| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
THE STORIES OF ALBION AND BRUTUS
 ONCE upon a time there was a giant called Neptune. When he
was quite a tiny boy, Neptune loved the sea. All day long he
played in it, swimming, diving, and laughing gleefully as
the waves dashed over him.
As he grew older he came to know and love the sea so well
that the sea and the waves loved him too, and acknowledged
him to be their king. At last people said he was not only
king of the waves, but god of the sea.
Neptune had a very beautiful wife who was called Amphitrite.
He had also many sons. As each son became old enough to
reign, Neptune made him king over an island.
Neptune's fourth son was called Albion. When it came to his
turn to receive a kingdom, a great council was called to
decide upon an island for him.
Now Neptune and Amphitrite loved Albion more than any of
their other children. This made it very difficult to chose
which island should be his.
The mermaids and mermen, as the wonderful people who live in
the sea are called, came from all parts of the world with
news of beautiful islands. But after hearing about them,
Neptune and Amphitrite would shake
 their heads and say, "No,
that is not good enough for Albion."
At last a little mermaid swam into the pink and white coral
cave in which the council was held. She was more beautiful
than any mermaid who had yet come to the council. Her eyes
were merry and honest, and they were blue as the sky and the
sea. Her hair was as yellow as fine gold, and in her cheeks
a lovely pink came and went. When she spoke, her voice
sounded as clear as a bell and as soft as the whisper of the
waves, as they ripple upon the shore.
"O Father Neptune," she said, "let Albion come to my island.
It is a beautiful little island. It lies like a gem in the
bluest of waters. There the trees and the grass are green,
the cliffs are white and the sands are golden. There the sun
shines and the birds sing. It is a land of beauty. Mountains
and valleys, broad lakes and swift-flowing rivers, all are
there. Let Albion come to my island."
"Where is this island?" said Neptune and Amphitrite both at
once. They thought it must indeed be a beautiful land if it
were only half as lovely as the little mermaid said.
"Oh, come, and I will show it to you," replied she. Then she
swam away in a great hurry to show her beautiful island, and
Neptune, Amphitrite, and all the mermaids and mermen
It was a wonderful sight to see them as they swam along.
Their white arms gleamed in the sunshine, and their golden
hair floated out over the water like fine seaweed. Never before
had so many of the sea-folk been gathered together at one
place, and the noise of their tails flapping through the
water brought all the little fishes and great sea monsters
out, eager to know
 what was happening. They swam and swam
until they came to the little green island with the white
cliffs and yellow sands.
As soon as it came in sight, Neptune raised himself on a big
wave, and when he saw the little island lying before him,
like a beautiful gem in the blue water, just as the mermaid
had said, he cried out in joy, "This is the island of my
love. Albion shall rule it and Albion it shall be called."
So Albion took possession of the little island, which until
then had been called Samothea, and he changed its name to
Albion, as Neptune had said should be done.
For seven years Albion reigned over his little island. At
the end of that time he was killed in a fight with the hero
Hercules. This was a great grief to Neptune and Amphitrite.
But because of the love they bore to their son Albion, they
continued to love and watch over the little green island
which was called by his name.
For many years after the death of Albion the little island
had no ruler. At last, one day there came sailing from the
far-off city of Troy a prince called Brutus. He, seeing the
fair island, with white cliffs and golden sands, landed with
all his mighty men of war. There were many giants in the
land in those days, but Brutus fought and conquered them. He
made himself king, not only over Albion, but over all the
islands which lay around. He called them the kingdom of
Britain or Britannia after his own name, Brutus, and Albion
he called Great Britain because it was the largest of the
Although after this the little island was no longer called
Albion, Neptune still loved it. When he grew old and had no
more strength to rule, he gave his sceptre to the islands
called Britannia, for we know—
"Britannia rules the waves."
 This is a story of many thousand years ago. Some people
think it is only a fairy tale. But however that may be, the
little island is still sometimes called Albion, although it
is nearly always called Britain.
In this book you will find the story of the people of
Britain. The story tells how they grew to be a great people,
till the little green island set in the lonely sea was no
longer large enough to contain them all. Then they sailed
away over the blue waves to far-distant countries. Now the
people of the little island possess lands all over the
world. These lands form the empire of Greater Britain.
Many of these lands are far, far larger than the little
island itself. Yet the people who live in them still look
back lovingly to the little island, from which they or their
fathers came, and call it "Home."
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