EDWARD THE BLACK PRINCE
FOR a number of years England carried on a war with Scotland, which ended with the battle of Bannockburn. This war would not
have lasted so long if the French had not been afraid that England would become stronger than they, and therefore had
 done a great deal to help Scotland. This did not make the England feel very friendly toward the French. Moreover, Edward
III. King of England, claimed the French crown, because of his relationship to the late King of France. The result was a
struggle which lasted more than a century, and which is, therefore, called the Hundred Years' War. It was in the early
part of this war that the famous battles of Crécy and Poitiers were fought which showed the English yeomen—that is, the
sturdy common people—that they could defend themselves with their bows and arrows, and need not depend upon the knights
for protection. At the battle of Crécy, King Edward shared the command with his son, called the Black Prince from the
color of his armor. In the course of the battle, a messenger came galloping up to the king and told him that his son was
in great danger. "If the Frenchmen increase, your son will have too much to do," he said. The king asked, "Is my son
dead, unhorsed, or so badly wounded that he cannot support
 himself?" "No, sir," answered the messenger, "but he is in so hot an engagement that he has great need of your help."
The king must have longed to go to his son, but he replied firmly, "Tell those that sent you not to send again for me so
long as my son has life; and say I command them to let the boy win his spurs; for I am determined, if it please God,
that all the glory and honor of this day shall be given to him and to those into whose care I have intrusted him." The
brave prince did win his spurs, that is, performed deeds which proved him worthy of knighthood; and when the battle was
over the king kissed him and said, "You are worthy to be a sovereign."
BATTLE OF CRÉCY.
After this battle, the English pressed on to besiege Ca-lais. One whole year the French refused to yield, and
they would not give up the town until they were starving. Edward was so angry at the long resistance that he told the
people of Calais there was only one way in which they could look for any mercy from him. If six of their principal men
would come to him in their shirts, bareheaded, barefooted, and with ropes about their necks, he would be merciful to the
others. The richest man in town offered himself first, and five others followed. "Take them away and hang them,"
commanded King Edward; but his wife Phi-lip'pa fell upon her knees before him and said, "Since I crossed the sea
 with great danger to see you, I have never asked you one favor. Now I most humbly ask for the sake of the Son of the
Blessed Mary, and for your love to me that you will be merciful to these six men." The king replied, "Ah, lady, I wish
you had been anywhere else than here, but I cannot refuse you. Do as you please with them." The queen feasted them, and
gave them clothes and sent them back safely to their homes. This story was told by Queen Philippa's secretary, a man
(FROM A WALL PAINTING IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
Froissart tells another story about the courtesy and modesty of the Black Prince after the French king had been taken
prisoner at the battle of Poitiers. Here it is just as the old chronicler told it:—
QUEEN PHILIPPA PLEADING FOR THE MEN OF CALAIS.
"The Prince of Wales gave a supper in his pavilion to the king of France and to the greater part of the princes and
barons who were prisoners. The prince seated the king of France and his son, the Lord Philip, at an elevated and well
 With them were Sir James de Bour'bon, the Lord John d'Artois, the earls of Tancarville, of Estampes, of Dammartin, of
Graville, and the lord of Par-te-nay'. The other knights and squires were placed at different tables. The prince
himself served the king's table as well as the others with every mark of humility, and would not sit down at it, in
spite of all his entreaties for him so to do, saying that he was not worthy of such an honor, nor did it appertain to
him to seat himself at the table of so great a king, or of so valiant a man as he had shown himself by his actions that
day. He added, also, with a noble air, `Dear sir, do not make a poor meal because the Almighty God has not gratified
your wishes in the event of this day; for be assured that my lord and father will show you every honor and friendship in
his power, and will arrange your ransom so reasonably that
 you will henceforward always remain friends. In my opinion, you have cause to be glad that the success of this battle
did not turn out as you desired; for you have this day acquired such high renown for prowess that you have surpassed all
the best knights on your side. I do not, dear sir, say this to flatter you, for all those of our side who have seen and
observed the actions of each party have unanimously allowed this to be your due, and decree you the prize and garland
for it.' At the end of this speech there were murmurs of praise heard from every one. And the French said the prince had
spoken nobly and truly; and that he would be one of the most gallant princes in Christendom if God should grant him life
to pursue his career of glory."
TOMB OF THE BLACK PRINCE, IN CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL.
(HIS HELMET, SHIELD, AND SHIRT OF MAIL ARE SHOWN
The Black Prince never came to the throne, for he died one year before his father. If he had lived, his courage and
gentleness and kindly tact might have prevented some of the troubles that England had to meet.
The cause of the Hundred Years' War. — The Black Prince wins his spurs. — The siege of Calais. — The pleading of Philippa. — The
courtesy of the Black Prince to the captive king of France.
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