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EDWARD II. OF CAERNARVON—THE STORY OF THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN
 AFTER the death of Bohun there was no more fighting that
day. The sun soon set, and during the short summer night the
two armies lay opposite each other, silently waiting for the
When day broke, the whole plain was astir. Trumpets sounded,
drums beat, and as the English army advanced, they seemed to
roll onward like mighty waves. "No hand but God's can save
us from so great a host," said the Scots. And, as a holy
abbot with bare feet and head passed along the lines to
bless them, they knelt in prayer.
"See," cried King Edward, "they kneel! they ask for mercy!"
"True," replied the knight to whom he spoke, "they ask for
mercy, but from Heaven, not from us. These men will conquer,
or die on the field."
The fight began and long and fiercely it raged. The Scottish
horse scattered the English archers, and the English horse
fell into the pits which Bruce had caused to be dug. The
English army was already in confusion when suddenly, over
the brow of a neighbouring hill, there appeared what seemed
to them another Scottish army.
 Then the English fled. Blind with fear they rode, hardly
knowing where. Many were drowned while trying to cross the
river Forth, others fell over the rocky banks of the Bannock
till the stream was choked with the dead.
The new army which had so frightened the English was no army
at all, but only the servants and camp-followers whom Bruce
had separated from the soldiers and sent to wait behind the
hill. They had grown tired of watching and doing nothing, so
they tied cloths on to poles for banners, armed themselves
with sticks, and came to join the fight. They came just at
the right time, for the English, already beginning to feel
that the battle was lost, fled before this new host.
Edward, although he was no coward, fled too. He went first
to Stirling, but the Governor would not let him stay there.
"Have you forgotten, my lord," he said,
"that to-morrow I must
yield up the castle to the King of Scots? If you remain here
you will become his prisoner."
So Edward rode south, attended only by a few knights. One
brave man rode with the King until he thought he was safe,
then drawing rein, "Farewell, my liege," he said,
"I am not wont to flee," and turning he rode back,
and fell fighting with his face to the enemy.
The King fled on, and he had need to flee fast. For, when it
became known that he had left the field, he was hotly
pursued as far as Dunbar, which was still in the hands of
the English. From there he went in a little fishing-boat to
Berwick and so reached England and safety.
"So eagerly he was pursued,
They got to him so near,
He was on point of being ta'en,
But got into Dunbar.
"To Berwick in a fishing boat
They sculled him away,
While to be kept from wrath of Scots
He earnestly did pray."
Upon the field many of England's noblest men lay dead, many
were wounded, many taken prisoner. So much spoil fell into
the hands of the Scots, and so much money was paid to them
as ransom for their prisoners, that it was said that
Scotland became rich in one day. Scotland became not only
rich but free in one day, for if the battle of Bannockburn
did not quite end the war, it showed what Scotsmen loving
their country could do, and in the dark days which were
still to come they never again despaired.
The battle of Bannockburn is the greatest battle ever fought
on Scottish ground. It is great not because so many noble
men fell upon the field; but because at one blow it made the
Beaten and angry Edward returned to England, and the rest of
his life was dark and miserable. He ruled so badly that at
last the nobles put him from the throne, and crowned his
little son, who was also called Edward.
Edward II., King no longer, was sent as a prisoner from
castle to castle. No one loved or cared for him, and each
new goaler treated the poor, fallen King worse than the
last, till one night terrible shrieks rang through the
castle in which he was imprisoned. In the morning
Edward II. was found dead.
He had been murdered.