THE HUNTED KING
WHAT boy or girl has not heard the story of King Robert Bruce and the
spider? I will tell you another story of the same brave and famous
He had fought a battle with his enemies, the English. His little
army had been beaten and scattered. Many of his best friends had been
killed or captured. The king himself was obliged to hide in the wild
woods while his foes hunted for him with hounds.
 For many days he wandered through rough and dangerous places. He waded
rivers and climbed mountains. Sometimes two or three faithful friends
were with him. Sometimes he was alone. Sometimes his enemies were very
close upon him.
Late one evening he came to a little farmhouse in a lonely valley. He
walked in without knocking. A woman was sitting alone by the fire.
"May a poor traveler find rest and shelter here for the night?" he
The woman answered, "All travelers are welcome for the sake of
one; and you are welcome."
"Who is that one?" asked the king.
"That is Robert the Bruce," said the woman. "He is the rightful lord
of this country. He is now being hunted with hounds, but I hope soon
to see him king over all Scotland."
"Since you love him so well," said the king, "I will tell you
something. I am Robert the Bruce."
"You!" cried the woman in great surprise. "Are you the Bruce, and are
you all alone?"
"My men have been scattered," said the king, "and therefore there is
no one with me."
"That is not right," said the brave woman. "I have
 two sons who are
gallant and trusty. They shall go with you and serve you."
So she called her two sons. They were tall and strong young men, and
they gladly promised to go with the king and help him.
The king sat down by the fire, and the woman hurried to get things
ready for supper. The two young men got down their bows and arrows,
and all were busy making plans for the next day.
Suddenly a great noise was heard outside. They
 listened. They heard
the tramping of horses and the voices of a number of men.
"The English! the English!" said the young men.
"Be brave, and defend your king with your lives," said their mother.
Then some one outside called loudly, "Have you seen King Robert the
Bruce pass this way?"
"That is my brother Edward's voice," said the king. "These are friends,
The door was thrown open and he saw a hundred brave men, all ready to
give him aid. He forgot his hunger; he forgot his weariness. He began
to ask about his enemies who had been hunting him.
"I saw two hundred of them in the village below us," said one of his
officers. "They are resting there for the night and have no fear of
danger from us. If you have a mind to make haste, we may surprise
"Then let us mount and ride," said the king.
The next minute they were off. They rushed suddenly into the village.
They routed the king's enemies and scattered them.
And Robert the Bruce was never again obliged to hide in the woods or
to run from savage hounds. Soon he became the real king and ruler of