Famous StoriesThe Inchcape Rock
In the North Sea there is a great rock called the Inch-cape...
Damon And Pythias
A young man whose name was Pyth'i-as had done something whi...
The Miller Of The Dee
Once upon a time there lived on the banks of the River Dee ...
He Never Smiled Again
The bark that held the prince went down, The sweep...
A great army was marching into Swit-zer-land. If it should ...
Socrates And His House
There once lived in Greece a very wise man whose name was S...
Other Wise Men Of Gotham
One day, news was brought to Gotham that the king was comin...
The Story Of William Tell
The people of Swit-zer-land were not always free and happy ...
George Washington And His Hatchet
When George Wash-ing-ton was quite a little boy, his father...
The Blind Men And The Elephant
There were once six blind men who stood by the road-side ev...
Horatius At The Bridge
Once there was a war between the Roman people and the E-tru...
Alexander And Bucephalus
One day King Philip bought a fine horse called Bu-ceph'a-lu...
Whittington And His Cat
The City There was once a little boy whose name was Rich...
The King And His Hawk
Gen'ghis Khan was a great king and war-rior. He led his ...
The White Ship
King Henry, the Handsome Scholar, had one son, named Willia...
There was a great battle at sea. One could hear nothing but...
Diogenes The Wise Man
At Cor-inth, in Greece, there lived a very wise man whose n...
Bruce And The Spider
There was once a king of Scot-land whose name was Robert Br...
Many years ago there was a poor gentleman shut up in one of...
There was once a very brave man whose name was John Smith. ...
A great army was marching into Swit-zer-land. If it should go much
farther, there would be no driving it out again. The soldiers would
burn the towns, they would rob the farmers of their grain and sheep,
they would make slaves of the people.
The men of Switzerland knew all this. They knew that they must fight
for their homes and their lives. And so they came from the mountains
and valleys to try what they could do to save their land. Some came
with bows and arrows, some with scythes and pitch-forks, and some with
only sticks and clubs.
But their foes kept in line as they marched along the road. Every
soldier was fully armed. As they moved and kept close together,
nothing could be seen of them but their spears and shields and shining
armor. What could the poor country people do against such foes as
"We must break their lines," cried their leader; "for we cannot harm
them while they keep together."
The bowmen shot their arrows, but they glanced off from the soldiers'
shields. Others tried clubs and stones, but with no better luck. The
lines were still un-bro-ken. The soldiers moved stead-i-ly onward;
their shields lapped over one another; their thousand spears looked
like so many long bris-tles in the sun-light. What cared they for
sticks and stones and hunts-men's arrows?
"If we cannot break their ranks," said the Swiss, "we have no chance
for fight, and our country will be lost!"
Then a poor man, whose name was Ar-nold Wink'el-ried, stepped out.
"On the side of yonder moun-tain," said he, "I have a happy home.
There my wife and chil-dren wait for my return. But they will not see
me again, for this day I will give my life for my country. And do you,
my friends, do your duty, and Switzerland shall be free."
With these words he ran forward. "Follow me!" he cried to his friends.
"I will break the lines, and then let every man fight as bravely as he
He had nothing in his hands, neither club nor stone nor other weapon.
But he ran straight on-ward to the place where the spears were
"Make way for lib-er-ty!" he cried, as he dashed right into the lines.
A hundred spears were turned to catch him upon their points. The
soldiers forgot to stay in their places. The lines were broken.
Arnold's friends rushed bravely after him. They fought with whatever
they had in hand. They snatched spears and shields from their foes.
They had no thought of fear. They only thought of their homes and
their dear native land. And they won at last.
Such a battle no one ever knew before. But Switzerland was saved, and
Arnold Wink-el-ried did not die in vain.
Next: THE BELL OF ATRI
Previous: THE STORY OF WILLIAM TELL