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Famous StoriesThe Sword Of Damocles
There was once a king whose name was Di-o-nys'i-us. He was ...
Sir Philip Sidney
A cruel battle was being fought. The ground was covered wit...
The White Ship
King Henry, the Handsome Scholar, had one son, named Willia...
The Bell Of Atri
A-tri is the name of a little town in It-a-ly. It is a very...
Alexander And Bucephalus
One day King Philip bought a fine horse called Bu-ceph'a-lu...
The Black Douglas
In Scotland, in the time of King Robert Bruce, there lived ...
Bruce And The Spider
There was once a king of Scot-land whose name was Robert Br...
It was a dark Sep-tem-ber morning. There was a storm at sea...
Nearly two thousand years ago there lived in Rome a man who...
Here is the story of Mignon as I remember having read it in...
The Ungrateful Soldier
Here is another story of the bat-tle-field, and it is much ...
King Canute On The Seashore
A hundred years or more after the time of Alfred the Great ...
Whittington And His Cat
The City There was once a little boy whose name was Rich...
King Alfred And The Cakes
Many years ago there lived in Eng-land a wise and good ...
The Ungrateful Guest
Among the soldiers of King Philip there was a poor man who ...
The Endless Tale
In the Far East there was a great king who had no work to d...
Diogenes The Wise Man
At Cor-inth, in Greece, there lived a very wise man whose n...
Horatius At The Bridge
Once there was a war between the Roman people and the E-tru...
Damon And Pythias
A young man whose name was Pyth'i-as had done something whi...
Sir Walter Raleigh
There once lived in England a brave and noble man whose nam...
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.
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