True Stories of Wonderful Deeds (Version 2)

Transcriber's Note: Obvious mis-spellings and printing errors have been corrected. Table of Contents, List of Illustrations and page numbers, each of which is not included in the original, are supplied. Illustration captions marked with ° are supplied. All other inconsistencies are as in the original.

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The Royal Oak 2
Bonnie Prince Charlie 5
Nelson and Hardy 7
Watt and the Kettle 9
Queen Victoria and her Soldiers 11
The Relief of Lucknow 13
Grace Darling 15
David Livingstone 17
The Battle of Waterloo 19
The Charge of the Light Brigade 22
The Coronation of King Edward VII 24
War 26
A Boy's Heroic Deeds 28
A Cat's Extraordinary Leap 31
A Brave Queen 33
King Alfred and the Cakes 36
Not Angles, but Angels 38
Hereward the Wake 40
Canute 42
The Brave Men of Calais 44
Wat Tyler 47
Bruce and the Spider 50
Richard and Blondel 53
The White Ship 55
Joan of Arc 57
Afloat With A Tiger 59
Queen Margaret and the Robbers 63
William Caxton 67
Sir Philip Sidney 69
The "Revenge" 73
The Pilgrim Fathers 75
Guy Fawkes 77
Cromwell and his Ironsides 79
The Spanish Armada 81
The Defence of Lathom House 84
The Outlawed Archers 86
Elizabeth and Raleigh 88


King Charles in Hiding 1
King Charles in the Oak 4
Prince Charles at the Battle of Culloden 6
Nelson on the "Victory" at Trafalgar 8
Watching the Boiling Kettle 10
Queen Victoria Visits Her Wounded Soldiers 12
The Highlanders Entering Lucknow 14
Grace Darling Rows Out to the Wreck 16
The Meeting of Stanley and Livingstone 18
British Soldiers at the Battle of Waterloo 20
The Charge of the Light Brigade 21
Aftermath of Battle° 23
King Edward vii and Queen Alexandria 25
Spying on Indians° 27
Saved from the Flood 28
Queen Boadicea 32
Queen Boadicea and Her Soldiers 35
King Alfred Forgets the Cakes 37
The English Prisoners at Rome 39
Hereward and His Men Attack the Normans 41
Canute Orders the Tide to Stop 43
Queen Phillipa Pleads for the Men of Calais 45
The Men of Calais Are Spared° 46
Wat Tyler° 47
Young King Richard Quells the Rebellion 49
Bruce Watching the Spider 51
Richard Lion Heart Fighting in the Holy Land 52
Blondel Sings Beneath Richard's Window 54
Prince William Returns to Save His Sister 56
Joan at the Head of the Army 58
Afloat with a Tiger° 60
The Robbers Discover Queen Margaret and the Prince 64
The Robber Brings Help to Queen Margaret 66
Caxton in His Printing Shop 68
Sir Philip Sidney° 69
Martyred for Praying° 70
Sir Philip Sidney and the Dying Soldier 72
Death of Sir Richard Grenville° 74
The Pilgrim Fathers Entering the New World 76
The Arrest of Guy Fawkes 78
Cromwell Leads His Ironsides to Battle 80
Drake is told that the Armada is Approaching 82
The Little "Revenge" Fights Fifty Spanish Galleons 83
The Countess Receives the Banners 85
Cloudsey Shoots an Apple from the Head of His Son° 87
Raleigh Spreads His Cloak Before Elizabeth 89

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King Charles in Hiding

The Royal Oak


[Pg 2]

There is in Shropshire a fine oak-tree which the country people there call the "Royal Oak". They say it is the great-grandson, or perhaps the great-great-grandson of another fine old oak, which more than two hundred years ago stood on the same spot, and served once as a shelter to an English king. This king was Charles II, the son of the unlucky Charles I who had his head cut off by his subjects because he was a weak and selfish ruler.

On the very day on which that unhappy king lost his head, the Parliament passed a law forbidding anyone to make his son, Prince Charles of Wales, or any other person, king of England. But the Scottish people did not obey this law. They persuaded the young prince to sign a paper, solemnly promising to rule the country as they wished; then they crowned him king. As soon as the Parliament heard of this they sent Cromwell and his Ironsides against the newly-crowned king and his followers, and after several battles the Scottish army was at last broken up and scattered at Worcester.

Charles fled and hid in a wood, where some poor wood-cutters took care of him and helped him. He put on some of their clothes, cut his hair short, and stained his face and hands brown so that he might appear to be a sunburnt workman like them. But it was some time before he could escape from the wood, for Cromwell's soldiers were searching it in the hope of finding some of the king's men. One day, Charles and two of his friends had to climb into the tall oak to avoid being caught. They had with them[Pg 3] some food, which proved very useful, for they were obliged to stay in their strange hiding-place for a whole day. The top of the oak-tree had been cut off some few years before this time, and this had made the lower branches grow thick and bushy, so that people walking below could not easily see through them. It was a fortunate thing for Charles, for while he was in the tree, he heard the soldiers beating the boughs and bushes in the wood as they searched here and there, and even caught glimpses of them through the leaves as they rode about below.

When they had gone, without even glancing up into the tall oak-tree, he came down, and rode away from the wood on an old mill-horse, with his friends the wood-cutters walking beside him to take care of him as best they could. The saddle was a poor one, and the horse's pace jolted Charles so much, that at last he cried out that he had never seen so bad a steed. At this the owner of the horse jestingly told him that he should not find fault with the poor animal, which had never before carried the weight of three kingdoms upon its back. He meant, of course, that Charles was king of the three kingdoms of England, and Scotland, and Ireland.

Carried by the old horse, and helped by the poor wood-cutters, Charles at last reached the house of a friend. Here he hid for a time, and then went on to try and escape from the country. This time, so that he might not be discovered, he was dressed as a servant, and rode on horseback, with a lady sitting on a cushion behind him, as was then the fashion. After several more dangers he managed to get on board a ship and sailed away to France.

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Bonnie Prince Charlie


[Pg 5]

Prince Charlie was the grandson of King James II, who was driven away from the throne of England because he was a selfish man and a bad ruler. The young prince tried to win the crown back again. He came over to Scotland from France, with only seven followers; but soon a great many of the Scots joined him, for he was so gay, and handsome, and friendly, that all who saw him loved him. They called him "Bonnie Prince Charlie". But though the prince and his followers were very brave, they had no chance against the well-trained soldiers of King George of England. They won a few victories; then they were thoroughly beaten in the battle of Culloden. Thousands of brave Scots were slain, and the prince had to fly for his life.

After this, for many weeks, he hid among the moors and mountains from the English soldiers who were trying to find him. He lived in small huts, or in caves, and many times had nothing but the wild berries from the woods to eat. Once he stayed for three weeks with a band of robbers, who were very kind to him; and though the king offered a large sum of money to anyone who would give him up, not one of his poor friends was false to him.

At last, a young and beautiful Scottish lady, named Flora MacDonald, helped him to escape. She gave him woman's clothes, and pretended that he was her servant, called Betty Burke. Then she took him with her away from the place where the soldiers were searching, and after a time he reached the sea, and got safely away to France.

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Nelson and Hardy


[Pg 7]

Lord Nelson was one of the greatest seamen that ever lived. He commanded the British fleet at the battle of Trafalgar, when the navies of France and Spain were beaten, and England was saved from a great danger. He did not look like a famous admiral on board his ship, the Victory, that day. He was a small man, and his clothes were shabby. He had lost one arm and one eye in battle; but with the eye which remained he could see more than most men with two, and his brain was busy planning the course of the coming fight. Just before it began, he went over his ship, giving orders to the crew, and cheering them with kind words, which touched the hearts of the rough men, who loved their leader and were proud of him. "England expects every man to do his duty" was the last message he sent them. Every man did his duty nobly that day, though the battle was fierce and long; but it was the last fight of the brave commander. He was shot in the back as he walked the deck with his friend Captain Hardy, and was carried below.

He lay dying for several hours, but, in spite of his great pain, his one thought was of the battle. "How goes the day with us?" he asked of Hardy; and when told that many of the enemies' ships were taken, he cried eagerly, "I am glad. Whip them, Hardy, as they have never been whipped before." Later, when his friend came to tell him that the victory was won, Nelson pressed his hand. "Good-bye, Hardy!" said he, "I have done my duty, and I thank God for it." These were the last words of one of England's bravest sons.

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Watt and the Kettle


[Pg 9]

There was once a little Scotch boy named James Watt. He was not a strong child, and could not always run and play with other boys, but had often to amuse himself at home. One holiday afternoon little James amused himself in this way. He held a saucer over the stream of steam which came from the spout of a boiling kettle, and as he watched he saw little drops of water forming on the saucer. He thought this was very strange, and wondered why it happened, for he did not know that steam is just water changed in form by the heat, and that as soon as it touches something cold it turns again into water. He asked his aunt to explain it, but she only told him not to waste his time. If she could have foreseen the work which her nephew would do when he became a man, she would not have thought he was wasting his time.

When James Watt grew up, he was as much interested in steam and its wonderful power, as he had been as a boy. He was sure it could be made of great service to men. It was already used for driving engines, but the engines were not good, and it cost much money to work them. Watt thought they could be improved, but it was long before he found out the way to do this. Often, he sat by the fire watching the lid of the kettle as it was made to dance by the steam, and thinking of many plans; and at last a happy thought came to him. His plan enabled great improvements to be made in the working of engines, and now steam drives our trains and ships, our mills and factories, and is one of our most useful servants.

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Queen Victoria and her Soldiers


[Pg 11]

Queen Victoria was always proud of her brave soldiers. In time of war, she gave orders that news of them was to be sent to her every day, and when the generals returned home, they were commanded to visit her, and to tell her of the bravery of the troops.

During the long war with the Russians in the Crimea, the British soldiers suffered greatly from the freezing winds, and rain, and snow, of that cold land. When Queen Victoria heard of this, she and her children worked with their own hands to make warm clothing for them. A great many of the wounded and sick men were sent home in ships, to be nursed in the English hospitals, and the Queen paid several visits to the poor fellows as they lay there. Moving from one bed to another, she cheered them with hopeful words, and listened gladly to their stories of the battles in which they had fought. When she saw that the hospitals were crowded, and not very comfortable, she told Parliament that better ones ought to be provided, and after a time this was done, and the fine hospital of Netley was built, of which the Queen laid the first stone.

Once, Queen Victoria herself gave medals to some wounded and disabled soldiers who had fought very bravely. Some of these men could not raise their arms to salute their queen; some could not walk, but had to be wheeled in chairs to her side; but all were proud to receive their medals of honour from her hands.

"Noble fellows," she wrote of them afterwards, "I feel as if they were my own children."

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The Relief of Lucknow


[Pg 13]

During the time of the terrible Indian Mutiny, when most of the native troops rose against their British rulers, and vowed to kill every white person in the land, many cruel deeds were done. A great number of white people were slain before the British troops could come to their rescue, but in some places they managed to hold out until help reached them. This was the case in the city of Lucknow, where the British governor with a small body of troops, and a great many women and children, took refuge in the Government House from a vast host of rebels who came to attack them. Many of the brave defenders were killed by the shot and shell of the enemy. Many others, and especially the little children, fell sick and died, for the heat was very great, and there was no good water to be had. Then, after many days, a small body of white soldiers fought their way into the city, and brought help and hope to the rest of the party. They were only just in time. Had they come a few days later they would have found the Government House a heap of ruins, and their friends dead, for the rebels were making a mine under the building and meant to blow it up with gunpowder. But alas! the newcomers were not strong enough to fight their way out of Lucknow with a crowd of helpless women and children and sick folk, so they, too were now shut in. For two months longer they held out. Then at last, when they had almost lost hope, the great Sir Colin Campbell with his brave Highlanders and other soldiers defeated the rebels, and brought the band of sick, starving, and weary people safely away.

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Grace Darling


[Pg 15]

On a small rocky island, off the north coast of England, there is a lighthouse. A man named William Darling was once keeper of this lighthouse, and his daughter Grace lived with him. Every day Grace Darling helped her father to trim the lamps, so that at night they might shine brightly, and warn sailors to steer their ships away from the dangerous rocks, upon which they would have been dashed to pieces.

One stormy night Grace woke with the sound of screams in her ears. The screams came from the sea, so she knew that some ship must be in distress. She roused her father, but they could see nothing in the darkness. When daylight came, they found that a ship had been wrecked upon the rocks some way off, and a few people were clinging to the masts. Grace wished to go at once in a boat to save them; but at first her father hung back, for the wind and sea were wild, and he feared that the small boat would be overturned by the great waves. Then Grace ran to the boat, and seized an oar, for she could not bear to let the poor men die without trying to save them; and the father could not let his brave, daughter go alone, so he followed, and they rowed off.

It was hard work pulling against the strong sea, and several times the small boat was almost sunk. But at last it reached the wreck, and William Darling managed to land upon the rock, and with great care and skill helped the half-frozen people into the small boat. Then they were taken to the lighthouse, where Grace warmed and fed them, until the storm ceased, and they could return to their homes.

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David Livingstone


[Pg 17]

At one time many people believed that the middle of Africa was a sandy desert, where nothing could live but camels and ostriches. But they were mistaken. The great traveller, David Livingstone, journeyed into this unknown country, and he found that it was not a desert but a beautiful land, where many tribes of black people dwelt. He also saw that these people were often seized by strangers, and taken away to be sold as slaves. This sight filled him with sadness, and he made up his mind to put a stop to this cruel traffic. He worked hard, tracing the courses of the rivers, finding the best tracts of land, and teaching the natives. Then he urged his countrymen to send others after him to settle in this fair country, to help the natives to learn useful trades, and to drive away the slave-merchants.

For some years he was quite alone, with his black servants, in the midst of this wild land. His friends grew anxious, and sent Mr. Stanley, another great traveller, to look for him. Stanley marched for nearly a year before he found Livingstone. The old explorer was white and worn with sickness and hardship, and he was overjoyed to clasp once more the hand of a white man, and to hear again the English tongue. But he would not return to England. He said his work was not yet done, and he set out once more on his travels. It was his last journey. One morning his servants found him dead upon his bed. Since that time much has been done to make Central Africa a prosperous land. Other white men have followed where Livingstone led, and wherever they have settled, the wicked slave-trade has been stopped.

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The Battle of Waterloo


[Pg 19]

Fields of waving corn, green woods, fruitful orchards, a pretty farmhouse and a few cottages—such was the plain of Waterloo. And there, on a summer Sunday, nearly a hundred years ago, was fought a famous battle, in which the British troops under the Duke of Wellington beat the French army, and broke the power of the great Napoleon for ever.

"We have them," cried Napoleon as he saw the British drawn up before him. He thought it would be easy to destroy this army, so much smaller than his own, before their friends the Prussians, who were on the way to help them, came up. But he was mistaken. Wellington had placed his foot-soldiers in squares, and though the French horsemen, then the finest soldiers in the world, charged again and again, these little clumps of brave men stood fast. On his favourite horse "Copenhagen", Wellington rode to and fro cheering his men. "Stand firm, my lads," cried he. "What will they say to this in England?"

Not till evening, when the Prussians came, would he allow them to charge the French in their turn. Then, waving his cocked hat over his head, he gave the order, "The whole line will advance", and the impatient troops dashed forward. The French bravely tried to stand against this terrific charge, but they were beaten back, and the battle of Waterloo was ended.

Sixty thousand men lay dead or wounded under the fruit-trees, and among the trampled corn and grass at the end of that terrible day.

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The Charge of the Light Brigade


[Pg 22]

Forward the Light!

Such was the order given during a great battle to the leader of a band of six hundred British soldiers. Forward! And there in front was a line of cannon ready to shoot them down as they came, while on the hills on either side of the valley were the guns and riflemen of the Russians.

"Surely someone has blundered! My men are sent to certain death," thought the leader of the Light Brigade.

"Forward! Attack!"

The order was repeated, and with the obedience of well-trained soldiers the Brigade started.

"Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred."

On every side thundered the enemy's guns, and shot and shell fell thick and fast, but on through all rode the brave horsemen, on till they reached the cannon at the end of the valley. The smoke of the enemy's fire closed round and hid them from their watching comrades, but now and again the scarlet lines could be seen cutting down those who tried to stop their charge.

"Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd."

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And then only, when the strange order had been obeyed, when their duty had been nobly done in the face of death, did the Light Brigade—all that was left of it—turn to ride back. Alas! there were not then six hundred. Barely two hundred brave men, wounded, and blackened by smoke and powder, reached the British camp. The rest of the noble band lay dead or dying in the valley of Death.

"When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!"

The Coronation of King Edward VII


[Pg 24]

Never had a country a more popular king than King Edward VII, nor a more gracious queen than Queen Alexandra, and never was a happier day for the English people than that on which King Edward was crowned. A few days before the date fixed for the Coronation the king suddenly became ill, and a great gloom fell over the country, for it was feared that he might never be crowned. But though his illness was severe he soon began to get better, and when he was out of danger the hearts of his subjects were filled with joy and thankfulness. Guns were fired, church-bells pealed, and glad shouts and cheers rang out from the happy crowds which lined the streets of London, through which the king and queen, in the midst of their gay procession, drove to Westminster Abbey.

Inside the gray old Abbey was one of the most brilliant gatherings the world has ever seen. Princes and princesses from other lands were there, in their robes of state; peers and peeresses, in velvet, and ermine, and glittering diamonds; grave statesmen; and soldiers in their gay uniforms.

It was a grand and solemn scene when, before them all, the aged Archbishop of Canterbury drew near to the King, and with trembling hands placed the crown upon his head.

"The Lord give you a fruitful country, and healthful seasons, victorious fleets and armies, and a quiet Empire." These are the words that the old man said when he had crowned the king, and each one of us will pray that all these blessings may indeed rest upon King Edward VII, and the great Empire over which he rules.

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[Pg 26]

Over the broad, fair valley,
Filling the heart with fear,
Comes the sound of tramping horses,
And the news of danger near.

'Tis the enemy approaching,
One can hear the muffled drum,
And the marching of the soldiers,
As on and on they come.

Soon the air is rent in sunder,
Bullets flying sharp and fast,
Many stout hearts fail and tremble,
Every moment seems their last.

On the ground lie dead and dying,
Young and old alike must fall;
None to come and aid the sufferer,
Fight they must for freedom's call.

Many are the anxious loved ones
Praying for the war to cease,
Waiting for the right to conquer,
Bringing freedom, rest, and peace.


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A Boy's Heroic Deeds.


[Pg 28]

May 31st, 1889, is a day that will long be remembered with horror by the people in the beautiful valley of the Conemaugh, in Pennsylvania. On that date occurred the terrible disaster which is known to the world and will be named in history as the "Johnstown Flood."


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For many days previous to that date it had been raining hard, and great floods extended over a vast region of country in Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia. Never before had there been such a fall of rain in that region within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. The waters in the river and creeks of that beautiful valley rose rapidly and overflowed their banks, while the people looked on in wonder, but seemingly not in fear. Suddenly there appeared to their wondering gaze a great bay horse galloping at break-neck speed and bearing a rider who waved his hands to them and cried: "South Fork dam will burst. To the hills for your lives." Only a few heeded his words of warning, while many mocked and jeered. On dashed the rider to warn still others of the impending danger, and, alas, to be himself and horse dashed to death by the massive timbers of a falling bridge. South Fork dam did break, and the mighty waters of Conemaugh Lake were hurled with resistless force upon the doomed people of that beautiful valley. The terrible details of the appalling disaster would fill several volumes larger than this. On rushed the mighty waters, sweeping onward in their flood dwellings, churches and buildings of every description, whether of wood, brick or stone, until Johnstown was reached and destroyed. The town was literally lifted from its foundations. Thousands of men, women and[Pg 30][Pg 29] children were caught up and swirled away in the pitiless flood, and their agonizing but vain appeals for help could be heard amidst the mighty roar of the waters. Many acts of heroism were performed by brave men and women—yes, and boys—in rescuing victims of the flood. Only one of them concerns us here. Charles Hepenthal, a schoolboy, seventeen years of age, who was on his way to Bellefonte from his home at East Liberty, Pa., on the evening of the flood, stood quietly among the passengers on the express train, as they crowded to view the terrible havoc done by the flood. As the flood reached the train, at Sang Hollow, a small frame house came pitching down the mad tide, an eddy floated it in, near to the train, so close that the wailing cries of an infant were heard, piercing their way through the roar. Charles Hepenthal's heart was touched and his courage was equal to the emergency. He determined to rescue that little wailing waif from a watery grave. Strong men urged him to desist, insisting that he would only sacrifice his own life for nothing—that it was impossible for any one to survive in the surging waters. But the boy was resolved. He cut the bell cord from the cars, tied it fast to his body, and out into the whirling gulf he went; he gained the house, secured the infant and returned through the maddened waters with the rescued babe in his arms. A shout went up from the passengers on the train. "Wait!" he cried; "there is still another in the house, I must save her!" and, seizing a plank to use as a support, he plunged again into the surging waters. Ah! his struggle this time was harder, for his precious load was heavy. In the floating house on his first visit he found a little girl, apparently ten years old, disrobed and kneeling beside her bed, on which lay the screaming infant, praying to her Father in heaven to save her and her baby brother from the fury of the flood. "God has heard my prayer," she cried, as Charles entered the door. "Oh, save the baby, quick," and then fainted away on the floor. When Charles had landed the babe[Pg 31] in safety and returned again for the girl, he found her still unconscious on the floor, and the water was fast flowing in at the door. In another minute she would have been drowned. But the brave boy's manly arms were soon around her, and with his precious load the young hero fought his way back to land and was given three times three cheers and a "tiger" by the passengers of the day express.

A Cat's Extraordinary Leap.


In the latter part of 1880, at a time when the Washington monument had reached a height of 160 feet, an adventurous and patriotic cat ascended the interior of the shaft by means of the ropes and tubing. When the workmen arrived at the upper landing the next morning, and began to prepare for the day's work, pussy took fright and, springing to the outer edge, took a "header" of 160 feet to the hard earth below. In the descent which was watched closely by two score of men, the cat spread herself out like a flying squirrel and alighted on all fours. After turning over on the ground a few times in a dazed manner, she prepared to leave the grounds and had gotten almost beyond the shadow of the monument, when a dog belonging to one of the workmen pounced upon her and killed her, she, of course, not being in her best running trim, after performing such an extraordinary feat. One of the men procured the body of the dead feline, smoothed out her silky coat, and turned the remains over to a representative of the Smithsonian Institution, who mounted the skin and placed it under a glass case. The label on the case tells this wonderful story in a few words: "This cat on September 23, 1880, jumped from the top of Washington's monument and lived.

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Queen Boadicea

A Brave Queen


[Pg 33]

Long ago, when this country was a wild land, there lived a beautiful and brave queen named Boadicea.

Her husband, the king, was dead, but she had two daughters whom she loved very much.

Boadicea was queen of a part of Britain. There were no large towns in her land, but there were forests of fine trees, and fields of corn, and wide stretches of grass-land where many cattle and sheep roamed and fed.

Her people were called Iceni. They were tall and strong, with blue eyes and yellow hair. The men were brave fighters and good hunters. They hunted the bears and wolves which lived in the forests, and they fought the foes of their beautiful queen.

They made spears to fight with, and strange carts called war-chariots to fight in. These chariots were drawn by swift horses, and, upon the wheels, long sharp knives were fixed. The Iceni drove the chariots very fast among their foes, and the knives cut down and killed many of them.

The Romans from over the sea were the most dangerous enemies of Boadicea and her people.

In those days the Romans were the best fighters, and the strongest and wisest people in the world. They came in ships to Britain. They had been told that it was a good country, and they hoped to take it for themselves. Some of them came to Boadicea's land, and took a part of it and of her riches. And when she tried to stop them from doing this, they seized her and the two princesses and beat them cruelly.[Pg 34]

This wicked act made the Iceni very angry. From all parts of the land, fierce fighting-men came marching in haste to avenge themselves on their enemies, bringing with them their spears and their war-chariots. When all were gathered together, they fell upon the Romans.

There were so many of them, and they were so fierce, that the Romans could not stand against them. Thousands were killed, and the rest ran away to their ships.

But there were many more Romans in other parts of Britain, and when these heard how their friends had been beaten, they came marching in haste to punish the Iceni.

The Iceni did their best to get ready to defend themselves, but many of their brave men had been slain and others were wounded and weary, so they could not hope again to win a victory over their strong foes. Before the battle, Queen Boadicea, with her fair hair waving in the wind, stood before her soldiers and spoke to them. She told them of the wrong which the Romans had done, and begged them to fight bravely for their country. Then she got into her chariot, and with her daughters lying at her feet, drove to and fro, so that all might see them.

And the soldiers shouted, and promised to fight to the end for their brave queen.

They did fight long and bravely, until most of them were killed, but their foes were too strong for them. When Queen Boadicea saw that her brave soldiers were beaten, she drank some poison which killed her. She thought it better to die than to be again taken prisoner by the cruel Romans.

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King Alfred and the Cakes


[Pg 36]

Once, when good King Alfred of England was forced to flee from his strong foes the Danes, he hid himself in a wood. In this wood, there was a small cottage, and Alfred asked the woman who lived there if he might go in and rest.

Now the woman did not know the king, but she saw that he was an English soldier, and that he was very tired, so she let him come in and sit in her kitchen.

Upon the hearth before the fire, some cakes were baking, and the woman told the stranger that if he watched them, and took care that they did not burn, she would give him some supper. Then she went away to do her work.

At first, King Alfred watched the cakes carefully; when they were well cooked on one side he turned the other to the fire. But, after a time, he began to think of his country, and of his poor people, and then he forgot his task.

When the woman came back, the cakes were black and burnt. "You are an idle fellow," cried she angrily. "You would be quite ready to eat the cakes, but you will not take the trouble to watch them."

While she was loudly scolding, her husband came home. He knew King Alfred. "Hush, wife!" cried he. "It is our noble lord the king!"

When the woman heard this, she was much afraid, and she begged Alfred to forgive her.

The king smiled, and said: "I will gladly forgive you for your scolding, good wife, if you will forgive me for spoiling your supper."

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Not Angles, but Angels


[Pg 38]

In old days the people of England were not all free, as they are now. Sometimes young men, and women, and little children were sold as slaves, and had to work hard for their masters.

Many of these slaves were sent to Rome, for the Romans thought the tall, fair Angles very beautiful, and liked to have them as their servants.

Once, a wise and good preacher, named Gregory, was walking through the market-place in Rome, when he saw a group of slaves standing there, waiting to be bought. Among these slaves were some pretty boys with long yellow hair, and blue eyes, and white skin. This was a strange sight to Gregory, for most of the people in his land had dark hair, and brown skin.

"Who are these boys?" asked he of a man who was standing by.

"They are Angles from over the sea," replied the man.

"Surely not Angles, but Angels," said the preacher, looking kindly into the boys' faces. "Do they come from England?"

"From heathen England, where men do not know the true God," said the man.

"Some day they shall be taught to know God, and then indeed they shall be angels," said Gregory.

Now Gregory did not go away and forget this. When he became a great man and Bishop of Rome, he sent a good preacher, named Augustine, to England, to preach to the people there, and to teach them to be Christians.

[Pg 39]


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Hereward the Wake


[Pg 40]

When William of Normandy came over the sea, and took the crown of England, many English people would not call him king. The young lord Hereward was one of these. He and his men made for themselves a "Camp of Refuge" among the reeds and rushes on the marshes. All day they lay there, hidden from view by the mists which rose from the watery ground, and at night they came out, and attacked the Normans in their tents, and burned their towns.

Hereward was called "the Wake" because he was so watchful and wide-awake that the Normans could not catch him. They were always trying to find him, but they did not know the safe paths over the marshes which he and his men used, and when they tried to cross, they sank with their horses in the soft muddy ground, and had to turn back.

But at last a false friend of the English showed them the way to the "Camp of Refuge", and then Hereward had to flee to save his life. He went with a few friends to the sea-shore, and there he found some fishermen who were going to sell fish to the Norman guards in an English town.

The fishermen took Hereward and his men into their boats, and covered them with straw; then they set sail. The Norman guards bought the fish as usual, and had it served for dinner. While they were eating it, the English soldiers came quietly from the boats, and killed most of them before they could get their swords to defend themselves. When the English people in the place saw this, they gladly joined Hereward and made him master of their town.

[Pg 41]


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[Pg 42]

There was once a king of England, named Canute, who was a brave and clever man. But he had many lords in his court who were very foolish. They feared their master, and wished to please him, and because they knew that he was somewhat vain of his strength and cleverness, they thought he would like to be told that he was great, and wise, and powerful.

So they praised him every day, and told him that all he did and all he said was good. They said he was the greatest king on earth, and there was nothing in the world too hard for him to do if he chose. At last King Canute tired of their vain words.

One day, as he walked with his lords on the sea-shore, one of them told him that even the waves would obey him.

"Bring a chair," said Canute, "and place it close to the water."

The chair was brought, and set upon the sand, and the king sat down and spoke to the waves.

"I command you to come no farther," cried he.

But the waves came on and on, until they wetted Canute's feet, and splashed his chair.

Then the king rose and went to his lords, who were standing a little way off, staring at their master, and talking in low tones about his strange conduct.

"Learn from this to keep your tongues from idle praise," said he sternly. "No king is great and powerful but God. He only can say to the sea: 'Thus far shalt thou come, and no farther.'"

[Pg 43]


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The Brave Men of Calais


[Pg 44]

Many years ago, King Edward III of England took the town of Calais from the French king. He could not take it by force, for the walls were very strong, but he succeeded by another plan. He placed his soldiers all round the walls, and would let no one go into the town to take food to the people. Inside the walls, the people waited bravely, but at last all their food was eaten, and then they knew that if they tried to hold the town any longer they would starve.

So the governor sent word to King Edward that he would give up the city, and begged him to have mercy on the people.

But Edward was angry. "Tell your masters," said he to the messenger, "that I will not spare the people unless six of the chief men come out to me, with their feet bare, and ropes around their necks."

At this sad news, the poor starving people cried aloud. But soon six brave men were found who were ready to die for their countrymen, and, with their feet bare and ropes around their necks, they went out to the place where King Edward was waiting, with Queen Philippa and the English nobles.

"Great king!" said the men, "we bring you the keys of our town, and we pray you to have mercy on us."

But the king would not listen. "Take them away and cut off their heads," he cried angrily. And when his nobles begged him to spare such brave enemies he would not listen to them.

[Pg 45]


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[Pg 46]

Then Queen Philippa, whose heart was filled with pity for the poor men, fell upon her knees.

"My lord," she cried, "if you love me, give me the lives of these men."

King Edward could not bear to see his beautiful queen in tears upon the ground, so he raised her, saying: "Lady, I wish you had not been here, for I cannot say you nay. Take the men, they are yours."

Then Queen Philippa joyfully led the brave men away, and gave them food and clothes, and sent them back to their friends. So they, and all the people of Calais, were saved.


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[Pg 47]


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Wat Tyler


In our days, all people in our land, except prisoners, are free to go where they will, and to do what work they please. In olden times it was not so. Then, the poorer people were treated like slaves by the nobles; they had to work hard for their masters, and they were not allowed to move from one place to another without asking leave.

This was hard, and it made the people very angry. In the days of the boy-king Richard II, a great many workmen made up their minds to obey the nobles no longer. They banded themselves together in a large army, chose a man named Wat Tyler for their leader, and marched to London.

The Mayor of London tried to stop them, by pulling up the drawbridge which crossed the river Thames, but they forced him by threats to let it down again. Then they rushed through the streets of London, frightening all the[Pg 48] people they met by their wild looks and cries. They broke open the prisons, and set the prisoners free, and burned the palaces of the nobles, but they killed no man and robbed none.

The nobles were much alarmed. With young King Richard at their head, they rode out to meet this army, and to ask the people what they wanted.

"We want to be free, and we want our children to be free after us," said Wat Tyler.

"I promise you that you shall have your wish, if you will return quietly to your homes," said the king.

At this, the people shouted with joy, and all might have been well; but the mayor, seeing Wat Tyler raise his hand, and fearing that he was going to strike the king, drew his sword, and killed the leader of the people.

Then the joyful shouts changed to cries and growls of anger. Arms were raised, and the crowd began to press forward. In a minute the little band of nobles would have been attacked, but the boy-king saw the danger. Boldly riding to meet the angry people, he put himself at their head. "What need ye, my masters?" cried he. "I am your captain and your king. Follow me."

The crowd stopped, surprised by this bold act; the loud cries ceased, and swords and staves were lowered. These rough men did not wish to harm their young sovereign, but to free him from the nobles who gave him evil counsel. They were greatly pleased to find him upon their side, and, with perfect trust and loyalty, they followed where he led; and so for a time the danger was past.

[Pg 49]


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Bruce and the Spider


[Pg 50]

Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, sad and weary, lay upon the floor of a lonely cave among the hills. His mind was full of anxious thoughts, for he was hiding from the English soldiers, who sought to take him—alive or dead—to their king. The brave Scots had lost many battles, and Bruce began to fear that he would never make his dear country free.

"I will give up trying," said he.

Just then a spider, hanging from the roof of the cave, by a long thread, swung before the king's eyes, and he left his gloomy thoughts to see what the little creature would do.

The spider began to climb its thread slowly, pulling itself up little by little; but it had gone only a short way, when it slipped and fell to the end once more.

Again and again it started to climb, and again and again it slipped back, until it had fallen six times.

"Surely the silly little creature will now give up trying to climb so fine a thread," thought Bruce. But the spider did no such thing. It started on its upward journey yet a seventh time, and this time it did not fall. Up it went, inch by inch, higher and higher, until at last it reached the roof, and was safely at home.

"Bravo!" cried the king. "The spider has taught me a lesson. I too will try until I win."

Bruce kept his word. He led his brave men to battle, again and again, until at last the English were driven back to their own land, and Scotland was free.

[Pg 51]


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[Pg 52]


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Richard and Blondel


[Pg 53]

In a gloomy prison, in a foreign land, lay Richard I, King of England. He had been with some other kings to a great war in the Holy Land, where he had won battles, and taken cities, and gained much honour. Men called him Richard Lion-heart, because he was as brave as a lion in fighting, and his soldiers loved him and would follow him into any danger. One strong city, called Acre, held out for nearly two years against the armies of the other kings, but when Richard arrived it gave way almost at once.

Because of his bravery, and his many victories, all men praised King Richard, and this made some of the other kings hate him, for they were jealous that he should have more honour than they. When he was on his way back to England, one of these envious men seized him secretly, and threw him into prison.

And now poor Richard could fight no more, nor could he see the blue sky, and the green fields which he loved. One day, as he sat sad and lonely in his prison, he heard a voice singing, beneath the window. He started. "Surely," said he, "that is the voice of my old friend Blondel, and that is the song we used to sing together." When the song was ended, the king sang it again in a low voice. Then there was a joyful cry from the man outside, and Richard knew that it was indeed his friend.

Blondel had journeyed many days seeking his lost master. Now he hastened to England, and told the people where to find their king, and very soon Richard was set free, and went back to his own land.

[Pg 54]


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The White Ship


[Pg 55]

The night was dark, and a stormy wind was blowing, when the White Ship set sail from the shore of France. Prince William of England and his sister and their young friends were going back to their own land, after a visit to the French king.

The English king, Henry I, with his courtiers, had sailed earlier, and had now almost reached home. But the prince would not go with them, he wished to make merry before starting.

There had been eating, and drinking, and dancing, and singing on board the White Ship, and everyone was merry.

But the sailors had drunk so much wine that they could not see to steer aright. Soon there was a crash, and the ship trembled. It had struck a rock, and was sinking.

Then the sounds of merriment were changed to cries of fear. "Save us!" shrieked the terrified people. "Save the prince," cried the captain, "the rest of us must die!" There was only one small boat on the ship, and Prince William was put into this, and rowed away. But he had not gone far, when he heard his sister crying to him to save her.

"Go back!" shouted he. The boat was rowed back, but when it came near the ship, so many people jumped into it, that it was overturned and all in it were drowned.

Soon the White Ship sank also, and of all the gay company upon it only one man was saved.

When King Henry heard that his only son was dead, he was very sorrowful, and it is said that no man ever again saw a smile upon his face.

[Pg 56]


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Joan of Arc


[Pg 57]

In a village in the green country of France, there once lived a girl named Joan. She spent her days in sewing and spinning, and in minding her father's sheep.

At that time there was a sad war in France, and the English had won many battles. Joan was grieved to hear of the trouble of her country. She thought of it night and day, and one night she dreamt that an angel came, and told her to go and help the French prince.

When Joan told her friends of this dream, they laughed at her.

"How can a poor girl help the prince?" asked they.

"I do not know," replied Joan; "but I must go, for God has sent me." So she went to the prince, and said: "Sir, my name is Joan. God has sent me to help you to win the crown of France."

They gave Joan a suit of white armour, and a white horse, and set her at the head of the army. She led the soldiers to fight, and the rough men thought she was an angel, and fought so bravely that they won many battles.

Then the prince was crowned King of France.

When this was done, Joan felt that her work was over. "I would that I might go and keep sheep once more with my sisters and my brothers; they would be so glad to see me," pleaded she. But the king would not let her go. So Joan stayed; but her time of victory was past. Soon, she was taken prisoner by the English, and cruelly burned to death. She died as bravely as she had lived, and her name will never be forgotten.

[Pg 58]


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Afloat with a Tiger.


[Pg 59]

A traveler in faraway India relates the following thrilling adventure with a tiger: From the heavy rain which falls upon Indian mountains the low-lying country is liable to such sudden floods that every year many beasts, and even human beings, are drowned ere they can make their escape to the higher grounds. On one occasion a terrible flood came up so suddenly that I had to spend a day and night in an open canoe in consequence, during which time I had good opportunities of seeing the good and bad effects produced by them. I lived at the time in a mat house, situated upon a hill which I supposed was quite above high-water mark, but an old Mahometan gentleman having told me that, when he was a little boy, he recollected the water once rising higher than the hill, I took the precaution of keeping a canoe in a small ditch close at hand.

The rainy season began, and daily the river rose higher. One morning we noticed that the mountain tops were covered with heavy banks of dark clouds, though no rain fell out on the plain where we were; but we noticed many animals, a leopard among others, sneak out of the high grass and make for hilly ground. The most curious thing, however, was the smart manner in which rats and even grasshoppers came scampering away from the threatening danger. These latter came in such crowds toward my bungalow that not only the fowls about the premises had a good feed on them, but kites and crows began to swoop down in such numbers that the air was filled with their cries and the noise of their rushing wings.

[Pg 60]


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While watching the immense destruction of these insects we were[Pg 61] startled by the outbreak of the thunderstorm high up on the mountains, but far above the peals of thunder rose the terrible sound of rushing water. Animals now came tearing out of the lowlands too terrified to notice whither they went, so that I stood ready, gun in hand, in case any of the dangerous kind should try to seek an asylum on my particular hill; but with the exception of a huge wild boar, who had to be shot as he charged up the slope, all took refuge elsewhere.

Soon the water burst through the river bank, spreading over the country, sweeping down the tall grass jungle and surging and roaring round our hill. Packing all that was valuable in small parcels, we gathered them in a heap, hoping that the flood would subside ere it reached the building. All round about large trees, uprooted by the terrible force of the deluge, were swept along, several animals vainly trying to keep a footing among their roots and branches. At last the water reached the steps of the house; so, pulling our boat close up, we stepped in with what we could save and hung to the wooden posts of the building, vainly trusting that the worst had come; but it was not so, for we soon had to leave go the post and pass the boat's rope round a tree. The water then rushed in, the house toppled over, and it and its contents were swept away by the flood.

In a short time the tree began to shake and bend, so we knew that it was being uprooted; therefore, letting go the rope, we launched forth upon the seething waste of waters and were whirled away. Onward we rushed through masses of logs, branches, the remains of houses, and such like wreck, having to be very careful that our frail vessel did not get upset or crushed. Twice we made for the tops of hills that showed themselves above water, but on approaching them we found that they had been taken possession of by wild animals.

Here a tiger crouched on a branch of a tree, seemingly too much alarmed at his perilous position to molest the half-dozen deer that[Pg 62] crowded timidly together right underneath his perch. Up above him the smaller branches were stocked with monkeys, who looked very disconsolate at their enforced imprisonment. As we swept past, the tiger raised his head, gave a deep growl and showed his teeth, then crouched down again as if fully aware of his helplessness, and we had too much to think of ourselves to interfere with him.

Gaining the open country, the scene was one of desolation; but the current was not so strong, so we turned round, seeing the flood was going down, and by nightfall we had got back to where the house had stood. Every vestige of the once pretty homestead had disappeared, with sheep and cattle, though the fowls had managed to find a roost on the topmost branches of some orange trees, which alone remained to mark the spot.

As the moon rose, the mountaineers came down from the villages, and, embarking on rafts and in canoes, went round the different hills, shooting and spearing the animals that had swum there; and truly the sight of such a hunting scene was an exciting one. Here a stout stag, defending himself with his antlers as best he might against the spearsmen, kept up a gallant fight till death.

The tiger we had seen in the morning took to swimming, and on being wounded with a spear turned on the nearest canoe, upsetting the hunters into the water, where a desperate encounter took place; but he was eventually dispatched by a blow from an ax—not, however, before he had clawed some of his pursuers most severely.

At daylight the water had entirely gone down, and a thick, muddy deposit covered all the lowland, while an immense number of snakes, scorpions, and other unpleasant creatures lay dead in all directions, upon which and the drowned animals vultures, crows and kites were feeding.

Queen Margaret and the Robbers.


[Pg 63]

There were once two kings of England at the same time. One was Henry VI. He was the rightful king, but a very weak and feeble man, and quite unfit to rule his kingdom.

The other was young Edward, Duke of York, called Edward IV. He was made king by some of the nobles, who grew weary of Henry and his foolish deeds.

A number of the English people were faithful to King Henry, but many others went over to King Edward's side, and there were quarrels between the two parties, which ended in a war. This war was called the War of the Roses, because the followers of Henry wore a red rose as their badge, and Edward's friends wore a white one.

In one battle, fought at Hexham, the White Roses beat the Red ones, and King Henry was taken prisoner and sent to the Tower of London. His wife, Queen Margaret, with her little son, Prince Edward, escaped after the battle, and hid themselves in a wild forest. As they wandered among the trees, seeking some place where they might be safe from their enemies, they met a band of robbers. These rough men took away the queen's money and her jewels, tearing her necklace from her neck, and her rings from her fingers. Then they began to dispute as to who should have most of the stolen goods. And while they quarrelled, Queen Margaret took her little boy by the hand and ran away to a thick part of the wood. There they stayed until the angry voices of the robbers could no longer be heard, and then, in the growing darkness, they came stealthily from their hiding-place. They wandered on, knowing not where to go, hoping much to meet some of their friends, and fearing still more to be found by their enemies, the soldiers of the White Rose. But, alas! they saw no kind face, and night came on. Then, as they crept fearfully from tree to tree, they met another robber.

[Pg 64]


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[Pg 65]

The poor queen was much afraid that this robber, who looked very fierce, would kill her and the prince, because she had no riches left to give him. In despair she threw herself upon her knees before him, and said: "My friend, this is the son of your king. I give him into your care."

The robber was much surprised to see the queen and the prince alone, with their clothes torn and stained, and their faces white from hunger and fatigue. But he was a kindhearted man, although his looks were rough, and before he became a robber he had been a follower of King Henry, so he was quite willing to do his best for the little prince. He took the boy in his arms, and led the way to a cave in the forest, where he lived with his wife. And in this poor shelter, the queen and her son stayed for two days, listening to every sound, and fearing that their enemies would find them. On the third day, however, the friendly robber met some of the lords of the Red Rose in the forest, and led them to the cave. The queen and prince were overjoyed to see their friends, and soon they escaped with them to a place of safety.

Their hiding-place has been called "Queen Margaret's Cave" ever since that time. If you go to Hexham Forest, you will be able to see it.

[Pg 66]


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The Robber brings help to Queen Margaret

William Caxton


[Pg 67]

In old days, books were not printed as they are now; they were written by hand. This took a long time to do, so there were not many books, and they were so dear that only the rich could buy them.

But after a time, some clever men made a machine, called a printing-press, which could print letters.

About that time, an Englishman, named William Caxton, lived in Holland, and copied books for a great lady. He says his hand grew tired with writing, and his eyes became dim with much looking on white paper. So he learned how to print, and had a printing-press made for himself, which he brought to England. He set it up in a little shop in London, and then he began to print books. He printed books of all sorts—tales, and poetry, and history, and prayers, and sermons. In the time which it had formerly taken him to write one book, he could now print thousands.

All sorts of people crowded to his shop to see Caxton's wonderful press; sometimes the king went with his nobles. Many of them took written books with them, which they wished to have put into print. Some people asked Caxton to use in his books the most curious words he could find; others wished him to print only old and homely words. Caxton liked best the common, simple words which men used daily in their speech.

Caxton did a very good thing when he brought the printing-press to England, for, after that, books became much cheaper, so that many people could buy them, and learning spread in the land.

[Pg 68]


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Sir Philip Sidney


[Pg 69]

When Elizabeth was Queen of England it was a time of great deeds and great men. The queen was brave and clever herself, so she liked to have brave and clever people around her. Great soldiers, and writers, and statesmen went to her court; and when brave seamen came back from their voyages to unknown lands far away, they were invited by the queen to visit her, and tell her of all the strange places and people they had seen. In this Elizabeth was wise, for men did their best to show themselves worthy of her favours.

Among all the great men at court, none was more beloved than Sir Philip Sidney. He was called "the darling of the court".


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At that time, there was much trouble and many wars in some other countries, where people were fighting for the right to worship God in their own way. Philip Sidney heard of[Pg 70] these things when he was a boy in his father's house, and his heart was stirred with pity. Later, when he was in France, a great number of people were cruelly killed because they would not pray in the way which the king ordered. Sidney never forgot the dreadful sights and sounds of that sad time, and when Queen Elizabeth sent an army to help the people of Holland, who were fighting for their freedom, he asked for leave to go with it. This was granted to him, and he was made one of the leaders.


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But alas! he went out to die. In one battle, a small band of the English bravely attacked a large army of their enemies. The horse which Sidney was riding was killed under him, and as he mounted another, he was shot in the leg, and his thigh-bone was broken. The horse took fright and galloped[Pg 71] away from the fight, but its wounded and bleeding rider held to his seat, and when he reached a place of safety was lifted from his horse, and gently laid upon the ground. He was faint from loss of blood, and in great pain, and his throat was parched with thirst.

"Bring me water," said he to a friend.

This was not easy to do, for there was not a stream near at hand, and in order to get to one it would be necessary to pass where the shot from the enemy's cannons was falling fast. But his friend was brave and went through the danger. Then he found some water, and brought it to him. Sidney eagerly held out his hand for the cup, and as he was preparing to drink, another poor wounded soldier was carried past. This man was dying; he could not speak, but he looked with longing eyes at the water. Sir Philip saw the look, and taking the cup from his own lips, passed it to the soldier, saying: "Thy need is greater than mine." The poor man quenched his thirst, and blessed him as he died.

Sir Philip lived on for a few weeks, growing weaker every day, but he never came back to his own land, and the many friends who loved him.

Sidney was great in many ways; very fair to see, very wise and good, and very clever and witty. He was one of the bravest fighters, one of the finest poets, and one of the best gentlemen who ever lived. He will always be remembered for his brave deeds, and his wise sayings, but most of all do men bless his name for this act of kindness to his poor dying comrade.

[Pg 72]


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The "Revenge"


[Pg 73]

In the days of Queen Elizabeth, English sailors first began to find their way across the seas to new lands, from which they brought home many strange, and rich, and beautiful things. The Spaniards sailed across the seas too, to fetch gold and silver from the mines in Mexico, which belonged to the King of Spain. Sometimes the English ships met the Spanish ones, and robbed them of their gold, for it was thought quite right and fair in those days to take every chance of doing harm to the enemies of England. Of course the Spaniards hated the English for this, and whenever they met English ships which were weaker than theirs they attacked them, and robbed them, killing the sailors, or taking them prisoners.

Once, a small ship, called the Revenge, was sailing home to England, when it met with fifty great Spanish vessels. The captain of the Revenge was Sir Richard Grenville, and he had a great many sick men on board. There was no time to escape from the Spanish ships, which soon surrounded the little Revenge. So there were only two courses which Sir Richard could take. One was to give up his ship to the Spaniards; the other was to fight with them till his men were all killed, or his ship sank.

Some of the sailors wished him to take the first course, but the others, and all the sick men, said: "Nay, let us fall into the hands of God, and not into the hands of Spain." This they said because they thought it better to die, than to be made prisoners by the cruel Spaniards.

Sir Richard made up his mind to fight. It was after[Pg 74] noon when the firing began, and all night long, until daylight came, the little English ship kept the fifty Spanish vessels at bay. Then it was found that all the powder was gone, and all the English were dead or dying. And then only was the flag of the Revenge pulled down, to show that she surrendered to her enemies.

The brave Sir Richard was taken on board a Spanish ship, where he soon died of his wounds.

These were his last words: "Here die I, Richard Grenville, with a joyful and quiet mind, for I have ended my life as a good soldier ought. I have fought for my country and my queen, for honour, and for God."


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The Pilgrim Fathers


[Pg 75]

There was a time when the people of England were not allowed to pray to God in the way they thought right, but were punished if they did not worship as the king ordered. This was very hard, and when James I was king, a little band of brave people, who found that they could not obey the king, left their country to make a new home across the sea, where they could be free. They are called the "Pilgrim Fathers".

A hundred people—men, women, and children—set sail in a little ship called the Mayflower for the new world which a great explorer called Columbus had discovered away in the west, and which we now call America. They had a long and stormy voyage, but at last, in mid-winter, they landed on the shores of North America, and set up their huts.

At first they had much trouble, for the ground was frozen and barren. They suffered from hunger and sickness, and the wild Indians who lived in that land came down upon them and tried to drive them away. But the Pilgrim Fathers did not lose courage. They were free, and they worked hard, and waited in patience for brighter days. By and by other ships from England brought food to keep them alive, and more people to help them. Then they made friends with the Indians, and when spring came they planted seeds and grew crops for themselves.

After a time many other Englishmen, who wished to be free, followed the Pilgrim Fathers, and settled in America. They founded the colonies of New England, which are now a part of the United States.

[Pg 76]


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Guy Fawkes


[Pg 77]

In the time of James I, many of the English people were very hardly treated because of their religion. At last they could bear the ill-usage no longer, and they thought of a plan to get rid of the king and queen and their eldest son.

Many barrels of gunpowder were secretly put into a cellar under the Parliament House, where James was to meet his lords and commons on November 5; and a man named Guy Fawkes was hired to set fire to it at the right time, and so to blow up the hall above, and all in it.

All was ready, when one of the plotters remembered that a friend of his would be at the meeting next day. As he did not wish him to be killed, he sent him a letter, without signing his name, saying: "Do not go to the House, for there shall be a sudden blow to many, and they shall not see who hurts them".

The lord who received this letter took it to the King's Council, and when King James saw it, he guessed what the "sudden blow" would be. Men were sent to search the cellars, and there, on the very night before the deed was to be done, Guy Fawkes was found waiting till the time should come to set fire to the powder. He was cruelly tortured to make him tell all he knew, but he was a brave man, and he died without betraying his friends.

Since that time, every year, on the 5th of November, bonfires have been lighted in many places in England, and "guys" burned, to remind people how an English king was once saved from a great danger.

[Pg 78]


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Cromwell and his Ironsides


[Pg 79]

When Charles I came to the throne of England, it was soon seen that he was as bad a king as his father James I had been.

He did not care at all for the good of his country and his people, but thought only of his own pleasure. He took away men's money and lands, and if they offended him he took their lives too.

Englishmen would not bear this unjust treatment for long, and soon a war began between the king and the people, who were determined to be free.

At first the king and his men were victorious everywhere, for they were all used to horses and arms, and fought so well and so bravely that the people could not stand against them. But at last a great leader arose among the people. This leader, who was called Oliver Cromwell, was a rough man, but he was just, good, and honest.

He saw at once that the people would never gain the victory over the brave gentlemen-soldiers of King Charles, unless they had obedient and well-trained men to fight for them. So he chose a band of plain, hard-working men who feared God, and loved duty and right, and he spent all his money in fitting them with arms and horses, and in training them sternly, until they became the finest soldiers the world has ever known. Cromwell called his men his "lovely company", and others called them "Ironsides", for they were strong and firm as iron, and were never beaten. It was these brave, sober, obedient soldiers who at last defeated the king's army, and won freedom for the people of England.

[Pg 80]


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The Spanish Armada


[Pg 81]

The Armada was a great fleet which the King of Spain sent to attack England, in the days of Queen Elizabeth. There were more than a hundred ships, so large and high that they looked like towers on the sea; and they came sailing along arranged in the shape of a big half-moon.

The great English admiral, Sir Francis Drake, was playing at bowls when messengers came hurrying to tell him that the Armada was approaching. He quietly finished his game, and then set sail to fight the Spaniards. His fleet was not so large as the Armada, and the ships were small, but they were light and fast. They met the Armada in the English Channel, and sailed round it, attacking any ship that dropped out of line, and speeding away before the clumsy Spanish vessels could seize them. In this way they did much harm to the enemy. Then, one night, when it was dark, and the Spanish vessels were lying quietly at anchor, Admiral Drake sent eight blazing fire-ships into their midst. In great fear, the Spaniards cut their anchor-ropes, and sailed out to the open sea, and the English ships followed, firing upon them as they fled. For two days the English chased the flying Spaniards. Then their powder and shot failed, and a storm arose; so they had to go back. The Armada sailed on, hoping to escape, but the wild tempest tossed many of the great vessels on the rocks and cliffs of the coast, and dashed them to pieces. Only a few, broken and battered, with starving and weary men on board, ever reached Spain again. And so England was saved.

[Pg 82]


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[Pg 83]


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The Defence of Lathom House


[Pg 84]

Lathom House is an old English castle. When the war broke out between King Charles I and his people, the Earl of Derby, who was the master of this castle, went away to fight for the king. He left the Countess at home with her children, with a small band of armed men to guard her and the castle. One day an army of the people's soldiers came to the castle, and the leader of the army sent word to the Countess that she must give up the castle at once.

But the Countess was a brave woman. She replied that she would rather set fire to the castle, and die with her children in the flames, than give it up to the king's enemies.

Then began a fight which lasted many weeks. The large army outside the walls did their best to break a way in, but the small company inside defended the castle bravely. At last the leader of the besiegers brought a strong new gun, and it was soon seen that this would break down the walls. Then one night the Countess sent out a party of brave men, who seized the new gun and brought it into the castle, and so the worst danger was over. Soon afterwards Prince Rupert, one of the king's generals, came with an army to help the Countess, and Lathom House was saved.

The prince drove away the soldiers of the people, and took from them twenty-two banners, which he sent as a present to the Countess, to show how much he admired her bravery.

[Pg 85]


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[Pg 86]

Many years ago there dwelt in the forest of Inglewood, in the North country, three yeomen, who had been outlawed for killing the king's deer. They were all famous archers, and defying every attempt to arrest them, they lived a free life in the green wood. But finally growing tired of this dangerous life, they went to the king to sue for pardon. It happened that the king's archers were exhibiting their skill by shooting at marks, which none of them missed. But one of the outlawed archers, named Cloudesly, made light of their skill, and told the king that he could do better than any of his archers had done. "To prove the truth of my claim," he said, "I will take my son, who is only seven years old and is dear to me, and I will tie him to a stake, and lay an apple on his head, and go six score paces from him, and with a broad arrow I will cleave the apple in two."

"Now listen," said the king, "and do as you say; but if you touch his head, or his dress, you shall be hanged all three."

"I will not go back on my word," said Cloudesly; and driving a stake into the ground, he bound thereto his little son, and placed an apple on his head. All being ready he bent his bow, the arrow flew from the string, the apple was cleft in twain, and the child was unhurt. The king thereupon pardoned the three outlaws and received them into his service.

[Pg 87]


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Elizabeth and Raleigh


[Pg 88]

Sir Walter Raleigh was a favourite courtier of Queen Elizabeth. An old story tells us of the way he won her favour.

One day, as the queen and her ladies were out walking, dressed in fine robes of silk and lace, they came to a miry puddle in the road. The queen stopped in dismay, for she did not like getting her feet wet and dirty. As she was thinking how best to step through the mud, a young man in a rich suit came along the road.

Directly he saw the queen, young Raleigh, for it was he, sprang forward, and, taking off his velvet cloak, spread it over the mud for her to walk upon.

Elizabeth was much pleased; she rewarded Raleigh with a post in the palace. There, one day, he wrote upon a window which he knew the queen would pass: "Fain would I climb, but that I fear to fall". When Elizabeth saw this, she added these words: "If thy heart fail thee, climb not at all". However, Raleigh did climb very soon to a high place, for he was clever and brave as well as polite, and he served the queen in many ways.

It is said that his ships first brought potatoes and tobacco to England from America, and that he was the first man in this country to smoke. One day, a servant brought a jug of ale into the room where Raleigh was sitting and smoking. The man was much alarmed to see smoke coming from his master's mouth, and he quickly emptied the jug of ale over Raleigh's head, to put out the fire which he thought was burning within him.

[Pg 89]


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