If you ask why Guy did these things—why, when he was happy and had everything he could desire, he threw away that happiness, and wandered out into the world to endure hunger, and weariness, and suffering—or why, when at last he came back and found his beautiful wife waiting and longing for his return, he did not go to her and be happy again, I cannot tell you certainly. But perhaps it may be explained in this way. In those far-off days there was nothing for great men to do but fight. What they had they had won by the sword, and they kept it by the sword. So they went swaggering over the world, fighting and shedding blood, and the more men a knight killed, the more blood he shed, the greater was his fame. It was impossible for a man to live in the world and be at peace with his fellows. So when he desired peace he had to cut himself off from the world and all who lived in it, and go to live like a hermit in some lonely cave, or wander as a pilgrim in desolate places. And so it was with Guy.
ADAPTED BY ERNEST RHYS
In the reign of the famous King Edward III. there was a little boy called Dick Whittington, whose father and mother died when he was very young, so that he remembered nothing at all about them, and was left a ragged little fellow, running about a country village. As poor Dick was not old enough to work, he was very badly off; he got but little for his dinner, and sometimes nothing at all for his breakfast; for the people who lived in the village were very poor indeed, and could not spare him much more than the parings of potatoes, and now and then a hard crust of bread.
For all this Dick Whittington was a very sharp boy, and was always listening to what everybody talked about. On Sunday he was sure to get near the farmers, as they sat talking on the tombstones in the churchyard, before the parson came; and once a week you might see little Dick leaning against the sign-post of the village alehouse, where people stopped to drink as they came from the next market town; and when the barber’s shop door was open, Dick listened to all the news that his customers told one another.
In this manner Dick heard a great many very strange things about the great city called London; for the foolish country people at that time thought that folks in London were all fine gentlemen and ladies; and that there was singing and music there all day long; and that the streets were all paved with gold.
One day a large wagon and eight horses, all with bells at their heads, drove through the village while Dick was standing by the sign-post. He thought that this wagon must be going to the fine town of London; so he took courage, and asked the wagoner to let him walk with him by the side of the wagon. As soon as the wagoner heard that poor Dick had no father or mother, and saw by his ragged clothes that he could not be worse off than he was, he told him he might go if he would, so they set off together.