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BRUCE AND THE SPIDER








There was once a king of Scot-land whose name was Robert Bruce. He had
need to be both brave and wise, for the times in which he lived were
wild and rude. The King of England was at war with him, and had led a
great army into Scotland to drive him out of the land.

Battle after battle had been fought. Six times had Bruce led his brave
little army against his foes; and six times had his men been beaten,
and driven into flight. At last his army was scat-tered, and he was
forced to hide himself in the woods and in lonely places among the
moun-tains.

One rainy day, Bruce lay on the ground under a rude shed, lis-ten-ing
to the patter of the drops on the roof above him. He was tired and
sick at heart, and ready to give up all hope. It seemed to him that
there was no use for him to try to do anything more.

As he lay thinking, he saw a spider over his head, making ready to
weave her web. He watched her as she toiled slowly and with great
care. Six times she tried to throw her frail thread from one beam to
another, and six times it fell short.

"Poor thing!" said Bruce: "you, too, know what it is to fail."

But the spider did not lose hope with the sixth failure. With still
more care, she made ready to try for the seventh time. Bruce almost
forgot his own troubles as he watched her swing herself out upon the
slender line. Would she fail again? No! The thread was carried safely
to the beam, and fas-tened there.

"I, too, will try a seventh time!" cried Bruce.

He arose and called his men together. He told them of his plans, and
sent them out with mes-sa-ges of cheer to his dis-heart-ened people.
Soon there was an army of brave Scotch-men around him. Another battle
was fought, and the King of England was glad to go back into his own
country.

I have heard it said, that, after that day, no one by the name of
Bruce would ever hurt a spider. The lesson which the little crea-ture
had taught the king was never for-got-ten.





Next: THE BLACK DOUGLAS

Previous: A STORY OF ROBIN HOOD



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