his chief, and careless of the expense, for which the President had
often rebuked him.

When the fish was served Washington suspected the steward had
forgotten his order about expenditure for the table and said to
Fraunces, who stood at his post at the sideboard, "What fish is
this?" "A shad, sir, a very fine shad," the steward answered. "I
know your excellency is particularly fond of this kind of fish, and
was so fortunate as to procure this one--the only one in market,
sir, the first of the season." "The price, sir, the price?" asked
Washington sternly. "Three--three dollars," stammered the
conscience-stricken steward. "Take it away," thundered the chief,
"take it away, sir! It shall never be said that my table set such an
example of luxury and extravagance." Poor Fraunces tremblingly did
as he was told, and the first shad of the season was carried away
untouched to be speedily discussed in the servants' dining room.

Although the Farmer of Mount Vernon was much retired from the
business world, he was by no means inattentive to the progress of
public affairs. When the post bag arrived, he would select his
letters and lay them aside for reading in the seclusion of his
library. The newspapers he would peruse while taking his single cup
of tea (his only supper) and read aloud passages of peculiar
interest, remarking the matter as he went along. He read with
distinctness and precision. These evenings with his family always
ended at precisely nine o'clock, when he bade everyone good night
and retired to rest, to rise again at four and renew the same
routine of labour and enjoyment.

Washington's last days, like those that preceded them in the course
of a long and well-spent life, were devoted to constant and careful
employment. His correspondence both at home and abroad was immense.
Yet no letter was unanswered. One of the best-bred men of his time,
Washington deemed it a grave offence against the rules of good
manners and propriety to leave letters unanswered. He wrote with
great facility, and it would be a difficult matter to find another
who had written so much, who had written so well. General Harry Lee
once observed to him, "We are amazed, sir, at the vast amount of
work you get through." Washington answered, "Sir, I rise at four
o'clock, and a great deal of my work is done while others sleep."

He was the most punctual of men, as we said. To this admirable
quality of rising at four and retiring to rest at nine at all
seasons, this great man owed his ability to accomplish mighty
labours during his long and illustrious life. He was punctual in
everything and made everyone about him punctual. So careful a man
delighted in always having about him a good timekeeper. In
Philadelphia, the first President regularly walked up to his
watchmaker's to compare his watch with the regulator. At Mount
Vernon the active yet punctual farmer invariably consulted the dial
when returning from his morning ride, and before entering his house.

The affairs of the household took order from the master's accurate
and methodical arrangement of time. Even the fisherman on the river
watched for the cook's signal when to pull in shore and deliver his
catch in time for dinner.

Among the picturesque objects on the Potomac, to be seen from the
eastern portion of the mansion house, was the light canoe of the
house's fisher. Father Jack was an African, an hundred years of age,
and although enfeebled in body by weight of years, his mind
possessed uncommon vigour. And he would tell of days long past when,
under African suns, he was made captive, and of the terrible battle
in which his royal sire was slain, the village burned, and himself
sent to the slave ship.

Father Jack had in a considerable degree a leading quality of his
race--somnolency. Many an hour could the family of Washington see
the canoe fastened to a stake, with the old fisherman bent nearly
double enjoying a nap, which was only disturbed by the jerking of
the white perch caught on his hook. But, as we just said, the
domestic duties of Mount Vernon were governed by clock time, and the
slumbers of fisher Jack might occasion inconvenience, for the cook
required the fish at a certain hour, so that they might be served
smoking hot precisely at three. At times he would go to the river
bank and make the accustomed signals, and meet with no response. The
old fisherman would be quietly reposing in his canoe, rocked by the
gentle undulations of the stream, and dreaming, no doubt, of events
"long time ago." The importunate master of the kitchen, grown
ferocious by delay, would now rush up and down the water's edge,
and, by dint of loud shouting, cause the canoe to turn its prow to
the shore. Father Jack, indignant at its being supposed he was
asleep at his post, would rate those present on his landing, "What
you all meek such a debil of a noise for, hey? I wa'nt sleep, only

The establishment of Mount Vernon employed a perfect army of
domestics; yet to each one was assigned special duties, and from
each one strict performance was required. There was no confusion
where there was order, and the affairs of this estate, embracing
thousands of acres and hundreds of dependents, were conducted with
as much ease, method and regularity as the affairs of a homestead of
average size.

Mrs. Washington was an accomplished house-wife of the olden time,
and she gave constant attention to all matters of her household, and
by her skill and management greatly contributed to the comfort and
entertainment of the guests who enjoyed the hospitality of her home.

The best charities of life were gathered round Washington in the
last days at Mount Vernon. The love and veneration of a whole people
for his illustrious services, his generous and untiring labours in
the cause of public utility; his kindly demeanour to his family
circle, his friends, and numerous dependents; his courteous and
cordial hospitality to his guests, many of them strangers from far
distant lands; these charities, all of which sprang from the heart,
were the ornament of his declining years and granted the most
sublime scene in nature, when human greatness reposes upon human

On the morning of the 17th of December, 1799, the General was
engaged in making some improvements in the front of Mount Vernon. As
was usual with him, he carried his own compass, noted his
observations, and marked out the ground. The day became rainy, with
sleet, and the improver remained so long exposed to the inclemency
of the weather as to be considerably wetted before his return to the
house. About one o'clock he was seized with chilliness and nausea,
but having changed his clothes he sat down to his indoor work. At
night, on joining his family circle, he complained of a slight
indisposition. Upon the night of the following day, having borne
acute suffering with composure and fortitude, he died.

In person Washington was unique. He looked like no one else. To a
stature lofty and commanding he united a form of the manliest
proportions, and a dignifed, graceful, and imposing carriage. In the
prime of life he stood six feet, two inches. From the period of the
Revolution there was an evident bending in his frame so passing
straight before, but the stoop came from the cares and toils of that
arduous contest rather than from years. For his step was firm, his
appearance noble and impressive long after the time when the
physical properties of men are supposed to wane.

A majestic height was met by corresponding breadth and firmness. His
whole person was so cast in nature's finest mould as to resemble an
ancient statue, all of whose parts unite to the perfection of the
whole. But with all its development of muscular power, Washington's
form had no look of bulkiness, and so harmonious were its
proportions that he did not appear so tall as his portraits have
represented. He was rather spare than full during his whole life.

The strength of Washington's arm was shown on several occasions. He
threw a stone from the bed of the stream to the top of the Natural
Bridge, Virginia, and another stone across the Rappahannock at
Fredericksburg. The stone was said to be a piece of slate about the
size of a dollar with which he spanned the bold river, and it took
the ground at least thirty yards on the other side. Many have since
tried this feat, but none have cleared the water.

In 1772 some young men were contending at Mount Vernon in the
exercise of pitching the bar. The Colonel looked on for a time, then
grasping the missile in his master hand he whirled the iron through
the air and it fell far beyond any of its former limits. "You see,
young gentlemen," said the chief with a smile, "that my arm yet
retains some portion of my early vigour." He was then in his
fortieth year and probably in the fullness of his physical powers.
Those powers became rather mellowed than decayed by time, for "his
age was like lusty winter, frosty yet kindly," and up to his sixty-
eighth year he mounted a horse with surprising agility and rode with
ease and grace. Rickets, the celebrated equestrian, used to say, "I
delight to see the General ride and make it a point to fall in with
him when I hear he is out on horseback--his seat is so firm, his
management so easy and graceful that I who am an instructor in
horsemanship would go to him and learn to ride."

In his later days, the General, desirous of riding pleasantly,
procured from the North two horses of a breed for bearing the
saddle. They were well to look at, and pleasantly gaited under the
saddle, but also scary and therefore unfitted for the service of one
who liked to ride quietly on his farm, occasionally dismounting and
walking in his fields to inspect improvements. From one of these
horses the General sustained a fall--probably the only fall he ever
had from a horse in his life. It was upon a November evening, and he
was returning from Alexandria to Mount Vernon with three friends and
a groom. Having halted a few moments he dismounted, and upon rising
in his stirrup again, the horse, alarmed at the glare from a fire
near the road-side, sprang from under his rider who came heavily to
the ground. His friends rushed to give him assistance, thinking him
hurt. But the vigorous old man was upon his feet again, brushing the
dust from his clothes, and after thanking those who came to his aid
said that he had had a very complete tumble, and that it was owing
to a cause no horseman could well avoid or control--that he was only
poised in his stirrup, and had not yet gained his saddle when the
scary animal sprang from under him.

Bred in the vigorous school of frontier warfare, "the earth for his
bed, his canopy the heavens," Washington excelled the hunter and
woodsman in their athletic habits and in those trials of manhood
which filled the hardy days of his early life. He was amazingly
swift of foot, and could climb steep mountains seemingly without
effort. Indeed in all the tests of his great physical powers he
appeared to make little effort. When he overthrew the strong man of
Virginia in wrestling, upon a day when many of the finest athletes
were engaged in the contest, he had retired to the shade of a tree
intent upon the reading of a book. It was only after the champion of
the games strode through the ring calling for nobler antagonists,
and taunting the reader with the fear that he would be thrown, that
Washington closed his book. Without taking off his coat he calmly
observed that fear did not enter his make-up; then grappling with
the champion he hurled him to the ground. "In Washington's lion-like
grasp," said the vanquished wrestler, "I became powerless, and went
down with a force that seemed to jar the very marrow in my bones."
The victor, regardless of shouts at his success, leisurely retired
to his shade, and again took up his book.

Washington's powers were chiefly in his limbs. His frame was of
equal breadth from the shoulders to the hips. His chest was not
prominent but rather hollowed in the centre. He never entirely
recovered from a pulmonary affection from which he suffered in early
life. His frame showed an extraordinary development of bone and
muscle; his joints were large, as were his feet; and could a cast of
his hand have been preserved, it would be ascribed to a being of a
fabulous age. Lafayette said, "I never saw any human being with so
large a hand as the General's."

Of the awe and reverence which the presence of Washington inspired
we have many records. "I stood," says one writer, "before the door
of the Hall of Congress in Philadelphia when the carriage of the
President drew up. It was a white coach, or rather of a light cream
colour, painted on the panels with beautiful groups representing the
four seasons. As Washington alighted and, ascending the steps,
paused on the platform, he was preceded by two gentleman bearing
large white wands, who kept back the eager crowd that pressed on
every side. At that moment I stood so near I might have touched his
clothes; but I should as soon have thought of touching an electric
battery. I was penetrated with deepest awe. Nor was this the feeling
of the school-boy I then was. It pervaded, I believe, every human
being that approached Washington; and I have been told that even in
his social hours, this feeling in those who shared them never
suffered intermission. I saw him a hundred times afterward but never
with any other than the same feeling. The Almighty, who raised up
for our hour of need a man so peculiarly prepared for its whole
dread responsibility, seems to have put a stamp of sacredness upon
his instrument. The first sight of the man struck the eye with
involuntary homage and prepared everything around him to obey.

"At the time I speak of he stood in profound silence and had the
statue-like air which mental greatness alone can bestow. As he
turned to enter the building, and was ascending the staircase to the
Congressional hall, I glided along unseen, almost under the cover of
the skirts of his dress, and entered into the lobby of the House
which was in session to receive him.

"At Washington's entrance there was a most profound silence. House,
lobbies, gallery, all were wrapped in deepest attention. And the
souls of the entire assemblage seemed peering from their eyes as the
noble figure deliberately and unaffectedly advanced up the broad
aisle of the hall between ranks of standing senators and members,
and slowly ascended the steps leading to the speaker's chair.

"The President having seated himself remained in silence, and the
members took their seats, waiting for the speech. No house of
worship was ever more profoundly still than that large and crowded

"Washington was dressed precisely as Stuart has painted him in full-
length portrait--in a full suit of the richest black velvet, with
diamond knee-buckles and square silver buckles set upon shoes
japanned with most scrupulous neatness; black silk stockings, his
shirt ruffled at the breast and waist, a light dress sword, his hair
profusely powdered, fully dressed, so as to project at the sides,
and gathered behind in a silk bag ornamented with a large rose of
black ribbon. He held his cocked hat, which had a large black
cockade on one side of it, in his hand, as he advanced toward the
chair, and when seated, laid it on the table.

"At length thrusting his hand within the side of his coat, he drew
forth a roll of manuscript which he opened, and rising read in a
rich, deep, full, sonorous voice his opening address to Congress.
His enunciation was deliberate, justly emphasised, very distinct,
and accompanied with an air of deep solemnity as being the utterance
of a mind conscious of the whole responsibility of its position, but
not oppressed by it. There was ever about the man something which
impressed one with the conviction that he was exactly and fully
equal to what he had to do. He was never hurried; never negligent;
but seemed ever prepared for the occasion, be it what it might. In
his study, in his parlour, at a levee, before Congress, at the head
of the army, he seemed ever to be just what the situation required.
He possessed, in a degree never equalled by any human being I ever
saw, the strongest, most ever-present sense of propriety."

In the early part of Washington's administration, great complaints
were made by political opponents of the aristocratic and royal
demeanour of the President. Particularly, these complaints were
about the manner of his receiving visitors. In a letter Washington
gave account of the origin of his levees: "Before the custom was
established," he wrote, "which now accommodates foreign characters,
strangers and others, who, from motives of curiosity, respect for
the chief magistrate, or other cause, are induced to call upon me, I
was unable to attend to any business whatever; for gentlemen,
consulting their own convenience rather than mine, were calling
after the time I rose from breakfast, and often before, until I sat
down to dinner. This, as I resolved not to neglect my public duties,
reduced me to the choice of one of these alternatives: either to
refuse visits altogether, or to appropriate a time for the reception
of them. ... To please everybody was impossible. I therefore,
adopted that line of conduct which combined public advantage with
private convenience. ... These visits are optional, they are made
without invitation; between the hours of three and four every
Tuesday I am prepared to receive them. Gentlemen, often in great
numbers, come and go, chat with each other, and act as they please.
A porter shows them into the room, and they retire from it when they
choose, without ceremony. At their first entrance they salute me,
and I them, and as many as I can I talk to."

An English gentleman after visiting President Washington wrote,
"There was a commanding air in his appearance which excited respect
and forbade too great a freedom toward him, independently of that
species of awe which is always felt in the moral influence of a
great character. In every movement, too, there was a polite
gracefulness equal to any met with in the most polished individuals
of Europe, and his smile was extraordinarily attractive. ... It
struck me no man could be better formed for command. A stature of
six feet, a robust but well--proportioned frame calculated to stand
fatigue, without that heaviness which generally attends great
muscular strength and abates active exertion, displayed bodily power
of no mean standard. A light eye and full-the very eye of genius and
reflection. His nose appeared thick, and though it befitted his
other features was too coarsely and strongly formed to be the
handsomest of its class. His mouth was like no other I ever saw: the
lips firm, and the under-jaw seeming to grasp the upper with force,
as if its muscles were in full action when he sat still."

Such Washington appeared to those who saw and knew him. Such he
remains to our vision. His memory is held by us in undying honour.
Not only his memory alone but also the memory of his associates in
the struggle for American Independence. Homage we should have in our
hearts for those patriots and heroes and sages who with humble means
raised their native land-now our native land--from the depths of
dependence, and made it a free nation. And especially for
Washington, who presided over the nation's course at the beginning
of the great experiment in self-government and, after an unexampled
career in the service of freedom and our humankind, with no dimming
of august fame, died calmly at Mount Vernon--the Father of his




The first vivid recollection I have of my father is his arrival in
Arlington, after his return from the Mexican War. I can remember
some events of which he seemed a part, when we lived at Fort
Hamilton, New York, about 1846, but they are more like dreams, very
indistinct and disconnected--naturally so, for I was at that time
about three years old. But the day of his return to Arlington, after
an absence of more than two years, I have always remembered. I had a
frock or blouse of some light wash material, probably cotton, a blue
ground dotted over with white diamond figures. Of this I was very
proud, and wanted to wear it on this important occasion. Eliza, my
"mammy," objecting, we had a contest and I won. Clothed in this, my
very best, and with my hair freshly curled in long golden ringlets,
I went down into the large hall where the whole household was
assembled, eagerly greeting my father, who had just arrived on
horseback from Washington, having missed in some way the carriage
which had been sent for him.

There was visiting us at this time Mrs. Lippitt, a friend of my
mother's, with her little boy, Armistead, about my age and size,
also with long curls. Whether he wore as handsome a suit as mine I
cannot remember, but he and I were left together in the background,
feeling rather frightened and awed. After a moment's greeting to
those surrounding him, my father pushed through the crowd,

"Where is my little boy?"

He then took up in his arms and kissed--not me his own child, in his
best frock with clean face and well-arranged curls--but my little
playmate, Armistead. I remember nothing more of any circumstances
connected with that time, save that I was shocked and humiliated. I
have no doubt that he was at once informed of his mistake and made
ample amends to me.

A letter from my father to his brother, Captain S. S. Lee, United
States Navy, dated "Arlington, June 30, 1848," tells of his coming

"Here I am once again, my dear Smith, perfectly surrounded by Mary
and her precious children, who seem to devote themselves to staring
at the furrows in my face and the white hairs in my head. It is not
surprising that I am hardly recognisable to some of the young eyes
around me and perfectly unknown to the youngest. But some of the
older ones gaze with astonishment and wonder at me, and seem at a
loss to reconcile what they see and what was pictured in their
imaginations. I find them, too, much grown, and all well, and I have
much cause for thankfulness, and gratitude to that good God who has
once more united us."

My next recollection of my father is in Baltimore, while we were on
a visit to his sister, Mrs. Marshall, the wife of Judge Marshall. I
remember being down on the wharves, where my father had taken me to
see the landing of a mustang pony which he had gotten for me in
Mexico, and which had been shipped from Vera Cruz to Baltimore in a
sailing vessel. I was all eyes for the pony, and a very miserable,
sad-looking object he was. From his long voyage, cramped quarters,
and unavoidable lack of grooming, he was rather a disappointment to
me, but I soon got over all that. As I grew older, and was able to
ride and appreciate him, he became the joy and pride of my life. I
was taught to ride on him by Jim Connally, the faithful Irish
servant of my father, who had been with him in Mexico. Jim used
often to tell me, in his quizzical way, that he and "Santa Anna"
(the pony's name) were the first men on the walls of Chepultepec.
This pony was pure white, five years old, and about fourteen hands
high. For his inches, he was as good a horse as I ever have seen.
While we lived in Baltimore, he and "Grace Darling," my father's
favorite mare, were members of our family.

Grace Darling was a chestnut of fine size and of great power, which
he had bought in Texas on his way out to Mexico, her owner having
died on the march out. She was with him during the entire campaign,
and was shot seven times; at least, as a little fellow I used to
brag about that number of bullets being in her, and since I could
point out the scars of each one, I presume it was so. My father was
very much attached to and proud of her, always petting her and
talking to her in a loving way, when he rode her or went to see her
in her stall. Of her he wrote on his return home:

"I only arrived yesterday, after a long journey up the Mississippi,
which route I was induced to take, for the better accommodation of
my horse, as I wished to spare her as much annoyance and fatigue as
possible, she already having undergone so much suffering in my
service. I landed her at Wheeling and left her to come over with

Santa Anna was found lying cold and dead in the park of Arlington
one morning in the winter of '60-'61. Grace Darling was taken in the
spring of '62 from the White House [Footnote: My brother's place on
the Pamtmkey River, where the mare had been sent for safe keeping.]
by some Federal quartermaster, when McClellan occupied that place as
his base of supplies during his attack on Richmond. When we lived in
Baltimore, I was greatly struck one day by hearing two ladies who
were visiting us saying:

"Everybody and everything--his family, his friends, his horse, and
his dog--loves Colonel Lee."

The dog referred to was a black-and-tan terrier named "Spec," very
bright and intelligent and really a member of the family, respected
and beloved by ourselves and well known to all who knew us. My
father picked up its mother in the "Narrows" while crossing from
Fort Hamilton to the fortifications opposite on Staten Island. She
had doubtless fallen overboard from some passing vessel and had
drifted out of sight before her absence had been discovered. He
rescued her and took her home, where she was welcomed by his
children and made much of. She was a handsome little thing, with
cropped ears and a short tail. My father named her "Dart." She was a
fine ratter, and with the assistance of a Maltese cat, also a member
of the family, the many rats which infested the house and stables
were driven away or destroyed. She and the cat were fed out of the
same plate, but Dart was not allowed to begin the meal until the cat
had finished.

Spec was born at Fort Hamilton, and was the joy of us children, our
pet and companion. My father would not allow his tail and ears to be
cropped. When he grew up, he accompanied us everywhere and was in
the habit of going into church with the family. As some of the
little ones allowed their devotions to be disturbed by Spec's
presence, my father determined to leave him at home on those
occasions. So the next Sunday morning he was sent up to the front
room of the second story. After the family had left for church he
contented himself for a while looking out of the window, which was
open, it being summer time. Presently impatience overcame his
judgment and he jumped to the ground, landed safely notwithstanding
the distance, joined the family just as they reached the church, and
went in with them as usual, much to the joy of the children. After
that he was allowed to go to church whenever he wished. My father
was very fond of him, and loved to talk to him and about him as if
he were really one of us. In a letter to my mother, dated Fort
Hamilton, January 18, 1846, when she and her children were on a
visit to Arlington, he thus speaks of him:

"... I am very solitary, and my only company is my dog and cats. But
Spec has become so jealous now that he will hardly let me look at
the cats. He seems to be afraid that I am going off from him, and
never lets me stir without him. Lies down in the office from eight
to four without moving, and turns himself before the fire as the
side from it becomes cold. I catch him sometimes sitting up looking
at me so intently that I am for a moment startled...."

In a letter from Mexico written a year later--December 25, 1846, to
my mother, he says:

"... Can't you cure poor Spec? Cheer him up--take him to walk with
you and tell the children to cheer him up. ..."

In another letter from Mexico to his eldest boy, just after the
capture of Vera Cruz, he sends this message to Spec:

"... Tell him I wish he was here with me. He would have been of
great service in telling me when I was coming upon the Mexicans.
When I was reconnoitering around Vera Cruz, their dogs frequently
told me by barking when I was approaching them too nearly. ..."

When he returned to Arlington from Mexico, Spec was the first to
recognise him, and the extravagance of his demonstrations of delight
left no doubt that he knew at once his kind master and loving
friend, though he had been absent three years. Sometime during our
residence in Baltimore, Spec disappeared, and we never knew his

From that early time I began to be impressed with my father's
character, as compared with other men. Every member of the household
respected, revered, and loved him as a matter of course, but it
began to dawn on me that every one else with whom I was thrown held
him high in their regard. At forty-five years of age he was active,
strong, and as handsome as he had ever been. I never remember his
being ill. I presume he was indisposed at times; but no impressions
of that kind remain. He was always bright and gay with us little
folk--romping, playing, and joking with us. With the older children,
he was just as companionable, and I have seen him join my elder
brothers and their friends when they would try their powers at a
high jump put up in our yard. The two younger children he petted a
great deal, and our greatest treat was to get into his bed in the
morning and lie close to him, listening while he talked to us in his
bright, entertaining way. This custom we kept up until I was ten
years old and over. Although he was so joyous and familiar with us,
he was very firm on all proper occasions, never indulged us in
anything that was not good for us, and exacted the most implicit
obedience. I always knew that it was impossible to disobey my
father. I felt it in me, I never thought why, but was perfectly sure
when he gave an order that it had to be obeyed. My mother I could
sometimes circumvent, and at times took liberties with her orders,
construing them to suit myself; but exact obedience to every mandate
of my father was a part of my life and being at that time.

In January, 1849, Captain Lee was one of a board of army officers
appointed to examine the coasts of Florida and its defences, and to
recommend locations for new fortifications. In April he was assigned
to the duty of the construction of Fort Carroll, in the Patapsco
River, below Baltimore. He was there, I think, for three years, and
lived in a house on Madison Street, three doors above Biddle. I used
to go down with him to the Fort quite often. We went to the wharf in
a "bus," and there we were met by a boat with two oarsmen, who rowed
us down to Sellers Point, where I was generally left under the care
of the people who lived there, while my father went over to the
Fort, a short distance out in the river. These days were very happy
ones for me. The wharves, the shipping, the river, the boat and
oarsmen, and the country dinner we had at the house at Sellers
Point, all made a strong impression on me, but above all I remember
my father; his gentle, loving care for me, his bright talk, his
stories, his maxims and teachings. I was very proud of him and of
the evident respect for and trust in him every one showed. These
impressions, obtained at that time, have never left me. He was a
great favourite in Baltimore, as he was everywhere, especially with
ladies and little children. When he and my mother went out in the
evening to some entertainment, we were often allowed to sit up and
see them off; my father, as I remember, always in full uniform,
always ready and waiting for my mother, who was generally late. He
would then chide her gently, in a playful way and with a bright
smile. He would then bid us good-bye, and I would go to sleep with
this beautiful picture on my mind, the golden epaulets and all--
chiefly the epaulets.

In Baltimore, I went to my first school, that of a Mr. Rollins on
Mulberry Street, and I remember how interested my father was in my
studies, my failures, and my little triumphs. Indeed, he was so
always, as long as I was at school and college, and I only wish that
all of the kind, sensible, useful letters he wrote me had been

My memory as to the move from Baltimore, which occurred in 1852, is
very dim. I think the family went to Arlington to remain until my
father had arranged for our removal to the new home at West Point.

My recollection of my father as Superintendent of the West Point
Military Academy is much more distinct. He lived in the house which
is still occupied by the Superintendent. It was built of stone,
large and roomy, with gardens, stables, and pasture lots. We, the
two youngest children, enjoyed it all. Grace Darling and Santa Anna
were with us, and many a fine ride did I have with my father in the
afternoons, when, released from his office, he would mount his old
mare and, with Santa Anna carrying me by his side, take a five or
ten-mile trot. Though the pony cantered delightfully, he would make
me keep him in a trot, saying playfully that the hammering I
sustained was good for me. We rode the dragoonseat, no posting, and
until I became accustomed to it I used to be very tired by the time
I got back.

My father was the most punctual man I ever knew. He was always ready
for family prayers, for meals, and met every engagement, social or
business, at the moment. He expected all of us to be the same, and
taught us the use and necessity of forming such habits for the
convenience of all concerned. I never knew him late for Sunday
service at the Post Chapel. He used to appear some minutes before
the rest of us, in uniform, jokingly rallying my mother for being
late, and for forgetting something at the last moment. When he could
wait no longer for her, he would say that he was off, and would
march along to church by himself or with any of the children who
were ready. There he sat very straight--well up the middle aisle--
and, as I remember, always became very sleepy, and sometimes even
took a little nap during the sermon. At that time, this drowsiness
of my father's was something awful to me, inexplicable. I know it
was very hard for me to keep awake, and frequently I did not; but
why he, who to my mind could do everything that was right without
any effort, should sometimes be overcome, I could not understand,
and did not try to do so.

It was against the rules that the cadets should go beyond certain
limits without permission. Of course they did go sometimes, and when
caught were given quite a number of "demerits." My father was riding
one afternoon with me, and, while rounding a turn in the mountain
road with a deep woody ravine on one side, we came suddenly upon
three cadets far beyond the limits. They immediately leaped over a
low wall on the side of the road, and disappeared from our view. We
rode on for a minute in silence; then my father said: "Did you know
those young men? But no; if you did, don't say so. I wish boys would
do what is right, it would be so much easier for all parties!"

He knew he would have to report them, but, not being sure of who
they were, I presume he wished to give them the benefit of the
doubt. At any rate, I never heard any more about it. One of the
three asked me next day if my father had recognised them, and I told
him what had occurred.

By this time I had become old enough to have a room to myself, and,
to encourage me in being useful and practical, my father made me
attend to it, just as the cadets had to do with their quarters in
barracks and in camp. He at first even went through the form of
inspecting it, to see if I had performed my duty properly, and I
think I enjoyed this until the novelty wore off. However, I was kept
at it, becoming in time very proficient, and the knowledge so
accquired has been of great use to me all through life.

My father always encouraged me in every healthy outdoor exercise and
sport. He taught me to ride, constantly giving me minute
instructions, with the reasons for them. He gave me my first sled,
and sometimes used to come out where we boys were coasting to look
on. He gave me my first pair of skates, and placed me in the care of
a trustworthy person, inquiring regularly how I progressed. It was
the same with swimming, which he was very anxious I should learn in
a proper manner. Professor Bailey had a son about my age, now
himself a professor of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island,
who became my great chum. I took my first lesson in the water with
him, under the direction and supervision of his father. My father
inquired constantly how I was getting along, and made me describe
exactly my method and stroke, explaining to me what he considered
the best way to swim, and the reasons therefor. I went to a day
school at West Point, and had always a sympathetic helper in my
father. Often he would come into my room where I studied at night,
and, sitting down by me, would show me how to overcome a hard
sentence in my Latin reader or a difficult sum in arithmetic, not by
giving me the translation of the troublesome sentence or the answer
to the sum, but by showing me, step by step, the way to the right
solutions. He was very patient, very loving, very good to me, and I
remember trying my best to please him in my studies. When I was able
to bring home a good report from my teacher, he was greatly pleased,
and showed it in his eye and voice, but he always insisted that I
should get the "maximum," that he would never be perfectly satisfied
with less. That I did sometimes win it, deservedly, I know was due
to his judicious and wise method of exciting my ambition and
perseverance. I have endeavoured to show how fond my father was of
his children, and as the best picture I can offer of his loving,
tender devotion to us all, I give here a letter from him written
about this time to one of his daughters who was staying with our
grandmother, Mrs. Custis, at Arlington:

"WestPoint, February 25, 1853.

"My precious Annie: I take advantage of your gracious permission to
write to you, and there is no telling how far my feelings might
carry me were I not limited by the conveyance furnished by the Mim's
[Footnote: His pet name for my mother.] letter, which lies before
me, and which must, the Mim says so, go in this morning's mail. But
my limited time does not diminish my affection for you, Annie, nor
prevent my thinking of you and wishing for you. I long to see you
through the dilatory nights. At dawn when I rise, and all day, my
thoughts revert to you in expressions that you cannot hear or I
repeat. I hope you will always appear to me as you are now painted
on my heart, and that you will endeavour to improve and so conduct
yourself as to make you happy and me joyful all our lives. Diligent
and earnest attention to all your duties can only accomplish this. I
am told you are growing very tall, and I hope very straight. I do
not know what the cadets will say if the Superintendent's children
do not practice what he demands of them. They will naturally say he
had better attend to his own before he corrects other people's
children, and as he permits his to stoop it is hard he will not
allow them. You and Agnes [Footnote: His third daughter.] must not,
therefore, bring me into discredit with my young friends, or give
them reason to think that I require more of them than of my own. I
presume your mother has told all about us, our neighbours and our
affairs. And indeed she may have done that and not said much either,
so far as I know. But we are all well and have much to be grateful
for. To-morrow we anticipate the pleasure of your brother's
[Footnote: His son, Curtis.] company, which is always a source of
pleasure to us. It is the only time we see him, except when the
Corps come under my view at some of their exercises, when my eye is
sure to distinguish him among his comrades and follow him over the
plain. Give much love to your dear grandmother, grandfather, Agnes,
Miss Sue, Lucretia, and all friends, including the servants. Write
sometimes, and think always of your

"Affectionate father,

"R. E. LEE."

In a letter to my mother, written many years previous to this, he

"I pray God to watch over and direct our efforts in guarding our
dear little son. ... Oh, what pleasure I lose in being separated
from my children! Nothing can compensate me for that. ..."

In another letter of about the same time:

"You do not know how much I have missed you and the children, my
dear Mary. To be alone in a crowd is very solitary. In the woods, I
feel sympathy with the trees and birds, in whose company I take
delight, but experience no pleasure in a strange crowd. I hope you
are all well and will continue so, and, therefore, must again urge
you to be very prudent and careful of those dear children. If I
could only get a squeeze at that little fellow, turning up his sweet
mouth to 'keese baba!' You must not let him run wild in my absence,
and will have to exercise firm authority over all of them. This will
not require severity or even strictness, but constant attention and
an unwavering course. Mildness and forebearance will strengthen
their affection for you, while it will maintain your control over

In a letter to one of his sons he writes as follows:

"I cannot go to bed, my dear son, without writing you a few lines to
thank you for your letter, which gave me great pleasure ... You and
Custis must take great care of your kind mother and dear sisters
when your father is dead. To do that you must learn to be good. Be
true, kind and generous, and pray earnestly to God to enable you to
keep His Commandments 'and walk in the same all the days of your
life.' I hope to come on soon to see that little baby you have got
to show me. You must give her a kiss for me, and one to all the
children, to your mother, and grandmother."

The expression of such sentiments as these was common to my father
all through his life, and to show that it was all children and not
his own little folk alone that charmed and fascinated him, I quote
from a letter to my mother:

" ... I saw a number of little girls all dressed up in their white
frocks and pantalets, their hair plaited and tied up with ribbons,
running and chasing each other in all directions. I counted twenty-
three nearly the same size. As I drew up my horse to admire the
spectacle, a man appeared at the door with the twenty-fourth in his

"'My friend,' said I, 'are all these your children?'

"'Yes,' he said, 'and there are nine more in the house, and this is
the youngest.'

"Upon further inquiry, however, I found that they were only
temporarily his, and that they were invited to a party at his house.
He said, however, he had been admiring them before I came up, and
just wished that he had a million of dollars, and that they were all
his in reality. I do not think the eldest exceeded seven or eight
years old. It was the prettiest sight I have seen in the west, and,
perhaps, in my life. ..."

As Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point my father
had to entertain a good deal, and I remember well how handsome and
grand he looked in uniform, how genial and bright, how considerate
of everybody's comfort of mind and body. He was always a great
favourite with the ladies, especially the young ones. His fine
presence, his gentle, courteous manners and kindly smile put them at
once at ease with him.

Among the cadets at this time were my eldest brother, Custis, who
graduated first in his class in 1854, and my father's nephew, Fitz
Lee, a third classman, besides other relatives and friends. Saturday
being a half--holiday for the cadets, it was the custom for all
social events in which they were to take part to be placed on that
afternoon or evening. Nearly every Saturday a number of these young
men were invited to our house to tea, or supper, for it was a good,
substantial meal. The misery of some of these lads, owing to
embarrassment, possibly from awe of the Superintendent, was pitiable
and evident even to me, a boy of ten or twelve years old. But as
soon as my father got command, as it were, of the situation, one
could see how quickly most of them were put at their ease. He would
address himself to the task of making them feel comfortable and at
home, and his genial manner and pleasant ways at once succeeded.

In the spring of 1853 my grandmother, Mrs. Custis, died. This was
the first death in our immediate family. She was very dear to us,
and was admired, esteemed, and loved by all who had ever known her.
Bishop Meade, of Virginia, writes of her:

"Mrs. Mary Custis, of Arlington, the wife of Mr. Washington Custis,
grandson of Mrs. General Washington, was the daughter of Mr. William
Fitzhugh, of Chatham. Scarcely is there a Christian lady in our land
more honoured than she was, and none more loved and esteemed. For
good sense, prudence, sincerity, benevolence, unaffected piety,
disinterested zeal in every good work, deep humanity and retiring
modesty--for all the virtues which adorn the wife, the mother, and
the friend--I never knew her superior."

In a letter written to my mother soon after this sad event my father

"May God give you strength to enable you to bear and say, 'His will
be done.' She has gone from all trouble, care and sorrow to a holy
immortality, there to rejoice and praise forever the God and Saviour
she so long and truly served. Let that be our comfort and that our
consolation. May our death be like hers, and may we meet in
happiness in Heaven."

In another letter about the same time he writes:

"She was to me all that a mother could be, and I yield to none in
admiration for her character, love for her virtues, and veneration
for her memory."

At this time, my father's family and friends persuaded him to allow
R. S. Weir, Professor of Painting and Drawing at the Academy, to
paint his portrait. As far as I remember, there was only one
sitting, and the artist had to finish it from memory or from the
glimpses he obtained of his subject in the regular course of their
daily lives at "The Point." This picture shows my father in the
undress uniform of a Colonel of Engineers, [Footnote: His
appointment of Superintendent of the Military Academy earned with it
the temporary rank of Colonel of Engineers] and many think it a very
good likeness. To me, the expression of strength peculiar to his
face is wanting, and the mouth fails to portray that sweetness of
disposition so characteristic of his countenance. Still, it was like
him at that time. My father never could bear to have his picture
taken, and there are no likenesses of him that really give his sweet
expression. Sitting for a picture was such a serious business with
him that he never could "look pleasant."

In 1855 my father was appointed to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the
Second Cavalry, one of the two regiments just raised. He left West
Point to enter upon his new duties, and his family went to Arlington
to live. During the fall and winter of 1855 and '56, the Second
Cavalry was recruited and organised at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri,
under the direction of Colonel Lee, and in the following spring was
marched to western Texas, where it was assigned the duty of
protecting the settlers in that wild country.

I did not see my father again until he came to my mother at
Arlington after the death of her father, G. W. P. Custis, in
October, 1857. He took charge of my mother's estate after her
father's death, and commenced at once to put it in order--not an
easy task, as it consisted of several plantations and many negroes.
I was at a boarding-school, after the family returned to Arlington,
and saw my father only during the holidays, if he happened to be at
home. He was always fond of farming, and took great interest in the
improvements he immediately began at Arlington relating to the
cultivation of the farm, to the buildings, roads, fences, fields,
and stock, so that in a very short time the appearance of everything
on the estate was improved. He often said that he longed for the
time when he could have a farm of his own, where he could end his
days in quiet and peace, interested in the care and improvement of
his own land. This idea was always with him. In a letter to his son,
written in July, 1865, referring to some proposed indictments of
prominent Confederates, he says:

"... As soon as I can ascertain their intention toward me, if not
prevented, I shall endeavour to procure some humble, but quiet abode
for your mother and sisters, where I hope they can be happy. As I
before said, I want to get in some grass country where the natural
product of the land will do much for my subsistence, ..."

Again in a letter to his son, dated October, 1865, after he had
accepted the presidency of Washington College, Lexington, Virginia:

"I should have selected a more quiet life and a more retired abode
than Lexington. I should have preferred a small farm, where I could
have earned my daily bread."

About this time I was given a gun of my own, and was allowed to go
shooting by myself. My father, to give me an incentive, offered a
reward for every crow-scalp I could bring him, and, in order that I
might get to work at once, advanced a small sum with which to buy
powder and shot, this sum to be returned to him out of the first
scalps obtained. My industry and zeal were great, my hopes high, and
by good luck I did succeed in bagging two crows about the second
time I went out. I showed them with great pride to my father,
intimating that I should shortly be able to return him his loan, and
that he must be prepared to hand over to me very soon further
rewards for my skill. His eyes twinkled, and his smile showed that
he had strong doubts of my making an income by killing crows, and he
was right, for I never killed another, though I tried hard and long.

I saw but little of my father after we left West Point. He went to
Texas, as I have stated, in '55 and remained until the fall of '57,
the time of my grandfather's death. He was then at Arlington about a
year. Returning to his regiment, he remained in Texas until the
autumn of '59, when he came again to Arlington, having applied for
leave in order to finish the settling of my grandfather's estate.
During this visit he was selected by the Secretary of War to
suppress the famous "John Brown Raid," and was sent to Harper's
Ferry in command of the United States troops.

From his memorandum book the following entries are taken:

"October 17, 1859. Received orders from the Secretary of War, in
person, to repair in evening train to Harper's Ferry.

"Reached Harper's Ferry at 11 P. M. ... Posted marines in the United
States Armory. Waited until daylight, as a number of citizens were
held as hostages, whose lives were threatened. Tuesday about
sunrise, with twelve marines, under Lieutenant Green, broke in the
door of the engine-house, secured the insurgents and relieved the
prisoners unhurt. All the insurgents killed or mortally wounded, but
four, John Brown, Stevens, Coppie, and Shields."

Brown was tried and convicted, and sentenced to be hanged on
December 2, 1859. Colonel Lee writes as follows to his wife:

"Harper's Ferry, December 1, 1859.

"I arrived here, dearest Mary, yesterday about noon, with four
companies from Fort Monroe, and was busy all the evening and night
getting accommodation for the men, etc., and posting sentinels and
pickets to insure timely notice of the approach of the enemy. The
night has passed off quietly. The feelings of the community seemed
to be calmed down, and I have been received with every kindness. Mr.
Fry is among the officers from Old Point. There are several young
men, former acquaintance of ours, as cadets, Mr. Bingham of Custis's
class, Sam Cooper, etc., but the senior officers I never met before,
except Captain Howe, the friend of our Cousin Harriet R----.

"I presume we are fixed here till after the 16th. To-morrow will
probably be the last of Captain Brown. There will be less interest
for the others, but still I think the troops will not be withdrawn
till they are similarly disposed of.

"Custis will have informed you that I had to go to Baltimore the
evening that I left you, to make arrangements for the transportation
for the troops. ... This morning I was introduced to Mrs. Brown,
who, with a Mrs. Tyndall and a Mr. and Mrs. McKim, all from
Philadelphia, had come on to have a last interview with her husband.
As it is a matter over which I have no control I referred them to
General Taliaferro. [Footnote: General William B. Taliaferro,
commanding Virginia troops at Harper's Ferry.]

"You must write to me at this place. I hope you are all well. Give
love to everybody. Tell Smith [Footnote: Sidney Smith Lee, of the
United States Navy, his brother.] that no charming women have
insisted on taking care of me as they are always doing of him--I am
left to my own resources. I will write you again soon, and will
always be truly and affectionately yours, "R. E. LEE.

"MRS. M. C. LEE."

In February, 1860, he was ordered to take command of the Department
of Texas. There he remained a year. The first months after his
arrival were spent in the vain pursuit of the famous brigand,
Cortinez, who was continually stealing across the Rio Grande,
burning the homes, driving off the stock of the ranchmen, and then
retreating into Mexico. The summer months he spent in San Antonio,
and while there interested himself with the good people of that town
in building an Episcopal church, to which he contributed largely.



He was long; he was strong; he was wiry. He was never sick, was
always good-natured, never a bully, always a friend of the weak, the
small and the unprotected. He must have been a funny-looking boy.
His skin was sallow, and his hair was black, He wore a linsey-
woolsey shirt, buckskin breeches, a coon-skin cap, and heavy
"clumps" of shoes. He grew so fast that his breeches never came down
to the tops of his shoes, and, instead of stockings, you could
always see "twelve inches of shinbones," sharp, blue, and narrow. He
laughed much, was always ready to give and take jokes and hard
knocks, had a squeaky, changing voice, a small head, big ears--and
was always what Thackeray called "a gentle-man." Such was Abraham
Lincoln at fifteen.

He was never cruel, mean, or unkind. His first composition was on
cruelty to animals, written because he had tried to make the other
boys stop "teasin' tarrypins"--that is, catching turtles and putting
hot coals on their backs just to make them move along lively. He had
to work hard at home; for his father would not, and things needed to
be attended to if "the place" was to be kept from dropping to

He became a great reader. He read every book and newspaper he could
get hold of, and if he came across anything in his reading that he
wished to remember he would copy it on a shingle, because writing
paper was scarce, and either learn it by heart or hide the shingle
away until he could get some paper to copy it on. His father thought
he read too much. "It will spile him for work," he said. "He don't
do half enough about the place, as it is, now, and books and papers
ain't no good." But Abraham, with all his reading, did more work
than his father any day; his stepmother, too, took his side and at
last got her husband to let the boy read and study at home. "Abe was
a good son to me," she said, many many years after, "and we took
particular care when he was reading not to disturb him. We would
just let him read on and on till he quit of his own accord."

The boy kept a sort of shingle scrap-book; he kept a paper scrap-
book, too. Into these he would put whatever he cared to keep--
poetry, history, funny sayings, fine passages. He had a scrap-book
for his arithmetic "sums," too, and one of these is still in
existence with this boyish rhyme in a boyish scrawl, underneath one
of his tables of weights and measures:

   Abraham Lincoln
   his hand and pen
   he will be good but
   god knows when.

God did know when; and that boy, all unconsciously, was working
toward the day when his hand and pen were to do more for humanity
than any other hand or pen of modern times.

Lamps and candle were almost unknown in his home, and Abraham, flat
on his stomach, would often do his reading, writing, and ciphering
in the firelight, as it flashed and flickered on the big hearth of
his log-cabin home. An older cousin, John Hanks, who lived for a
while with the Lincolns, says that when "Abe," as he always called
the great President, would come home, as a boy, from his work, he
would go to the cupboard, take a piece of corn bread for his supper,
sit down on a chair, stretch out his long legs until they were
higher than his head--and read, and read, and read. "Abe and I,"
said John Hanks, "worked barefoot; grubbed it, ploughed it, mowed
and cradled it; ploughed corn, gathered corn, and shucked corn, and
Abe read constantly whenever he could get a chance."

One day Abraham found that a man for whom he sometimes worked owned
a copy of Weems's "Life of Washington." This was a famous book in
its day. Abraham borrowed it at once. When he was not reading it, he
put it away on a shelf--a clapboard resting on wooden pins. There
was a big crack between the logs, behind the shelf, and one rainy
day the "Life of Washington" fell into the crack and was soaked
almost into pulp. Old Mr. Crawford, from whom Abraham borrowed the
book, was a cross, cranky, and sour old fellow, and when the boy
told him of the accident he said Abraham must "work the book out."

The boy agreed, and the old farmer kept him so strictly to his
promise that he made him "pull fodder" for the cattle three days, as
payment for the book! And that is the way that Abraham Lincoln
bought his first book. For he dried the copy of Weems's "Life of
Washington" and put it in his "library." But what boy or girl of
today would like to buy books at such a price?

This was the boy-life of Abraham Lincoln. It was a life of poverty,
privation, hard work, little play, and less money. The boy did not
love work. But he worked. His father was rough and often harsh and
hard to him, and what Abraham learned was by making the most of his
spare time. He was inquisitive, active, and hardy, and, in his
comfortless boyhood, he was learning lessons of self-denial,
independence, pluck, shrewdness, kindness, and persistence.

In the spring of 1830, there was another "moving time" for the
Lincolns. The corn and the cattle, the farm and its hogs were all
sold at public "vandoo," or auction, at low figures; and with all
their household goods on a big "ironed" wagon drawn by four oxen,
the three related families of Hanks, Hall and Lincoln, thirteen in
all, pushed on through the mud and across rivers, high from the
spring freshets, out of Indiana, into Illinois.

Abraham held the "gad" and guided the oxen. He carried with him,
also, a little stock of pins, needles, thread, and buttons. These he
peddled along the way; and, at last, after fifteen days of slow
travel, the emigrants came to the spot picked out for a home. This
time it was on a small bluff on the north fork of the Sangamon
River, ten miles west of the town of Decatur. The usual log house
was built; the boys, with the oxen, "broke up," or cleared, fifteen
acres of land, and split enough rails to fence it in. Abraham could
swing his broad-axe better than any man or boy in the West; at one
stroke he could bury the axe-blade to the haft, in a log, and he was
already famous as an expert rail-splitter.

By this time his people were settled in their new home, Abraham
Lincoln was twenty-one. He was "of age"--he was a man! By the law of
the land he was freed from his father's control; he could shift for
himself, and he determined to do so. This did not mean that he
disliked his father. It simply meant that he had no intention of
following his father's example. Thomas Lincoln had demanded all the
work and all the wages his son could earn or do, and Abraham felt
that he could not have a fair chance to accomplish anything or get
ahead in the world if he continued living with this shiftless,
never-satisfied, do-nothing man.

So he struck out for himself. In the summer of 1830, Abraham left
home and hired out on his own account, wherever he could get a job
in the new country into which he had come. In that region of big
farms and no fences, these latter were needed, and Abraham Lincoln's
stalwart arm and well-swung axe came well into play, cutting up logs
for fences. He was what was called in that western country a "rail-
splitter." Indeed, one of the first things he did when he struck out
for himself was to split four hundred rails for every yard of "blue
jeans" necessary to make him a pair of trousers. From which it will
be seen that work was easier to get than clothes.

He soon became as much of a favourite in Illinois as he had been in
Indiana. Other work came to him, and, in 1831, he "hired out" with a
man named Offutt to help sail a flat-boat down the Mississippi to
New Orleans. Mr. Offutt had heard that "Abe Lincoln" was a good
river-hand, strong, steady, honest, reliable, accustomed to boating,
and that he had already made one trip down the river. So he engaged
young Lincoln at what seemed to the young rail-splitter princely
wages--fifty cents a day, and a third share in the sixty dollars
which was to be divided among the three boatmen at the end of the

They built the flat-boat at a saw mill near a place called Sangamon
town, "Abe" serving as cook of the camp while the boat was being
built. Then, loading the craft with barrel-pork, hogs, and corn,
they started on their voyage south. At a place called New Salem the
flat-boat ran aground; but Lincoln's ingenuity got it off. He rigged
up a queer contrivance of his own invention and lifted the boat off
and over the obstruction, while all New Salem stood on the bank,
first to criticise and then to applaud.

Just what this invention was I cannot explain. But if you ever go
into the patent office at Washington, ask to see Abraham Lincoln's
patent for transporting river boats over snags and shoals. The
wooden model is there; for, so pleased was Lincoln with the success
that he thought seriously of becoming an inventor, and his first
design was the patent granted to him in 1849, the idea for which
grew out of this successful floating of Offutt's flat-boat over the
river snags at New Salem nineteen years before.

Once again he visited New Orleans, returning home, as before, by
steamboat. That voyage is remarkable, because it first opened young
Lincoln's eyes to the enormity of African slavery. Of course, he had
seen slaves before; but the sight of a slave sale in the old market
place of New Orleans seems to have aroused his anger and given him
an intense hatred of slave-holding. He, himself, declared, years
after, that it was that visit to New Orleans, that had set him so
strongly against slavery.

There is a story told by one of his companions that Lincoln looked
for a while upon the dreadful scenes of the slave market and then,
turning away, said excitedly, "Come away, boys! If I ever get a
chance, some day, to hit that thing"--and he flung his long arm
toward the dreadful auction block--"I'll hit it hard."

Soon after he returned from his flat-boat trip to New Orleans he had
an opportunity to show that he could not and would not stand what is
termed "foul play." The same Mr. Offutt who had hired Lincoln to be
one of his flat-boat "boys," gave him another opportunity for work.
Offutt was what is called in the West a "hustler"; he had lots of
"great ideas" and plans for making money; and, among his numerous
enterprises, was one to open a country store and mill at New Salem--
the very same village on the Sangamon where, by his "patent
invention," Lincoln had lifted the flat-boat off the snags.

Mr. Offutt had taken a great fancy to Lincoln, and offered him a
place as clerk in the New Salem store. The young fellow jumped at
the chance. It seemed to him quite an improvement on being a farm-
hand, a flat-boatman, or a rail-splitter. It was, indeed, a step
upward; for it gave him better opportunities for self-instruction
and more chances for getting ahead.

Offutt's store was a favourite "loafing place" for the New Salem
boys and young men. Among these, were some of the roughest fellows
in the settlement. They were known as the "Clary Grove Boys," and
they were always ready for a fight, in which they would, sometimes,
prove themselves to be bullies and tormentors. When, therefore,
Offutt began to brag about his new clerk the Clary Grove Boys made
fun at him; whereupon the storekeeper cried: "What's that? You can
throw him? Well, I reckon not; Abe Lincoln can out-run, out-walk,
out-rassle, knock out, and throw down any man in Sangamon County."
This was too much for the Clary Grove Boys. They took up Offutt's
challenge, and, against "Abe," set up, as their champion and "best
man," one Jack Armstrong.

All this was done without Lincoln's knowledge. He had no desire to
get into a row with anyone--least of all with the bullies who made
up the Clary Grove Boys.

"I won't do it," he said, when Offutt told him of the proposed
wrestling match. "I never tussle and scuffle, and I will not. I
don't like this wooling and pulling."

"Don't let them call you a coward, Abe," said Offutt.

Of course, you know what the end would be to such an affair. Nobody
likes to be called a coward--especially when he knows he is not one.
So, at last, Lincoln consented to "rassle" with Jack Armstrong. They
met, with all the boys as spectators. They wrestled, and tugged, and
clenched, but without result. Both young fellows were equally
matched in strength. "It's no use, Jack," Lincoln at last declared.
"Let's quit. You can't throw me, and I can't throw you. That's

With that, all Jack's backers began to cry "coward!" and urged on
the champion to another tussle. Jack Armstrong was now determined to
win, by fair means or foul. He tried the latter, and, contrary to
all rules of wrestling began to kick and trip, while his supporters
stood ready to help, if need be, by breaking in with a regular free
fight. This "foul play" roused the lion in Lincoln. He hated
unfairness, and at once resented it. He suddenly put forth his
Samson-like strength, grabbed the champion of the Clary Grove Boys
by the throat, and, lifting him from the ground, held him at arm's
length and shook him as a dog shakes a rat. Then he flung him to the
ground, and, facing the amazed and yelling crowd, he cried: "You
cowards! You know I don't want to fight; but if you try any such
games, I'll tackle the whole lot of you. I've won the fight."

He had. From that day, no man in all that region dared to "tackle"
young Lincoln, or to taunt him with cowardice. And Jack Armstrong
was his devoted friend and admirer.

I have told you more, perhaps, of the famous fight than I ought--not
because it was a fight, but because it gives you a glimpse of
Abraham Lincoln's character. He disliked rows; he was too kind-
hearted and good-natured to wish to quarrel with any one; but he
hated unfairness, and was enraged at anything like persecution or
bullying. If you will look up Shakespeare's play of "Hamlet" you
will see that Lincoln was ready to act upon the advice that old
Polonius gave to his son Laertes:

    Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,
    Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee."

He became quite a man in that little community. As a clerk he was
obliging and strictly honest. He was the judge and the settler of
all disputes, and none thought of combating his decisions. He was
the village peacemaker. He hated profanity, drunkenness, and
unkindness to women. He was feared and respected by all, and even
the Clary Grove Boys declared, at last, that he was "the cleverest
feller that ever broke into the settlement."

All the time, too, he was trying to improve himself. He liked to sit
around and talk and tell stories, just the same as ever; but he saw
this was not the way to get on in the world. He worked, whenever he
had the chance, outside of his store duties; and once, when trade
was dull and hands were short in the clearing, he "turned to" and
split enough logs into rails to make a pen for a thousand hogs.

When he was not at work he devoted himself to his books. He could
"read, write, and cipher"--this was more education than most men
about him possessed; but he hoped, some day, to go before the
public; to do this, he knew he must speak and write correctly. He
talked to the village schoolmaster, who advised him to study English

"Well, if I had a grammar," said Lincoln, "I'd begin now. Have you
got one?"

The schoolmaster had no grammar; but he told "Abe" of a man, six
miles off, who owned one. Thereupon, Lincoln started upon the run to
borrow that grammar. He brought it back so quickly that the
schoolmaster was astonished. Then he set to work to learn the "rules
and exceptions." He studied that grammar, stretched full length on
the store-counter, or under a tree outside the store, or at night
before a blazing fire of shavings in the cooper's shop. And soon, he
had mastered it. He borrowed every book in New Salem; he made the
schoolmaster give him lessons in the store; he button-holed every
stranger that came into the place "who looked as though he knew
anything"; until, at last, every one in New Salem was ready to echo
Offutt's boast that "Abe Lincoln" knew more than any man "in these
United States." One day, in the bottom of an old barrel of trash, he
made a splendid "find." It was two old law books. He read and re-
read them, got all the sense and argument out of their dry pages,
blossomed into a debater, began to dream of being a lawyer, and
became so skilled in seeing through and settling knotty questions
that, once again, New Salem wondered at this clerk of Offutt's, who
was as long of head as of arms and legs, and declared that "Abe
Lincoln could out-argue any ten men in the settlement."

In all the history of America there has been no man who started
lower and climbed higher than Abraham Lincoln, the backwoods boy. He
never "slipped back." He always kept going ahead. He broadened his
mind, enlarged his outlook, and led his companions rather than let
them lead him. He was jolly company, good-natured, kind-hearted,
fond of jokes and stories and a good time generally; but he was the
champion of the weak, the friend of the friendless, as true a knight
and as full of chivalry as any one of the heroes in armour of whom
you read in "Ivanhoe" or "The Talisman." He never cheated, never
lied, never took an unfair advantage of anyone; but he was
ambitious, strong-willed, a bold fighter and a tough adversary--a
fellow who would never "say die"; and who, therefore, succeeded.



As we approached Molokai I found that the slow work of centuries had
nearly covered its lava with verdure. At dawn we were opposite
Kalaupapa. Two little spired churches, looking precisely alike,
caught my eye first, and around them were dotted the white cottages
of the lepers. But the sea was too rough for us to land. The waves
dashed against the rocks, and the spray rose fifty feet into the

We went on to Kalawao, but were again disappointed; it was too
dangerous to disembark. Finally it was decided to put off a boat for
a rocky point about a mile and a half distant from the town.
Climbing down this point we saw about twenty lepers, and "There is
Father Damien!" said our purser; and, slowly moving along the
hillside, I saw a dark figure with a large straw hat. He came rather
painfully down, and sat near the water-side, and we exchanged
friendly signals across the waves while my baggage was being got out
of the hold--a long business, owing to the violence of the sea. At
last all was ready, and we went swinging across the waves, and
finally chose a fit moment for leaping on shore. Father Damien
caught me by the hand, and a hearty welcome shone from his kindly
face as he helped me up the rock. He immediately called me by my
name, "Edward," and said it was "like everything else, a
providence," that he had met me at that irregular landing-place, for
he had expected the ship to stop at Kalaupapa.

He was now forty-nine years old--a thick-set, strongly built man,
with black curly hair and short beard, turning gray. His countenance
must have been handsome, with a full, well-curved mouth and a short,
straight nose; but he was now a good deal disfigured by leprosy,
though not so badly as to make it anything but a pleasure to look at
his bright, sensible face. His forehead was swollen and rigid, the
eyebrows gone, the nose somewhat sunk, and the ears greatly
enlarged. His hands and face looked uneven with a sort of incipient
boils, and his body also showed many signs of the disease, but he
assured me that he had felt little or no pain since he had tried Dr.
Goto's system of hot baths and Japanese medicine. The bathrooms that
have been provided by the Government are very nice.

A large wooden box of presents from English friends, had been
unshipped with the gurjun oil. It was, however, so large that Father
Damien said it would be impossible for his lepers either to land it
from the boat or to carry it to Kalawao, and that it must be
returned to the steamer and landed on some voyage when the sea was
quieter. But I could not give up the pleasure of his enjoyment in
its contents, so after some delay it was forced open in the boat,
and the things were handed out one by one across the waves. The
lepers all came round with their poor marred faces, and the presents
were carried home by them and our two selves.

As we ascended the hill on which the village is built Father Damien
showed me on our left the chicken farm. The lepers are justly proud
of it, and before many days I had a fine fowl sent me for dinner,
which, after a little natural timidity, I ate with thankfulness.

On arriving at Kalawao we speedily found ourselves inside the half-
finished church which was the darling of his heart. How he enjoyed
planning the places where the pictures which I had just brought him
should be placed! By the side of this church he showed me the palm-
tree under which he lived for some weeks when he first arrived at
the settlement, in 1873. His own little four-roomed house almost
joins the church.

After dinner we went up the little flight of steps which led to
Father Damien's balcony. This was shaded by a honeysuckle in
blossom. Some of my happiest times at Molokai were spent in this
little balcony, sketching him and listening to what he said. The
lepers came up to watch my progress, and it was pleasant to see how
happy and at home they were. Their poor faces were often swelled and
drawn and distorted, with bloodshot goggle eyes.

I offered to give a photograph of the picture to his brother in
Belgium, but he said perhaps it would be better not to do so, as it
might pain him to see how he was disfigured. He looked mournfully at
my work. "What an ugly face!" he said; "I did not know the disease
had made such progress." Looking-glasses are not in great request at

While I sketched him he often read his breviary. At other times we
talked on subjects that interested us both, especially about the
work of the Church Army, and sometimes I sang hymns to him--among
others, "Brief life is here our portion," "Art thou weary, art thou
languid?" and "Safe home in port." At such times the expression of
his face was particularly sweet and tender. One day I asked him if
he would like to send a message to Cardinal Manning. He said that it
was not for such as he to send a message to so great a dignitary,
but after a moment's hesitation he added, "I send my humble respects
and thanks." I need scarcely say that he gave himself no airs of
martyr, saint, or hero--a humbler man I never saw. He smiled
modestly and deprecatingly when I gave him the Bishop of
Peterborough's message--"He won't accept the blessing of a heretic
bishop, but tell him that he has my prayers, and ask him to give me
his." "Does he call himself a heretic bishop?" he asked doubtfully,
and I had to explain that the bishop had probably used the term

One day he told me about his early history. He was born on the 3rd
of January, 1841, near Louvain in Belgium. On his nineteenth
birthday his father took him to see his brother, who was then
preparing for the priesthood, and he left him there to dine, while
he himself went on to the neighbouring town. Young Joseph (this was
his baptismal name) decided that there was the opportunity for
taking the step which he had long been desiring to take, and when
his father came back he told him that he wished to return home no
more, and that it would be better thus to miss the pain of
farewells. His father consented unwillingly, but, as he was obliged
to hurry to the conveyance which was to take him home, there was no
time for demur, and they parted at the station. Afterward, when all
was settled, Joseph revisited his home, and received his mother's
approval and blessing.

His brother was bent on going to the South Seas for mission work,
and all was arranged accordingly; but at the last he was laid low
with fever, and, to his bitter disappointment, forbidden to go. The
impetuous Joseph asked if it would be a consolation to his brother
if he were to go instead, and, receiving an affirmative answer, he
wrote surreptitiously, offering himself, and begging that he might
be sent, though his education was not yet finished. The students
were not allowed to send out letters till they had been submitted to
the Superior, but Joseph ventured to disobey.

One day, as he sat at his studies, the Superior came in, and said,
with a tender reproach, "Oh, you impatient boy! you have written
this letter, and you are to go."

Joseph jumped up, and ran out, and leaped about like a young colt.

"Is he crazy?" said the other students.

He worked for some years on other islands in the Pacific, but it
happened that he was one day in 1873 present at the dedication of a
chapel in the island of Maui, when the bishop was lamenting that it
was impossible for him to send a missioner to the lepers at Molokai
and still less to provide them with a pastor. He had only been able
to send them occasional and temporary help. Some young priests had
just arrived in Hawaii for mission work, and Father Damien instantly

"Monseigneur," said he, "here are your new missioners; one of them
could take my district, and if you will be kind enough to allow it,
I will go to Molokai and labour for the poor lepers whose wretched
state of bodily and spiritual misfortune has often made my heart
bleed within me."

His offer was accepted, and that very day, without any farewells, he
embarked on a boat that was taking some cattle to the leper
settlement. When he first put his foot on the island he said to
himself, "Now Joseph, my boy, this is your life-work."

I did not find one person in the Sandwich Islands who had the least
doubt as to leprosy being contagious, though it is possible to be
exposed to the disease for years without contracting it. Father
Damien told me that he had always expected that he should sooner or
later become a leper, though exactly how he caught it he does not
know. But it was not likely that he would escape, as he was
constantly living in a polluted atmosphere, dressing the sufferers'
sores, washing their bodies, visiting their death-beds, and even
digging their graves. In his own words is a report of the state of
things at Molokai sixteen years ago, and I think a portion will be

"By special providence of our Divine Lord, who during His public
life showed a particular sympathy for the lepers, my way was traced
toward Kalawao in May, 1873. I was then thirty-three years of age,
enjoying a robust good health.

"About eighty of the lepers were in the hospital; the others, with a
very few Kokuas (helpers), had taken their abode farther up toward
the valley. They had cut down the old pandanus groves to build their
houses, though a great many had nothing but branches of castor-oil
trees with which to construct their small shelters. These frail
frames were covered with ki leaves or with sugar-cane leaves, the
best ones with pili grass. I, myself, was sheltered during several
weeks under the single pandanus-tree which is preserved up to the
present in the churchyard. Under such primitive roofs were living
without distinction of age or sex, old or new cases, all more or
less strangers one to another, those unfortunate outcasts of
society. They passed their time with playing cards, hula (native
dances), drinking fermented ki-root beer, home-made alcohol, and
with the sequels of all this. Their clothes were far from being
clean and decent, on account of the scarcity of water, which had to
be brought at that time from a great distance. Many a time in
fulfilling my priestly duty at their domiciles I have been compelled
to run outside to breathe fresh air. To counteract the bad smell I
made myself accustomed to the use of tobacco, whereupon the smell of
the pipe preserved me somewhat from carrying in my clothes the
noxious odour of the lepers. At that time the progress of the
disease was fearful, and the rate of mortality very high. The
miserable condition of the settlement gave it the name of a living
graveyard, which name, I am happy to state, is to-day no longer
applicable to our place."

In 1874 a "cona" (south) wind blew down most of the lepers'
wretched, rotten abodes, and the poor sufferers lay shivering in the
wind and rain, with clothes and blankets wet through. In a few days
the grass beneath their sleeping-mats began to emit a "very
unpleasant vapour." "I at once," says Father Damien, "called the
attention of our sympathising agent to the fact, and very soon there
arrived several schooner-loads of scantling to build solid frames
with, and all lepers in distress received, on application, the
necessary material for the erection of decent houses." Friends sent
them rough boards and shingles and flooring. Some of the lepers had
a little money, and hired carpenters. For those without means the
priest, with his leper boys, did the work of erecting a good many
small houses.

"I remember well that when I arrived here," again says Father
Damien, "the poor people were without any medicines, with the
exception of a few physics and their own native remedies. It was a
common sight to see people going round with fearful ulcers, which,
for the want of a few rags or a piece of lint and a little salve,
were left exposed. Not only were their sores neglected but any one
getting a fever, or any of the numerous ailments that lepers are
heir to, was carried off for want of some simple medicine.

"Previous to my arrival here it was acknowledged and spoken of in
the public papers as well as in private letters that the greatest
want at Kalawao was a spiritual leader. It was owing in a great
measure to this want that vice as a general rule existed instead of
virtue, and degradation of the lowest type went ahead as a leader of
the community. ... When once the disease prostrated them women and
children were often cast out, and had to find some other shelter.
Sometimes they were laid behind a stone wall, and left there to die,
and at other times a hired hand would carry them to the hospital.

"As there were so many dying people, my priestly duty toward them
often gave me the opportunity to visit them at their domiciles, and
although my exhortations were especially addressed to the prostrated
often they would fall upon the ears of public sinners, who little by
little became conscious of the consequences of their wicked lives,
and began to reform, and thus, with the hope in a merciful Saviour,
gave up their bad habits.

"Kindness to all, charity to the needy, a sympathising hand to the
sufferers and the dying, in conjunction with a solid religious
instruction to my listeners, have been my constant means to
introduce moral habits among the lepers. I am happy to say that,
assisted by the local administration, my labours here, which seemed
to be almost in vain at the beginning, have, thanks to a kind
Providence, been greatly crowned with success."

The water supply of Molokai was a pleasant subject with Father
Damien. When he first arrived the lepers could only obtain water by
carrying it from the gulch on their poor shoulders; they had also to
take their clothes to some distance when they required washing, and
it was no wonder that they lived in a very dirty state. He was much
exercised about the matter, and one day, to his great joy, he was
told that at the end of a valley called Waihanau there was a natural
reservoir. He set out with two white men and some of his boys, and
travelled up the valley till he came with delight to a nearly
circular basin of most delicious ice-cold water. Its diameter was
seventy-two feet by fifty-five, and not far from the bank they
found, on sounding, that it was eighteen feet deep. There it lay at
the foot of a high cliff, and he was informed by the natives that
there had never been a drought in which this basin had dried up. He
did not rest till a supply of waterpipes had been sent them, which
he and all the able lepers went to work and laid. Henceforth clear
sweet water has been available for all who desire to drink, to wash,
or to bathe.

It was after living at the leper settlement for about ten years that
Father Damien began to suspect that he was a leper. The doctors
assured him that this was not the case. But he once scalded himself
in his foot, and to his horror he felt no pain. Anaesthesia had
begun, and soon other fatal signs appeared. One day he asked Dr.
Arning, the great German doctor who was then resident in Molokai, to
examine him carefully.

"I cannot bear to tell you," said Dr. Arning, "but what you say is

"It is no shock to me," said Damien, "for I have felt sure of it."

I may mention here that there are three kinds of leprosy. Father
Damien suffered (as is often the case) both from the anaesthetic and
the tubercular forms of the disease. "Whenever I preach to my
people," he said, "I do not say 'my brethren,' as you do, but 'we
lepers.' People pity me and think me unfortunate, but I think myself
the happiest of missionaries."

Henceforth he came under the law of segregation, and journeys to the
ether parts of the islands were forbidden. But he worked on with the
same sturdy, cheerful fortitude, accepting the will of God with
gladness, undaunted by the continual reminders of his coming fate,
which met him in the poor creatures around him.

"I would not be cured," he said to me, "if the price of my cure was
that I must leave the island and give up my work."

A lady wrote to him, "You have given up all earthly things to serve
God here and to help others, and I believe you must have NOW joy
that nothing can take from you and a great reward hereafter."

"Tell her," he said, with a quiet smile, "that it is true. I DO have
that joy now."

He seldom talked of himself except in answer to questions, and he
had always about him the simplicity of a great man--"clothed with

My last letter from him is dated:

"KALAWAO, 28th February, 1889.

"My DEAR EDWARD CLIFFORD--Your sympathising letter of 24th gives me
some relief in my rather distressed condition. I try my best to
carry, without much complaining and in a practical way, for my poor
soul's sanctification, the long-foreseen miseries of the disease,
which, after all, is a providential agent to detach the heart from
all earthly affection, and prompts much the desire of a Christian
soul to be united--the sooner the better--with Him who is her only

"During your long travelling road homeward please do not forget the
narrow road. We both have to walk carefully, so as to meet together
at the home of our common and eternal Father. My kind regards and
prayers and good wishes for all sympathising friends. Bon voyage,
mon cher ami, et au revoir au ceil--Votus tuus,

"J. Damien."

About three weeks after writing this letter he felt sure that his
end was near, and on the 28th March he took to his bed.

"You see my hands," he said. "All the wounds are healing and the
crust is becoming black. You know that is a sign of death. Look at
my eyes too. I have seen so many lepers die that I cannot be
mistaken. Death is not far off. I should have liked to see the
Bishop again, but le bon Dieu is calling me to keep Easter with
Himself. God be blessed!

"How good He is to have preserved me long enough to have two priests
by my side at my last moments, and also to have the good Sisters of
Charity at the Leproserie. That has been my Nunc Dimittis. The work
of the lepers is assured, and I am no longer necessary, and so will
go up yonder."

Father Wendolen said, "When you are up above, father, you will not
forget those you leave orphans behind you?"

"Oh no! If I have any credit with God, I will intercede for all in
the Leproserie."

"And will you, like Elijah, leave me your mantle, my father, in
order that I may have your great heart?"

"Why, what would you do with it?" said the dying martyr, "it is full
of leprosy."

He rallied for a little while after this, and his watchers even had
a little hope that his days might be lengthened. Father Conradi,
Father Wendolen, and Brother Joseph were much in his company.
Brother James was his constant nurse. The Sisters from Kalaupapa
visited him often, and it is good to think that the sweet placid
face and gentle voice of the Mother were near him in his last days.
Everybody admired his wonderful patience. He who had been so ardent,
so strong, and so playful, was now powerless on his couch. He lay on
the ground on a wretched mattress like the poorest leper. They had
the greatest difficulty in getting him to accept a bed. "And how
poorly off he was; he who had spent so much money to relieve the
lepers had so forgotten himself that he had none of the comforts and
scarcely the necessaries of life." Sometimes he suffered intensely;
sometimes he was partly unconscious. He said that he was continually
conscious of two persons being present with him. One was at the head
of his bed and one at his feet. But who they were he did not say.
The terrible disease had concentrated itself in his mouth and
throat. As he lay there in his tiny domicile, with the roar of the
sea getting fainter to his poor diseased ears, and the kind face of
Brother James becoming gradually indistinct before his failing eyes,
did the thought come to him that after all his work was poor, and
his life half a failure? Many whom he had hoped much of had
disappointed him. Not much praise had reached him. The tide of
affection and sympathy from England had cheered him, but England was
so far off that it seemed almost like sympathy and affection from a
star. Churches were built, schools and hospitals were in working
order, but there was still much to be done. He was only forty-nine,
and he was dying.

"Well! God's will be done. He knows best. My work, with all its
faults and failures, is in His hands, and before Easter I shall see
my Saviour."

The breathing grew more laboured, the leprous eyes were clouded, the
once stalwart frame was fast becoming rigid. The sound of the
passing bell was heard, and the wail of the wretched lepers pierced
the air. ... The last flickering breath was breathed, and the soul
of Joseph Damien de Veuster arose like a lark to God.

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