ALEXANDER III.—HOW THE LITTLE KING WAS CROWNED AND MARRIED
 ALTHOUGH Alexander II. had reigned for thirty-five years, he was not an old man when he died, and his son, who was also called
Alexander, was only eight years old when he began to reign.
Being so young, the little Prince had not yet been made a knight. Some of the nobles said that he could not be crowned
until he had been made a knight. So the old bishop of St. Andrews knighted the little boy before the crown was placed
upon his head.
With trembling fingers the old man fastened a big sword, with jewelled scabbard and hilt, round his waist, and tried to
make him understand what all the ceremony meant. Then he led the little knight to the Stone of Destiny. Sitting there,
the crown was placed upon his head by the Thane of Fife; the sceptre was put into his hand, and the royal robes upon his
Then one by one the nobles knelt before the little King. Throwing their mantles at his feet, and placing their hands
between his, they swore to be true to him and serve him faithfully.
THERE STEPPED FROM OUT OF THE CROWD, AN OLD, OLD MAN.
When the last lord had risen from his knees there stepped from out the crowd an old, old man. His hair and beard were
long and white. His back was bent, and
 as he walked he leaned upon a staff. His cloak, which covered him from head to heel, was brilliant scarlet. In his hand
he held a harp. He was a minstrel or singer.
Kneeling before the throne the minstrel began to tell, in a kind of chant, the names of all the King's fathers and
grandfathers. "Hail, King of Albion," he said, "Alexander, son of Alexander, son of William, son of Henry," and so on
and on until he had told the names of all Alexander's forefathers right back to the prince called Gathelus, who had come
out of Greece so many hundreds of years before. Then, when he had finished, the minstrel rose from his knees, and all
the nobles shouted, "Hail, King of Albion."
Two years after he was crowned, the boy King was married to the little Princess Margaret, daughter of the King of
Alexander went to England to be married, and the ceremony took place at York. The bride and bridegroom were only
children, but the wedding was a very splendid affair. People crowded from every part of the two kingdoms to see the
sight. There were English, Norman, and Scottish nobles, all as grandly dressed as might be, besides merchants, farmers,
and common people of every description.
The feasting and rejoicing lasted many days. Hundreds of oxen were roasted whole, fountains ran with wine. A thousand
knights rode behind the little Princess as she went to her wedding. Every day these knights appeared in new clothes,
each suit more splendid than the last. The boy King, too, was attended by hundreds of knights, who were dressed as
beautifully as those around the Queen.
But in the midst of all this splendour and feasting, the King of England tried once again to make himself master
 of Scotland. The little King did homage to Henry for the lands which he still held in England, and Henry tried to make
him do homage for Scotland too.
But young though he was, Alexander had already been taught to beware of the greed of the King of England, so he
answered, "I came into England on a joyful and peaceful errand. I came to marry the English Princess, not to talk of the
affairs of state. I cannot, and will not, speak of so important a matter without the advice of my lords and nobles."
And although Henry was not very pleased, he had to be content with this answer. Then, when all the feasting was over,
Alexander went back to Scotland, taking his Queen with him.
As the King was so young there was a great deal of quarrelling among the nobles as to who should have the power. For of
course Alexander was too young really to rule.
The Scottish nobles had been jealous of each other, and now they were jealous of the English nobles and servants whom
the Queen had brought with her. And among them all the little Queen had an unhappy time. For although she was a Queen,
Margaret was, after all, only a little girl. She had been taken away from her father and mother and sent to live in a
strange country. There, everything seemed to her to be very dull and quiet, after the bright and gay English court. So
she cried and complained, and was very miserable. She cried so much that her father, the King of England, heard about
it, and he sent messengers to Scotland to see if they could make things brighter for his little daughter. But the Scots
were so jealous of these English people, that it is said they even poisoned one of them, who was a doctor, and whom the
King had sent to take care of the little Queen.
 Then Henry came himself, and he appointed a Regent to rule
until Alexander should be twenty-one. But although the Queen
was perhaps happier after this, no English King could settle Scottish matters. So for some years there were very sad
times while the great lords plotted against one another, each struggling for power, and each trying to gain possession
of the King.
But when Alexander was about twenty years old, he resolved to be King indeed. He took the power into his own hands, and
he soon showed that he knew how to rule.