THE BLACK DOUGLAS





In Scotland, in the time of King Robert Bruce, there lived a brave man

whose name was Doug-las. His hair and beard were black and long, and

his face was tanned and dark; and for this reason people nicknamed him

the Black Douglas. He was a good friend of the king, and one of his

strongest helpers.



In the war with the English, who were trying to drive Bruce from

Scotland, the Black Douglas did many brave deeds; and the English

people became very much afraid of him. By and by the fear of him

spread all through the land. Nothing could frighten an English lad

more than to tell him that the Black Douglas was not far away. Women

would tell their chil-dren, when they were naughty, that the Black

Douglas would get them; and this would make them very quiet and good.



There was a large cas-tle in Scotland which the English had taken

early in the war. The Scot-tish soldiers wanted very much to take it

again, and the Black Douglas and his men went one day to see what they

could do. It happened to be a hol-i-day, and most of the English

soldiers in the cas-tle were eating and drinking and having a merry

time. But they had left watch-men on the wall to see that the Scottish

soldiers did not come upon them un-a-wares; and so they felt quite

safe.



In the e-ven-ing, when it was growing dark, the wife of one of the

soldiers went up on the wall with her child in her arms. As she looked

over into the fields below the castle, she saw some dark objects

moving toward the foot of the wall. In the dusk she could not make out

what they were, and so she pointed them out to one of the watch-men.



"Pooh, pooh!" said the watchman. "Those are nothing to frighten us.

They are the farmer's cattle, trying to find their way home. The

farmer himself is en-joy-ing the hol-i-day, and he has forgotten to

bring them in. If the Douglas should happen this way before morning,

he will be sorry for his care-less-ness."



But the dark objects were not cattle. They were the Black Douglas and

his men, creeping on hands and feet toward the foot of the castle

wall. Some of them were dragging ladders behind them through the

grass. They would soon be climbing to the top of the wall. None of the

English soldiers dreamed that they were within many miles of the

place.



The woman watched them until the last one had passed around a corner

out of sight. She was not afraid, for in the dark-en-ing twi-light

they looked indeed like cattle. After a little while she began to sing

to her child:--



"Hush ye, hush ye, little pet ye,

Hush ye, hush ye, do not fret ye,

The Black Douglas shall not get ye."



All at once a gruff voice was heard behind her, saying, "Don't be so

sure about that!"



She looked around, and there stood the Black Douglas himself. At the

same moment a Scottish soldier climbed off a ladder and leaped upon

the wall; and then there came another and another and another, until

the wall was covered with them. Soon there was hot fighting in every

part of the castle. But the English were so taken by surprise that

they could not do much. Many of them were killed, and in a little

while the Black Douglas and his men were the masters of the castle,

which by right be-longed to them.





As for the woman and her child, the Black Douglas would not suffer any

one to harm them. After a while they went back to England; and whether

the mother made up any more songs about the Black Douglas I cannot

tell.





THE BELL OF ATRI THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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