“This is no match,” said Robin. “Let the bride choose for herself.”
Then he put his horn to his lips, and blew three times. The very next minute, four and twenty men, all dressed in green, and car-ry-ing long bows in their hands, came running across the fields. And as they marched into the church, all in a row, the fore-most among them was Allin-a-Dale.
“Now whom do you choose?” said Robin to the maiden.
“I choose Allin-a-Dale,” she said, blushing.
“And Allin-a-Dale you shall have,” said Robin; “and he that takes you from Allin-a-Dale shall find that he has Robin Hood to deal with.”
And so the fair maiden and Allin-a-Dale were married then and there, and the rich old man went home in a great rage.
“And thus having ended
this merry wedding,
The bride looked like a queen:
And so they re-turned to the merry green wood,
Amongst the leaves so green.”
BRUCE AND THE SPIDER.
There was once a king of Scot-land whose name was Robert Bruce. He had need to be both brave and wise, for the times in which he lived were wild and rude. The King of England was at war with him, and had led a great army into Scotland to drive him out of the land.
Battle after battle had been fought. Six times had Bruce led his brave little army against his foes; and six times had his men been beaten, and driven into flight. At last his army was scat-tered, and he was forced to hide himself in the woods and in lonely places among the moun-tains.
One rainy day, Bruce lay on the ground under a rude shed, lis-ten-ing to the patter of the drops on the roof above him. He was tired and sick at heart, and ready to give up all hope. It seemed to him that there was no use for him to try to do anything more.
As he lay thinking, he saw a spider over his head, making ready to weave her web. He watched her as she toiled slowly and with great care. Six times she tried to throw her frail thread from one beam to another, and six times it fell short.
“Poor thing!” said Bruce: “you, too, know what it is to fail.”
But the spider did not lose hope with the sixth failure. With still more care, she made ready to try for the seventh time. Bruce almost forgot his own troubles as he watched her swing herself out upon the slender line. Would she fail again? No! The thread was carried safely to the beam, and fas-tened there.
“I, too, will try a seventh time!” cried Bruce.
He arose and called his men together. He told them of his plans, and sent them out with mes-sa-ges of cheer to his dis-heart-ened people. Soon there was an army of brave Scotch-men around him. Another battle was fought, and the King of England was glad to go back into his own country.
I have heard it said, that, after that day, no one by the name of Bruce would ever hurt a spider. The lesson which the little crea-ture had taught the king was never for-got-ten.