| Fifty Famous Stories Retold|
|by James Baldwin|
|Includes fifty legendary tales depicting certain romantic episodes in the lives of well-known heroes and famous men, or in the history of a people. Children naturally take a deep interest in such stories. The reading of them will not only give pleasure but will lay the foundation for broader literary studies, as nearly all are the subjects of frequent allusions in poetry and prose. Ages 6-9 |
SIR WALTER RALEIGH
THERE once lived in England a brave and noble man whose
name was Walter Raleigh. He was not only brave and noble,
but he was also handsome and polite; and for that reason
the queen made him a knight, and called him Sir Walter
I will tell you about it.
When Raleigh was a young man, he was one day walking along
a street in London. At that time the streets were not paved,
and there were no
side-  walks. Raleigh was dressed in very fine style, and he wore a
beautiful scarlet cloak thrown over his shoulders.
As he passed along, he found it hard work to keep from
stepping in the mud, and soiling his handsome new shoes.
Soon he came to a puddle of muddy water which reached from
one side of the street to the other. He could not step
across. Perhaps he could jump over it.
As he was thinking what he should do, he
happened to look
up. Who was it coming down the street, on the other side
of the puddle?
It was Elizabeth, the Queen of England, with her train
of gentlewomen and waiting maids. She saw the dirty
puddle in the street. She saw the handsome young man with
the scarlet cloak, standing by the side of it. How was
she to get across?
Young Raleigh, when he saw who was coming, forgot about
himself. He thought only of helping the queen. There was
only one thing that he could do, and no other man would have
thought of that.
He took off his scarlet cloak, and spread it across the
puddle. The queen could step on it now, as on a beautiful
She walked across. She was safely over the ugly puddle, and
her feet had not touched the mud. She paused a moment, and
thanked the young man.
 As she walked onward with her train, she asked one of the
gentlewomen, "Who is that brave gentleman who helped us so handsomely?"
"His name is Walter Raleigh," said the
"He shall have his reward," said the queen.
Not long after that, she sent for Raleigh to come to her
The young man went, but he had no scarlet cloak to wear.
Then, while all the great men and fine ladies of England
stood around, the queen made him a knight. And from that
time he was known as Sir Walter Raleigh, the queen's
Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Humphrey Gilbert, about whom I
have already told you, were half-brothers.
When Sir Humphrey made his first voyage to America, Sir
Walter was with him. After that, Sir Walter tried
several times to send men to this country to make a
But those whom he sent found only great forests, and wild
beasts, and savage Indians. Some of them went back to
England; some of them died for want of food; and some of
them were lost in the woods. At last Sir Walter gave up
trying to get people to come to America.
But he found two things in this country which
 the people of England knew very little about. One was the
potato, the other was tobacco.
If you should ever go to Ireland, you may be shown the place
where Sir Walter planted the few potatoes which he carried over from America. He told his friends how the
Indians used them for food; and he proved that they would
grow in the Old World as well as in the New.
Sir Walter had seen the Indians smoking the leaves of the
tobacco plant. He thought that he would do the same, and
he carried some of the leaves to England. Englishmen had
never used tobacco before that time; and all who saw Sir
Walter puffing away at a roll of leaves thought that it was
a strange sight.
One day as he was sitting in his chair and
smoking, his servant came into the room. The man saw the smoke
curling over his master's head, and he thought that he was
He ran out for some water. He found a pail that was quite
full. He hurried back, and threw the water into Sir
Walter's face. Of course the fire was all put out.
After that a great many men learned to smoke. And now
tobacco is used in all countries of the world. It would have
been well if Sir Walter Raleigh had let it alone.
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