| 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 |
THE WHITE SHIP
KING HENRY, the Handsome Scholar, had one son named
William, whom he dearly loved. The young man was noble and
brave, and everybody hoped that he would some day be the
King of England.
One summer Prince William went with his father across the
sea to look after their lands in France.
 They were welcomed with joy by all their people there, and
the young prince was so gallant and kind, that he won the
love of all who saw him.
But at last the time came for them to go back to England.
The king, with his wise men and brave knights, set sail
early in the day; but Prince William with his younger
friends waited a little while. They had had so joyous a time
in France that they were in no great haste to tear
Then they went on board of the ship which was waiting to
carry them home. It was a beautiful ship with white sails
and white masts, and it had been fitted up on purpose for
The sea was smooth, the winds were fair and no one thought
of danger. On the ship, everything had been arranged to make the trip a pleasant one. There was music and dancing,
and everybody was merry and glad.
The sun had gone down before the white-winged vessel was
fairly out of the bay. But what of that? The moon was at its
full, and it would give light enough; and before the dawn of
the morrow, the narrow sea would be crossed. And so the
prince, and the young people who were with him, gave
themselves up to merriment and feasting and joy.
The earlier hours of the night passed by; and
 then there was a cry of alarm on deck. A moment
afterward there was a great crash. The ship had struck upon a rock.
The water rushed in. She was sinking. Ah, where now were
those who had lately been so heart-free and glad?
Every heart was full of fear. No one knew what to do. A
small boat was quickly launched, and the prince with a few
of his bravest friends leaped into it. They pushed off just
as the ship was beginning to settle beneath the waves.
Would they be saved?
They had rowed hardly ten yards from the ship, when there
was a cry from among those that were left behind.
"Row back!" cried the prince. "It is my little sister.
She must be saved!"
The men did not dare to disobey. The boat was again
brought alongside of the sinking vessel. The prince stood
up, and held out his arms for his sister. At that moment the
ship gave a great lurch forward into the waves. One shriek
of terror was heard, and then all was still save the sound
of the moaning waters.
Ship and boat, prince and princess, and all the gay
company that had set sail from France, went down to the
bottom together. One man clung to a floating plank, and was
saved the next day. He was the only person left alive to
tell the sad story.
When King Henry heard of the death of his son, his grief was
more than he could bear. His heart
was broken. He had no more joy in life; and men say that no
one ever saw him smile again.
Here is a poem about him that your teacher may read to you,
and perhaps, after a while, you may learn it by heart.
HE NEVER SMILED AGAIN
The bark that held the prince went down,
The sweeping waves rolled on;
And what was England's glorious crown
To him that wept a son?
He lived, for life may long be borne
Ere sorrow breaks its chain:
Why comes not death to those who mourn?
He never smiled again.
There stood proud forms before his throne,
The stately and the brave;
But who could fill the place of one,—
That one beneath the wave?
Before him passed the young and fair,
In pleasure's reckless train;
But seas dashed o'er his son's bright hair—
He never smiled again.
He sat where festal bowls went round;
He heard the minstrel sing;
He saw the tourney's victor crowned
Amid the knightly ring.
A murmur of the restless deep
Was blent with every strain,
A voice of winds that would not sleep—
He never smiled again.
Hearts, in that time, closed o'er the trace
Of vows once fondly poured,
And strangers took the kinsman's place
At many a joyous board;
Graves which true love had bathed with tears
Were left to heaven's bright rain;
Fresh hopes were born for other years—
He never smiled again!
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics