ARTHUR, PRINCE OF NORMANDY, DISAPPEARS
 PHILIP II. was only fifteen years old when he began to
reign. He was a proud, ambitious boy, and eager to use
his kingly power. He had often dreamed that he would
make France as great as it had been in the time of
Charlemagne. His courtiers, and those of his people who
knew his ambition, called him Philip Augustus, which
meant Philip the Great, or the Imperial. Others named
him Augustus for no other reason than that he was born
in the month of August.
Like his grandfather, Louis the Fat, Philip wished to
make the nobles less powerful, although indeed they had
now fewer privileges than when Louis came to the
The Duke of Burgundy had, however, provoked the young
king. Philip therefore attacked one of his castles, and
took his eldest son prisoner.
When the duke was at length compelled to ask for peace,
Philip would grant it only on certain harsh conditions.
The duke, not being powerful enough to fight against
his sovereign, was forced to agree to whatever terms
the king chose to impose. Whereupon Philip, who after
all was but a boy, was so pleased to get his own way
that he said, "The duke shall be my friend without any
conditions," and he then at once repealed the harsh
terms he had made shortly before.
Philip's chief friend was Richard, the son of Henry
II., King of England.
Now Richard might be a good friend, but he was a bad
 son. He took up arms against his father, and the
French king encouraged him to rebel.
Philip himself attacked Aquitaine, which Henry II. had
entrusted to Richard's care. Richard proved faithless
to his trust, doing little to defend his father's
province. It even seemed that he was going to hand it
over to Philip. But before this had happened Henry made
peace with the French king, and the English prince was
saved from a treacherous deed.
After peace had been made between the two kings,
Richard hastened to Philip's camp, lived in the same
tent as the king, sat at his table, and even, it is
said, slept in the same bed.
Again and again Henry and Philip were on the point of
war, but again and again war was put off, while the
kings met to settle their disputes under an ancient elm
tree which stood on the boundary between France and
At one of these meetings Philip and Henry forgot, for a
time, their own quarrels. For terrible tidings had come
from the east.
Since Godfrey de Bouillon had been elected King of
Jerusalem after the first crusade, eight kings had
reigned. These eight kings were each French, and the
last one had now in 1187 been taken prisoner by the
dreaded Saladin, and Jerusalem was once again in the
hands of the Turks
It was early in January 1188 that Philip and Henry,
meeting under the elm tree, forgot their own quarrels,
and spoke only of the need of a new crusade to deliver
the Holy City from the hands of the Infidels. Before
they separated the kings had agreed to make
preparations to set out on the third crusade.
Unfortunately Philip and Henry soon began to think of
their own disputes. The French king indeed grew so
impatient, that in a fit of passion he cut down the
ancient elm tree, saying he would hold no more meetings
 beneath its branches. Before the year
1188 ended, war broke out between the two kings.
But Henry II., deserted by his nobles and betrayed by
his sons, was soon forced to ask for peace. Philip's
terms were hard, for Henry II. was forced to own himself
the French king's vassal, to yield to him the duchy of
Bern, which lay south of the river Loire, and to
promise to pardon all those who had betrayed him.
When the list of traitors was handed to the king, the
first name was that of his own son John. Henry had
loved John and forgiven him much, but this new
treachery broke his heart, and he fell ill and died.
Richard now became King of England, and before long
Philip and he had ceased to be friends. For in the
third crusade, which set out in 1189, led by Philip
Augustus and Richard, the English king was so brave
that he became the hero of the armies, and won his
well-known name of Coeur de Lion, the Lion-hearted.
Then Philip grew jealous of Richard and returned to
France, leaving part of his army to help his rival to
carry on the war in the east.
Before he left Philip solemnly promised that, during
Richard's absence, he would not attack his kingdom or
harm him in any way. As he journeyed home, however, he
asked the Pope to release him from his promise. The
Pope refused, but Philip was no sooner back in France
than he hastened to make friends with Prince John, who
in his brother's absence was treacherously doing all he
could to win the crown for himself.
Richard meanwhile had reached Palestine, and was within
sight of Jerusalem. But knowing he had not an army
strong enough to take the city, he covered his face
with his cloak, refusing to look upon her, since he was
unable to deliver her from her foes.
Soon afterwards he fell sick, and so making a treaty
with the sultan, which secured the safety of pilgrims
travelling to Jerusalem, he set out, by sea, for
 Being shipwreckd he tried to cross Austria in
disguise, for the Archduke of Austria was his enemy. He
was, however, discovered and taken prisoner. The duke
sold his royal captive to the Emperor of Germany for a
large sum of money, and by the emperor Richard was
thrown into prison.
When Philip knew that Richard was a prisoner he at
once, in spite of his promise, attacked Normandy, of
which province Richard was duke. It was bad enough that
Philip should do this; it was surely even worse that
Prince John, Richard's own brother, should help him.
Together, too, they offered the German emperor large
sums of money if he would but keep his royal captive
But you have read the story of how a minstrel, called
Blondel, who loved Richard, went in search of his king,
and at last found out his prison. And you remember how
he came back and told the English, who at once paid a
heavy ransom that Richard might be set free.
Then indeed Philip and Prince John had cause to fear.
Even the German emperor took the trouble to tell them
to beware, for, said he, "the Devil is unchained," and
by the Devil he meant no other than Richard the
Prince John was a coward as well as a traitor, and he
hastened to make peace with his brother.
Richard had still, however, to deal with Philip.
He had reached England in 1194, and soon after his
return he set out for Normandy with a large army.
The war with Philip lasted several years. Richard
besieged a few towns, and fought a few unimportant
battles. Then one day, in the year 1199, as he was
besieging a castle, a soldier shot an arrow at random
from the castle wall. The arrow wounded Richard, and
ten days later he died. Philip had no longer anything
to fear from his powerful rival.
Prince John at once caused himself to be proclaimed
King of England and Duke of Normandy.
 But he was not able to take possession of
Normandy peaceably, for Arthur, a nephew of his own,
claimed the province, and Philip, fearing lest the King
of England should grow too powerful, gladly supported
Prince Arthur's claim.
The people of Normandy had no love for John, so they
sided with his nephew the prince, and Philip was thus
easily able to proclaim Arthur, Duke of Normandy.
Soon after this King John succeeded in taking his
nephew prisoner. For a short time Prince Arthur lay in
a dungeon, wondering how he could escape from his cruel
Then one day, so it is said, King John came to take he
prince out in a boat on the river Seine. The young lad
was glad to leave his dungeon and live in the sunlight
once again. He was pleased, too, that his uncle was
kind. But before they had rowed far. King John suddenly
drew his sword and stabbed his nephew, throwing the
body into the river.
It may be that King John did not do this cruel deed but
the young prince was never seen again. Philip believed
John was guilty, and summoned him as Duke of Normandy
and therefore his vassal, to appear before him. But
King John paid no heed to the French king's summons. He
was therefore tried, even though he was not present in
the court, and found guilty of murder, and Normandy was
declared to be his no longer.
King Philip then once more invaded Normandy; but John
though he was in the town of Rouen, took no notice of
Philip's movements. He was lazy, and his courtiers were
gay so they idled their time until Philip's army
actually reached the gates of Rouen.
Then indeed King John bestirred himself, not to fight
but to flee, as quickly as might be, to England.
Thus the French king was left to take possession of
Normandy, which therefore in 1204 became a part of the
kingdom of France. And so wisely did Philip treat the
Normans that they were content to own him as their