Grandpa Fraser walked up the grass-covered
hill with his dog, Fletcher, and his two grandchildren, Graham and
Addison. "How much more do we have to climb, Grandpa?" whined Addison.
"Are we nearly there
yet?" Graham complained.
Grandpa stopped and
looked at the two children, "Iím nearly ten times your age and do you
hear me complaining about the walk. You wanted to see the battlefield
from the top of the hill, didnít you?" The children went silent after
that gentle scolding.
At long last they reached
the crest of the hill. Fletcher ran about chasing butterflies and
bumblebees. They sat down on the grass and looked at the valley below.
It spread out like a blanket of green, dotted with small buildings and
monuments. A river flowed down the center of it, meandering around like
a large snake. The sunshine made it sparkle and glimmer like glass. "Is
this where it really happened, Grandpa?" Graham asked.
"Yes, lad, this is the
place. This is where King Robert the Bruce and his valiant army and
followers defeated the English. Letís just sit a while and think about
it, then weíll go down to the monument and Iíll tell you all about it,"
They sat for a while.
Graham and Addison noticed the blue and white flag waving below.
"Grandpa, is that blue and white flag, Scotlandís flag?" Addison asked.
"Why does it have a blue
and white Ďxí on it?" Graham chimed in.
"Iíll tell you what,
letís head back down to the battlefield. Weíll find a nice place to sit
and Iíll tell you all about it," Grandpa said. Sensing time to move on,
Fletcher ran about excitedly, waiting for the children to make a move.
Agreeing, Graham and
Addison ran down the hill as fast as they could, followed by the small
white dog. Grandpa walked slowly, wishing for a few moments that he was
younger and could join them. At the bottom they sat down. Grandpa found
a rock to sit on. "Tell us now, Grandpa. Tell us about the flag,"
"And the battle," added
"Gather round. You too,
Fletcher," he called to the dog, who ran and sat down by Graham. "The
battle took place hundreds of years ago, on the 23rd and 24th
of June, 1314."
"That is a long time ago,
Grandpa. Were you alive then?" Graham innocently asked.
Grandpa chuckled, "No,
but sometimes I feel like I was. Letís go on. Their king, Robert the
Bruce, led the people in Scotland. Bruce was his last name. He was a
great king and loved Scotland very much. He fought many battles trying
to win Scotlandís independence."
"What does that mean?"
Addison asked. "Whatís independence?"
"It means that the people
who lived in England wanted to rule the people of Scotland, and they
didnít want them to, so they fought to be free. The king of England at
that time was King Edward II. He didnít want Scotland to be free. He
wanted to own it and give the lands to his noblemen and knights,"
"Thatís selfish. Why
wasnít King Edward happy with all the land in England? Itís much larger
than Scotland," Addison said, proud that she knew that information.
"Kings in those days were
greedy. They wanted everything. King Robert gathered all the men in
Scotland who wanted to fight with him and help Scotland be free. The
English came up into Scotland with a huge army. Some of the men were
great horsemen, others were good at archery."
"I can shoot a bow and
arrow too, Grandpa. I wish that I had been there to help King Robert and
all the men," Graham said, sincere in his heart.
"The Scottish army wasnít
as large, but they were fighting for a good reason, for their freedom.
That alone can make a man mighty. Their horses were covered in blankets,
and protection, the men wore helmets and carried shields and swords or
spears. The two armies fought. Many were killed or wounded. It was a sad
sight that day. Bodies were stacked up high on top of each other. It was
"Who won, Grandpa? Who
won?" Graham asked.
"Though they had a lot of
men die, the Scots won. They chased the English off their land. At last
Scotland was a free country. King Robert the Bruce was very proud of the
men who helped him. They were heroes. No matter what though, many died.
He lost a lot of good friends in that battle."
"Thatís sad," Addison
said. She reached over and petted Fletcher on his back. He wagged his
tail at her. The flag is a symbol of Scotland and is called the Flag of
St. Andrews. St. Andrew was the patron saint of Scotland. We still
celebrate Saint Andrews Day each year, on the 30th of
November. Surely youíve talked about that in school?" he asked his
"I have," muttered
"Me too," replied Graham.
"The flag represents the
cross of St. Andrew and it is well known symbol of Scotland. We have
another flag, the Rampart Lion. Itís red on yellow with a red lion in
the center. Very nice looking flag," Grandpa explained. "Well, shall we
go and look at the monuments and have a wee walk around. Then it will be
time to get you home. Your mum will wonder where Iíve taken you. Come on
then, Fletcher. Letís go, boy."
They spent the next hour
on the battlefield. They talked about the statues, saw the flag and
tried to imagine the battle going on that day. Graham and Addison felt
very sad inside that so many men had died; yet they were very proud to
When they got home they
told their mum and dad all about the Battle of Bannockburn and the Flag
of St. Andrews. Grandpa Fraser sat in front of the fire, tired, yet
happy that he had the chance to teach his wee grandchildren a little bit
about Scottish history.