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Famous Stories

The White Ship
King Henry, the Handsome Scholar, had one son, named Willia...

Horatius At The Bridge
Once there was a war between the Roman people and the E-tru...

The Story Of Cincinnatus
There was a man named Cin-cin-na'tus who lived on a little ...

A Laconic Answer
Many miles beyond Rome there was a famous country which we ...

Grace Darling
It was a dark Sep-tem-ber morning. There was a storm at sea...

The Sons Of William The Conqueror
There was once a great king of England who was called Wil-l...

Cornelia's Jewels
It was a bright morning in the old city of Rome many hundre...

Julius Caesar
Nearly two thousand years ago there lived in Rome a man who...

Whittington And His Cat
The City There was once a little boy whose name was Rich...

The Ungrateful Guest
Among the soldiers of King Philip there was a poor man who ...

King Alfred And The Beggar
At one time the Danes drove King Alfred from his kingdom, a...

The Story Of Regulus
On the other side of the sea from Rome there was once a gre...

Diogenes The Wise Man
At Cor-inth, in Greece, there lived a very wise man whose n...

Sir Walter Raleigh
There once lived in England a brave and noble man whose nam...

The Bell Of Atri
A-tri is the name of a little town in It-a-ly. It is a very...

The Ungrateful Soldier
Here is another story of the bat-tle-field, and it is much ...

George Washington And His Hatchet
When George Wash-ing-ton was quite a little boy, his father...

Maximilian And The Goose Boy
One summer day King Max-i-mil'ian of Ba-va'ri-a was walking...

The Story Of William Tell
The people of Swit-zer-land were not always free and happy ...

Damon And Pythias
A young man whose name was Pyth'i-as had done something whi...


Many years ago there lived in Eng-land a wise and good king whose name
was Al-fred. No other man ever did so much for his country as he; and
people now, all over the world, speak of him as Alfred the Great.

In those days a king did not have a very easy life. There was war
almost all the time, and no one else could lead his army into battle
so well as he. And so, between ruling and fighting, he had a busy time
of it indeed.

A fierce, rude people, called the Danes, had come from over the sea,
and were fighting the Eng-lish. There were so many of them, and they
were so bold and strong, that for a long time they gained every
battle. If they kept on, they would soon be the masters of the whole

At last, after a great battle, the English army was broken up and
scat-tered. Every man had to save himself in the best way he could.
King Alfred fled alone, in great haste, through the woods and swamps.

Late in the day the king came to the hut of a wood-cut-ter. He was
very tired and hungry, and he begged the wood-cut-ter's wife to give
him something to eat and a place to sleep in her hut.

The wom-an was baking some cakes upon the hearth, and she looked with
pity upon the poor, ragged fellow who seemed so hungry. She had no
thought that he was the king.

"Yes," she said, "I will give you some supper if you will watch these
cakes. I want to go out and milk the cow; and you must see that they
do not burn while I am gone."

King Alfred was very willing to watch the cakes, but he had far
greater things to think about. How was he going to get his army
to-geth-er again? And how was he going to drive the fierce Danes out
of the land? He forgot his hunger; he forgot the cakes; he forgot that
he was in the woodcutter's hut. His mind was busy making plans for

In a little while the wom-an came back. The cakes were smoking on the
hearth. They were burned to a crisp. Ah, how angry she was!

"You lazy fellow!" she cried. "See what you have done! You want
some-thing to eat, but you do not want to work!"

I have been told that she even struck the king with a stick; but I can
hardly be-lieve that she was so ill-na-tured.

The king must have laughed to himself at the thought of being scolded
in this way; and he was so hungry that he did not mind the woman's
angry words half so much as the loss of the cakes.

I do not know whether he had any-thing to eat that night, or whether
he had to go to bed without his supper. But it was not many days
until he had gath-ered his men to-geth-er again, and had beaten the
Danes in a great battle.


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