Famous StoriesThe King And His Hawk
Gen'ghis Khan was a great king and war-rior. He led his ...
It was a dark Sep-tem-ber morning. There was a storm at sea...
There was once a kind man whose name was Oliver Gold-smith....
The Black Douglas
In Scotland, in the time of King Robert Bruce, there lived ...
King Alfred And The Beggar
At one time the Danes drove King Alfred from his kingdom, a...
Nearly two thousand years ago there lived in Rome a man who...
The Bell Of Atri
A-tri is the name of a little town in It-a-ly. It is a very...
The Sword Of Damocles
There was once a king whose name was Di-o-nys'i-us. He was ...
There was a great battle at sea. One could hear nothing but...
The Endless Tale
In the Far East there was a great king who had no work to d...
A good many years ago there lived in Italy a little boy who...
George Washington And His Hatchet
When George Wash-ing-ton was quite a little boy, his father...
Three Men Of Gotham
There is a town in England called Go-tham, and many merry s...
Damon And Pythias
A young man whose name was Pyth'i-as had done something whi...
The Sons Of William The Conqueror
There was once a great king of England who was called Wil-l...
The Ungrateful Soldier
Here is another story of the bat-tle-field, and it is much ...
A Story Of Robin Hood
In the rude days of King Rich-ard and King John there were ...
Socrates And His House
There once lived in Greece a very wise man whose name was S...
King Alfred And The Cakes
Many years ago there lived in Eng-land a wise and good ...
There was once a king of Prussia whose name was Frederick W...
THE STORY OF WILLIAM TELL
The people of Swit-zer-land were not always free and happy as they are
to-day. Many years ago a proud tyrant, whose name was Gessler, ruled
over them, and made their lot a bitter one indeed.
One day this tyrant set up a tall pole in the public square, and put
his own cap on the top of it; and then he gave orders that every man
who came into the town should bow down before it. But there was one
man, named William Tell, who would not do this. He stood up straight
with folded arms, and laughed at the swinging cap. He would not bow
down to Gessler himself.
When Gessler heard of this, he was very angry. He was afraid that
other men would disobey, and that soon the whole country would rebel
against him. So he made up his mind to punish the bold man.
William Tell's home was among the mountains, and he was a famous
hunter. No one in all the land could shoot with bow and arrow so well
as he. Gessler knew this, and so he thought of a cruel plan to make
the hunter's own skill bring him to grief. He ordered that Tell's
little boy should be made to stand up in the public square with an
apple on his head; and then he bade Tell shoot the apple with one of
Tell begged the tyrant not to have him make this test of his skill.
What if the boy should move? What if the bow-man's hand should
tremble? What if the arrow should not carry true?
"Will you make me kill my boy?" he said.
"Say no more," said Gessler. "You must hit the apple with your one
arrow. If you fail, my sol-diers shall kill the boy before your
Then, without another word, Tell fitted the arrow to his bow. He took
aim, and let it fly. The boy stood firm and still. He was not afraid,
for he had all faith in his father's skill.
The arrow whistled through the air. It struck the apple fairly in the
center, and carried it away. The people who saw it shouted with joy.
As Tell was turning away from the place, an arrow which he had hidden
under his coat dropped to the ground.
"Fellow!" cried Gessler, "what mean you with this second arrow?"
"Tyrant!" was Tell's proud answer, "this arrow was for your heart if I
had hurt my child."
And there is an old story, that, not long after this, Tell did shoot
the tyrant with one of his arrows; and thus he set his country free.
Next: ARNOLD WINKELRIED
Previous: GRACE DARLING