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QUEEN MARGARET AND THE ROBBERS
BY ALBERT F. BLAISDELL (ADAPTED)
ONE day when roses were in bloom, two noblemen came to angry
words in the Temple Gardens, by the side of the river
Thames. In the midst of their quarrel one of them plucked a
white rose from a bush, and, turning to those who were near
"He who will stand by me in this quarrel, let
 him pluck a white rose with me, and wear it in his hat."
Then the other gentleman tore a red rose from another bush,
"Let him who will stand by me pluck a red rose, and wear it
as his badge."
Now this quarrel led to a great civil war, which was called
"The War of the Roses," for every soldier wore a white or
red rose in his helmet to show to which side he belonged.
The leaders of the "Red Rose" sided with King Henry the
Sixth and his wife, Queen Margaret, who were fighting for
the English throne. Many great battles were fought, and
wicked deeds were done in those dreadful times.
In a battle at a place called Hexham, the king's party was
beaten, and Queen Margaret and her little son, the Prince of
Wales, had to flee for their lives. They had not gone far
before they met a band of robbers, who stopped the queen and
stole all her rich jewels, and, holding a drawn sword over
her head, threatened to take her life and that of her child.
The poor queen, overcome by terror, fell upon her knees and
begged them to spare her only son, the little prince. But
the robbers, turning from her, began to fight among
themselves as to how they should divide the plunder, and,
drawing their weapons, they attacked one another. When
 the queen saw what was happening she sprang to her feet,
and, taking the prince by the hand, made haste to escape.
There was a thick wood close by, and the queen plunged into
it, but she was sorely afraid and trembled in every limb,
for she knew that this wood was the hiding-place of robbers
and outlaws. Every tree seemed to her excited fancy to be an
armed man waiting to kill her and her little son.
On and on she went through the dark wood, this way and that,
seeking some place of shelter, but not knowing where she was
going. At last she saw by the light of the moon a tall,
fierce-looking man step out from behind a tree. He came
directly toward her, and she knew by his dress that he was
an outlaw. But thinking that he might have children of his
own, she determined to throw herself and her son upon his
When he came near she addressed him in a calm voice and with
a stately manner.
"Friend," said she, "I am the queen. Kill me if thou wilt,
but spare my son, thy prince. Take him, I will trust him to
thee. Keep him safe from those that seek his life, and God
will have pity on thee for all thy sins."
The words of the queen moved the heart of the outlaw. He
told her that he had once fought on
 her side, and was now hiding from the soldiers of the "White
Rose." He then lifted the little prince in his arms, and,
bidding the queen follow, led the way to a cave in the
rocks. There he gave them food and shelter, and kept them
safe for two days, when the queen's friends and attendants,
discovering their hiding-place, came and took them far away.
If you ever go to Hexham Forest, you may see this robber's
cave. It is on the bank of a little stream that flows at the
foot of a hill, and to this day the people call it "Queen