Malcolm had no children, so he was succeeded by his
brother William. William was by no means meek and gentle like his brother,
The Maiden, and he was called The Lion. He was very sorry that Malcolm had
given up Northumberland to the King of England, and he tried to get it back
again. But Henry was not a man to let go anything of which he had once
gained possession, so William tried in vain. But he could not forget that
the Kings of Scotland had once ruled Northumberland, and when he had been on
the throne about nine years he resolved to fight for it.
He gathered a great army and marched into England. He
took several towns and castles in ".Northumberland. Then at Alnwick he
rested, waiting for the coming of the English army.
One morning a thick mist covered all the country.
Through the mist a company of English soldiers came marching from the south.
They had lost their way and knew not where they were. Fearing lest they
should be surprised by the Scots, some of them wished to turn back. But one
bold knight named Bernard de Baliol cried out, You may go back, but I will
go on, even if I go alone, and thus preserve mine honour.' So, heartened by
his brave words, the soldiers pushed on as best they might.
Suddenly the mist lightened and the English saw the
walls of a castle not far off. Upon a plain, near the cnstle, about sixty
knights were holding a tournament.
tournament was a kind of mock battle, and in those days was one of the chief
amusements of lords and knights. It generally took place on a large plain,
round which people stood and sat looking on. In the place of honour sat fair
ladies and great lords watching the knights. The weapons used in a
tournament were, as a rule, blunted, but in spite of this those who took
part in it were often wounded, and sometimes killed.
The knights wore in their helmets the colours of their
ladies, and it was thought that a knight could not honour his lady more
highly than by being victor in a tournament. So every true knight longed to
be victor, and to win the prize of bay leaves or flowers, which was placed
on his head by the fairest lady there.
knights who were holding the tournament in the mist were King William and
his lords. They were thus playing at war while waiting for the real enemy to
appear. At first, when they saw the English they thought that it was a party
of their own soldiers. But soon they found out their mistake.
To turn and flee to the castle of Alnwick was the only
safe thing to do. But that, bold King William would not do. 'Now we shall
see who among us are true knights,' he cried, and setting spurs to his horse
he charged the enemy.
But sixty men could do
little against six hundred. All that brave and desperate men could do, they
did. But it was in vain. Many were slain, many more were wounded. King
William fought more bravely than any, but at last his horse was killed. He
fell to the ground, and was taken prisoner by the English.
The English were so pleased at having taken such an
important prisoner that they did not wait to fight any more. They turned
southward at once, carrying with them the King of Scots.
The English did not treat King William kindly. They
set him upon a horse and tied his legs together under it, just as if he had
been a common thief or murderer. In this manner he was brought before King
King Henry did not treat his prisoner
kindly either. He put heavy chains upon his hands and feet, and threw him
into a dark dungeon. Then thinking that he was not safe enough in England,
Henry sailed over to France, where he shut William up in a castle.
There, William the Lion was kept, until he should
promise to acknowledge Henry as over-lord. But William, chained though he
was, was still the Lion, and he would not agree. So Henry sent messengers to
the Scottish Parliament, and they, in order to free their King, agreed that
the King of Scotland should acknowledge the King of England as over-lord.
William was then freed from prison, and allowed to go
back to his own land.
For fifteen years this
wicked bargain lasted.. And the King of Scotland did homage to the King of
England. Then Henry ii. died, and his son Richard of the Lion Heart, set
William the Lion free from his promise.
Richard wanted to go to join the wars of the Cross, or Crusades as they were
called. They were so called because the people who took part in them were
fighting for the land where Christ died upon the Cross. This land, which is
called Palestine, or the Holy Land, was in the hands of the Saracens. These
Saracens did not believe in Christ, and they were cruel to the Christians
who travelled to Palestine to visit the Holy Sepulchre. So Christian people
of all lands banded together to fight these Saracens and drive them out of
the Holy Land.
Richard of the Lion Heart was
eager to join one of these Crusades, but he needed money to carry himself
and his soldiers over the sea to Palestine. William gave Richard money, and
in return Richard gave Scotland her freedom once more. He wrote a letter, or
charter, saying that Scotland was a free country, as it had ever been, and
that the King of Scotland was no longer the vassal of the King of England,
and need not do homage to him. This was in 1189 A.D.
This action of King Richard's did a great deal towards
wiping out the bitter feeling of hate between the English and Scots, and for
some years there was not only peace but even friendship between the two
William the Lion lived to be a very
old man, and died in 1214 A.D., having reigned fifty years all but a few