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Fifty Famous Stories Retold by  James Baldwin


 

 

SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT

MORE than three hundred years ago there lived in England a brave man whose name was Sir Humphrey Gilbert. At that time there were no white people in this country of ours. The land was covered with forests; and where there are now great cities and fine farms there were only trees and swamps among which roamed wild Indians and wild beasts.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert was one of the first men who tried to make a settlement in America. Twice did he bring men and ships over the sea, and twice did he fail, and sail back for England. The second time, he was on a little ship called the "Squirrel." Another ship, called the "Golden Hind," was not far away. When they were three days from land, the wind failed, and the ships lay floating on the waves. Then at night the air grew very cold. A breeze sprang up from the east. Great white [54] icebergs came drifting around them. In the morning the little ships were almost lost among the floating mountains of ice. The men on the "Hind" saw Sir Humphrey sitting on the deck of the "Squirrel" with an open book in his hand. He called to them and said,—

"Be brave, my friends! We are as near heaven on the sea as on the land."

Night came again. It was a stormy night, with mist and rain. All at once the men on the "Hind" saw the lights on board of the "Squirrel" go out. The little vessel, with brave Sir Humphrey and all his brave men, was swallowed up by the waves.


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